Wedding Tips: Wedding decoration
Are table linen, flowers, place cards and other decorations included in the quoted price, or will you have to provide your own?
We set up the tables (rounds or squares) in the layout you have specified. We provide table cloths and napkins. The table cloths are white with optional cream squares as a top layer (one is shown on one side of the long table above). Most Couples will just have white table cloths. Napkins are either cream or white as you require.
Place cards, favours, flowers, centre pieces and other decorations are down to you. However we do offer up to twelve free Candelabra (you supply the candles) under the Special Wedding Offer Deal. These are normally £25 each to hire but you get them free under the Wedding Packages.
Wedding Tips: Wedding extras
Check the availability of extras such as a cake stand and cake knife. Many wedding venues will lend you these, but having to hire them separately adds to your hassle and your wedding expenses.
At Craig y Nos Castle, we provide a Cake Stand and Cake Knife though many couples provide their own as part of the display - see a slideshow of wedding cakes here.
Entertainment facilities: Bands and other entertainment can take up a large amount of space, as can a dance floor, so decide when and where you want the entertainment to take place, and check with the venue that this can be done in the space available.
The Conservatory can be used for smaller weddings to have an evening do. Much above 80 and you are better off in the main function room, which can comfortably take 150 guests.
Wedding Tip: Bunting
Save money on decorating your wedding venue - or increase the wow factor in your Wedding Breakfast room - by opting for bunting rather than or as well as flowers.
Bunting creates an excellent visual impact against the white canopy ceiling of our Conservatory. It is inexpensive. You can match the colour scheme to your wedding colours. And you can reuse it, store it easily, or even sell it on eBay afterwards to another bride.
You can make your own bunting - simply cut triangles of double-sided brightly coloured paper and attach it using glue to some strong string.
We discourage guests and Couples from climbing up tall ladders to reach high places or to attach the bunting to the Conserrvatory pillars themseves, due to health and safety concerns. Instead you can arrange for our Maintenance Staff to come in and attach bunting for you, for which there will be a small charge to cover their extra time.
Wedding Tips: Love Box
As part of your wedding ceremony, seal love letters and a bottle of wine in a love box. Hammer it closed! The idea is that if you're having trouble in your marriage in the future, you can open it up and be reminded of what brought you together.
Wedding Tips: Colour Scheme for Florists
Give your florist a colour scheme, not particular flowers. Allow your florist flexibility so that they can pick out the most affordable flowers for your colour scheme. Remember to provide a list of flowers that you want to avoid
Wedding Tips: Chair Covers
Should you cover the chairs or not? Should you cover chairs in both the Theatre Ceremony room and the Conservatory Reception room, or the Conservatory only?
Craig y Nos Castle Wedding Venue has 130 red seated Cheltenham Gilt chairs which are used in the Conservatory, and 250 Blue seated Cheltenham Gilt chairs distributed between the function room and theatre. In photographs, the Cheltenham Gilt chairs look fine. The red seated chairs will suit a red or burgundy colour theme, though the seats will not be visible once guests are seated!
You might decide not to bother with chair covers. The cost can be around £2.00 to £3.00 a chair. Yet about half of our weddings do go the extra mile on some fabulous chair cover displays. There is less need to bother with the theatre, but certainly using chair covers in our Conservatory allows you to tie in with your own colour scheme, using different coloured bows to match your wedding colours. The chair covers themselves will tend always to be white, with the bows providing the different colours.
For some examples and suppliers of chair covers see here. We have two suppliers - one at the quality end with a fabulous selection, and one at the 'budget' end, using cheaper chair cover material but at a lower rate per chair. The pricing however may be negotiable and is at least partly dependent on labour putting the covers on and laundering rather than just the cost of the material used.
Wedding Tips: Serve Local Food
Serve seasonal, local food that the chef is accustomed to serving. Do not get too adventurous with the Wedding Breakfast. Like flowers, food tends to be cheaper if it doesn’t have to be flown in or extensively preserved. Also your Wedding Guests will prefer something less 'experimental'.
