The Essential Questions to ask at a Wedding Open Day
If you have answered “yes” to the big question of “Will you marry me?” over Christmas, you’ll probably be starting to look for the perfect venue for your very special day.
As one of the most popular wedding venues in the area, at The Gables we have a wealth of experience in helping couples make their dreams come true, and with our first wedding open day of 2017 coming up on Thursday 16th February, we have put together this list of essential questions that you should ask when visiting a potential wedding venue to ensure that you choose the right one for you.
How many guests can you accommodate and do you require a minimum number of guests?
You need to have a very rough idea of how many guests you will be inviting and check that your venue can cater for them before asking anything else! It’s also worth if there is a minimum number required by the venue.
Are you licensed for civil ceremonies?
You may have always dreamed of a church wedding, but a civil wedding means that the ceremony and reception is all under one roof so it’s definitely worth considering.
Do you offer discounts?
If you can’t wait to tie the knot, some venues may be able to offer late availability dates at a discount. The same thing applies to weekdays.....if you don’t have a specific date in mind it’s worth considering all options.
What time does the Reception have to end?
It’s important to know what time the entertainment has to end and what time the bar closes so you can pace yourselves!
What are the photo opportunities at the venue?
Ask to see photos of previous weddings which will help you clearly visualise how your big day will be. There may be a photo gallery on the website, so it’s worth taking a look. Also check where you can go for photos if the weather is poor and it’s not possible to go outside.
Is there disabled access to the venue and the Reception/Ceremony room?
It’s vital to ensure that all your guests feel comfortable and can easily get to where they need to be.
Can you cater for special dietary requirements?
An important consideration, and this is one of the questions that will help you gauge just how flexible and helpful your venue will be on all sorts of issues.
Do you have a red carpet, a cake stand and knife?
Tiny details, but not so tiny if you arrive at the venue and find out you should have supplied them!
Do you supply a toastmaster?
If you don’t want to go to the expense of hiring a toastmaster, check to see if the venue has someone to do the job!
Do you have preferred suppliers you can recommend?
Using the venue’s recommended suppliers is a good idea as they know the venue and what works best.
What and when do I have to pay?
You need to know when the deposit and the other payments are due so you can budget accordingly. It’s not nice to think about, but it’s also worth checking the venue’s cancellation policy.
Are there restrictions regarding how the venue can be decorated?
If you have a vision for the Reception room or you want to decorate the grounds, make sure you mention it early to ensure it is possible to do! It’s worth keeping the existing decor of the room in mind when planning your theme to ensure there is no clash and if you’re planning a December wedding ask what the decorations will be like. Bear in mind that real candles inside and confetti outside may not be allowed. Also check if the venue supplies vases for the tables, as you may be able to borrow them to fill with your own flowers.
Do you offer preferential stay rates for wedding guests?
It’s likely that even those who live locally will want to relax and stay overnight. Normally you can arrange for the venue to hold a certain number of rooms for you for a few weeks at a preferential rate to give your guests a chance to book.
The Gables Hotel - your perfect wedding venue
To see exactly how lovely your wedding day could be at The Gables visit www.thegablesbristol.co.uk
New owners check in to The Cathedral Lodge Hotel
The Webb Hotel Group has added another hotel to its portfolio with the acquisition of one of Lichfield’s well known hotels.
The Cathedral Lodge on Beacon Street has been bought by the Webb Hotel Group who have owned The George Hotel in Bird Street for 16 years and also own Moor Hall Hotel & Spa in Sutton Coldfield and The Gables Hotel.
Formerly known as The Little Barrow, the 3 star hotel has 36 ensuite bedrooms, a bar and a large function room and is a popular place to stay for those visiting the city for business in the week or for customers enjoying a weekend away.
“We are delighted to have added the Cathedral Lodge Hotel to our group, as it has huge potential”, commented Angela Burns, Group Chief Executive. “We have decided to change the name of the hotel to The Cathedral Hotel, then in January we will start to plan some changes to improve the hotel and move the business forward. We are really excited about getting to know the team and welcoming everyone over the busy Christmas and New Year period.”
How to organise the perfect company Christmas party
Organising the company Christmas party should be fun, but whether you are an event planner or you have been given the job of sorting out this year’s Christmas party for the first time, we know that far too often this item on your “to do” list can just add to your stress. At The Gables we have a wealth of experience of planning and hosting successful events of all kinds (and we love Christmas!) so we have put together this handy guide to make planning your perfect Christmas party as painless as possible.
