DEER PARK COUNTRY HOUSE HOTEL
When NAWP sent us a gorgeous invitation by ER Stationery containing Ferrero Rocher chocolates inviting Lamare London to a "simply marvellous country bash at the spiffing Deer Park Country House" in Honiton, Devon we knew this was an opportunity we couldn't turn down.
We sent fabulous wedding photographer Sarah Hannam on behalf of Lamare London to capture the overnight stay and country adventure. Sarah had actually celebrated her own 21st birthday at Deer Park and attended several family celebrations at the venue on summer days in the late 80s - before the big refurbishment. So we knew she would be the perfect person to share her experience of Devon's quintessentially English wedding venue today.
Over to Sarah...
I drove down to Devon on a beautiful sunny and warm spring afternoon to spend a night at Deer Park Hotel. There’s a long driveway up to the 18th Century, Georgian house surrounded by woodland and deer and it feels like you’re really secluded from the rest of the world. I was the first to arrive and shown to one of the stunning and large master rooms overlooking the gardens and valley beyond.
The event opened with cider (proper stuff, not townies cider) and pizzas baked in the outdoor wood oven. After everyone had arrived, we split into two teams and our team went off to take our bets on a race between a group of ducks in fancy dress! After the race we then split into two teams again and our skills were tested in duck herding – we had to get the group of ducks out of their pen, through a tunnel and back through three arches – harder than it sounds, but we won and were awarded with a Cadbury's cream egg. It’s amazing how competitive one can become with a prize involving chocolate! Then we saw an amazing demonstration of duck herding with a sheepdog.
A delicious cream tea in the conservatory followed and then we were taken for a drive in one of the hotel's collection of vintage cars - a beautiful American Packard 12 built in 1937 and in original condition. Then we went for a walk around the extensive grounds with Mark Godfrey, the managing director. The venue boasts over 80 acres featuring wild flower meadows, woodland walks, manicured lawns and riverside trails. First, we visited the impressive kitchen garden where they like to include at least one home grown ingredient on every plate of food served, then we went down to the river where guests can fly fish and then walked back through woodland covered in bluebells and wild garlic. We were shown the Summer House - an outdoor ceremony area on the old croquet lawn and then made our way back to the main house to get ready for the black tie dinner that evening.
Service at the hotel was attentive, friendly and amazing with real attention to detail including a fruit plate which had been put into our rooms during our afternoon walk, complete with a personal note welcoming us. Later that evening we met for champagne and canapés, which were incredible and so fresh – cold-pressed tomato consommé and an Asian-marinated scallop were my absolute favourites!
We were all completely blown over by the huge effort that had gone into the whole occasion when we saw the dinner table in the hotel's brand new Orangery - an absolutely brilliant room with beautiful Georgian-style arched windows in which you can hold a reception for 210 guests. The dinner table had an abundance of spring flowers and looked amazing – I very often photograph wonderful looking tables like this and feel a little envious that it's not me sitting down to eat, so it was wonderful to have such attention on us.
The opera singer that came from London was amazing and then we had a drumming band, so the entertainment was varied and excellent! Dinner was utterly delicious – it always has been there and I have 30 years experience of the hotel – a Spring menu that started with a wonderful wild garlic velouté, beef wellington, pommes boulangères & vegetables, followed by rhubarb tart. It was a totally brilliant evening and so nice to dress up for a change.
The next morning, we had a delicious cooked breakfast and then a motivational talk by business coach Janet Mohapi Banks. A mini picnic hamper for us to take away with a mini bottle of champagne really rounded off the wonderful 24 hours we spent at Deer Park.
Below are some gorgeous photos from Deer Park which Sarah Hannam captured from her stay, which includes images of the luxury treehouse for the Bride and Groom to escape to after the wedding. Click on the images to enlarge them.
And if those pictures don't entice you enough, just have a look at this smashing wedding video:
If you're looking for that escape to the country and like the look of Deer Park Country House Hotel in Devon, we'd love to help you plan your unforgettable and magical wedding at this romantic wedding venue!