Industry Interview: Natasha Teare on choosing your perfect wedding venue

Industry Interview: Natasha Teare on choosing your perfect wedding venue

In the second of my monthly industry interviews, I talk to Natasha Teare; one half of the husband and wife team who own luxury wedding and events venue, Thorpe Manor. Together with her other half Henry, the pair have re-built, restored and renovated the Manor, transforming it over a period of 2.5 years into a stunning and luxurious country house that can be hired for weddings, parties and homestays.

I met up with Natasha to talk about what makes a brilliant wedding, the importance of choosing the right venue, and how the devil is always in the detail…

Tell us more about Thorpe Manor – how did it all begin?

Thorpe is a Grade II listed Georgian Manor that was previously owned by Henry’s step-father; a successful jockey and trainer. Over the years it became severely run down and by the time it was inherited by Henry, it was in desperate need of some love and attention!

 What made you want to take on such a huge project and turn Thorpe Manor into a wedding and events venue?

It was really a case of having to use our imagination. I could see the huge potential that the Manor had, but initially Henry wasn’t sure about my vision. I just knew it had to be used for something as it was just so sad seeing it as it was – it had no love and no purpose and I couldn’t bear that. In the end, Henry totally came on board with the idea and eventually the whole project became a real team effort. Henry had the knowledge and understanding of listed buildings, and I had previous renovation experience so the whole thing just worked. Ultimately it’s a house that needs to be lived in in the truest sense. Now when we hold events here and the house has big groups of people in it, it completely comes to life. 

What makes Thorpe Manor special?

I think it’s that from the moment you step inside, you’re surrounded by luxury whilst still feeling incredibly at home. There is a full roster of staff (butlers and hosts) to look after you all day and night, as service is a big deal for us. The team who work here are unpretentious, friendly, happy people which I think is key in creating that ‘at home’ feeling. We also really pride ourselves on our attention to detail with the interiors. The house is old, but nothing feels tired. Henry and I are both very fussy about things like that; we have a rule that everything you touch has to feel expensive. Badly engineered stuff really annoys Henry – even if it’s something as simple as salt and pepper grinders! That’s why we have the best quality items that we can throughout the house – from taps to forks and everything in between. We’ve invested in the little details that matter. 

What makes Thorpe Manor special?

I would say that you need to pay close attention to what the venue is offering vs. what’s important to you both. If you’re paying for a luxury location and service, then consider what your venue owners are doing for you in terms of all the little touches that will make your day special. Look closely into what your cost includes and check carefully for add-ons. Thoroughly think through the logistics of holding your wedding there and don’t just be pulled in by appearances. Yes you want your venue to look beautiful in the photos, but it also needs to work for you on the day in a practical sense too. 

What do you think makes a brilliant wedding?

A long drinks reception, a short meal time, and amazing music! Also really think about your table plan; the meal is where a huge amount of atmosphere is created and that’s driven by who sits next to who, and how everyone gets along. I would also say some of the best weddings I’ve been to as a guest or hosted at Thorpe have been the ones where couples weren’t trying to follow a trend or do things ‘just because’. Do what works for you on your day – if it’s a reflection of you both as a couple then your guests will love it. 

What do you see as the next big trend in the industry?

Intimate weddings and smaller, more meaningful events. I can see couples spending the same amount of money but choosing quality over quantity. Whether that’s a beautifully dressed room to only seat 70 people, a fine dining experience, or wine flights for example. I think the second marriage boom definitely has a part of play here, but I also think it’s a reflection of where people’s heads are at first time round. We’re becoming less afraid to be more personal, which in my opinion can only be a good thing. 

To learn more about Thorpe Manor or make a booking, visit www.thorpemanorhouse.co.uk

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