"As you walk around the Hidden River site, you get a real picture/sense of what your wedding could be – relaxed, at your own pace and a place where guests can unwind and leave their stresses behind for the weekend. Upon our first visit to the wedding venue, we were stunned at just how beautiful the entire site is. We helped ourselves to a coffee at the gorgeous and intimate Hidden River Café while every passing staff member greeted us with a warm welcome. We met with the owner Rob who kindly showed us around the entire wedding site. The accommodation is all built to an exceptionally high standard and warming/inviting. We quickly felt at ease and all of our questions were answered and reassurances were given, particularly as we had concerns over cancellation policies due to the pandemic.
During the planning phase, we worked with the team (Gillian, Robyn and Laura) who answered our questions professionally and promptly. The team did everything to accommodate our requests (even left field requests such as renting shuffleboards) and it was a joy to plan with them. Laura became our dedicated wedding coordinator and invited us up to the Hidden River Barn for our first face-to-face planning and food/wine tasting session. At this point we began to work together on the formal wedding planning and documentation. Laura explained everything we needed to do in the run up to the wedding, discussed the timings of the day and provided advice on what works best (in her experience coordinating many weddings) to ensure flow throughout the day. We tried the Greek banquet sharer for our tasting and loved every bit of it. The quality of food was fantastic (something all of our guests subsequently complimented the venue on). We asked for one small amendment to the menu with the chef and an extra supplement from the Moroccan menu, both of which were deemed no trouble at all (though we felt cheeky asking!) giving us plenty of comfort. We continued to converse with the Hidden River team over the coming months to get all the final details, ad hoc requests and documents completed for the big day.
Fast forward to the wedding weekend – just so happens that Storm Arwen decided to roll on through. We were greeted at the Café and decided to have lunch before setting up. The food was delicious. We were given access to the accommodation early. The fires had been lit to give the cabins warmth prior to our guests’ arrival (a lovely touch) with a personalised welcome instructional sheet for guests of our wedding who quickly began settling in. We decided on the ‘hidden river feast’ package for the weekend with burgers in the evening for guests at the Café on the Friday night. We enjoyed great food and great service throughout the evening. This is when things were starting to go wrong due to factors beyond anyone’s control! Storm Arwen was in full force. Some of our guests were unable to get to the venue due to fallen trees blocking the entrances/exits (and some motorways were being closed such as the A1). Two of our guests were unable to get back to their accommodation (which was offsite) as their taxi had not turned up. The staff at the cafe offered to drive them home. Where else would you get service like this? The staff took it upon themselves to do everything they could to help our stranded guests.
The wedding day arrived. We woke up to no electricity at 6am due to the storm damage. We were given an emergency number to call for the venue, which was a direct line to Rob (the owner). We outlined the situation and the fallen trees that were blocking the path (after the father of the bride went investigating the damage). By 9am, Rob had rallied a team (with local farmers) to cut through the trees and move them off the road and sourced a backup generator, all so that our day could go ahead. Contingency planning at its finest. The venue and Laura worked directly with our suppliers and the registrar, explaining the best path (recently cleared) to enter the venue site (as satnav would have taken them to fallen trees). In such a unique set of circumstances, I have never seen such dedication, tenacity, teamwork and compassion as I did that day. From the top window of the Hidden River House, we saw Laura (our coordinator) literally climbing over large trees to be with us and tell us what was happening and the plan that was already in motion. The electricity came back on at 10am and our ceremony was only delayed by 45 minutes and the rest of the day went as scheduled. For the effort that we witnessed that day, my wife and I will forever be grateful to the entire Hidden River team.
Our guests stayed on site for the full weekend and we were even gifted with a thick blanket of snow on the day after our wedding. Relaxing in the hot tub, surrounded by beautiful snowy scenery, was the perfect way to spend our Sunday. We also had a delicious 3-course roast dinner as a part of the weekend feast package.
Hidden River is a stunning, unique venue and will forever have a special place in our hearts. We loved it from the moment we stepped foot on site, our journey from then on was seamless and our ending was the most perfect wedding day we could have hoped for.
Many couples (us included) will look at multiple venues when planning their wedding and if you have any doubts about Hidden River… all we can say is don’t. How many people can say their wedding venue helped stranded guests get home, chopped down and even climbed over trees, sourced backup generators and supported all of your suppliers to save your wedding…. And did it all with a reassuring smile on their face? Hidden River is a truly a remarkable place."