In Wales, standard fare for Wedding Breakfasts are various fish, roast lamb, roast chicken, roast beef, or lamb shanks etc. Steer clear of fancy alternative meals for the main meal.
If you wish to introduce a meal theme based on a country or style of food (one couple recently asked us for Mexican, while another opted for an Italian themed wedding complete with Roman Pillars and Statues), limit this to the evening buffet.
See our Wedding Breakfast Menus here.
Wedding Tips - Gifts
Keep attendant gifts simple. You don’t have to go overboard with attendant gifts. Choose something affordable but meaningful. Hand-picked books with personal notes inside, or framed photos generally work well.
Wedding Tips: Share decorating costs?
Share decorating costs: See if another bride has booked your venue for the same weekend, then split costs if you can agree on any shared décor, flowers and other expenses.
This may work if you both have a similar colour scheme, however in our experience most weddings wish to do their own thing!
Wedding Tips: Candles for Table Display
Candles can usually be purchased for less than flowers, so use them to your advantage. Use fewer flowers, then put the spotlight on them with candles.
Or incorporate Candles into the table's central floral display for more 'wow' factor.
Candles on tables are sensible for Winter Weddings where the evenings are shorter. While your Wedding Breakfast may start in daylight, it will tend to last about three hours, with speeches. As the evening draws in, your candles can be lit to good effect in the evening light, flickering in the mirrored windows of the Conservatory.
Wedding Tips: Simple Centrepieces
Simple centrepieces: Don’t go overboard with a huge, expensive centrepiece that takes up half of the table. Keep your centrepieces simple and cheap, like a pretty bowl filled with water and floating candles.
Wedding Tips: Choosing Wedding Favours
Many wedding favours add something practical and elegant as a gift that will cheer every guest celebrating your wedding day.
Interesting wine bottle openers and stoppers make useful wedding favours that will be welcomed by your guests to celebrate any occasion for years to come.
Coasters and picture frames are popular and affordable, available in many colours and themes.
Your wedding favours can be pre-packaged and decorated with bows to place on your guest tables or in gift bags colour co-ordinated to your wedding theme.
Wedding Tips: Candy Favours
Check out after-Valentine’s Day sales. You’ll be able to buy lots of candy favours, heart decorations, wedding table gift boxes and other wedding supplies at a fraction of the cost.
This is especially beneficial if your wedding’s colours are pink or red.
Wedding Tips: Personalising Wedding Favours
We have seen some weddings going to great lengths with personalised wedding favours while others do not bother with this at all.
If you are including wedding favours, personalisation is the key - more so than the expense or quality of the gifts.
Adding a personal touch to your wedding with personalised wedding favours such as gift bags, patterned and colourful favour boxes, napkins and booklets etc., can be the finishing touch that make all the difference when your guests walk in to your wedding reception room.
Keep the Wedding Breakfast room (the Conservatory) locked until you are ready for your guests to enter. You want your table settings complete with your personalised wedding favours, for each guest, to be a real surprise, a real wow, as they walk in to the room. Leave a message for each of your guests that they will remember.
Tie the colours and nature of the the favours in with the theme of your wedding, colour matching gifts such as ribbons, napkins and balloons, and the bags or boxes containing them, to your wedding colours.
Wedding Tips: Old Photos
Photo-history boards are quite popular, showing old photos of the bride and groom from childhood up to present day.
Go back through family wedding photos. Try putting some photos in vintage frames and display them on a special table at your wedding reception. This will provide a talking point for guests and adds a decorative focal point to your wedding venue.
Wedding Tips: Dog Friendly
Craig y Nos Castle is a dog friendly hotel. We have had some wedding guests bring their dogs. If you don't mind your guests bringing dogs to your wedding (of course, they won't be invited to the Wedding Breakfast but can be around for much of the rest of the day), let them know, as the Castle does not charge for dogs.
If you are a dog-loving family, why not include your pet in your big day, either inviting them in person, or if this is impractical, featuring a picture of your pet on your menus? How about dog shaped chocolate wedding favours, or name your wedding tables after your pets?
