Dodmoor House has been hosting weddings for seven years in its exclusive collection of Grade II listed barns in the Northamptonshire countryside, on the banks of the Grand Union Canal. We spoke to Mark Bradley, the owner of the venue, to find out what makes Dodmoor House so special...
When did Dodmoor House become a wedding venue and why?
My wife Louise and I bought Dodmoor House as a run-down farmhouse and barns back in 2004 before embarking on a lengthy renovation project to bring the property back to life.
We opened for business in May 2006 and have since exceeded our wildest expectations in hosting hundreds of lovely weddings. We had always wanted to offer the personal touch to couples and this is exactly what Dodmoor House ensures them, with lots of choice in suppliers (including a choice of caterers) and with great help in bringing everything together.
How would you describe your style?
The wedding venue is fresh and contemporary in a traditional setting, while our friendly staff is always on hand to offer advice and will be there on the day itself to help make sure everything runs smoothly. We hope to offer a family-run feel in a very professional way.
What are the venue’s unique features?
Dodmoor House is a very special venue in itself, with lots of character in the barns and some wonderful grounds but it is the personal service that you will receive from our wedding team that we hope truly sets us apart from other venues. We had a customer satisfaction rating of 99.7% in winning the national wedding venue award and are striving to ensure our standards remain just as high in the future.
What makes Dodmoor House different?
We are very proud of our amazing team of staff (13 of us went down to the wedding awards ceremony!) who all care very passionately about the job they do and the weddings they help to organise. Any wedding venue is only as good as the people who work there and ours truly want to go the extra mile to make sure that every wedding is as perfect as possible.
What is your biggest achievement so far?
We were thrilled to be named as the winners of the Wedding Venue of the Year Award in The 2013 Wedding Industry Awards. This eclipsed even being named as East Midlands regional venue of the year for the second year running two months earlier.
What made it so special is that 120 couples who had been married here in the previous year voted for us, with lots of very touching comments about the service they had received, and industry experts then judged the regional finalists to choose the overall winner. To complete a memorable evening, we won the best website award too – it was a good party that night!
What do you enjoy most about your job?
The most wonderful thing about helping to organise weddings is that you get to enjoy the day alongside the couple themselves. Getting to know them and their families, and seeing their happy faces, makes everything worthwhile. Personally, seeing the groom’s proud face as his partner walks down the aisle is the most touching moment!
What sort of couples do you think you attract?
Most couples who get married at Dodmoor House are looking for a really special, intimate and romantic day, but also with a slightly informal touch, especially for the evening party. They want a venue in which they can create their own individual day, rather than being told what to do or constricted in their planning.
What would be your ideal wedding?
All weddings are special as there are two people in love committing their lives to each other, but the most special weddings are the ones in which couples have added their individual touches so that it is intensely personal to them.
Can you give me some information on your pricing structure?
At Dodmoor House, we have a very flexible pricing structure with no hidden extras. There is a summer and winter period (which changes when the clocks change at the end of March and end of October) and different prices for Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
We are closed on Sundays and bank holidays, as well as over Christmas. We also promise never to host more than three weddings in a row to maintain our high standards.
Do you offer any packages?
How many guests can the venue accommodate?
We can host up to 90 guests in the daytime, with a further 70-100 possible in the evening (with the capacity depending on the time of year). Many weddings have 70-80 daytime guests and a further 50 or so evening guests.
Are there photo opportunities in the grounds?
There are a huge amount of photo opportunities, with not only the central courtyard area (where the steps stage great group photos) but also the front lawn and a canal bridge next to the property. The character of the barns themselves offers great inside photos just in case of bad/cold weather.
We have two main barns (which are inter-connected) – the Courtyard Barn, where most wedding ceremonies take place and which offers a quieter room in the evening, and the Catesby Barn, which hosts most wedding breakfasts and is then transformed into the evening party venue. This joins onto the first-floor Mezzanine Bar, while there is also a complimentary honeymoon suite to get ready in and stay overnight.
Does the venue provide accommodation?
Our bridal suite is included within our venue fee and offers a wonderful space to finish off getting ready, to freshen up during the day and then to stay overnight. We also have great deals with two local hotels, providing free transport and a reduced rate to guests staying there on a reserved allocation of rooms.
Tell us about your location
We are located in a rural setting in four acres of grounds but are still close to Daventry, Northampton and Milton Keynes (as well as just three miles from junction 16 of the M1). We can easily be reached from all across the Midlands as well as towns/cities near the M1.