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November 11, 2020 by Mark Wasley 0 Comments

How to choose the best Best Man

This is the easy part, right? Your best man is just your best mate, or perhaps your brother? Maybe, but it’s not always that straightforward. Your best man needs to be more than just some guy who is capable of not losing a ring and stringing a few words together after your wedding breakfast.

First up, being Best Man is an honour. And that in itself puts you, as the groom, in a huge position of power. Use this power wisely! Tempting as it might be, don’t just automatically go with the guy who offers to take you to Vegas on your stag do. While he might be the ultimate party animal and organiser of legendary lads’ trips abroad, what will he be like on the big day itself? Is he going to be capable of responding to a last minute crisis, helping your day run as smoothly as it possibly can, or is he more likely to hilariously filling your Calvins with Deep Heat while you’re taking your last shower as a single man?

Often overlooked in the best man selection process is what I like to call ‘Bride to be Blessing’. Her opinion counts lads, it’s her big day too and she won’t want it wrecked by Smiffy from Thursday night 5-a-side being so wasted he can’t manage a single word of his speech. The other side of this coin though is that she’ll most likely be in favour of you choosing that lad from Uni she likes. he’s teetotal, and thinks a wild night involves staying up until Midnight watching Simpsons repeats. Avoid.

So, if you’ve got a mate/relative that’s fun, has got your back, but most importantly is totally reliable, sign him up. Now. But might be still worth checking your Calvins on the big day?

If music be the food of love…

We love a bit of music in this house. Well, most of us do, Allie listens to James Blunt.

Swiftly moving on……music is a really important part of your big day, and we can help. It’s not just about the song you walk down the aisle to, or your first dance, or having Sex on Fire blasting out at a quarter to midnight; music can be around you for the whole day.

Let’s say you’re marrying in a civil ceremony at 2:00PM, we’ll be serving your welcome drinks at 2:30PM. Chances are there’ll have been guests arriving since 1:30PM. Your ceremony takes 30 minutes or so, and we’ll generally be calling you over for your wedding breakfast sometime around 4:45/5:00PM. So, there’ll be around three or four hours for you to meet and greet your guests, while they enjoy their canapes and drinks and the photographer does their thing.

Now, if you love live music (and who doesn’t), you might be thinking about hiring a professional outfit to provide some lovely background music for the afternoon. Great! I used to be a bit of a musician myself and always loved playing at weddings. We’ve had all sorts of musicians here over the years – choirs, harpists, acoustic duos, sax players…..but they do of course, come at a cost. And, there’s the question of where they set up for maximum impact. So, what’s the alternative? Well, if you’ve ever visited Gorcott, you’ll have probably noticed we always have music playing in the house. We’ve got a fabulous networked sound system here, with music being piped throughout the downstairs of the hall, and also into the gardens. So why not make (free) use of this, and curate your own, personalised wedding playlist? You’ll have a load of fun (and maybe a few fights!) putting it together, and all you need to do is send us a link to your playlist (Spotify or Apple Music) a few days before your big day. We’ll download it onto our system (we don’t stream it, just in case we happen to lose the broadband on the day), and look after everything else for you. You’ll need up to four hours of music (around 60/70 songs).

So, what will you choose? Make it personal, make it special to you two, and make it memorable. Want a few ideas?

  • What was the song you first danced together to?
  • What was number one when you were both born (
  • What song makes you both go a bit gooey because it reminds you of a special time, a special place, or a lost loved one? (or just each other)
  • When you’re apart, and you’re missing one another, what song makes you think of the other?

Here’s ours:

  • Cruel Summer by Bananarama (ask your parents)
  • Mark – Hey Jude by The Beatles, Allie – Good Vibrations by The Beach Boys (also, ask your parents)
  • How Long Will I Love You by Ellie Goulding
  • Anything by Bear’s Den reminds Allie of Mark, Breakeven by The Script reminds Mark of Allie (don’t read too much into the lyrics here though!)

So, come on, it’s never too early to start. You can start messing around with this now. If you get bored of a tune later on you can always change it. Oh, and I won’t judge. All music is art.

Unless, of course, it’s by James Blunt.

A home fit for a Queen

Did you know that Elizabeth I once visited Gorcott Hall, some time in the early 1560s. There’s plenty of archive information to back this up, and she even donated a fabulous stained glass window as a thank you.

So, what was she doing here? Let’s have a quick history lesson first. Well, Elizabeth, the ‘Virgin Queen’ was the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Dad got a bit bored of Anne (his second wife), so he had her head removed when our Liz was still a toddler. She’d only just reached her teenage years in 1537 when lovely old Henry also popped his considerable clogs. Gorcott Hall was a new build then, construction having started on the current main Hall just two years earlier. Things got a bit messy for the Tudors around this time: Kings and Queens came and went while the Tudors decided whether they were Catholic or Protestant, and, in 1554, young Liz did a stretch in the Tower of London for supposedly supporting an anti royal rebellion.

But, by 1558, Elizabeth inherited the throne when her half sister “Bloody Mary” died. She went on to rule the country over some key events in history – the Spanish Armada, and the colonisation of America. She was a hugely popular queen, but she never married. Which brings the story to Gorcott….sort of.

