A TRANSATLANTIC GATHERING TO CELEBRATE A MILESTONE BIRTHDAY AT A LUXURIOUS SUFFOLK COUNTRY ESTATE
It was a pleasure to recently organise a three day party for a couple from New York who wished to celebrate his special birthday with their friends, most of whom flew in from America and Russia to join them for a gathering in Suffolk at the exquisite Wilderness Reserve.
A group of nearly 30 guests had the good fortune of staying in three properties, very close to each other (The Walled Garden, Garden Cottage and the Cartshed), with each bedroom luxuriously furnished, warm, and with a high-spec bathroom.
Upon arrival guests were taken to their unique named bed rooms which we had labelled with heart-shaped slates, as well as welcome bags containing the weekend schedule, a quiz about the birthday boy, Suffolk rusks, an Essential Suffolk magazine, discounts at Southwold boutiques such as Collen & Clare, and the all important paracetamol and water for late party nights!
The guest’s experience began with a traditional English Afternoon Tea – including all the favourites of dainty cucumber sandwiches, tiny scones with homemade jam and clotted cream and of course some wicked cakes!
The following day the males strode out further onto the Estate to play at being British Gents – with their flat caps, wax jackets, tweed trousers and discretely sporting thermals from head to toe – they set up a base camp in the parkland with a Bell tent for shelter and warmth, and subsequently enjoyed Clay Pigeon shooting followed by archery. Tuition, practise and a short competition created some friendly rivalry!
Meanwhile the ladies enjoyed a hands-on cookery lesson in the light, spacious kitchen at the Walled Garden making sweet and savoury breads and jam. Following a light lunch, beauticians arrived at the property to offer massages and manicures to all the ladies.
A gap in the schedule allowed the guests to relax in the Wilderness hot tub and sauna – they could be seen in their fluffy white gowns, refreshments in hand, exploring the depths of the garden, despite the temperatures being near to freezing outside!
MURDER MYSTERY IN THE WALLED GARDEN!
Later that day the house party enjoyed trying to solve a cryptic Murder Mystery scenario over dinner at the beautiful ‘planked’ table, with six actors causing much hilarity! A few mojito’s after dinner and even the shyest of guests were performing karaoke with a generous ‘compère’ who stayed well beyond time!
Saturday morning dawned and despite the action packed previous day and evening, all were on the transport to Southwold at the appointed hour. Southwold, on the East Coast of Suffolk, about 20 minutes from the Estate is the perfect antidote to most people’s hectic, busy working lives; we guided guests for a bracing walk along the seafront past the colourful infamous beach huts and lighthouse, which blew the cobwebs away, then back into town for a traditional English lunch of bangers & mash or fish & chips, at Sutherland House. Most guests enjoyed a tour of Adnams Distillery with a few gin tasters to encourage purchases!
COCKTAILS & RETRO DISCO
A final ‘gala’ birthday evening with the Walled Garden turned upside down; guests eating at round tables in the transformed ping pong room, and dancing in the kitchen area which had been enhanced with additional lighting, smoking cocktails and a ‘50’ branded photo booth – accompanied by a delicious caramel cake and entrancing cheese stack – ensured guests were reluctant to depart for bed until the early hours!
The sadness of the weekend drawing to a close was softened by a delicious brunch including French Toast, Eggs Benedict and gallons of coffee, accompanied by a final birthday cake for a departing guest also celebrating a milestone birthday – who even took some back to the US on the plane!
Suffolk became known as the ‘County Of Cakes’, as guests realised they had enjoyed a total of six different cakes over the course of the long weekend!
JENNY’S TIPS FOR ORGANISING A SUCCESSFUL HOUSE PARTY GATHERING
Ensure that everyone, both guests and contractors, have a map detailing the appropriate entrances to the event. In this instance we created a map for all visitors. Also ensure that there is adequate outside lighting at entrances and in parking areas.
As not everyone will know each other, an icebreaker always works well upon arrival. We often organise Scavenger Hunts at the Wilderness Reserve, which are always well received by all ages. Guests work in small teams to answer questions and complete tasks both inside the properties and around the Estate – often using the complimentary Pashley bicycles.
Alternatively, at another rural Estate, we have divided guests into teams and provided everyone with Wellington boots (having previously ascertained their sizes), which they have ‘pimped’ with tissue paper, balloons, fabric and pompoms. They then wore these for a Scavenger Hunt around the Estate!
