supplier spotlight –  meet Hampton Manor

17 March 2019

THE WEDDING VENUE WHERE FINE DINING MEETS FUN

And when we say fine dining, we mean it – alongside the 19 rooms the historic venue has, Hampton Manor also boasts a Michelin starred restaurant within its walls! It’s the ideal wedding venue for couples looking for the ultimate in sophistication for their big day, but who aren’t willing to give up the fun atmosphere for the weekend (and, frankly, why should you?) With the comfort and familiarity of a cosy family home central to their ethos at all times, and a focus on the creatives and makers of the period it was made, we LOVE Hampton Manor as a whopping slice of wedding venue perfection.

WHO ARE YOU + WHERE ARE YOU BASED?

Hampton Manor is a Michelin-starred restaurant with rooms in the sleepy village of Hampton-in-Arden. We’re a country house with with 19 bedrooms, nestled in 45 acres of gardens. Set in the heart of England (quite literally- the geographical centre of England is 1 mile away!) and with Birmingham International so close by, we’re perfectly situated for wedding guests coming from all over the country or from abroad.

DESCRIBE YOUR WORKPLACE.

In its long past, The Manor has always been a family home and that atmosphere remains. Built at the birth of the Arts and Crafts era, Hampton Manor was a celebration of craftsmanship and the beauty of nature. Today, we’ve gathered around our table a community of young creatives to fill its walls: chefs and sommeliers, gardeners and bakers, potters and designers. It’s rich in history yet thoroughly contemporary in ethos and design.

WHERE/HOW DID IT ALL BEGIN?

Back in 2009, my husband and myself left our careers at 26 to gut out and restore this old Manor building. We restored minton floors, stripped back oak panelling to its original glory and lived in one of the old attic rooms whilst it was all happening! It’s been a labour of love!
In 2016 we won a Michelin star and also the Michelin Welcome and Service Award. Currently, we’re restoring our Walled Garden which we’ll soon be harvesting for our dishes in the restaurant.

FAVOURITE WORK TO DATE?

It has to be hosting my own sister’s wedding. We love it when people make the Manor like their own home for the day and make use of every room and cranny. They got married in our rustic ceremony barn and walked out to a torrent of paper aeroplanes instead of confetti! Drinks and a languid afternoon tea was served in the Parlour and lounge areas. Guests spilled out across the heart of the house as they played an interactive treasure hunt style game with challenges. For teatime, we sat down in the Courtyard along long sprig tables to feast for dinner, all dressed in cherry blossom and candles hanging from the glass roof.

WHO/WHAT INSPIRES YOU?

We’re inspired by places that are very experiential and have a deep sense of place and context. Our favourite trip was to visit Faviken in Sweden, one of the top 50 restaurants in the world. It’s in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by snow and ice. From check in until departure, you are immersed in the whole experience; from your cosy log cabin and furs in the bedroom to the very distinctive Scandi food, to the finale at the end with a fire in a tipi – something we’ve been inspired to recreate for our winter wedding packages.

DESCRIBE YOUR TYPICAL DAY.

I’m the Creative Director so I get involved in all the tactile, design and story telling elements of the Manor. Today, I finalised some mood boards for the redesign of two new bedrooms which launch soon, all created with William Morris prints (the Godfather of the Arts and Crafts movement, the design period during which the Manor was built).  Also, I updated our ‘tasting booklet’ for our wedding tasting nights so couples can make notes as they eat. It has delicious looking photos of all our dishes for best recall after they’ve been devoured! We serve our wedding tasting tapas style so couples can taste every dish. The dishes are all inspired from our Michelin starred restaurant, Peel’s Restaurant. Beauties such as scallop with langoustine bisque, or sirloin beef with red cabbage and black garlic. And finally, we had a team meeting to set in motion this year’s marketing strategy for our foodie events calendar. Last year, we had Michel Roux Jr cooking in our kitchen, a Wagyu and Wine night and Glynn Purnell (from Great British Chefs) cooking a twist on Sunday Lunch.

Tomorrow, I’ll be creating a design for our new cocktail list which is based around Cluedo, created by our national award-winning mixologist, Loic Cretel. We change our list every 9 months and each time it has a different playful story. I’m looking forward to tasting ‘Colonel Mustard in the Library’ which is made with Copperhead gin, Pickled pear, Umeshu and Wasabi. So every day here is quite different!

WHERE’S YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE TO GO?

We’re in the country so we love to go to the city. We’re always searching high low for the best food to ‘research’ in our local Birmingham or jumping on the train to London to find design inspo in unexpected corners.

FAVOURITE WEDDING SUPPLIER?

We handpick a bunch of lovely suppliers every year to showcase at our wedding fayre and they are all our favs! But speaking as the interior designer for the Manor, I am probably partial to Ava Event Styling. What we love about hospitality is creating an immersive experience – creating a world you want to disappear into and not leave! Ava Events are on our wave length and really know how to go to town with their imaginations, we’ve seen them transform our stone walled Courtyard into a botanical forest or a wild flower meadow.

TRENDS YOU HOPE TO SEE THIS SEASON

People are after really memorable experiences and venues that aren’t a typical wedding venue. As a team of foodies, we’re food obsessed! And so are the rest of nation it seems. Luxury these days isn’t necessarily about lavish spends on flowers or glitz. It’s about discerning choices, enjoying the finer things of life within the simplicity of food and drink. Guests are adding in extra courses such as an amuse bouche or an extra fish dish to bring that fine dining touch to their wedding. It’s pretty rare to hold your wedding in a house with a Michelin-star and to be able to treat your guests to food that will go down as one of their best meals of the year.

But fine dining doesn’t mean white table cloths and chintz. As with the rise of a young edgy generation of Michelin starred chefs, foodie couples are wanting to keep the food sensational but the atmosphere informal and natural. So we’ve recently launched a new look with ribbed leather chairs and rustic wooden tables which look very at home in our contemporary country house.

BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’VE BEEN GIVEN?

Your relationships can be transformed by asking the simple question ‘what matters to you?’ Claire Harris, who looks after our wedding bookings, is this advice embodied. Long after the wedding, couples are still writing to her telling her about their milestones in life because she has built such genuine trust with them.