Here is a standard set of questions a Bride sent us. They were doing a round-robin emailer to loads of venues without researching the venues' websites! For quick price comparisons a standard letter such as this is sometimes sent to numerous venues and then a Bride can see what comes back. Some venues may reply in detail, some may not!
Anyway, we thought we would reproduce one such letter here, so you can see all the answers in one place!
My partner Tracy and I are looking to get married, and have no specific date or timeframe involved. We are however, both in full time jobs and time is something in the planning process we don’t have. In order to shortlist some venues and to get an idea of costs we would be grateful if you can answer the following:
(a) 50 guests staying overnight for the speccial weekend wedding package,(b) 25 overnight for a mid week wedding package, and(c) 40 overnight on the Last Minute Wedding Package. However(d) you can reduce to 20 overnight on the Last Minute Wedding package for smaller weddings, using only ONE of the two main function rooms.(e) and finally, the Members Wedding Package does not require accommodation use and offers free exclusive use of the castle ground floor rooms once you reach a minimum of 125 guests at your wedding breakfast.
Q: Can you just tell me which is the best wedding package for me?
A: See a very simple summary of the features and benefits of all our Weekend Wedding Packages. The main questions you will need to answer are (i) how many guests do you want to have to your wedding, (ii) how many, if any, guests will stay overnight, (iii) do you want a weekend date or a weekday date, and (iv) when do you want to get married (in case you want a last minute wedding).
Q: How many can your Wales Castle Wedding Venue hold?
A: 150 in Function Room and 150 in Theatre, 120 plus in Conservatory. Craig y Nos Castle can sleep 67 in the en-suites and 20 in the non en-suites. 87 guests can stay overnight in total. See our Our Total Guest Capacity for wedding guest accommodation.
Q: How much does your wedding venue cost?
A: See our Wedding Deals Tariff page for all our Wedding Packages, including the regular tariff, mid-week weddings and late availability weddings.
We offer reduced venue hire on exclusive use of all the castle function rooms under our Special Wedding Package (50 staying overnight) while the Members Wedding Package will suit larger weddings.
Wedding Breakfast and Welcome Drinks are £50 per guest (2018-2020 Weddings) for a minimum of 50, and £17.00 per guest for the Evening Wedding Buffet.
See the up to date Wedding Tariffs for each year.
You need 50 guests staying overnight at £75 B&B each to qualify for the Special Wedding Package. Or 125 at your Wedding Breakfast for the full benefits under the Members Wedding Package.
It is the B&B use under the Special Wedding Package (SWP) - and the Midweek Wedding Package (MWP) - that allows you to have the castle wedding venue exclusive at reduced rates. SWP is our most popular discount wedding package as it encourages wedding couples to have all their guests for the day and night, all staying under one roof together. See Special Wedding Package.
You can also save money on your wedding at Craig y Nos Castle if you:
1. Choose a mid-week wedding package
2. Choose a last minute wedding
3. Select the best wedding package offer for you - see a simple summary of the features and benefits of our Weekend Wedding Package.
Q: Most of my guests are local so I cannot get 50 guests to stay overnight. What can you offer as an alternative?
A: See our Mid-week Wedding Package also at £50 per guest for the 2 course Wedding Breakfast and Welcome Drinks Package. You need only 25 guests overnight, instead of 50, but still need 50 wedding guests at your wedding breakfast.
A Midweek Wedding Package can be taken on weekdays, Sunday to Thursday. Also see last minute weekend weddings. You have the Conservatory for your wedding breakfast and the function room and main bar for your evening party.
While not fully exclusive, as we will have other B&B guests staying in the accommodation, we do not serve non wedding guests in the evening (they dine out on wedding nights). This means you have the castle ground floor rooms fully exclusive to your wedding party on your wedding day.
There is also the Members Wedding Package where no guests need stay overnight but this is aimed at larger weddings.
Q: I only want a small intimate wedding with 15 - 20 people - do you do small weddings?
