One of Derbyshire’s most popular wedding venues has invested in a new state-of-the-art marquee after being inundated with enquiries from brides who want to recreate Pippa Middleton’s big day.
Shottle Hall, in Belper, has spent over £30,000 on a permanent marquee with glass windows and doors after a dramatic increase in requests following the society wedding of the year.
The venue has always offered marque weddings in the summer months, but the new structure, which also has underfloor heating, is available to hire all year round.
It marks a trend for bigger and more lavish wedding celebrations, which need the additional space a marquee can provide.
Managing director Joanne Nicol said: “Just a day or so after Pippa Middleton’s wedding we started to notice the number of enquires for our marquee increasing.
“I think the reason for this is partly because there is just so much scope with a marquee and brides can start with a blank canvas, if they want one, to put their own stamp on it.
“If they want to decorate the inside with pink blossom trees, as Pippa Middleton did, there is really nothing stopping them.
“And the other reason is probably the cost. To hire your own marquee, complete with heaters, dance floor, furniture and bar it would cost in excess of £20,000 – without the food and drink – far, far more than it costs to hire ours of the day. Not to mention the fact that most people don’t have the same size back garden as Shottle or the Middletons.”
Shottle’s Coach House Marquee is not quite as big as the 100,000ft version used by the Middletons, but it can accommodate 150 guests for the wedding breakfast and 200 for an evening celebration.
The marquee, which has crystal chandeliers and a starlit ceiling, is connected to a traditional stone built coach house which is licensed for civil ceremonies, or if the weather allows, couples can marry in the outside Ceremony Pavilion. The new marquee also incorporates a brand-new bespoke bar, which has a unique top featuring hundreds of two pence pieces.
Stuart and Abbie Smith, of Giltbrook, were among the first couples to use the new marquee for their big day.
Stuart said: “We chose the marquee for our wedding reception because it was such a blank canvas. We brought a Belper company in to dress it for us – so our wedding really didn’t look like any others.
“The best thing is the enormous glass windows with the views across the Ecclesbourne Valley which are absolutely breath-taking – and even though the weather was ok on our wedding day we knew it wouldn’t be draughty if we weren’t so lucky.
“We obviously booked our wedding before we saw Pippa Middleton’s so I like to think that she copied us!”
To take a look around the new marquee, visit Shottle Hall on July 9, between 11am and 3pm, when the wedding coordinators will be available to show couples round and answer questions.