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We catch up with Cresta Jerrard of Southdowns Manor

Set amongst the glorious scenery of the South Downs National Park, Southdowns Manor places you and your guests at the heart of one of the most picturesque corners of England. This rural retreat is home to an abundance of wildlife offering a tranquil setting against an idyllic countryside backdrop.

We caught up with the venue's Cresta Jerrard recently for the lowdown on weddings at this gorgeous venue and what you can expect from your big day there.

Southdowns Manor Please tell us about your venue

Southdowns Manor and its grounds are offered to you on an exclusive-use basis for your wedding day. This means there won’t be any other guests or members of the public in the venue for your special day; just you and those you hold dear. This gives your wedding a more relaxed and intimate feel, with everything arranged just as you want it.

We offer three reception rooms and an outside terrace:

Sussex Room. This informal area, with a large bar area, is where your guests can meet on arrival before your ceremony. The room can also be used for ceremonies with up to 40 guests, and it’s an ideal location in which to serve canapes and champagne reception drinks to your guests.

Conservatory. Licenced for ceremonies for up to 40 guests, this light and airy room can be used for a variety of different purposes and boasts a lovely romantic setting.

Banqueting Suite. Licenced for larger ceremonies, the Banqueting Suite can comfortably accommodate 150 people, and is perfectly suited for banqueting purposes. With the starlight ceiling on throughout the day and evening, this stunning room helps create an elegant setting for your special day.

Terrace. The terrace area is perfect for an outdoor ceremony, licenced for larger ceremonies for up to 150 guests. Alternatively, it is a perfect location for guests to enjoy canapes and a reception drink, surrounded by picturesque views over the South Downs countryside.

Our fourteen guest bedrooms and our stunning honeymoon suite are available for you and your guests on the day of your wedding. Breakfast the following morning will be served at 9.00am in the Conservatory and is inclusive for guests.

Couple walking down a country lane hand in hand away from us Credit: www.fionamillsart.comWhat services do you offer?

You'll be allocated a wedding and events Mmanager, who you can liaise with once you have finalised your booking. They'll be happy to assist with all aspects of the planning and will be on hand during your special day to ensure the smooth running of your wedding and celebrations.

Also included in the venue hire is The Changing Room. Situated on the first floor it will be available from 10.00am on the morning of your wedding. The Changing area consists of a large dressing room and full bathroom facilities. Waiting staff, table linen, crockery, cutlery, glassware, cake stand and knife, table plan easel, aisle runner and full table preparation are also all included.

Southdowns Manor has two bars, located in the Sussex Room and Banqueting Suite. These can be used on either a tab basis or as a cash bar.

We offer extensive menu choices for your canapes, wedding breakfast and evening buffet, with delicious, mouth-watering dishes to suit every palate. All food is freshly prepared on the premises by our kitchen team, using only the finest ingredients.

Southdowns Manor can provide a wide variety of optional extras to make your day extra special. This includes chair sashes, post box, centrepieces and a DJ along with many other services. Please ask for individual costs.

Gazebo wedding with aisle lined with pink blossom trees What should couples expect from their big day at Southdowns manor?

A personal service from all members of the team. Starting with the booking process and as soon as you walk through the door, all the way up till you leave on the morning after their wedding. We work as a family, which is reflected at all stages. From the wedding planning department we are all dedicated to making sure all our couple's have the most perfect day and that also includes the build up to the actual day itself. We're always on hand for whatever our couples need from us to help your planning process be as stress free as possible.

What's your favourite spot in the venue?

I absolutely love the grounds - there are so many different areas for photos and in the evening when it gets dark the gazebo is lit up and makes such a memorable photo for couples on their day.

What your favourite part of the job?

Getting to meet so many different couples and helping them plan their day. Every wedding we run is different due to couples own taste and personality so its always exciting getting to see how each couple plan and design their day and how that will look in the venue. No wedding is ever the same at the manor due to this.

How long before the wedding should couples book a viewing?

We would recommend to start to view wedding venues as soon as possible as wedding venue dates get booked very quickly, so if you have a specific date you are looking at the sooner the better to start the viewing process.

Do you have any top tips for couples looking for their dream venue?

Honestly our top tip is to follow your heart - we truly believe that you just have that feeling and know when you have stepped into your wedding venue, not only the venue but the staff make that first impression on you and you will know from the offset if it is going to be right for you.

To discover more, head over to www.southdownsmanor.co.uk

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