It takes two (or more!)
It can be daunting to shoulder the entire responsibility of organising the biggest social event of the year so if you have a budget available, consider hiring an events company to help you, or why not recruit a right hand man or woman to assist with all the details? Some wise party planners establish a party committee – it sounds exhausting, we know, but not half as exhausting as doing it all by yourself!
Timing is everything
A vital tip is to start early to secure your preferred venue as everyone’s diaries fill up fast, but if you’ve left it too late and your chosen venue is already booked this year, consider holding your party in November or January which will avoid clashes with existing arrangements for your colleagues and may be a little cheaper too.
Try and establish a clear idea of your party budget at the very start. Another key question is who is paying? This might be stating the obvious, but it’s wise to let people know if they are expected to contribute towards their own place or if the company is footing the bill, to avoid any awkwardness!
It’s good to share
Do you need a venue all to yourself or can you bear to share? Obviously with exclusive hire you have the flexibility to customise the party, but joining a party night with other like minded companies can be a much simpler party to plan and it’s a more affordable option too.
Theme or no theme?
Okay, so Christmas itself is quite a theme! But maybe you have other ideas? What about celebrating music of a certain era or working with your chosen venue to plan an extra special menu? Race nights and casino nights can also prove popular, not to mention a ‘winter wonderland’ feel. Alternatively, of course, you can trust your venue to provide a tried and tested formula to offer you peace of mind that everything is in place for a fantastic night – The Gables’ Party Nights and Retro Party Nights are proving to be very popular!
Love in the Christmas air
Is your party going to be for just staff, or are partners invited too? You may think that the latter option is straightforward (and here’s hoping it is!), but it can also be a minefield. Don’t make single guests feel that they have to miss out on the fun, let them know they are welcome to bring a friend too.
Help avoid guests worrying about whether they can have a drink or two and book taxis or maybe hire a minibus for them. If you go that extra mile to make the journeys to and from the venue as smooth as possible, your guests will thank you for it. If they would rather make their own way, pass on details of local taxi firms with the party invites and encourage them to make that call, sooner rather than later. Or why not book rooms for your guests to stay over and relax? Most venues offer preferential rates for party goers, especially if you are booking a number of rooms – at The Gables you can stay after the party from £69 per double or twin room, which includes a full English breakfast.
In the frame
Hire a professional photographer to capture special moments at the party, especially if it’s going to be a very glamorous affair. You can commission special frames for sharing photos (with permission!) on social media and have a whole host of props – from feather boas and oversized glasses to something maybe a bit more classy, to help the evening go with a swing. Alternatively, hire a photo booth who can do it all for you!
Saying thank you
A Christmas party can be the perfect setting to reward and recognise staff who have worked hard and gone the extra mile. Do you want speeches, or a full-blown awards night? Think about what really works for you and make it happen – the more unique your event, the more people will love it.
Attention to detail
Are there little touches you can add to your party to make it extra special? How about branded Christmas gifts for people attending, a fun Secret Santa during the meal or canapés and a glass of mulled wine or Buck’s Fizz on arrival? At The Gables, we will be happy to help with the finishing touches. A couple more things – if you’re joining a shared party, don’t forget name cards so everyone knows where they are sitting, and remember to take a copy of the guests’ menu choices with you, as often people may have forgotten what they pre-ordered!
Charity begins at Christmas
Can you put something back and nominate a good cause to also benefit from your celebration? From a silent auction to asking people to donate direct to a charity, now is the perfect time to do something lovely and help give your guests the warm glow of knowing they are sharing the Christmas spirit!
Join the Festive Celebrations at The Gables
With glistening baubles on the trees, twinkling Christmas lights and the warmest of welcomes from friendly staff, there is no better place to celebrate the festive season with family, friends and colleagues than The Gables.
British Food Fortnight 2016
From 17th September to 2nd October we were delighted to support British Food Fortnight, a celebration of the food and drink that makes Britain great.
In its 15th year, British Food Fortnight is a nationwide event which aims to raise awareness of the diversity of delicious home-grown, locally sourced British food and drink which makes our country great.
We celebrated with a whole host of delicious British inspired dishes in the Brasserie & Bar, like Hillview Sausages with bubble & squeak and caramelised onion gravy and jam roly-poly with custard. Plus all diners had a chance to enter a competition to win dinner, bed & breakfast for two at The Gables!
