This month we delve a little deeper into the expansion of the British hospitality industry and take a look at some of the fascinating venues that will be on hand to deal with an influx of wedding guests later this year.
Derived from the Latin word hospes, meaning ‘host’ or ‘stranger’, hospitality is basically the business of welcoming strangers and giving them something to eat.
Depending on the relationship between the host and the stranger/guest, we can then determine the standard of hospitality by how satisfied everyone is after dining.
Hospitality and the hostile beginnings.
The word ‘hospitality’ is linked to a collection of nouns, such as ‘host’, ‘hotel’, ‘hostel’, ‘hospice’, ‘hospital’ (meaning ‘bed chamber’) and also ‘hostile’.
Perhaps during a very cynical and pessimistic time, all strangers were once considered hostile until they had proven themselves to be worthy guests.
There was a certain protocol to adhere to, but I imagine that even Oliver Reed and George Best would have been considered polite and reserved customers in the 15th Century. In fact, Lottery winner and King of the Chavs, Mikey Carroll, would probably have been the warm-up act.
But long before signs were required to remind people how to treat members of staff, being physically removed from the premises and beaten in the street was a casual warning to other guests that ill behaviour was not to be tolerated.
Are you not entertained?
In Ancient Greece, the emphasis on quality was squarely placed at the hands of the host who was expected to entertain and ensure that all the guests’ needs were substantially met.
An inn with a host who harboured a willingness to serve and feed guests often indicated its intentions by erecting a depiction of a boar’s head on a platter, usually above the entrance. It was later commonplace to name relevant establishments ‘The Boar’s Head’ or ‘The Wild Boar’ as a clear, more prominent statement of the inn’s services.
This was a clear indication that the facility assisted and protected strangers whilst travelling – a precursor to the faded VISA sign alongside a picture of a cooked breakfast, outside a cheap B&B in Lanzarote.
To the vast majority of hoteliers and catering professionals, it seems rather perplexing how some businesses are still unable to grasp the idea of good hospitality.
For those who have never suffered at the hands of a tense, ill-mannered or incompetent host, we must remind you that Basil Fawlty was actually based on a real person.
It’s not as if welcoming people into one’s home and being nice is anything new, even religious scriptures had plenty to say about it.
A Bible in one hand and a gun in the other.
In Christianity, hospitality is deemed to be a virtue. Jesus reminded of sympathy for strangers and said, “Those who welcome a stranger also welcome me.” – Obviously, the drunk and obnoxious owner at a rundown B&B in the Peak District, who greeted guests with a shotgun on a dark, stormy night, late in the winter of 1972, had mislaid that particular quotation.
Muslims are also obliged to treat their guests with kindness and peace…… and perhaps not place the rowdy group of men on a stag weekend next to the family room with two young children.
In Judaism, the Hebrew practice called Hachnasat Orchim means ‘welcoming guests’. As in ancient Greece, expectations were high for the Jewish host to provide nourishment, comfort and entertainment.
Abraham even considered hospitality to be greater than communion with God……as long as the wine continued to flow.
“It’s alright, the hospitality is Kosher”.
Roman emperor Julian once ordered the establishment of hostels to refer to the example of the Jews: “In whose midst no stranger goes uncared for.”
Even in the worst of times, every Jewish community had an obligation to provide food and lodging for any traveller, without discrimination. And, in just a few words, regardless of religion or belief system, there endeth something that all of mankind can profoundly appreciate.
Bread and Circus.
Although the Roman amphitheatres amalgamated free food, survival and entertainment into one gruesome gladiatorial event, fortunately, today, hospitality is less to do with protection against slaughter and is better associated with etiquette and musical entertainment.
Despite the lack of free food, hospitality is often seen as a paradoxical situation in which some names are on the list and others are not, sadly, just for the sake of privilege.
Hospitality for Weddings.
This year, the hospitality industry will have to be at the top of its game if it wants to welcome and impress guests during an influx of weddings.
