Our Guide to Wedding Day Timings

Your wedding is one of the biggest days of your life, and probably the biggest event that you have ever had to organise. Here at Coombe Lodge, wedding venue near Bristol, we have helped organise many weddings and strive to make sure that our bride and groom’s big day is everything that they want it to be.

One of the hardest things to work out when planning your wedding, is how to time everything so it runs smoothly throughout the day. It can be a struggle to decide how long to allocate for each element for your day, and how to piece it altogether – but don’t worry, you’re not alone! Whilst there is no ‘one size fits all’ to wedding day timings, our guide and top tips will hopefully help you start building your unique timeline, and your day will run like a dream!


Wedding prep

You want to make sure that you start your special day perfectly, and as stress-free as possible. To allow for this there are several factors for you to think about, to make sure you run to time:

  • How long will it take for your hair & makeup?
  • The size of your bridal party
  • The time of your ceremony
  • The distance from where you’re getting ready to where your ceremony is going to be
  • Allowing time for photos

Firstly, start by asking the experts! If you’re having your hair and makeup done professionally, then ask them how long they think it will take. Generally, 2 hours is allocated for bridal hair and makeup and an additional 45-60 minutes for each member of your wedding party.

At Coombe Lodge our brides have access to their luxurious Bridal Suite prior to the ceremony, which is a great time to get your beautiful prep shots and of course, the all-important dressing of the bride!

Top Tips

Double the time you have allocated for putting on the dress, as this certainly takes longer than you think!

Give yourself 30 minutes of extra time to get those memorable bridal party shots.

Always make time for breakfast & a glass of bubbles or two!


Ceremony shot

The main moment you have been planning for… the wedding ceremony.

Timings for the Bridal Party:

  • Groom and Groomsmen to arrive 1 hour before the ceremony so that they are ready to greet guests as they arrive
  • Arrival of guests – 45 minutes before the ceremony
  • Bride & The Bridesmaids – 5 minutes before the ceremony

How long should you allow for the ceremony?

  • Civil Ceremony – 30 minutes
  • Religious Ceremony – 60 minutes

Top Tips

You may want to get some photos of your journey from the Bridal suite to the ceremony, so make sure you allow time for this.

Make sure your entrance music is long enough for you and your bridesmaids to walk down the aisle.


Drinks reception

At Coombe Lodge, we advise to allow for 1 ½ hours for your drinks reception.  This will give your photographer time to get the group and personal portrait shots. More importantly, this also gives you enough time to mingle with your guests and enjoy your canapés and bubbles – after all it is a celebration!

Top Tips

Give somebody trustworthy (usher, bridesmaid) the job of getting your guests together for the group shots to help save time.

The Balcony at Coombe Lodge is a great place for your photographer to capture the group shot of your guests in our Courtyard!

If you want a longer drinks reception then it is essential to keep your guests entertained and provide plenty of drinks and canapés.



Allow up to 15 minutes for your guests to move from the drinks reception to the wedding breakfast and for them to find their seats.

If you’re planning on having a receiving line, then always allocate an extra 30 minutes on top of this.

Top Tips

This is the time for the ushers to help direct the guests, assist with the receiving line and speed up any wandering guests!

Whilst your guests are being seated, this is a great time for you and your loved one to steal some ‘one on one’ time together and to capture those couple shots!

Decide who you would like to announce you into the room. Often at Coombe Lodge, it is the job of the dedicated event manager to give you your grand entrance.



There are a few things to bear in mind when allocating your time for the wedding breakfast:

  • How many guests do you have?
  • Choice of food
  • How many courses you are having
  • Type of Venue

Here at Coombe Lodge our general rule is to allow around 1 ½ hours for this part of your day. We always recommend extending this to 2 hours if our bride and groom decide on the delicious Valencienne sharing platter menu.

The main thing is for you and your guests to enjoy the food and the atmosphere, let us worry about running to time!

Top Tips

Take a look at our menus to decide what you are looking for. (link)



We recommend allowing no more than 30 minutes for the speeches.

The running order traditionally starts with the Father of the Bride, then the Groom and then closed by the Best Man.

