The Grade 2* listed Elmore Court in Gloucestershire has, this month, opened as the country's newest event/wedding venue following a multi million pound renovation and the construction of a new ballroom built out of ‘rammed earth' with a flat meadow roof.
The 1000 acre estate and Court, with views over the Cotswolds and River Severn, has been in the Guise family for over 750 years. The end of October saw a successful launch party giving guests a sneak peek into the new venue. The new venue combines the heritage of the estate with contemporary and fun touches run by folk with a background in food, festivals and events. Think state of the art sound and lighting systems, combining with regal Teniers tapestries of the Main Hall and an extraordinary choice of accommodation including a 12ft wide ‘mega bed' and a stately 1636 Four Poster.
The centre piece of the project is the new ballroom at the rear of the house, The Gillyflower, Elmore's own unique twist on a permanent marquee constructed using the ancient technique of ‘rammed earth', taken from the estate providing 215m2 of dining space and 75m2 of dance floor with a flat meadow roof. In addition the entertaining and banqueting spaces within the main house have all been refurbished, as well as eight bedrooms which will be available to event guests and private house parties.
The ambitious project is the brainchild of the relatively new heir Anselm Guise (he inherited the property from his uncle 5 years ago). He was forced to make a radical decision on the future of the estate; either continue to run the estate as his uncle had done and face a dramatic loss each year which was not sustainable - or devise a way of diversifying its income.
Anselm had already appeared on Channel 4's Country House Rescue - where Ruth Watson had suggested he turn Elmore into a cookery school. This idea was quickly dismissed and he has chosen to go back to the roots of the estate as it was originally built as the Guise family's party house, throwing it open to private functions such as weddings, launches and corporate events. In addition Anselm's own background in festivals (he founded The Glade Festival) and music was the perfect foundation to develop the project from.
To attract attention the venue had to be different. The objective was to give it an individual twist - set it apart from mundane venues and embrace the heritage and grandeur of the building as well as provide a contemporary take on a marquee.
"We are so excited to be able to do this. The house has such history and needs to come back to life with weddings, parties and other celebrations; after all, it was what it was built for all that time ago. We've taken a very contemporary view on how traditional country houses can be enjoyed and with luck will assure its future," commented Guise.
The new building, named The Gillyflower, is being constructed using ‘rammed earth' and timber taken from the estate itself. At a total of almost 300 square metres in size it will offer a flexible space with a state of the art sound system, dance floor, DJ Booth and audio visual capabilities as well as its own built in bar. The building opens out onto rolling fields and woodland creating a stunning backdrop.
The creative events team at Elmore will be on hand to advise on how to put on incredible celebrations incorporating live music, performing arts as well as woodland BBQ banquets. It's evident that Guise's music and events experiences and contacts will ensure that Elmore offers a distinctively different take on the classic county house wedding venue.
Inside the house...
Inside the house the ground floor and main bedrooms on the first floor have been refurbished using a combination of contemporary and classic colour schemes and furnishings including Zoffany and Lewis and Wood.
The Master ‘Bridal' Suite has a Caesar sized bed (8ft wide) and oak panelling. A further seven en-suite bedrooms are packed with interesting features such as a 1636 Four Poster Bed with a William Holland copper roll top bath in the Oak Room, with the largest bedroom, the Porch Room, a roomy 41m2, featuring an incredible 12 ft wide ‘extreme ultra king' bed with hand carved estate oak bedhead.
Within the house the entertaining space comprises four distinctive reception rooms; The Dining Room, The Main Hall, with precious restored Teniers tapestries at an impressive 100 m2 in size, The Drawing Room and The Morning Room. The license to hold civil ceremonies is for the Main Hall or church services can be arranged in the nearby village church. The maximum numbers for events are 200 for dinner dances and a great deal more for cocktails in the Gillyflower, or 40 for private dinners in the main house.
Catering options are imaginative and focus on locally sourced produce as well as a ‘grow to order' service for your menu utilising Elmore's extensive kitchen gardens.
Elmore Court is located in a small village surrounded by canals on the edge of the Cotswolds, just a few miles from the city of Gloucester and 10 minutes from M5 junction 12.
For more information go to www.elmorecourt.com
Why The Gillyflower?
The Guise family has owned the land at Elmore since 1262. The family had arrived in England nearly 200 years earlier with William the Conqueror and originally settled in what is now called Aspley Guise in Bedfordshire.
They were granted Elmore by a man named John De Burgh, whose father was a senior figure in the court of Henry 3rd. The rent was set at ‘the clove of one Gillyflower' each year.
Prices for venue hire range from £2650 to £5500 - this includes the use of the House, Gardens and The Gillyflower for your day and overnight as well as the Master Suite. Longer periods can be arranged.
From the Master Suite to the Bachelor Room, there will be eight newly refurbished double bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms available. The bedrooms vary in price, ranging from £120 - £300 including breakfast.
House party rental wills be available Mon-Thurs throughout the year and over weekends outside the main wedding season. Prices start from £2000 per night, B&B with accommodation for 16-20.
The Main Hall can host civil ceremonies for up to 108 guests
There are lots of lovely local churches nearby (Elmore/Hardwick and Longney) each with a maximum capacity for approx. 200.
Food prices start at around £42.00 per person for a three course menu with wine packages starting from £18.50 per person.
Source: Fiona Reece Public Relations