Although marriages have been on a decline over the last few decades, following the worldwide pandemic, weddings are likely to increase by over 200%, with most venues already booked up for the next couple of years.
The wedding market is worth a staggering £7.5billion to the British economy and about £5billion of that will be recuperated somewhere over the next few years due to an abundance of cancellations in 2020.
Here are some more interesting facts that have emerged:
Let’s get the celebrations underway.
We all know that a good wedding isn’t just about a happy bride and groom, the planner always worries that the guests will not be properly catered for and that the wedding will not be deemed a memorable success that lingers in the hearts and minds of those who attended.
And I thought it was just me…
According to Brides.com – https://www.brides.com/gallery/tips-for-planning-the-best-wedding – they seem to have nailed it when it comes to tips about how to throw a good wedding.
I thought it was just me who wanted a quick ceremony and an open bar but, no, it’s up there in the top 20 tips of how to impress the guests.
For sure, the guests are there to see the happy couple get married but, if it’s a long day, they want to be comfortable and entertained, which usually means they hunger for good food, excellent wine, and short speeches.
Of course, this all comes at a pretty penny. However, at the end of the night, when the newlyweds make their memorable exit into the sunset, it comes as a consultation if the party was initially started with a grand entrance at the right venue, with a caterer who mixed good ideas with tasty produce.
The aspect of hospitality in which people most look up to is the food, and this is the area where perfection should be on the main menu.
There are no excuses for half-measures here. A good catering company should be on point. The night is in the balance and it’s make-or-break for the caterers, regardless of the surroundings.
The best caterers know good food and they can build lasting relationships with their clients. They can provide their expert knowledge, open the mind to new taste sensations, and offer various solutions to suit the ambience, the surroundings, and the guest list.
Few catering companies specialise in all courses, so it’s important to discuss with your caterer where their strengths will unfold on the night.
Any good planner will tell you: weddings are all about the presentation; it’s the creativity that makes the difference.
Only an experienced catering team will be able to bring the necessary creativity to the table, elevating the quality, assisting you with the discovery of new flavours, various options, bespoke requirements, and the ability to pay attention to the finer details that really matter on the big day.
Once you’ve got your experienced catering team, where do you take them?
6 wedding venues for local hospitality.
Here is a selection of 6 wedding venues with a reputation for hospitality, in and around the Nottinghamshire area, to help provide inspiration and get your wedding party booked.
Now the fictional home of Bruce Wayne, if you are looking for a venue with stunning views and grand architectural design, Wollaton Hall has it all.
Ideal at any time of year, the top floor plays host to panoramic views across 500 acres of pristine parkland, and the back lawn is a wonderfully relaxing sunspot in the warm summer months.
There is no shortage of intimate rooms at Wollaton Hall, and the outdoor spaces here make great wedding pics.
A dedicated team is also at hand with a list of recommended suppliers to ensure that everyone is catered for at this beautiful, Grade I listed building on the edge of Nottingham’s city centre.
With a version of hospitality that is warm and inviting, Stapleford Park, near Melton Mowbray, is a 17th-century dwelling where luxury unfolds and bridal dreams are a reality.
The main building is elegance personified. It sits against a backdrop of sublime, landscaped gardens and can host up to 180 guests.
It has a Tudor wing, a heated pool, a steam room, jacuzzi, sauna – its very own sheltered church – an intimate library bar with an open fireplace, archery, and a falconry experience for those who like to see lunch captured by talon.
Speaking of lunch, the dining experience here is exquisite with the option to use your own catering professional or choose the resident Head Chef who can pave the way with locally sourced culinary delights.
So self-assured of its hospitality, this elegant house and luxury spa hotel even quotes Virginia Wolf’s apt dining reference on the website – “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”
The rooms are so comfortable and the curtains are so thick that they could deflect a bullet and facilitate oversleeping.
