By Francesca Wright
The Coniston Hotel and Spa is set in the tranquil countryside on the outskirts of Skipton, North Yorkshire. With its stunning views over the grounds and a picturesque lake filled with swans and other wildlife, there’s little surprise why it is a popular location fit for a wedding.
On the 8th January, they had opened their doors to newly engaged couples to their wedding open event. We were greeted by a very polite young lady on reception who showed us the way, down the corridor, to the main event. My fiancé and I always wanted to get married here but having only been to the spa and viewed the website, we were still shocked by the warming, country-like feel of the venue and how beautiful it looked when fully dressed for a wedding.
We arrived in their conservatory where the reception drinks would take place and we were, of course, quick to grab some fizz from the waitress at the start of this exciting time. Whilst taking in our unexpected surroundings, we were suddenly greeted by Sharon, the Wedding Co-ordinator at the hotel. “I know exactly who you are,” Sharon said, with little surprise really as we had already requested information on prices prior to the event. She then signed us in on the spot and gave no hesitation to show us around.
Having already explained where the reception drinks take place, she took us straight to Macleod’s Restaurant room, one of the two choices for your ceremony in the hotel. Even without the dressed chairs, the exposed wooden beams, cream coloured walkway and dramatic white backdrop at the end of the isle was just stunning. However, in our own opinion, nothing could have taken our breath away more than the next room, Winston’s Barn. Again with exposed beams and a cream walkway, but this time with stone walls, dressed wooden chairs in rose pink sashes, white rose petals either side of the walkway, up-lighting on the back wall and the dramatic oversized letters spelling out ‘LOVE’. This was definitely the favourable choice whether we decide to dress it up more or keep it as minimal as possible and let the room itself show off its beauty.
Next, we were taken into the wedding breakfast room where preferred suppliers were dotted around the room offering their services, my favourite being the Yorkshire Cake Fairy with her fresh and delicious cakes and buns! This room was dressed in the same rose pink sashes with a variety of centrepieces on each of the five large tables, with the polished cutlery shining in the light from the stunning ceiling drapes, fairy lights and chandeliers. The ladies from the venue styling company, Creative, were busy at work showing off the coloured sashes in a diverse range of colours and materials, to which we felt obliged to take advantage of in order to see our ideal colour theme in place.
Once we all stopped going back for more cake, we moved back into the conservatory and met with stationery suppliers and spa staff. We were handed so many leaflets from all the suppliers, I was so grateful for my best friend and incredible Wedding Planner, Sophie Jackson from Weddings With Ease UK, to offer to take all our materials from the day so we could take everything in and enjoy the day. Sharon then took us onto the wedding terrace where we saw the lake in all its beauty! Despite it being cold, with snow still dotted about on the grounds and the bare trees, it was still very charming and a gorgeous terrace view for any lifetime memory.
Our final part of the tour was the bedrooms. They have classic, superior and luxury rooms, all being incredibly modern with waterfall showerheads, outstanding views and flat screen tv’s (not that that would be needed on the day!). The rooms were staged in classic, superior or luxury rooms with the only difference being more luxurious furniture, space and better views, with all the luxury rooms having lake views.
To end this special day we simply had to visit the restaurant to try the food, although I couldn’t stop myself from picking at the salmon canapés laid out back in the event room. My fiancé and Sophie went for an omelette filled with tomatoes, ham and cheese served with fresh, home-baked bread. Meanwhile, I was keen to try the home made grouse pate on melba toast which was simply delicious and served beautifully with a salad and caramelised red onions.
We relaxed at our table with full stomachs and drinks in hand, while the crackling fire burns blissfully next to us and we reflect on the experience in order to make a decision. Not long after finishing our light lunch, we found the Wedding Co-ordinator again and asked to provisionally hold our date.
We have since been back again with both deposits paid for the venue and the registrar and we are very excited to be announced as husband and wife in late August 2018!