A: Yes but only on Sunday to Thursday, not the weekends. As we only allow one wedding at the castle a day, we do not allow smaller bookings on prime weekend dates, so you would need to opt for a mid-week booking for a smaller wedding.
Bespoke Regular Wedding Tariff (BRT) would apply but with very low numbers you would not justify paying venue hire other than for the Ceremony Room. We have two Ceremony rooms - the Theatre and the Breakfast room. For very small numbers you probably would not want to hire a function room at all. Instead you can have a 'Ceremony Only' Wedding and then an evening meal in the restaurant along with other guests - but at your own party table. The smallest Ceremony Room you can hire is the Breakfast Room.
With a 'Ceremony Only' wedding you could pay just £250 in ceremony room hire (for the Breakfast Room), plus the cost of the meal and drinks in the restaurant! Remember that small weddings and 'Ceremony only' weddings are only permitted mid-week.
For 25 or more guests, see our Mid-Week Weddings package. There won't be another wedding on the same day, so you'll have the venue to yourself aside from any other B&B guests staying on midweek breaks. Other B&B guests will not be dining in the castle on wedding nights as we state they must eat off-site when there is a wedding on.
If you want a weekend wedding, it can work out cheaper to have more guests under the Wedding Packages than a smaller wedding on the regular tariff.
Example: Say you had 20 people for your wedding in Wales and you wanted to hire some rooms for your exclusive use; the cost on Bespoke Regular Wedding Tariff (BRT) would be: Wedding Breakfast: £50.00, Welcome Drinks £6.21, Evening Buffet £19.41, comes to £75.62 per head. Factor in Wedding Venue Hire say for just ONE room - the Conservatory Banqueting Room at £790 together with the theatre for use as your wedding ceremony room at £740, and using both rooms for just 20 guests you add another £76.50 per head. In this example the cost would be £152.12 a head. A 25% discount on venue hire applies Sunday through to Thursday which would reduce the per head rate to £133 per head. Clearly this would be uneconomic! The mid-week wedding package in comparison is £50/head for the two course wedding breakfast and welcome drinks, or £70/head with the evening buffet and 3rd course added.
Choose the Midweek Wedding Package if you can get 50 guests to your wedding breakfast with 25 staying overnight or choose the more popular weekend Special Wedding Package with 50 guests overnight.
See wedding price comparison between the Special Wedding Package and the regular Wedding Tariff.
Q: What is your availability?
A: See Availability Pages for each year starting with 2018.
Q: Do you have recommended wedding suppliers?
A: Regular wedding suppliers are featured on this website - see our wedding suppliers index and scroll through alphabetically to the category you need.
Q: What are the timings and schedule for the wedding day?
A: This site contains a comprehensive Wedding Planner Guide; go through page by page. See specifically the Wedding Day Schedule.
Q: Can I see your rooms individually?
A: There is a room by room guide on this site, starting with room 11 en-suite (scroll through to the room you are interested in, in numerical order).
Q: The £75 B&B tariff under the Special Wedding Package seems a bit high and I am worried I might not be able to get some or all my guests to stay overnight at this tariff. Can you reduce it?
A: The wedding tariff is fixed but you are gaining £2,500 of wedding venue hire free, and other savings, by filling up all the accommodation. To encourage more people to stay, you may opt to partly subsidise the guests who are staying and so supporting your wedding. You could pay £15 or £20 per head, to bring the cost for the overnight guests down to £60 or £55 B&B per head. See Accommodating your 50 guests on how to ensure you get 50 guests staying overnight and how to arrange all your wedding guests across all our rooms.
Q: I understand the Castle is having some renovation work done. Will renovation work affect guests and what changes will take place over the next year or so?
A: Historically we averaged £300,000 a year on renovation work and adding new en-suites and function rooms at the rate of three or four a year. With the economic downturn post 2008 this work slowed down and we are not always keeping up with routine maintenance tasks let alone new renovation projects. External work is done during the week in the summer and internal work is done mainly in January when we are not busy with functions.