The Gables Hotel Launches Dog Friendly Room
Dogs now receive a warm welcome at The Gables with the introduction of a new pet friendly guest bedroom.
Along with the features you would expect at our popular 3 star hotel, the ground floor room comes complete with a comfortable dog bed, water bowl and a selection of treats to ensure that four legged guests feel quite at home. There is lots of countryside to explore right on the hotel’s doorstep so dogs can be walked with ease and well behaved dogs are also allowed in a special quiet section of the bar or on the terrace when their owners enjoy a drink or a meal.
Matthew Kinnes, General Manager said: “We have introduced this new dog friendly room in response to increasing demand from dog lovers who do not want to leave their dog at home when they enjoy a night away. We’re therefore delighted to now offer our guests the opportunity to get away with the entire family!“
Long Service Awards – 20/09/2016
Every year we celebrate and thank our staff who have worked with us for 5, 10, 15 years or more with long service awards.
In September the Directors had the pleasure of presenting long service awards to members of staff from our group of companies (Moor Hall Hotel & Spa, Best Western The George Hotel and Best Western The Gables). Between them, these members of staff have worked at the companies for a total of 150 years!
Chief Executive Angela Burns said: “We believe it is important to acknowledge and reward the ongoing commitment of our staff as every one of them has contributed to the success of the business today. We’d like to thank our award winners for their continued loyalty and dedication.”
Congratulations to all our long service award winners!
The Gables Hotel wins 2016 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence!
We are delighted to have been recognised as a top performing hotel with a 2016 Certificate of Excellence awarded by the world’s largest travel site, TripAdvisor.
The accolade, which honours hospitality excellence, is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveler reviews on TripAdvisor. Establishments awarded the Certificate of Excellence are located all over the world and represent the upper echelon of businesses listed on the website.
Angela Burns, CEO of The Gables Hotel said: “To win the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence is a fantastic achievement. As the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence is based on customer reviews, the accolade is a remarkable vote of confidence to our business and our talented team.”
£459 raised for St Peter’s Hospice
We are delighted to announce that we recently presented our chosen charity, St Peter’s Hospice, with a cheque for £459.
The money was raised during 2015 through special events such as our Flower Arranging Demonstrations and we also donated a percentage of the sales from our jewellery cabinet. Our generous hotel guests also donated to or fundraising effort.
The Hospice is Bristol's only adult hospice caring for local people with life-limiting illnesses and current looks after over 2,600 patients and supports over 6,000 family members, including children.
Thanks to everyone who helped us raise money for this very worthy cause!
To learn more about the work of St Peter’s Hospice please visit: http://www.stpetershospice.org.uk/
Earth Hour - 19/03/2016
At 8.30pm on Saturday 19th March we switched off all non-essential lights for 60 minutes, to show our support for Earth Hour, a global initiative which aims to raise awareness of sustainability and climate change.
Earth Hour is a World Wildlife Fund initiative which started in Sydney Australia in 2007 to focus the world’s attention on the need to protect our plant and to take action on climate change. The staff joined millions of people in over 7,000 towns and cities in 162 countries who switched off their lights to pledge their support for the planet, and global landmarks such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Rome’s Colosseum, Edinburgh Castle and Buckingham Palace all stood in darkness.
On Saturday 19th March at 8.30pm our lights were dimmed everywhere, all external lights were switched off and the restaurant and bars were lit by candles for the hour.
Angela Burns, Chief Executive at Best Western The Gables Hotel said: “While the 60 minutes of energy saved during the event is important, Earth Hour also demonstrates that by taking personal responsibility for turning off lights and unplugging electrical items each of us can make a positive difference. Guests seemed to enjoy the experience of dining by candlelight and the fact that, in more ways than one, their meals did not cost the earth”.
The Gables strikes Gold with Green Tourism Business Scheme
We are delighted to have been awarded a prestigious gold award from the Green Tourism Business Scheme for our commitment to excellent environmental practices.
The Green Tourism Business scheme evaluates businesses in areas such as energy and water efficiency, waste management and environmentally friendly purchasing policies and it recognises companies that have taken significant steps to minimise the environmental impact of their activities. Members of the scheme are assessed every two years and depending on the standards achieved, receive a bronze, silver or gold award.