3. SEATING PLANS
Ensure that there are seating plans for all meals and write each guest’s name on both sides of the placement so that those opposite can be reminded of their fellow diners’ names.
4. CLEARING UP
Ensure that you have enough assistance booked to help with the ongoing process of tidying up and preparing for the next activity or meal. The Walled Garden has four dishwashers, but they still need loading and unloading!
Alternatively, enlist the help of Inspired Event Management and we will take care of everything, ensuring that you feel like a guest at your own party!
Contact: JENNY LOYD on 01473 734017 or 0775 26 23483
Not so long ago we were approached by a delightful mother of three sons, who was excited (but a little daunted!) at the prospect of holding a family wedding reception at their house in Suffolk. Bringing up three boys, it had never occurred to her this might happen but her middle son, who was working in Dubai, had recently become engaged and the happy couple were insistent on holding their celebrations in the stunning Suffolk countryside.
Their garden was the perfect venue for this very special occasion. With a secret, circular enclosure where drinks were held upon arrival, the wedding guests then filed into the ‘Cathedral’, as the family temporarily named it, where a natural aisle was formed by well established trees – almost creating a rainproof canopy!
The bride and her eight brides maids all looked beautiful with their bohemian and elegant style. Whilst the aisle required little decoration, there were garlands of hops and endless storm lanterns along the paths, together with dream catchers and trinkets in the woods.
Following the blessing, guests moved to another ‘room’ within the garden, this time a quaint courtyard area with billowing plants and pillows of Lady’s Mantle underfoot. Delicious canapes were served by a talented local caterer and a magical string quartet played throughout.
Finally the guests were treated to the ‘piece de resistance’ – a beautiful, simple, unlined canvas traditional pole tent, with round ends. Floral decorations using home grown English flowers and roman pillar candles in glass storm lanterns adorned the tables and as the sun set, thousands of warm white tealights came into their own and enhanced the enchanting atmosphere.
Generations of family and friends danced the evening away, enjoying a mix of old school, hip hop and house music and the evening culminated with a spectacular firework display.
In total, the wedding preparations took just over nine months, during which we held transatlantic communications with the groom’s mother and the bride and groom in Dubai. Needing only to return to the UK once through the months of planning, the bride and groom enjoyed an action packed couple of days of meetings, tastings and decision making!
If we can help you with any of your wedding preparations, please do get in touch to arrange a no obligation meeting. We love hearing about bride and grooms’ wishes, we throw more ideas into the pot, create a budget spreadsheet and whilst we never take over plans, we are always there throughout the months of planning to guide, offer advice and confirm arrangements with all suppliers, most of whom have been tried and tested throughout our many years of organising events.
Jenny Loyd can be contacted on 01473 734017 or 0775 262 3483, or by emailing email@example.com
It is a pleasure to work from time to time at The Wilderness Reserve (www.wildernessreserve.com) - a collection of exquisite properties in Suffolk each sleeping 6 -24 guests which can be rented for corporate or private gatherings.
One of the newest properties is The Walled Garden, which, as the name suggests, is literally built into the ancient wall surrounding a one acre garden, with the bedrooms on the 'outside' and the contemporary communal living space a totally glass structure on the inside of the garden.
Both here and at other properties in Suffolk, we have created Scavenger Hunts appropriate each client's brief. This may vary from a corporate team building exercise to a family gathering for ages 8 - 80. Tasks involve finding information, collecting items, answering questions, carrying out creative tasks, writing limericks - there's something for every one within each team!
Recently we were asked to put together an event for a group of food journalists and bloggers, with a visionary content that they could relay, during the challenge, to their social media followers for assistance.
So, food conundrums, identifying vegetables and blind tastings ensued, much to everyone's enjoyment and amusement.
If you'd like us to create an event tailor made to suit your brief, either in East Anglia or further afield, please do get in touch to discuss it further.
With thanks to photographer Richard Burns, www.richardburnsphoto.com
Welcome to our first newsletter. We’ll be sending out occasional news which we hope you’ll enjoy. If you are planning an event, do telephone us for a no-obligation preliminary chat on 01473 734017.
And so it was that a most unusual and innovative venue was chosen for a valued employee of a Commercial Vehicle company, who always planned his journeys around visiting ‘Little Chef’ restaurants! Continue reading