Wedding Tips: Horseshoes
Horse shoe wedding favours represent how lucky you feel to have found each other, and every guest goes home a little luckier.
Could you personalise the horseshoes to each wedding guest?
Wedding Tips: A Sense of Place
Whan you choose an unusual gothic Victorian wedding venue such as Craig y Nos Castle, include something about the venue and location's history in your gift packs. Give your guests a sense of place.
If possible, tie the History or some element of the Castle story / Adelina Patti / Pears Soap connection / Industrial Revolution / Start of recording industry / theatre / opera etc, or the location, Brecon Beacons National Park, to your wedding theme.
Learn about the Castle's history on the Castle's website here. You may only need to use a snippet of history to tie in with your wedding theme.
Wedding Tips: Conservatory Night Disco
See pictures of the Conservatory and Function room both used for Evening Parties and Discos here. The Conservatory is not normally used for evening entertainment as most Couples prefer to move through to the function room for the evening wedding party.
However in some of these disco slideshow examples you can see how the Conservatory has been cleared of guests, tables turned around, and is readied for the evening do.
A disadvantage of using the Conservatory for the evening do is that as all the bedrooms are above it, and behind the conservatory, the noise from any party disturbs any of your guests who want to retire early.
An advantage of using the Conservatory is that, at night, with candles on the tables, and the table lamps and floor lighting on, you get some wonderful reflections against the windows, which, after dark, act like a huge wall of mirrors.
Wedding Tips: Children's Activities
If having young children to your wedding, it will be a long day for them. So have some activities for children and some toys they can play with to keep them amused. Consider a DVD or two which you can play on the TV in the Breakfast Room.
The Castle does have some children's toys (age range 2-4) in the big oak chest in the Nicolini Lounge and some toys in the basket in the Breakfast Room.
Also for Children, a Bouncy Castle can provide hours of exercise and enjoyment. In wet weather we have had the Bouncy Castle in the Function Room by day, as it can be removed in time for the Evening Party.
Wedding Tips: Wedding Favours
Only include wedding favours if you really are up for investing time and energy on them and know your guests very well. Guests will only remember the truly great and most personalised ideas.
Wedding Favours are a big added expense both in money and time co-ordinating the colours and nature of the favours with your wedding theme. When done well, it can look very impressive but it will add many days of work to the preparation stage of your wedding.
We had one wedding that started decorating their Wedding Breakfast room four days before the Wedding Day, the bride personally positioning each wedding favour box and bag 'just so' on tables and chairs.
Wedding Tips: Mugs
It is possible now to buy mugs with individual names printed on them. If you can find mugs in your colours for your wedding, or with a suitable motif or design, this can make a practical wedding gift. Fill the mugs with chocolates or your favourite coffee, or small personalised gifts relevant to the preferences and likes of each individual wedding guest.
Wedding Tips: Decorative Lighting
Buy decorative lights on sale after Christmas. Consider decorating your Wedding Venue with string lights, or coloured lights or lanterns matching your wedding colours. Buy your coloured lights cheaply in the after-Christmas sales.
The long wall of windows in our Conservatory will reflect your coloured lights most dramatically, after dark. You may not benefit from using coloured lights in the Conservatory during summer as the evenings are longer but on a winter afternoon they would look stunning!
Our Conservatory tends to be used for the daytime, the Wedding Breakfast, which will typically run from 3/4 pm to 6/6.30 pm. In winter it gets dark around 5pm. Or in the summer months you could introduce coloured lanters just in the function room which you will be using for your evening disco.
Wedding Tips: Smile
For some of us, it does not feel natural to smile. So make a habit of smiling at your partner when you greet them. It will make your spouse feel appreciated and loved. Even if you’re in a bad mood, be sure to smile even if you normally have a grumpy expression the rest of the day!
Wedding Tips: Marriage advice from 1950's
Emily Mudd outlined the many roles that women had to assume when they became wives. She described being a “modern and prominent wife” as a career: “To be a successful wife is a career in itself, requiring among other things, the qualities of a diplomat, a businesswoman, a good cook, a trained nurse, a schoolteacher, a politician and a glamour girl.”
