Describe the best wedding that happened at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens?
Weddings are as unique as the couples that host them, so we couldn't possibly pick a favourite! There are always ones that stick out for their creativity and individuality and we welcome all our couples to inject their own unique personalities into their special day.
What is your No. 1 wedding planning tip for couples?
Make the most of the skills, knowledge, experience and expertise of your chosen suppliers. They know what works well, and what doesn't work quite so well. So never be afraid to ask questions and take any stress away that doesn't need to be there. Planning your wedding should be fun, and we all want to help you enjoy the process.
What’s your favourite personal touch you’ve seen at a wedding?
We loved when one couple decided to offer their guests a treasure hunt in our gardens as part of their reception, complete with beautifully hand-drawn maps in the style of J.R.R. Tolkien (they were big Lord of the Rings fans!). It was a great way to encourage their guests to make the most of our beautiful gardens and they absolutely loved it!
Describe Hillsborough Castle and Gardens in 5 adjectives
Historic, majestic, elegant, friendly, passionate
Where’s the best photo spot at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens?
Oh so many to name! The first one that comes to mind though (does this make it the best?) is Lady Alice's Temple. It's a cast iron temple, in the form of a classical tempietto, located prominently on high ground above a beautiful little lake, surrounded by mature trees. The temple is framed on approach by Yew Tree Walk, a straight path lined with mature Yew Trees and (in the Spring/Summer) stunning native wild flowers. It's a truly magical location in the gardens that's easily accessible for some jaw-dropping wedding photos. The temple was created as part of the wedding celebrations of Lady Alice Hill by her brother, the 5th Marquess of Downshire in 1867.
Have you had any celebrity guest or wedding at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens?
Irish singer-songwriter, Brian Kennedy, made a surprise performance (planned with the groom, a surprise for the bride and guests!) during a wedding reception for 100 people in a beautifully dressed marquee on our West Terrace.
What’s your favourite canapé?
Oh no! This is such a hard question! We love canapes because they offer little pops of deliciousness that build anticipation of a delectable dinner to come! Our approved catering providers (Yellow Door and Craft Event Co.) have some absolutely gorgeous canapes on their menus. We especially love Craft Event Co.s Whipped Goats Cheese with Pickled Red Onion & Pistachio, and Yellow Door's Walters Cold Smoked Salmon on Black Pepper and Lemon Shortbread with Tarragon Crème Fraîche. Absolutely delicious!
What is Hillsborough Castle and Gardens most unique feature?
I don't know if this classes as a 'feature' but what is truly unique about our venue is the history that has and continues to be made here. Our venue has played host to endless historic occasions and events over the years, and your event will be no exception! You'll be stepping in the footsteps of presidents, politicians and princesses and adding your own unique story to our own. Weddings and events are recorded in our historical archive, so your special day will, quite literally, go down in history.
What part of your business are you most proud of?
Our team! We're a small but hard-working and passionate team of three, and we work in close collaboration with our colleagues in other departments to ensure the venue is perfectly prepared and everything runs smoothly on your wedding day. Our expert gardeners ensure the grounds are looking stunning; our magnificent Household team clean the castle's interiors each day and make sure it's always looking its best; our wonderful Hosts engage and inspire guests during receptions in the castle with their knowledge, and our friendly Wardens ensure your guests arrive and depart with a smile. When you hold your wedding at Hillsborough Castle, a team of dedicated, passionate people help make it all happen. Of course, it's mostly happening behind the scenes, so all you need to worry about is enjoying every minute of it!