Top Tips

Make sure to leave 30 minutes between your speeches ending and your evening guests arriving. If, for any reason your speeches over run, the last thing you want is for your evening guests arriving in the middle.


sunset blog

Before you let your hair down and dance the night away with your loved one, you still have a few bridal jobs to do!

It is a great idea to cut your cake before your first dance to allow your evening guests to feel more part of your day.  The band or DJ will always need around an hour to set up their equipment and do their sound checks but don’t worry, this time won’t be wasted.

During this turn-around time, your guests can grab themselves a tea or coffee in the cosy Library or grab a drink from the bar. They could also take a romantic evening stroll through the gardens, and take in the beautiful views of the Mendip Hills, recognised Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, in which Coombe Lodge is located. 

Top Tip

Make sure you get your magical sunset shot!

We hope that you have found our Wedding Day Timings guide and top tips helpful, and that it has given you some great ideas when it comes to your own special day! If you would like to discuss having your wedding at Coombe Lodge, then contact us today on 01761 463355, or email admin@coombelodge.co.uk to arrange a viewing.

YOUR ENGAGED! Here are the 5 next steps to take to get you started!


Congratulations – You’re engaged!  Welcome to the world of lace, confetti, and flowers. You are at the start of what can feel like a roller coaster ride, but don’t panic, the end destination will be the best day of your lives! To get you off to a good start let us help you in offering our top 5 tips to get that wedding planning ball rolling!

1. Time to Celebrate

Crack open the bubbly and celebrate! Share your big news with close family & friends and then spread the word to all by updating your status on Facebook – after all everyone wants to hear the big news!

2. The Guest List

Sit down with your partner and look at the numbers. By getting an idea of your head count will help you in both your venue search and your budget, after all these are the important numbers!

Whether you have 50 or 160 guests, there is a great choice of locations at Coombe Lodge to hold your civil ceremony, including our billiard room, the grand music room or outside in the courtyard under the charming veranda.

3. Look at the calendar

When would you like to get married? Are you envisioning a spring garden wedding, a hot summers day or does the idea of winter with log fires burning and warm candle light glowing create the ideal image to your day.

What is your timeline? We have had couples plan their wedding in 12 weeks, while others wait a few years. Your timeline is unique to you, but by getting an idea of season or a range of dates will help you narrow down on your suppliers such as photographer and venue.

4. Picking the venue

Arguably the most important decision you’ll make during your wedding planning – after the dress of course! Your venue may influence every decision you make from the colour scheme to the style of dress. Think about the location, where do you want to be? Does it have accommodation to house your guests for the night? Does it fit with the budget? All these questions are very important when deciding. Always look at what the venue can offer your photo’s – does it create the perfect idyllic backdrop to your very special day?

Coombe Lodge is beautiful in any season allowing you the freedom to create your perfect wedding anytime of the year!

5. Explore the world of Pinterest

Time to get pinning! Pinterest offers endless creative ideas in personalising your special day from finding exactly what you are looking for to creating new ideas to fit your existing theme. Whether this be colour, favours, decoration or bridesmaid dresses Pinterest has it all there in one place.

Your options are endless. Why not take a look at our Pinterest boards to help you on your way!

Five Twists in Tradition


Weddings are all about traditions, from the bride not seeing the groom the morning of the wedding to the lucky silver six pence in the shoe. Given the history of wedding traditions it is no wonder that so many bride and grooms find themselves doing something that thousands have done before. We are however finding more couple’s breaking away from tradition and adding a twist to make it truly theirs.

1. The Guest Book

The guest book for years has been a keepsake for words of wisdom for the happy couple.  We are however beginning to see a fresh new take on this wedding essential -from messages in bottles to be opened on future anniversaries, to finger print trees or even wooden hearts laid out for everyone to sign. Picking something that you can display or use in future is a brilliantly practical alternative to this wedding tradition.

2. The Wedding Cake

A traditional towering confection is a wedding mainstay and although wedding cake will never go out of style, some couples have begun to forgo tradition in favour of personality. Some delight in towers of cupcakes, doughnuts or macaroons while others ditch cake altogether and favour the savoury option. The Cheese Tower seems to be the new favourite, allowing for several options which will see your guests coming back for more.

