Alex and Oliver were on the hunt for the perfect wedding venue following a magical proposal. Their hunt ended after a bespoke stay at Buxted Park which left the couple head over heels. Read all about it.
"We got engaged in February 2020 following a proposal at Cinderella Castle in Disney World. Upon our return to the UK, we were excited to try and find a venue where we could have our own fairy-tale wedding day with family and friends.
Within three weeks of arriving back home, the COVID-19 pandemic had begun to take hold of the UK and therefore meant that we were both placed on furlough for three months. This very much became the time to research into local wedding venues and after viewing 250 websites, we narrowed our search down to ten venues to view which included Buxted Park Hotel. Our first visit was an un-arranged and un-guided walk round, where we saw the spaces beautifully dressed for weddings. Victoria on reception very kindly answered any immediate questions we had and gave us a tour of the bedrooms. We instantly fell in love with the venue and knew this was the one for us.
A little later in the year we were due to hire a cottage down by the Devonshire coastline with our family, but due to relatives shielding we had to postpone this break. We still really wanted to do something on our week off together now that we could get out and about again, but also wanted to feel safe...
We made an enquiry about a Treasured Experience at Buxted Park and were contacted by the General Manager, Catherine Benford to discuss what we would like to do for our break. We explained that we wanted to have a relaxing break (as we recently acquired a second puppy whom we adore but which has meant a few sleepless nights). Catherine did highlight that dogs are welcome to join guests for their stay, however a relative was happy to look after them so we could have some quality time together.
Catherine asked when we would like to arrive to which we replied midday so we could make the most of the day and perhaps walk in the extensive grounds. Catherine had seen that we had afternoon tea at Buxted recently and suggested an afternoon tea picnic in the grounds which was a fantastic idea! In addition to this we booked dinner and an overnight stay.
On arrival at Buxted Park we were greeted by Victoria from our first visit, she remembered us by name and knew that we were having the afternoon tea hamper. Rob was nearby and he quickly collected the hamper for us from the kitchen whilst Victoria got us a blanket. We spent at least 10 minutes trying to secure the perfect spot for our picnic as there were just so many lovely areas to choose from. In the end we settled with the amazing view of the Ashdown Forest in front of us.
Upon opening the hamper, we noticed that as we were not having the tea and coffee, they had included a little bottle of Bruno Paillard Champagne for us which was a great surprise! We had eaten everything but the last two scones when the weather begun to turn, so we decided to save these and return our hamper box to reception. When we got to reception Catherine greeted us and asked us about the tea and we discussed how our wedding plans were coming along.
As the room was available Catherine kindly checked us in over an hour earlier than the guaranteed check in time of 3pm. We had booked a Suite and were allocated George V, which King George stayed in himself! We were so excited to see the Suite and when we opened the door we were in awe - we could not believe the size of the place! We found a lounge complete with two sofas, dining table, desk, TV, coffee machine and tea station and on the way to the bedroom we found a walk-in wardrobe, stocked with handpicked robes and slippers. Also, a huge bathroom with double doors, one of which lead to the bedroom with a king size bed, dressing table, dining table and TV. On the dining table was a handwritten card from Catherine, welcoming us to the hotel.
We had originally planned to walk the grounds, but the weather had turned cold and wet and the beautiful room we had just discovered was too good to leave so we quickly changed our plans. We put on pyjamas with the robes and slippers and turned on the heating. We made ourselves a tea and coffee and snuggled on the sofa in the lounge watching the TV and the rain outside the window - we felt so cosy and enjoyed the amazing views from the inside.
When evening arrived we were excited to dress up and make our way down to the Crystal Bar for some drinks before dinner. Here we were greeted by the Barman, Sergio, who asked us what we would like to drink. He said "just tell me what you would like and I will make this for you" so we opted for a Moscow Mule and a Fruit Martini. Both came out garnished beautifully and tasted amazing.
Whilst in the bar we were welcomed again by Rob, who asked how our picnic was as he was worried we may have got caught in the rain. He talked us through the dinner menus and came to take our order once we were ready. We felt as though we had been there for days with the way we were being treated, it was so nice to feel so welcome. Dinner was in the Orangery and as we were seated at the table Rob remembered that we had earlier mentioned our planned wedding at Buxted Park. He told us about a couple on the other side of the room who were excitedly enjoying their wedding menu tasting – this made us very excited for our own tasting to come!
The amuse bouche was mini beef burgers!! They were so yummy and we are now planning to have them as one of our wedding canapes. Cornish Crab Cakes and John Ross Jnr Scottish whisky-cured gravadlax were our starters and for mains we chose the free-range chicken breast and grilled sea bream, which we added steamed new potatoes with thyme butter and glazed carrots with caraway and honey to share. Our desserts were baked lemon cream and warm honey cake which finished off an incredible dinner. We were so tempted to go for the locally sourced cheese board to end the meal and Heather even offered us a takeaway option to be enjoyed in the Coat of Arms Lounge or in our room but we just could not eat one more bite, so instead we decided to finish our wine in the lounge.
The next morning we woke to a room service breakfast which we pre-ordered the night before at reception. We felt so special having a private breakfast in our room, a real treat. Oliver indulged completely with the sweet option of a Belgium waffle with ice cream, poached pear, and chocolate sauce!!
It soon came time to leave and we really wanted to stay longer but knew we had to get back for our dogs. We checked out with a very friendly receptionist called Natalie and then we headed for one more look at the view. On the way we passed Rob who asked how we slept to which we replied very well as the bed was so comfortable.
During our stay it was undeniable how the staff all really cared about our experience and took the time to get to know us as individuals. We looked at the view and thought how excited we are to be having our Wedding Day at this amazing venue where we know everyone will make our day incredible. We'll certainly be back again before then!"