Now, there was a dashing young man called Robert Dudley who Liz had known since childhood. We’ll call him Bobby D. He was the Earl of Leicester and his home was Kenilworth Castle, not too far away from us. He was, by all accounts, fairly unhappily married to a poor lass called Amy. In 1560, aged just 28, Amy “fell” down a flight of stairs at home, breaking her neck and bringing an untimely end to her time as Mrs. D. Her death caused a huge scandal at the time, with many people suspecting Bobby D of giving her a nudge downstairs. This meant that any form of relationship between Liz and Bobby would have been hugely unpopular. So, it appears they conducted their romance in secret.

It seems likely that it was during one of these secret liaisons that Liz came to Gorcott. We’re not quite sure who invited the Queen here, but it’s probable that it was arranged by one of the Throckmorton family, good mates with the Queen and owners of a fairly spectacular pad up the road in Coughton. We’ll assume that the Yardley family, who owned Gorcott at the time, made Liz very welcome, given that she had the stained glass window made at not inconsiderable expense. Or maybe that was the price for their silence! If word ever got out that Liz and Bobby were dating, the fallout would’ve been huge.

Liz never married Mr. Dudley, or anybody else for that matter. She had plenty of offers, but died a spinster in 1602, having ruled over one of the most exciting periods in our history.

Is Gorcott Hall a home fit for a queen? History says yes, and who are we to argue? Shame we weren’t running weddings here back then, we’d have loved to have seen Liz and Bobby rocking out on the dance floor.

Author’s disclaimer: I am by no means a Tudor historian, but I do have a GCSE in History as well as access to Wikipedia.

A dress fit for a princess

Finding the perfect dress for your wedding day is one of the most exciting parts of a bride’s wedding planning, but it can also be one of the most nerve-racking too! We often have brides worrying that they won’t be able to find ‘the one’, that they don’t want a white or an ivory one, that they don’t normally ‘do’ dresses and they’re going to look silly! Well, rest assured, we’ve been helping to deliver amazing weddings since 2010, and we are yet to see a bride at Gorcott Hall that looked anything less than fabulous! 

We know that there are so many colours and sizes to choose from that finding your dream one isn’t always a doddle, it can be overwhelming but it should definitely be good fun! The search can start at home, with lots of research. Trawl the web for inspiration, look for models with your body shape to get a really good idea of what might suit you (that said we know lots of brides who actually ended up with a style that they would never have dreamt they would wear, and loved it!). Then comes the fun part trying them on! Whether you’re ordering online for home delivery or heading to a boutique, decide who you want to be there.  Our advice would be to keep your entourage quite small; a couple of trustworthy, honest besties are usually perfect for the job. 

Take a long bath or shower and choose some nice underwear. That way you’ll feel more like trying on some amazing gowns. Pick out a few to try, but not too many at a time. Too many just leads to confusion and after taking them off you’ll struggle to remember one from the other! You might be one of the lucky brides that fall in love with the first gown you try on, but don’t let that stop you trying on more, it will only help to reinforce the fact that you have found the perfect one. Take photos, even the terrible ones! Oh, we should mention, don’t be horrified by the sizing……..they usually come up very small!

When you’ve finally made your choice and purchased ‘the one’ don’t be worried if you suddenly think that you don’t like it any more or that you have bought the wrong one. We come across this all the time! We can almost guarantee that with your hair and makeup done you’ll remember the reasons that you fell for it and fall in love with it all over again on your big day………just like your husband to be! 

If the Shoe Fits

Feeling the Pinch?

Ouch. Blisters. Definitely not welcome at Gorcott Hall on your wedding day.

Shoes, glorious shoes, so many choices……..from flats to boots and everything in between! So to try and help you avoid a shopping faux pas we thought it might be useful to help you think about  some of things you might need to consider before making the final purchase of the perfect pair (or two!).

Bear in mind that Gorcott Hall was built in the 16th century, (long before the invention of the modern day spirit level) and most of the floors are original and now come with the odd crack and wobble that you need to look out for and avoid. Couple this with our beautiful cobbles outside and the inevitable trek across the paddock to the lake for some fabulous photos and suddenly really high stiletto heels may  no longer  be feeling like the best option. Remember we can’t guarantee the British weather at any time of year, and the paddock can go mighty squidgey after lots of rain!

Be honest with yourself about how high you can handle! Remember you’re likely to be strutting around in them all day, it’s important that you feel fabulous but equally as important to be comfortable (uh oh, am I sounding like my mum?). Don’t disregard the possibility of two pairs, if your budget allows! There’s nothing wrong with slipping the heels off and dancing the night away in a pair of cool trainers or converse, but you might want to mention this when getting the alterations done to your dress.

Whatever you choose we re sure you’ll look fantastic! Just remember to pop them on while you’re at home doing the ironing  (or something) to wear them in a bit before the big day. And if that doesn’t work, well you can always rely on Team Gorcott to be at hand with a huge box of plasters…….but that needs to be the last resort!

Happy Shopping!