The following 8 projects should be completed within the next 12 - 18 months:
(1) Repaint function room - changing colour from pale blues to creams and golds. Now completed. This room is used for the Evening Functions and morning Breakfasts for overnight stayers. The music room (far end room) was overdue for some redecorating so in Jan 2017 we had a new roof put on above the music room, and the walls facing the Country Park were re-nuilt internally with a new damp proof membrane to prevent water / damp getting in which was causing the paint to flake off and the wall paper to peel. The function room was fully redecorated in January and Febrary 2017.
(3) Complete paving slabs outside spa area and along rear terrace from Conservatory Patio to Theatre Patio to allow guests to walk between the two terraces on same style paving.
(4) Repoint, re-gutter and fix leaks coming in above and adjacent to theatre porch entrance to rear bedrooms. Replace rotten door (now done), redecorate corridor (done) and repaint plasterwork in porch (awaiting leak repair above parapet to porch). Work is well advanced though there is still damp inngress in this area.
(5) All gutters to be painted black as currently they are a mixture of green, cream, grey and black in different parts of the building. Most of the windows were repainted by two painters during the summer of 2013 but all need redoing every few years and many need redoing again.
(6) Various remedial works in the derelict upper areas.
(7) Conversion of two derelict workshop / storage rooms on ground floor. One will become AB13 (former mortuary), another AB17. AB13 and AB17 will both have a mezzanine level.
(8) Repairs to atrium glass roof of theatre and generally to roof and gullies of theatre to prevent water coming in especially to rear wall behind parapet and the statue, and water from another gulley into the corridor from function to theatre. The glass atrium roof was dismantled, rebuilt and fully repaired during 2017 by our own building team - the woodwork completed by Anthony. A lot of repointing of walls required to prevent water ingress.
Once the above projects are complete, we plan eventually to complete the Blue Bar Restaurant and upgrade the theatre public loos. Creating a separate restaurant that is open to non-residents and non-function guests when we have a function on would allow us to increase our current tourist board grading from 3 star guesthouse to 3 star hotel. (A 'hotel' has to have a permanent restaurant whereas a guesthouse does not.)
Eventually we'll create a second Bridal Suite in the 'secret room'. This is a room accessed via its own tiny private staircase.
Q: I visited the castle some years ago. What changes / improvements have been made in last year or two?
A: A reasonable amount considering we have cut back:
(1) Wooden character Oak flooring laid to all ground floor rooms from reception hall, through Patti Bar and Function Room up to music room in Jan 2010. This took about 6 weeks to do in the winter, while castle closed.
(2) Nicolini Lounge completely refurbished and redecorated, with new ceiling, new curtains, the old bar taken out, new carpet, and made into a proper reception lounge full of leather chesterfield sofas, club chairs and Queen Anne chairs.
(3) Theatre Ground Floor rooms refurbished to prevent ingress of water and rising damp. Theatre porch plaster stripped back to stone, stone walls repaired and repointed, window corners and stone surrounds rebuilt where had collapsed. Water still coming in to porch area due to problem with parapet (see above re ongoing works).
(4) New carpets laid in bedroom corridors and stairs to en-suites, replacing the old sun damaged and worn carpets.
(5) Phones and TVs added to more bedrooms.
(6) Windows repainted Nurses Block and Nurses Block exterior repainted. However windows need doing regularly. There are a lot of windows everywhere.
(7) Spa and hot tub - external area alongside corridor to spa now decked, repainted and made into a sun-trap seating area not that it is ever used - it was intended to become the Sauna area one day.
(8) New water pipes laid from front entrance to theatre end, and into castle main building, and to Nurses Block. This finally resolved a ten year problem with leaks that had led to £18,000 per annum bills for water. Since the new alkafine pipes were laid, our water bills have reduced to circa £4,500 a year - so much lower that the water company suspected (and tested for) a problem with their meter!
