Our editor Victoria Galligan headed off to Wales for a fairytale weekend where guests are treated like royalty…
If your idea of getting married involves images of a handsome prince sweeping you off your feet to a traditional countryside wedding, where the views are breathtaking and the building is steeped in history, then Caer Rhun Hall can make your dreams come true.* This venue on the banks of the River Conwy is secluded enough to provide a cosy little bubble around your wedding, which only the lucky invited can enter, yet easily accessible for guests – just an hour’s drive from the M6 at Cheshire and a short journey from Conwy.
You really will feel like royalty when you pull up at the venue: it was built in 1882 for General Hugh Gough, a decorated military hero who was made a viscount following military success in India. As we entered the building through the heavy wooden door, we felt like we we entering a castle – all that was missing was a moat.
On our arrival we headed straight to the Anderson suite, which was big enough to hold a jousting tournament in. In front of the huge leaded window, which overlooked the sprawling grounds and hills of Snowdonia beyond, sat a copper-coated bath on a raised platform. The perfect way for any bride to begin her wedding day, must be by sinking into warm bubbles and relaxing with a good book. So that’s how I spent our first hour at Caer Rhun Hall.
Caer Rhun Hall's Snowdonia views
The newly-refurbished room has been decorated sympathetically to the period – plain pastel blue walls and white cornicing are complemented by a headboard which sports a huge black and white photograph of the Welsh countryside. The sumptuous carpet really did allow our feet to sink into it and the contemporary sofas in the room are the perfect place to chill out before dinner. The ensuite was also massive – a huge shower enclosure and two sinks mean there’s enough room for some serious preening and pampering. The 23 rooms here have undergone a real makeover since the hotel was sold by its previous owners in 2015 so even though you’re in a historic building, many of the fixtures and fittings are brand new.
A walk around the grounds, which sit at the foothill of the Snowdonia National Park, reveals some surprising quirks – like a swing seat hung from one of the hugs ancient cedar trees, and a mini-maze of hedges close to the building. Within the grounds lies The Church of St Mary Caerhun, where many couple choose to tie the knot before their reception at Caer Rhun Hall. The church dates back to the 13th Century and has been well preserved despite being so open to the elements.
We headed down to the cosy bar before dinner to enjoy a G&T. There is an adjoining room next to the bar, The Apothecary, where you can also sink into a leather chair and unwind before dinner. We attended on the first night of the kitchen reopening following the refurbishment of the hotel – and the meal did not disappoint. A sumptuous six-course feast was served, beginning with salmon and pate canapés in the bar. Moving into the Great Hall, there was an amuse-bouche of mushroom soup, followed by an absolutely beautifully crafted terrine formed with layers of chicken and baby leeks. A beef Wellington was brought out by the chef, who sliced it up in front of diners, and the meal was served by friendly staff who really took the time to chat and ask about your requirements. Pudding was a selection of chocolate mousse, honeycomb and ice cream, and crème brûlée, and finally there was just room for a coffee and petit fours.
Feeling positively well fed and rested, we slept like babies in the huge queen-sized bed and awoke ready for breakfast – our final treat before we would reluctantly have to check out. Still feeling quite full from our previous night’s feast, I opted for the continental breakfast. An impressive array of local foods, from smoked salmon to jars of yogurt and fresh fruit, was available on a huge central table as well as all the usual staples like toast and cereal. My husband opted for a full Welsh breakfast, which came complete with savoury Welsh cakes.
We left the building with great memories from the weekend and said we would struggle to stay in a nicer suite – it really was fit for royalty. So if you’re planning on hosting a Welsh wedding where you’ll become the king and queen for the day, pop into Caer Rhun Hall for a visit and see for yourself why it’s such an enchanting place. Just don’t forget your tiara.
*Prince not provided.
Wedding packages include the full breakfast and sample menus are provided to ensure you choose what’s right for you and your guests.
Choose from an intimate wedding in the Garden Room, a grand wedding breakfast in the Great Hall or a marquee which can cater for up to 400 guests, with a covered walkway to the hotel to protect them from the elements.
Wedding showcases are held at Caer Rhun Hall throughout the year – call the venue to book and for an idea of prices on 01492 422060 or visit whisperhotelscollection.com for more details.