In order to achieve our gold award, we have introduced many energy saving measures to reduce the waste of resources and promote sustainable business practices, including installing a biomass system which provides all the heating and hot water for the building. The Green Tourism Scheme judges were particularly impressed with our knowledgeable in-house “Green Team” which meets on a monthly basis to share ideas and to develop further initiatives, and by the staff’s awareness of green issues generally.
General Manager, Andrew Ibbotson, said: “We are very proud to have been awarded gold status by the Green Tourism Business Scheme which recognises the staff’s genuine enthusiasm and commitment to reducing the hotel’s carbon footprint."
British Food Fortnight 2015
From 19th September to 4th October we were delighted to support British Food Fortnight, a celebration of the food and drink that makes Britain great.
In its 13th year, British Food Fortnight is a nationwide event which aims to raise awareness of the diversity of delicious home-grown, locally sourced British food and drink which makes our country great.
We celebrated with a whole host of delicious British inspired dishes in the Brasserie & Bar, like Steak and Ale pie, made with local BOB beer and calf’s liver with red wine bacon. Plus all diners had a chance to enter a competition to win dinner, bed & breakfast for two at The Gables!
Best Western The Gables Hotel ‘veges out’ for National Vegetarian Week!
In May, we invited customers to ‘take the challenge’ once again and go meat-free as part of National Vegetarian Week, which ran from 18th – 24th May.
Now in its 23rd year, National Vegetarian Week is organised by the Vegetarian Society to promote inspirational food and the benefits of a meat-free lifestyle.
To celebrate National Vegetarian Week, diners at The Gables enjoyed a different vegetarian dish every day in the Brasserie & Bar such as artichoke, red onion and rosemary risotto or vegetable bean chilli with rice and freshly prepared salad.
Head Chef, Stuart Carter commented “National Vegetarian Week is a fantastic opportunity to ‘take the challenge’ and try going meat-free for a change. At The Gables we take great pride in producing a variety of creative and tasty vegetarian dishes that meat eaters will enjoy too, so we hope our special offers will encourage more customers to give our vegetarian dishes a try.”
Best Western The Gables wins 2015 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence!
We’re delighted to announce that we have been recognised as a top performing hotel with a 2015 Certificate of Excellence awarded by the world’s largest travel site, TripAdvisor.
The accolade, which honours hospitality excellence, is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveller reviews on TripAdvisor. Establishments awarded the Certificate of Excellence are located all over the world and represent the upper echelon of business listed on the website.
Angela Burns, CEO of The Gables said: “To win the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence is a fantastic achievement. With the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence based on customer reviews, the accolade is a remarkable vote of confidence to our business and our continued commitment to excellence. Not only do we dedicate this award to our amazing team members but also all our guests who have made this possible.”
£562 raised for St Peter's Hospice
We are delighted to announce that we recently presented our chosen charity, St Peter’s Hospice, with a cheque totalling £562.
The money was raised during 2013 through special events which included our Chocolate Made Easy and Christmas Flower Arranging Demonstrations and we donated a percentage of the sales from our jewellery cabinet. Our hotel guests also donated generously during the year!
The Hospice is Bristol's only adult hospice caring for local people with life-limiting illnesses and current looks after over 2,600 patients and supports over 6,000 family members, including children.
Thanks to everyone who helped us raise money for this worthy cause!
Bringing back the harvest for British Food Fortnight! - 06/10/13
We were delighted to take part in the national celebrations of British food & drink as part of British Food Fortnight, which ran from 21st September to 6th October.
Now in its 12th year, British Food Fortnight is a nationwide event which aims to raise awareness of the diversity of delicious home-grown, locally sourced British food and drink which makes our country great.
We celebrated with a whole host of delicious British inspired dishes on our special 'Taste of Britain' menu in the Brasserie & Bar, like slow cooked Somerset pork and West Country cider casserole. Plus all diners had a chance to enter a competition to win dinner, bed & breakfast for two at The Gables!
A Silver Award from the Green Tourism Business Scheme - 18/06/2013
We are now the proud holders of an internationally recognised prestigious silver award from the Green Tourism Business Scheme (GTBS) for our commitment to excellent environmental practices.
The Green Tourism Business Scheme evaluates businesses in areas such as energy and water efficiency, waste management and environmentally friendly purchasing policies and it recognises companies that have taken siginificant steps to minimise the environmental impact of their activities. Members of the scheme are assessed every two years and depending on the standards achieved, receive a bronze, silver or gold award.