3. Throwing the Bouquet

The tradition of the bouquet toss has fallen by the wayside for brides who don’t want to put their single ladies on display. Instead, ideas of presenting the bouquet to a special lady like Grandma are being implemented. What was once an elbow-throwing extravaganza can now be transformed into a special moment.

4. The first dance

When it comes to the first dance, the mere thought of it can leave couples feeling a little nervous.Who, after all wants all eyes on them as they share such an intimate moment with their loved one? It is therefore no surprise that couples are beginning to include their bridal party in a livelier group dance. A great way of getting everyone onto that dance floor to help put a spin on the traditional!

5. The wedding photo’s 

It has always been down to the professional to capture the special moments of the day. Couples however have began to call upon their guests to help build the photo portfolio. The use of Instagram has quickly become a popular trend to the big day – by creating their own hashtag couples are encouraging their guests to take pictures which helps collect and share photos from guests. A great way to get all the unforgettable shots of the day!











What’s on the menu


For a lot of your guests, the most memorable part of the wedding is the food – everything from the presentation to the taste and smell can leave a lasting impression. Our in house team of expert chefs delight in creating incredible dishes with locally sourced produce to ensure the most wonderful food is served. Alongside this our dedicated event team will be there to help advise on your menu and wine choices to ensure stress-free organisation!

Whether you are looking for the traditional wedding breakfast or a more informal sharing style we always advise our couples to consider choosing seasonal produce for their big day as it’s a great way of ensuring that the fresh local produce is at its best. Our kitchen team have put together some examples of seasonal menu’s to help offer inspiration when deciding.


Spring signifies new beginnings! Fresh seasonal produce at this time includes asparagus, spring greens and lamb – nothing too heavy or rich in carbohydrates.


Produce is abundant at this time of year offering up summer fruits, a variety of salads & vegetables. Sharing starters such as antipasti and salads are a great way for your guests to interact with others on their table.


Autumn is the time for comfort food accompanied with the delights of fresh produce such as root vegetables, figs & spices – delicious additions to your autumnal menu.


A winter wedding is magical when the dark night sets in and a comforting menu awaits you and your guests. Roasted Vegetables, beef and oranges are some of the many seasonal ingredients this time of year.



Please follow the links to view our menus at Coombe Lodge to see what takes your fancy:

Valencienne dinner menu

Mechlin dinner menu

Reticella dinner menu

Top reasons why a magical winter wedding is the way to go

When people hear of a couple getting engaged, they usually expect to receive a wedding invitation in spring to celebrate their wedding in the summer.

In fact, winter weddings are becoming more and more popular for a number of different reasons. We’ve come up with our top reasons why you should be planning to get hitched at this beautiful time of year.

1.Embrace the weather it brings

Winter can be the most magical time of the year, offering crisp frosty mornings and if you’re lucky a dusting of snow. Whatever the weather Coombe Lodge will be able to offer you a beautiful setting to suit any style of photography.


2. Get cosy & offer a warm welcome

Greet your guests with a warming glass of mulled wine, winter pimms or even a festive mulled cider as they walk into beautiful chandelier lit rooms, with roaring fires and glowing candle light.

3.Romantic evenings

With nights drawing in, you can start an evening party that bit sooner, which means you have longer to enjoy it! Use candles around the whole venue to create that magical twilight feel, light walkways outside and if your budget stretches to it, why not have a firework display to start your evening off with a bang.

Most importantly – the moment dusk sets, Coombe Lodge creates the perfect backdrop to capture those romantic sunset shots

sunset blog

4.Make your budget go further

Winter tends to be a less busy time of the year so you’ll find more availability and suppliers will be keen to offer their wares at this time. Make the most of those early months of January, February and March with our winter offer of £1,875.

5.The winter accesories

Get creative with fantastic winter accessories  Let your guests snuggle up to warm cosy blankets or create your own hot chocolate bar serving scrumptious flavours. Bring in the rich vibrant colours of forest greens, berry reds and scarlets. The options are endless – take a look at our pinterest page to offer you some more inspiration.

We still have some dates available in the winter season in 2016/17  and would love to talk to you more about your special day. Please do let us know if we can be of any help on 01761 463 355. www.coombelodge.co.uk.