(9) 56 New large table lamps bought from 'Coachhouse' and distributed around the bedrooms and function rooms. In the lounges and dining areas these provide low level softer lighting which is preferable to the brighter lights of the overhead chandeliers. Ambience certainly is improved in the evenings and the bedrooms look nicer with the new lamps too. However they are gradually getting broken and we must now have 20 of them all in pieces, waiting to be repaired by 'someone'.
(10) General tidying up and improvement of garden areas immediately around castle. New flower beds in front courtyard.
(11) Billiard room and Music room which together form the main evening function room, have now been waterproofed against damp ingress above window arches and on walls (involving some re-building of internal walls and damp proofing work). The Music Room roof has been recovered, and both rooms nicely repainted and refurbished, the works being completed during January and February 2017.
(12) Conservatory floor - tiling . Floor tiles recently refurbished and re-polished. New red carpets laid in Conservatory on stairs, balcony and on ramp into conservatory.
(13) Conservatory roof was originally waterproofed by applying a special solution on top of the existing fibreglass. However movement in the wooden planking under the fibreglass roof caused the fibreglass membrane to develop leaks resulting in staining to the internal white canopy. The Conservatory roof has now been recovered in a new firestone rubber material guaranteed against leaks for 20 years. We may one day remove the white canopy and expose the original roof to bring it back to an old version of it shown here (minus the 'lantern' section in middle which is long gone) - with the original ironwork visible and the wooden boards re-painted cream. For now the white canopy has been cleaned and it resembles a marquee roof internally, with fairy lights.
For a look at all our past restoration projects see below links:
1) Blue Bar - Ongoing
2) Conservatory - restored in 2007
3) En-Suites - 2004 - ongoing as more are added
4) Various Exterior Works - laying of garden walkways etc.
5) Floor joists throughout castle - all ground floor has had to have new flooring, as have most / all the en-suites.
6) Function Room - including laying of new oak floor
7) Completely gutting and re-furbishing of the main Nicolini reception lounge
8) Sports room and Spa area
And you can also see some fascinating historical pictures of the castle a century ago here.
Q: What is the deposit if I want to book a date?
(A) £2,000 which can be paid in one go or in 8 equal monthly instalments of £250. Full deposit must be paid at least three months before the wedding date.
Q: How do I arrange a viewing?
A: Go to our wedding venue book a viewing page.
Q: I don't know how many I will eventually have to my wedding. So how can I book the correct number and can I change my numbers?
A: Initially you only need to book for the minimum number for the Special Wedding Package (50 for Wedding Breakfast) or the Members Wedding Package (75 minimum for wedding breakfast) and with our Special Wedding Package you commit to having 50 guests stay overnight. Nearer the date, once your RSVPs are in, you can increase your numbers to the correct level based on the numbers who have confirmed they are coming to your wedding. You cannot however reduce your numbers within two months of the wedding date, as this would incur a late notice cancellation fee of 50% of the reductions.
Q: I am not sure how many evening guests will be hungry so soon after the Wedding Breakfast, so can I reduce the numbers for the Evening Buffet?
A: No. However it is a good idea to schedule your day so there is a long enough gap between the Wedding Breakfast ending and the Evening Buffet starting. Ideally the gap should be at least 3 hours. So if you start your Wedding Breakfast at 3.00 / 3.30, you would tend to finish at 6.00 to 6.30 pm, and the buffet could then go out around 9.00 pm. See information on timing of the Wedding Breakfast and Evening Wedding Buffet.
The Special Wedding Package buffet is at a reduced tariff - £17.00 against £19.41 a head for the standard buffet on the regular wedding tariff. Because this is already a reduced rate, we do insist on exact numbers being catered for in line with the number of guests. You can choose any 6 items from the buffet menu. Portion numbers are increased for the cheaper items and decreased for the more expensive items.