In order to achieve a silver award, we have introduced many energy saving measures to reduce the waste of resources and promote sustainable business practices, including installing new energy efficient outside lighting and an electric car charging point, creating a new herb garden and increasing recycling.
The Green Tourism Scheme judges were particulary impressed with our in-house "Green Team" which meets on a monthly basis to share ideas and to develop further initiatives and by our staff's awareness of green issues generally.
Chief Executive, Angela Burns said: "We are absolutely delighted to have been awarded silver status by the Green Tourism Business Scheme. This award recognises our staff's genuine enthusiasm and long term commitment to reducing the hotel's carbon footprint while still providing excellent service service for our guests. We will continue to work hard to improve our enviornmental performance still further in the future"
Our Chosen Charity for 2013
We're delighted to announce that we're supporting a new charity in 2013 - St Peter's Hospice.
The Hospice is Bristol's only adult hospice caring for local people with life-limiting illnesses. In 2012, St Peter's cared for over 2,600 patients and supported over 6,000 family members, including children.
To raise money for this very worthy cause we will be holding raffles at our Chocolate Made Easy and Christmas Flower Arranging Demonstrations, donating a percentage of the sales from our jewellery cabinet and we also have collecting boxes around the hotel.
You can read more about St Peter's Hospice by visiting: www.stpetershospice.org.uk
National Vegetarian Week - 26/05/2013
In May we invited customers to join us in a delicious and fun celebration of vegetarian food, as part of National Vegetarian Week, which ran from 20th - 26th May.
Now in its 21st year, National Vegetarian Week is organised by the Vegetarian Society to promote inspirational food and the benefits of a meat-free lifestyle.
There always plenty of choices for vegetarians at The Gables, like majoram scented goats' cheese and red onion tart, chilli roasted sweet potato risotto or spinach and ricotta ravioli from the Brasserie & Bar menu. During National Vegetarian Week the hotel was well worth a visit, as there was 20% off al vegetarian main courses!
Head Chef, Stuart Carter commented: "Vegetarian food has come a long way since plain salads and nut cutlets. At The Gables we take great pride in producing creative and tasty vegetarian dishes that meat eaters will enjoy too, so we hope our special offers will encourage more customers to give our vegetarian dishes a try."
Long Service Awards - 27/09/12
Every year we celebrate and thank our staff who have been with us for 5, 10, 15 years or more with long service awards.
This year 31 members of staff from the group of companies (Best Western The Gables Hotel, Moor Hall Hotel & Spa, Best Western The George Hotel and Broads Travel Group) received a long service award from the Directors, and between them their service totalled an amazing 210 years!
Chairman Michael Webb said: “The important factor in this success of our companies is that we work as a team with the support of many dedicated, loyal members of staff. Our long service awards allow us to officially recognise the commitment of those employees who contribute greatly to the success of our businesses each and every day”.
Congratulations to all our long service award winners!
Free electric car charging - 03/10/2012
We have recently installed an electric car charging point in the car park at the hotel as part of our commitment to good environmental practices.
The hotel already holds a prestigious bronze award from the Green Tourism Business Scheme and the addition of a plug-in point at The Gables supports the hotel's aim to our impact on the environment.
Andrew Ibbotson, General Manager, said 'We're delighted to provide our guests with the opportunity to charge their electric vehicles for no charge. With this new facility and the fact that the Department for Transport predict that, by 2015, they expect to see tens of thousands of plug-in vehicles on the roads in the UK, we are truly becoming part of the "Electric Highway."
British Food Fortnight - 27/07/2012
From 27th July to 12th August we were proud to support British Food Fortnight, a celebration of the food and drink that makes Britain great.
Over the 2 weeks the Brasserie & Bar menus featured delicious Chef's specials with a particularly British flavour, such as Lancashire Hotpot and Toad in the Hole. Plus, all diners were entered into a competition to win dinner, bed and breakfast for two at The Gables!
Mark Santy, General Manager, commented: "There is a sad tendency to think of British food as plain and uninteresting, but that is just not the case. At Best Western The Gables we always use the best seasonal local produce and we hope that the imaginative dishes on offer during British Food Fortnight opened people's eyes to the fantastic produce available on our doorsteps".