Cockliffe Country House
If you want a touch of luxury on a smaller scale, Cockliffe Country House, located in the heart of the Nottinghamshire countryside, is the perfect location for a celebration.
The accommodation is amazing with 11 themed rooms to choose from, all uniquely decorated to a very high, luxurious standard.
Originally built as two cottages, the properties were extended to make a farm in 1725, producing Woodcocks for the local shoot, before the time of the hedonistic Seeley family – renowned for their generous partying hospitality – who converted the farm into a hunting lodge, with Churchill and King Edward VIII being amongst the esteemed guests prior to WWII.
The Seeley Estate was liquidated mid-century and the property has been both a private dwelling and a public Heritage Centre.
From 1995 onwards, the focus of the business has been on weddings and, with the additional refurbishments, this unique property has been at the forefront of a magnificent private dining experience ever since, with the exclusive banqueting facilities set in a truly idyllic location.
See for yourself:
If you are planning a summer wedding, Fillongley Hall is the perfect sunshine venue.
Just outside of the East Midlands sits a grade II listed building in 85 acres of splendid Warwickshire countryside.
From May until September, up to 200 guests can enjoy an exclusive marquee wedding event on the grounds of this 19th-century building.
With a recommended list of caterers that includes Citreus Catering, the only choice left is where to stay for the night.
There is the luxury honeymoon suite in a converted stable, a 5 bedroomed cottage with a communal kitchen and lounge, and a self-contained Gatehouse with 2 bedrooms that has its own hot tub.
But, for the complete outdoor wedding experience, the magnum opus has to be the glamping village (soon to harbour glamping pods) with all the necessary facilities and a log-fired hot tub upon request.
If you can catch the weather, Fillongley Hall is an experience beyond the luxury. Here is the website with some interesting facts about this unique event: https://fillongley-hall.co.uk/about/
Another venue that helps to reflect one’s own individuality is Keythorpe Manor, by the rolling hills of the South Leicestershire countryside.
Maintained to an excellent standard with stunning views, this tranquil location has been featured in publications that are surprisingly more notable than the Citreus blog: Vogue – https://www.vogue.co.uk/ -, Tatler – https://www.tatler.com/ – and Elle magazine – https://www.elle.com/uk/.
Again, similar to Fillongley Hall, the Manor hosts a marquee event in the summer that has an outdoor bar, a traditionally primitive Hog Roast and a two bedroomed cottage.
Plus, there is the opportunity to customise your event even further as the surroundings provide a sublime countryside space for you to work with and use as a blank canvas.
See what you could do here. For more inspiration at this magical event: http://www.keythorpemanor.com/
Swancar Farm Country House
A farm, a country house, and now a unique wedding venue.
Swancar has an events team that helps to coordinate the wedding day into an exciting and memorable occasion.
It’s a deceptive space and, without question, a great wedding location for all the family.
The grounds are certainly spacious – the drive from the main road through the 250 acres of countryside is like something from a period drama – and despite the rustic charm of the place, seating areas are well lit, there is a modern twist throughout that works well with the original aesthetic, and I’m pleased to say that the bars are stocked to a superfluous, international standard.
Even Hemmingway would’ve supped here (Alas, the bar is not open to the public).
The photo album in reception tells a great story of past events here, in and around the surrounding fields. And, if you are lucky enough to book a place, there is a good choice of stylish accommodation with lovely views, overlooking Trowell Moor.
With quality food and a dedicated team of planners, newlyweds can make their own story here at this exclusive resort, a stone’s throw away from Wollaton, on the edge of the Nottingham city boundary.
Check availability here:
Are you looking to cater for a Wedding or Event?
You might see us out and about this year, providing our dedicated professional catering service at weddings and events. Remember, celebrations are only half-full without good food.
If you have any plans to get married or arrange a future celebration, please don’t hesitate to seek our advice and allow us the opportunity to turn your dreams into a reality –