Q: What is Exclusive Use under the Special Wedding Package (SWP) and Midweek Wedding Package (MWP)?
A: Under both the Special Wedding Package and Midweek Wedding Package, there is heavily discounted venue hire for exclusive use of the ground floor areas of the castle.
This includes the function room (Music Room and Billiard Room), the wedding ceremony room, the Hotel Bar, the Welcome Drinks Lounge and Breakfast Room, and the Wedding Banquet Room - the Conservatory.
The former Conservatory Bar is no longer in use as a bar - instead it is used as a secondary kitchen / serving area to plate up the food which our waitresses serve your guests when you are dining in the Conservatory.
You will generally vacate the Conservatory by 8.00 pm and move through to the function room for your evening party. We no longer allow evening parties in the Conservatory due to complaints about noise disturbance caused to residents. This is because the en-suites in the Atrium Block all back on to the Conservatory. With the doors open from the Conservatory onto the terraces at the back and the main green entrance door opening out on to the atrium yard, the noise level would continue until 02.00, keeping everyone who wishes to go to bed early, awake half the night. To avoid this we now hold all evening parties in the main function room.
By vacating the day room by around 8.00 pm the Conservatory can be cleaned and set up for the next day's wedding or event during the evening. Where there is another wedding on the day after yours, the Conservatory - after you have moved through to the function room for your evening do - is made available to the next day's Wedding Party.
Many brides stay the night before their wedding in the Nurses Block to set up their tables and decorations the day before their wedding. Brides like to set up their wedding tables and decorate the room ready for their wedding day the day before if possible. Since by 8 pm you will have moved through from the Conservatory to the main lounges and function room, this will not affect you.
Exclusive use does not include the upper levels of the castle, known as the 'derelict levels', nor the cellars nor any accommodation not booked by guests of the wedding.
Exclusive use does not include the ancillary Nurses Block or any bedrooms not booked by your party. Only bedrooms booked by your wedding guests become 'yours' for the day.
Under the Special Wedding Package you should be booking up all en-suites.
Under the Members Package, you may not be using many of the en-suites as accommodation use is optional. People choose the Members Package because they and their guests are local, so only a few stay overnight. With Members Package weddings, and the mid week weddings, and also Last Minute Weddings where not all rooms are used, there will always be non wedding guests in bedrooms that your party has not booked, as we cannot allow rooms you do not book to go unoccupied.
Any non-wedding guests are informed - when they first enquire, and when they confirm their booking, and again upon booking in - that they cannot go into any of the ground floor lounges and function rooms, and for evening meals they are directed to the four or five local pubs.
Q: Do you cater for same sex weddings?
A: Of course! We have now had several same sex weddings, groom and groom and bride and bride. We would like to see more same sex weddings at Craig y Nos Castle as this is a growing market for us and for wedding venues in general. Also we hope in time to add same sex Wedding Anniversaries to our range of events, as former bride and brides, and groom and grooms, who married at the castle come back for a party on their wedding anniversary. Not many couples understand we, along with every other wedding venue, can cater for same sex weddings. This may be because some venues have established a niche in this area. Our website was primarily written before same sex marriages became legal, and so we should now refer to Groom and Groom, or Bride and Bride, or 'Couple' instead of Bride & Groom, more than we do. Please do not let the use of traditional references to a 'bride and groom' put you off - we are definitely available (subject to your chosen date being free) for same sex weddings here in our part of South Wales.
Historically there are frequent references throughout this website to 'Bride and Groom', and we also have tended to write for 'Brides' on the basis that most weddings tend to be organised by the Bride. Grooms often take a back seat when it comes to choosing and organising a venue. This generalisation does not occur with same sex weddings and a same sex couple may assume we are not open to this market due to the historical language used. So below are a few pictures of grooms and grooms and brides and brides who have recently held their wedding at Craig y Nos Castle. We have had more than three same sex weddings, of course; these are just the more recent pictures we have had permission to place on our site.