You approach Cain Manor by winding through wooded grounds, until you set your eyes upon the country house wedding venue. With no idea which part of the venue to enter or which door to open, we waited nervously somewhere in front of Cain Manor until we were waved in. Greeted by another glass of Prosecco, we started to think this would be the case at all the venues – little did we know it would be our last glass of the whole process. Seeing as it was only the third wedding venue that we had visited, we reeked of newbies. Which is why we were so lucky to have Jo Thorp showing us around on the day. She instantly put us both at ease as she tried to decipher what we wanted for our wedding, which at that point, we really didn’t know! Essentially, these first venue visits were guinea pigs for us, but Cain Manor really could have been a contender in the big game.
Image credit: Bijou wedding venues
Cain Manor, located on the Surrey-Hampshire border, combines the elegant with the rustic and the boutique with the classic, and it really set the standard for our search. The cosy drinks reception room is furnished with leather sofas and a fireplace.
The beautiful ceremony room, aptly named the Music Room, has oak beams and cathedral windows. The landscaped grounds provide stunning views of the North Downs, and while we are having a winter wedding, we are determined to have photos outdoors, so outside space is really important in our search.
Situated just up the stairs, the accommodation at Cain Manor was perfect, and each room was exquisite yet cosy. But with prices reaching over £200 per night for the best rooms, we thought that it expected too much from our guests. Although, the idea of gathering downstairs for a full English breakfast in the morning really appealed to us, and its something we have looked for ever since.
Cain Manor is part of Bijou Weddings, a country house wedding venue group. They are clearly very good at what they do, and despite being what you would call a ‘chain’, Jo managed to make us feel like our day was special, which is a very difficult thing to do when you have weddings nearly every day of the week. We were made to feel important and unique, which really does work wonders in terms of the attractiveness of the venue.
If you book with Cain Manor, you have access to a clever online planning system. Which while very efficient, could potentially take the spark and the personal touch out of making the decisions. She ran us through the process and presented the final price by asking us if it was what we expected. We nodded our heads, lifted our jaws off the ground and said, ‘yeah, that’s the sort of figure we were expecting to pay…’. Unfortunately, we’re just not the kind of couple which will pay for tap water and Tattinger.
Although we won’t be booking Cain Manor for our wedding, I will be visiting the Bijoutique, their bridal dress shop in Surrey for that extra-special wedding dress experience. I have been assured that they offer a luxury, stress-free atmosphere with added bubbly. It sounds like the perfect place to begin the search.
Lesson learnt: Don’t be afraid to speak up and tell suppliers how much is too much. As a side note, make sure you test the aisle by walking down it. The floorboards at Cain Manor were a little creaky, and I’m not sure it would help provide that all-important elegant entrance.