I’m always delighted (and impressed!) when venues have really taken the time throughout their planning and construction phase to think about the functionality of the space they are creating and what it can offer to bridal couples. The team at The Woodhouse Wollombi have gone above and beyond in this regard, establishing a Hunter Valley venue that is truly special and adaptable. It’s a beautiful blank canvas that can be enhanced with a couple’s personal style, and they pride themselves on their flexibility and the amount of input and choice couples can have during the wedding planning process. Read on to find out from Gabrielle Dal Bon of The Woodhouse Wollombi what sets this venue apart from the rest in the region.
Tell us about The Woodhouse Wollombi…
The Woodhouse Wollombi is the culmination of a four-year journey to bring what I believe is one of the finest premium wedding venues in the Hunter Valley. With soaring 7m ceilings, 4m high windows, indoor and outdoor fireplaces, it is one space that you don’t have to dress up as it is just perfect the way it is.
Prior to its construction, we bought a local timber bridge which was being torn down on the edge of the property. We are really proud to have reused all of the bridge beams in the main building and in the outdoor pergola which is lined with fairy lights. Having that connection is really special.
In a nutshell, the Woodhouse is perfect for a relaxed country wedding and because no wedding is ever the same, the property provides a black canvas for you to go wild with.
Bridal couples are spoiled for choice for wedding venues in the Hunter Valley. What sets The Woodhouse Wollombi apart from the rest?
When couples chose the Woodhouse for their special day, it is not just the spectacular building they are choosing. It is the privacy and the exclusive use of our 100 acres property, all our gardens, lakeside pavilion and lawns for post ceremony drinks and games; and to top it off, onsite accommodation for 16 people.
Couples who chose the Woodhouse get to celebrate both in style and with a relaxed atmosphere over either one or two days with their nearest and dearest.
Images: Stories With Mel
When booking a wedding at The Woodhouse Wollombi, does the couple liaise with the same wedding planner throughout the whole wedding journey?
When couples book, they have a main contact (me) who is there to help in any way, answer questions and act as a sounding board. Over the course of their journey we will work with couples to prepare a detailed run sheet to ensure their big day runs smoothly. All our couples will have a tasting with Fennel & Co and we host several wine tasting evenings as well. Whilst it is always on option, we feel couples don’t actually need a dedicated planner. We provide all our couples with access to a special bridal portal on our website which is full of useful information, check lists, vendor information, floor plans etc to help with the planning process.
Your motto is ‘your day, your way’. We’re guessing that means couples have lots of choices when planning their wedding with you. How far does that extend?
Yes, that is correct. While we have an exclusive caterer (and that was a deliberate choice to ensure that the food and service was always the highest quality), we do try and provide the upmost flexibility. We do not have any other exclusive arrangements so brides are free to select their own florals, stylist, photographer etc. Because the Woodhouse is located on 100 acres, brides have the flexibility to really make use of the property. For example, we had one bride arrive on their own horse and the groomsman arriving by helicopter. Now you can’t do that in many places!
What different styles of weddings have you had there?
We have had a whole host of weddings from vintage, boho and luxe styled to more traditional weddings as well as cultural weddings (i.e. Indian and Sri Lankan).
Image: Euphoria Films
What’s been your favourite?
That’s a hard question. I don’t really have a favourite. One of the best parts of what we do is working with all the lovely couples we host. When the big days arrives, seeing all the planning go off perfectly, just the way they wanted makes each wedding a favourite.
Tell us about your ceremony spaces…
True to our motto ‘your day, your way’, we have many popular ceremony spots. We are happy for couple to select their own special spot. Popular spots include lakeside in between our willows or amongst our romantic paperbark trees with its own natural aisle and water views.
No matter where you choose though, post ceremony you can relax and enjoy a glass of sparkling, canapés and try your hand at some lakeside lawn games.
What are the best spots in the grounds for wedding photos?
With 100 acres and having planted over 5000 trees, it’s not hard to find great spots for photos. This is one of the great things about the Woodhouse – couples do not have to travel offsite to have great photos taken. The favourites tend to be just outside the Woodhouse, alongside out huge pine trees along our fence line and amongst our garden and lake.
Images: Euphoria Films
The Woodhouse was purposely built and architecturally designed for weddings and events. What makes it so special? Give us all the details!
