Hargate Hall's blog

News and Events at Hargate Hall – self catering and wedding venue in the Peak District

October 28, 2017
by Hargatehall

Wedding Venue – Hargate Hall Derbyshire

Wedding Venue in Derbyshire

Q. Hello, can you tell me a bit about you both?
A. We are John & Katie Ivison from Sheffield
Q. How long had you been engaged for before you started looking for a wedding venue?
A. 6 years engaged and 5 years together before that! We had a lot of time to dream about this wedding and what we wanted before actually going out and looking at venues.
Q. When you were searching for a venue, what were you looking for and where?
A. We were looking for a DIY wedding venue where we could stay for a few days not too far from Sheffield. We had around 20 people coming from abroad and 100 guests coming from all sides of the UK so we wanted to be able to spend a full weekend together as well.
John is a chef so we also wanted to be able to do our own catering and bring our own booze which we went to France to get!
We put in google search DIY wedding venue Yorkshire/Derbyshire and up popped Hargate Hall!

First Impressions of Hargate Hall

Q. What appealed about Hargate Hall when you first found us?
A. Everything! The description was exactly what we wanted. The venue, sleeping capacity, marquee, location, price and then so much more!Q. What did you think when you first came to look around?
A. Wow! Better than expected. The building, the main hall and the staircase as we walked in wowed us and then it just kept on giving. We couldn’t believe the size of the place. It felt grand but with a very relaxed homely feeling. It was the first and only place we visited. We knew it was the perfect venue for us as soon as we walked in.
Q. Did you have any doubts or concerns letting yourself in for compared to a “traditional” wedding venue?
A. None what so ever. We do a lot of party’s (not to this scale) but we saw this as a bit of a challenge.
The only worry was the allocation of the apartments as some people had to share with people they hadn’t met before but this was explained to them and no one complained.

The Wedding Plan

Q. What was your plan for your wedding weekend?
A. The Friday we planned it to get everyone staying for the weekend involved with decorating the Hall, setting up the marquee and help prepping the food for the wedding breakfast, this way the guests could get to know each other. We made lasagnes, Garlic bread & salad for tea, followed by Tiramisu and enjoyed a few drinks in the main hall once all was set up.
The Saturday, we had everything at Hargate so we didn’t have to worry about the logistics of getting all the guests back and fro for the ceremony. This was thought about because we were getting married on NYE, we were slightly worried about the possibility of snow so wanted to minimalise the travelling.

We did our drinks after the ceremony in the bar/main hall and then we moved over to the marquee and had a 3-course meal for the wedding breakfast. In the end, we moved up to the Main Hall for the desert as it was on the cold side. We opened up the big downstairs apartments for the evening which was nice for people to just wander around and relax. (Note: for all new bookings, we now include a 2nd heater automatically during winter months)
For the evening, we did joints of beef & pork for sandwiches which went down a treat without costing the earth!
The Sunday, those who were still feeling human helped clean up and then we caught up with guests. It was nice because everyone just came and went as they pleased so guests went walking, eat comfort food, and relaxed. Food wise, we did loads pots of soup, Stews and dumplings with crispy bread, cheese & pâtés and had a load of leftovers to finish off.

After the wedding

Q. Did everything go to plan?
A. More or less. There were a few oven issues in the marquee on the day but the apartments all have ovens so we managed the cooking this way. We forgot the kid’s food in the fridge at home (of all people!) but again we had far more than enough of the adult food so we just shared this out (luckily the guests were all understanding and helpful).
Q. Was it more, or less effort, than you thought and was it worth it?
A. It was what we expected, which was a lot of work and planning! But all so worth it! We would recommend anyone to give it a try!
Q. Would you do anything differently?
A. We would plan more heaters in the marquee as it was pretty cold and our food menu a bit better (the salmon roulades fell apart!) but other than that, we wouldn’t change a thing!

