A big welcome back to Vikki Richman from Your Wedding Friend who is joining us for a new venue review.
Today Vikki will be taking us to St Michael’s Manor, St Albans.
With many civil weddings and receptions taking place in hotels it can be tough to shortlist one gorgeous hotel from another. That is where reviews come in. St Michael’s Manor in St Albans has hosted many weddings over many years. So, what does this venue have to offer on top of their years of experience? Read on!
This hidden gem of a hotel is situated within sight of St Albans Cathedral, in the centre of the city. But it doesn’t feel like a city centre venue. St Michael’s Manor has the most amazing grounds and plenty of car parking, which you don’t anticipate as you drive through the narrow streets to the venue in one of the older parts of St Albans.
Offering a range of licensed wedding ceremony options (4 in total), including an outdoor ceremony in their Summerhouse, they can accommodate a guest list of 14 or 140 people. The bigger ceremonies and receptions take place in the Orangery, which has stunning views out to the patio, gardens and lake. Their offer includes the option to ask them to set everything up for you, this is especially handy if you’ve bought everything on-line to save some pennies but don’t want to be doing the set up yourself – NB not too many venues offer this and it could offer you just enough savings to make this venue very affordable.
The attention to detail at this venue is outstanding. They have different room layout ideas for you to consider; you don’t need to imagine what it will look like, you can see it all laid out digitally for you. You can choose exclusive use (terms and conditions apply) or you can mix and mingle, but you won’t be disturbed in your booked space. When catering for smaller ceremonies, it’s not just the ceremony they offer. You can choose to have an intimate private dinner for your select group of guests in the beautiful Oak Lounge or Cedar Suite – which are the perfect size for 10 – 30 people. And obviously you’ll still receive the same level of service and attention as a bigger wedding, the one draw-back to this offer though, is it’s only available midweek (if you’re looking at a date outside of peak wedding season it doesn’t hurt to ask but they will reserve the right to say no). All larger sized weddings can be accommodated throughout the year.
For all the amazing opportunities here, there are a few things to be aware of. Firstly, the patio is only available until 10pm, out of respect to the nearby residents, which is understandable given the amount of noise that comes from an average wedding party and the close proximity of homes. Secondly, they do not allow fireworks for the same reason, which I completely agree with. Thirdly, it’s worth bearing in mind that they have a no confetti policy; they want to protect their beautifully kept grounds, so again it’s understandable. There are lots of alternatives to confetti you can consider, including bubbles (ask me how you can do this without using lots of single use plastic) or a dove release. Not balloon or lantern releases though, which I’m totally against on account of how much wildlife is destroyed by them.
On to a more positive note; the fabulous food, which is prepared by an award winning team. The menus at St Michael’s Manor Hotel are fairly traditional to English hotels, but beautifully prepared and very tasty, and a good size too. But they pride themselves on their flexibility so if you want something in particular, it’s worth asking for it, just be aware that they won’t allow external catering: they have a reputation to keep and 2 AA Rosettes to live up to.
If you’re looking for an elegant (mid-price range) venue with wow factor, the gorgeous St Michael’s Manor Hotel should definitely be added to your shortlist. Check out their website for lots of helpful information but for specific enquiries you’ll need to get in touch with their event team!