The best way to describe the building is simply beautiful and elegant, with a hint of rustic charm everyone loves. The Woodhouse offers soaring ceilings (7m) and windows (4m), a three-way bar opening into the courtyard, main area and dance floor, 12 speaker audio system, fireplace, outdoor covered dance floor/chill zone lined with fairy lights. An outdoor fire pit with festoon lights with integrated seating is also perfect not only in winter but even in the warmer months as an additional chill out space for friends.
As part of the package, accommodation for up to 16 people is included so your bridal party and friends can comfortable stay onsite.
Glamping/camping is also allowed at the property and if that does not suit everyone, there is plenty accommodation in the surrounds.
Images: Courtesy of The Woodhouse Wollombi
How many people can you cater for?
We can cater up to 150 people sit down comfortably. We are very lucky that because the Woodhouse has a large outdoor undercover dance floor as well as courtyards opening up from the main building, it never feels crowded, just warm and inviting with the space that you need.
Speaking of catering, Tess and James from Fennel & Co cater your weddings. What are their menus like?
Fennel & Co pride themselves on sourcing local suppliers, preferring to work Paddock to Plate, creating menus that reflect the best of Australian produce and seasonality. They offer our couples the upmost flexibility with a range of options including canapés, grazing tables, roving entrees, pasta wheels, shared platters, traditional alternative drop, desert and cheese grazing tables and late-night snacks.
As two-time winners of best caterer Hunter Valley, our couples will love the food and attentive service from their wait and bar staff. As we only use gorgeous Robert Gordon pottery plateware, not only does the food taste amazing, its looks amazing as well. It is the little things like this that do make a difference in terms of the whole guest experience.
Images: Stories With Mel
Do you work closely with any other vendors?
Despite what it may seems, the wedding industry is actually quite small. While we do not have formal ties with any vendors, allowing our couples to choose whom they wish, we do work closely with a number of vendors who have worked with the Woodhouse on a number of occasions.
In 2019 you’ll be offering a wine list. Is that now happening? Any local wines on the list?
It sure is and we sure are. As we are in one of the best wine regions in the country, we have compiled a list of high quality, boutique, hard to find wines from the area, with many of the wines only available at cellar door. Every wine has a story and a passion we love. We have also included a few out of area wines that have a special meaning for us. For example, the Hunter is not known for its Pinot Noir so we have included the Momo Pinot Noir from NZ, which we had at own wedding! Naturally, our wine list will change according to the vintage.
What décor ideas have you seen in The Woodhouse lately that other couples might like to consider?
We designed and chose a colour scheme for the Woodhouse which meant that you don’t actually need to decorate it to make it something. It is beautiful in its own right. Hence inside, I go with the KIS principle: ‘keep it simple’. What we have seen recently though was a large hanging floral arrangement that hung down in the centre of the outside undercover dance floor. That was really beautiful and complimented the building. Another bride put a large floral arrangement around the entire fireplace window which looked amazing.
Image: Courtesy of The Woodhouse Wollombi
What kind of music can you have in The Woodhouse?
That is totally up to each couple. We have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth so couples can choose to bring their own playlist and play it through our integrated 12 speaker system or hire a DJ or band. Our only rule is that any music is plugged directly into our speaker system. That said, most couples go for a DJ.
As part of each of your wedding packages, onsite accommodation for up to 16 people is included at The Barnstay. Why is it perfect for bridal parties?
It is perfect because the bridal party can get ready on site and not have to worry about travelling. At the end of the night it is even easier as they can fall into bed. Sometimes, couple will hire a special bridal glamping tent to be set up separately as well. We are in the currently working to build 10 luxury studios on the property which, once built, will be able to offer guests even more options to stay onsite.
Best testimonial you’ve ever received?
There are too many to choose from – the best part is when our couples want to come back to visit us and share what has been happening post their big day.
What do you love most about your job?
Two words – our couples.
Image: Ben Howland
Thank you Gabrielle for giving us all the details on The Woodhouse Wollombi. It certainly sounds like a fantastic and unique place for bridal couples planning a Hunter Valley wedding. You have created such a gorgeous blank canvas for them to really create the wedding of their dreams. To find out more about this venue, head on over to The Woodhouse Wollombi website.
Headshot courtesy of The Woodhouse Wollombi