How to create the perfect wedding cake

Wedding Cake


This week we’ve been thinking about wedding cake. The choice of colours, sizes and fillings is endless so we thought we’d put together some helpful tips to ensure you have the cake you’ve always dreamed of!

What style? Take inspiration from your colour scheme, wedding venue and even details from your wedding dress. A great cake should complement your theme.

Which cake designer? Look for someone who specialises in the style of cake you’re looking for. If you have your heart set on a chocolate cake, find a chocolate expert.

What will it taste like? It’s important that your cake tastes as good as it looks so ask to see examples of cakes that have been made as well as having a taste!

Which filling? When it comes to the cake filling, fruit cake is the traditional choice but there are so many options – lemon, chocolate, carrot cake – you could have a different flavour for each tier.

What size? Consider a slightly bigger cake than you need, that way you can save a slice for guests unable to attend and enjoy some when you get back from your honeymoon. Fruit cake is the only filling that still tastes great a few months after the wedding though!

Allergies? Some guests may have a nut allergy so your cake maker could make a nut free cake or even a small cake created especially for them. Alternatively you should let guests with allergies know they should avoid the cake.

What shape? As an alternative to the tiered cake, you could have a profiterole tower, cupcakes, miniature cakes or even a pavlova tower.

The final thing to bear in mind is how will your cake get to the venue? Always check with the cake designer whether they will transport and arrange the cake for you. Bear in mind that fresh patisserie needs to be made the day before, so it isn’t a good idea if you’re getting married a long distance from the cake designer.


Bridal jewellery

Bridal Jewlerry

The right jewellery should complement your dress perfectly –so what should you wear on your special day?

Should it be modern, should it be traditional? Should it be neutral or bold? Should you stick with pearls or can you be a bit more daring.
Whatever you choose it’s a wonderful way to personalise and style your outfit whilst also bringing a very special finishing touch. It should pull everything together and yet still be unique to you – so it does need some thought.

It doesn’t have to break the bank though – it’s wonderful to see family heirlooms being passed down to wear such as a grandmother’s brooch or a grandfather’s watch.

For my wedding day I chose a grey pearl bracelet and grey pearl drop earrings – they were simple and beautiful and perfect for the day. I didn’t think I’d wear them again although recently I was able to adapt the earrings and have them restyled to match some Annoushka hoops so I can wear them every day now.

Whatever you choose – it will always be special and who knows it could be the next family heirloom to be passed down…

Janice, Coombe Lodge

Sensational Sunsets

Simply Stunning Sunsets

Coombe Lodge is perfectly situated to capture THE most romantic sunset shots!

As soon as the sun starts to set, a magical glow lights up the sky creating a perfect backdrop for some really special shots with your loved one.






For more images of these special sunset shots, take a look at our Coombe Lodge at Night Pinterest board


Coombe Lodge is open 7 days a week for viewings.

To book yours, please call 01761463355

Wonderful Winter Weddings


With Summer on its way, winter really does feel like a distant memory! But not for those lovely couples, planning on a winter wedding!

Winter weddings can be magnificently magical, roaring fires, glowing candlelight and fantastic cosy winter accessories for your outdoor photoshoot! Its a truly wonderful time of year to get married!


winter wedding

We currently have some incredible dates available for winter weddings in 2016/17, take a look at some of these below:

All Sundays in November 2016 – These also fall under our Winter Wedding Offer!

Friday 2nd December

Sunday 4th December

Friday 9th December

Sunday 11th December

(Many other fantastic dates available, please do give us a call for details)

To arrange your very own magical winter wedding at Coombe Lodge give us a call on 01761 463355 or email admin@coombelodge.co.uk  to arrange a viewing.

Viewings are available 7 days a week through the day and some evenings too!











Coombe Lodge, Delightfully Deco!


  Coombe Lodge was lovingly rebuilt in the late 20’s early 30’s for the Wills Family of Bristol. An era when Art Deco was flourishing!


Coombe Lodge to this day, oozes the luxury, glamour and exuberance of this wonderful era with such beautiful wood panelling, stunning doors and windows, perfect for framing those special wedding day photographs.



This stunning venue can be exclusively yours for your wedding day! We’d love to show you around!


To book your appointment, please call 01761 463355

We look forward to hearing from you!