Coach House Banquets
Seating plans in the Castle Coach House
The Coach House is based in the Courtyard of the Castle and forms part of the 17th century series of buildings built by the Widenhams in the post Cromwellian period and is generally used as the banqueting hall for our weddings being the largest room on site. (At least 3 of the 6 reception rooms of the Castle can be used for your banquet but given their size if you have a guest list in excess of 40 the Coach House is the best option).
The Coach House, constructed of limestone, formerly had a number of bays to store carriages. One of the former owners of the Castle kindly shared images of previous residents outside the Castle in a pony and trap and a carriage that may well have been stored here in the 1800’s. To the immediate right of the Coach House we have the Horse Stable building where the horses were housed while the stable-hands and other farm workers resided on the upper floor (where your hosts Patrick and Sheila now live).
The Coach House is a long and narrow space (19 x 4.8 metres) and there is a mezzanine level with a gallery running around the walls of the building overlooking the ground floor with seating to both the left and right of the central opening. This opening measures approximately 8 x 2.8 metres. The mezzanine and the vaulted ceiling are constructed in wood providing a nice contrast with the limestone and the space is a light filled one with 5 velux windows in the roof, 6 rectangular windows on the mezzanine, with the Coach House entrance arch also providing a window over the main entrance. A spiral staircase in the far left corner (wallside) leads to the mezzanine while the Courtyard left corner leads into the kitchen space where your caterers have 3 phase power, 2 velux windows, 1 large window and a split level wide stable door which allows for wheeling in catering equipment. The kitchen is bright, airy and spacious allowing plenty of room for equipment and plating up. It is equipped with an extractor fan, professional rinser, 3 sinks and spacious countertops. The kitchen is located to the far left of the building while the main entrance is on the far right (courtyard side).
You can be as elaborate or as pared back as you like in terms of how you decorate the Coach House. Simple white tablecloths with blooms or foliage taken from the walled garden and placed in small glass jars can be beautiful or you can follow a grander theme and dress the Coach House in a more elaborate manner – the choice is entirely yours.
The central opening allows for some striking pieces – this circular arrangement from the wedding of A&L certainly added both a dash of drama and a colour contrast to the space . (Photo credit above and below White Cat Studio Photography).
We have 120 banqueting chairs and a series of trestle tables all of the same width but of varying lengths so can be assembled to suit your seating plan. (I can mail you a list of the table dimensions if you require).
K&K opted to rent additional chairs for their wedding banquet and also went with 2 long tables for their 96 guests. You can also use our banqueting chairs and order chair covers to suit your theme.
The table plan you select will largely be governed by your final numbers. If you have 100 guests or less you may opt to seat all your guests on the ground floor by assembling 2 rows of tables. This layout running the length of the long and narrow hall best complements the dimensions of the space. This image from S&D’s wedding has 38 guests seated on each side of the table with a total of 76 guests and can work as a single table structure for guests of 80 or less but generally the guest list would require 2 narrower tables.
C&B’s layout had 106 guests “Harry Potter” style with 2 long rows running the full length of the ground floor in uninterrupted lines.
There are two pillars situated in the centre of the ground floor supporting the mezzanine (some half metre out from the walls) so B&S worked around that by splitting the tables which allowed for breaks between the tables and also for more room in the central area. They seated 100 guests on the ground floor by arranging (as one enters the Coach House) tables of 12, 8, 16 and 10 running from right to left (Courtyard side) while at the wall side also running from right to left were tables of 8, 14, 12, 6 and 14. It is probably the most efficient and comfortable use of the ground floor space seating a total of 100.
B&S also did something quite novel in that they placed their top table on the edge of the mezzanine level on the left so they had a bird’s eye view of the shenanigans below. The speeches also took place from the gallery so those speaking had the freedom to move around to see and be seen by all guests. Some images from that layout are attached below along with a rough seating plan.
Typically the top table is incorporated into the long seating arrangements with distinctive chairs taken from the Castle for the bride and groom but of course a separate table can be designated as the “Top Table” too.
D&D seated 108 on the ground floor by arranging tables of 34 and 22 on the Courtyard side with tables of 34 and 18 on the Wall side (right to left) per the image below.
Other layouts use the space differently and have separate tables at different angles. N&R went for 94 on the ground floor by means of a long table seating 20 immediately to the left of the entrance (Courtyard side) with 5 tables of 10 running along the back wall and 3 further tables of 8. There were 32 seated upstairs per the (very!) rough outline below.
J&S had a similar layout with 104 on the ground floor per below.
L&B spread out their guests across the Coach House by means of 84 on the ground floor and a further 38 upstairs per the (even rougher!) layout below.
This is an image of a layout with 95 guests and the plan is also below.
Another layout allows for 50 on the mezzanine with 103 on the ground floor with different size tables set at various angles per the below rough images.
Essentially you can mix and match from these layouts to find the one that best suits your guest list but realistically you would be restricted to seating a maximum of 140/150 guests in the Coach House. Some of our couples opt for a more relaxed wedding banquet by having “free seating” or “Festival” style dining with different types of food trucks on the terrace and lawn of the Castle overlooking the valley – pretty much anything goes here.
One couple went for a restaurant style seating arrangement in that their 140 guests enjoyed a drinks reception in the Castle while the Coach House was set for 70 diners. As diners completed their meal and for example a table of 8 was liberated a further 8 guests were called to the Coach House for dinner. This casual approach worked wonderfully well and guests really enjoyed mixing and mingling with other guests in a more unstructured dining arrangement a million miles away from the rigid dining style on offer for wedding banquets at hotels where couples need to adapt to the hotel’s structure rather than accommodating the preferences of the couple. We encourage our couples to use the Castle as creatively as possible – we are always surprised by how our guests use the grounds in a way we (or previous couples) had not thought of!
Here is a joyful image of a couple arriving into the Coach House for their meal taken by Sean Clarke Photography and below see a selection of further images of the Coach House.