Tips and Advice for others

Q. How would you describe Hargate Hall?
A. BEST WEDDING VENUE EVER!!! It made our wedding weekend what we wanted, which was absolutely perfect for us! We had so many guests compliment us on our choice of venue too. Thank you Julie and Anthony for providing such an amazing place.
Q. And finally, because we are different to a lot of other venues, do you have any advice to others starting out on their wedding planning?
A. Check lists are great. Work out a budget and try and stick with it. Get a few quotes and shop around for stuff. It’s so easy to overspend or get carried away! We got a popcorn machine for a few hours, our one indulgence…we wouldn’t bother in hindsight. Ask others on the Hargate face book page for advice, it is great for that!
We are both quite chilled people (much to my mums’ annoyance!) and of the mind frame that if anything went wrong to just go along and take it in our stride. At the end of the day as long as the ceremony went ahead, and our loved ones were there to share our special day with us, that was all that really mattered to us!

Thank you both very much for your answers. If anyone would like to know more please comment below!

wedding interviews

October 5, 2017
by Hargatehall

Peak District EQM

We are  delighted to announce that Hargate Hall now holds the Peak District Environmental Quality Mark (EQM). “What’s all that about?” I hear you ask. The Environmental Quality Mark CIC runs the award on behalf of the Peak District National Park Authority. So to quote a bit from their website

The Peak District National Park Authority presents the EQM award to organisations that:

  • support the local economy
  • protect the global environment
  • enhance the local environment
  • invest in people and communities
  • celebrate what’s special about the Peak District National ParkPeak District EQM logo 


What do we do to get the Peak District EQM?

Essentially we look at everything we do and buy to see if we can improve, but with a local and environmental focus. For us this covers things like having the biomass boiler (covered in a previous post ). This has significantly reduces our CO2 emissions. We aim to buy from local shops and business and also to use environmentally friendly products where possible and practical. Also, we hope that guests staying here, will explore the local area, and support local businesses by buying from them.

If you would like to find out more about the award then have a look at these 2 websites.  www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/looking-after/eqm and www.eqm.org.uk/peakdistrict

Even better, support some of the other EQM businesses. Attached is a list of EQM award holders


April 10, 2017
by Hargatehall

Peak District Wedding for Jo and Simon

Looking for a Peak District Wedding Venue

Q. Hello, can you tell me a bit about you both?
A. My name is Jo and I am from Matlock in Derbyshire and my husband’s name is Simon. He is from London and we both live and work in London at the moment.
Q. How long had you been engaged for before you started looking for a wedding venue?
A. Simon and I got engaged in January 2015. He proposed to me at my favourite place in London, St Paul’s Cathedral. We started looking for a Peak District wedding venue straight away as we were very excited to get married and knew that venues can take a long time to find and are often booked up very quickly.
Q. When you were searching for a venue, what were you looking for and where?
A. We were looking for a venue close to Matlock in Derbyshire, in the Peak District, that was relaxed and that we could do everything ourselves. Our main google words were Peak District wedding venue, countryside, Derbyshire, rustic, vintage, DIY, relaxed, unique.
Q. What appealed about Hargate Hall when you first found us?
A. Everything. We absolutely fell in love with it. From the location – in the beautiful Peak District countryside, right next to Miller’s Dale – to the relaxed, unique, fun feel of the venue. We loved the main hall, with the beautiful wood and classic stairwell, we loved the fun and vintage style of the upstairs lounge, which Simon immediately fell in love with as he saw it as his whiskey and cheese room, we loved that the marquee allows for a separate venue for the food and we loved the fire pit. Most of all we loved the feel of the Hall – it had so much character, yet still maintained its classic style.

Planning the Wedding

Q. What did you think when you first came to look around? (i.e. better, worse, or same as you expected?
A. Definitely better than we thought. So much bigger and more stylish. Also the grounds were really beautiful.
Q. Did you have any doubts or concerns letting yourself in for compared to a “traditional” Peak District wedding venue?
A. No we were very keen on having a unique DIY venue. We did realise though that we would have to think very carefully about the logistics of how we would make everything work. The things we were most concerned about were the bar and the food. The bar we were worried about how we get bar staff, the amount of glasses we needed in the two venues and how we would wash glasses. We ended up with more glasses than we used without washing any so we planned well. In regards to the food, we were getting married off site so were concerned about the caterers arriving at the venue with none of the party to meet them or help them set up. This again turned out all fine.