Wedding Tips: Orange Themed Wedding
As you look through this extensive library of different table settings in the Conservatory, you will gain some ideas for colour schemes that other Couples have used. The Conservatory tends to suit golds and reds, as this fits in with the wooden framed windows and the orangey coloured marble floor tiling. However one wedding achieved a striking contrast with dark blue chair covers and an oranges theme.
The oranges theme, similar to the apple theme in early photos, featured numerous orange helium balloons, orange flower centrepieces on the tables, and even the place settings were pinned to oranges. The couple followed the theme through with orange table cloths in the Nicolini lounge and Breakfast Room.
Wedding Tips: Winter
Many people are against winter weddings, and prefer a nice sunny day for their wedding. However that cannot always be guaranteed in Wales.
As you can see here and on our table settings slideshows, even on a particular grey and hazy rainy day, the scenery outside the windows of the Conservatory is dramatic and impressive, offsetting and lending emphasis to your table decorations and chair covers in the warmth of the Conservatory Wedding Breakfast room.
Wedding Tips: Wedding Table Theme
Couples choose many different themes for naming their wedding breakfast tables, from trees, to ships, to countries and towns - this is so much more interesting than just giving your tables a number. Give your tables a theme instead!
In the some of the below examples on this page the couple chose London Underground Stations, complete with London Tube signage for each table.
You can base your wedding table place names on your local town - see ideas on how to use your home town as inspiration for table decor and names here.
Wedding Tips: Terraces
If you are lucky enough to have a sunny day, your guests will be able to go out on to the terraces overlooking the Country Park during the Wedding Breakfast. This allows those guests who enjoy the fresh air to soak up the mountain air, and those guests who like to smoke, to have that essential inter-course cigarette during the wedding breakfast.
This area may also be useful for photographs, once we have got more potted tubs out on to this area to add some colour to the terrace.
Wedding Tips: Ceiling Hanging Paper Decorations
Here we see an example of suspended handing paper decorations in the colour theme of the wedding.
The tall ceiling of the Conservatory, coupled with the tall iron pillars that hold up the roof, allow you to string bunting across at high level, or suspend other decorations from a great height. You can achieve quite a cheerful and colourful effect.
Against the backdrop of the white ceiling canopy, handing decorations of this sort stand out dramatically, and combine to emphasise your wedding's colour scheme.
Wedding Tips: Flowers
Flowers are a popular feature at weddings and can change the look, feel and atmosphere in a wedding hall or at the reception. Flowers are put together in beautiful display bouquets or as part of a collection.
Flowers add the finishing touch to a theme, ie a white wedding might have Lilly arrangements, a traditional wedding might have red roses. In the above, the blue theme is followed through with the flowers matching the Chair Cover ribbons! A very well thought out combination of complementary bright blue and white lilies and uusually blue roses to tie in with the white table covers, white chair covers and vivid blue ribbons.
Flowers can be a big part of the wedding budget, so it is important to shop around on price.
Wedding Tips: Fruit Favours
Use fruit instead of flowers to decorate your wedding tables. Bags filled with cherries, or baskets filled with apples or oranges or any other fruits (matching your colour theme) make a fantastic display, and your guests can either eat them, or take them home as favours.
One Wedding recently had an apple theme (shown in last few pics here) - a single green apple on each place setting, tying in with the green chair ribbons. A most novel wedding theme and certainly memorably different as we had never seen this done before - and we see 130 weddings a year at the Castle.
Our Wedding Packages
|Sunday & Midweek|
Weddings (50 Min)
|Large Local Weddings|
Tea/Buffet (40 Min)
|Small Intimate Weddings|
(75 or 100 Min)
|Last Minute/ Wiinter|
|Wedding Packages Tariff||Cost per head calculator|
|Savings you make|
on the packages
|Wedding Package Selector|
Function and Dining Rooms
|Ceremony Room||Banqueting room|
|Evening Room||Nicolini Lounge|