The Wedding

Q. What was your plan for your Peak District Wedding Weekend?
A. We planned for the set-up party arrived as early as possible on the Friday to set the marquee, decorate the hall, receive the Tesco order, set the bar and sort the rooms for everyone. Simon was then doing a Ragu for guests arriving that evening and I went home to Matlock for an early night and to get ready for the wedding day. On the morning of the wedding, my bridesmaids and I got ready at our cottage in Matlock and Simon got ready at Hargate hall. A bus took everyone to the church in Cromford for the wedding ceremony and returned to Hargate afterwards. We provided vintage champagne glasses for all of our guests (from charity shops) as gifts and as they arrived we filled them with French champagne.

Jo and Simon at Hargate Hall, a Peak District Wedding venue

Jo and Simon’s wedding at Hargate Hall

After that, we had our local curry house cater and they brought around samosas and starters in the hall. Then we had speeches straight away so that everyone could relax and have a big party straight after. We served curry and wine in the Marquee and then the band started and we danced most of the night. We had sparklers outside in the band interlude and after they had finished we lit a fire and had marshmallows around the fire.
On Sunday, we had a big breakfast cooked by my dad, followed by a walk at Millers Dale with a pub lunch. (followed by lots of cleaning!)

After the Wedding

Q. Did everything go to plan?
A. Most things went to plan. We had less time to set up as most of the people who were going to help us set up only arrived as the guests were arriving due to traffic on the M1. This meant a couple of things that we had planned did not get done and everything was quite rushed. Also many people were a little worst for wears on the Sunday so we did not have the full capacity of people helping us clean up. Apart from that everything ran perfectly.
Q. Was it more, or less effort, than you thought and was it worth it?
A. It was certainly more effort that we thought it was. I think that was more because of the time you are allowed in to set up the venue (4pm is quite late to set up everything when the wedding is the next day and guest arrive on site from about 7.30) added to the number of people we had helping us set up, given the traffic. It was definitely worth it though! Without a shadow of a doubt.
Q. Would you do anything differently?
A. I think in hindsight I would have paid for an extra day to have the hall or the marquee. With this, we could have had a more relaxed and less stressful setup.  As I say, 4pm was just not really enough time to sort the marquee, bar, hall, cheese and wine room, gin room and everyone’s accommodation when guests arrive that evening).

Tips and Advice for a Peak District Wedding

Q. How would you describe Hargate Hall?
A. Beautiful, interesting, original, stylish, fun and above all one of a kind!
Q. And finally, because we are different to a lot of other venues, do you have any advice to others starting out on their wedding planning?
A. My advice for planning a wedding would always be to make your wedding true to yourselves – that is why Hargate is perfect! It takes a lot more time and effort than a package wedding, but it is worth it. You can make your wedding unique and individually you.
My advice to planning a wedding at Hargate Hall is as follows:

  1. Get as many people as possible to help decorate and clean up. We were so rushed doing it on the Friday, that loads of bits had to be abandoned.
  2. Do as much as you can before you arrive. We did most before we arrived on the decoration front – but signs and directions had to be abandoned as we just didn’t have time in the end. It definitely didn’t matter but worth remembering.
  3. Have point people for every part of the day and have a sheet with all their numbers and tasks – this worked really, really, well and took the stress off.
  4. If you are using the marquee for food make sure your caterers call Julie or Anthony to talk gas etc. so you aren’t sorting on the day
  5. Make sure you have people for the clean-up as on a hangover it is pretty tough work!
  6. Remember to tell people to bring towels.


Thank you both very much for your time. I am sure others will find your advice very helpful.

wedding interviews