We decided on a micro / just the two of us / elopement type of Wedding and picked The Grange at Oborne for its picturesque, hidden-away, romantic, countryside feel.
It was a perfect day, and a perfect stay! I couldn’t have wished for more. I’m still on cloud nine!
From the very first tentative email I sent outlining our ideas for our wedding, to checking out, the whole experience was wonderful.
It is a very special, family run hotel. Not at all like a chain hotel (I think “Best Western Hotels” are more like a membership/affiliation type of thing because the hotel is still owned by the family themselves.) The welcome and attention we received was so friendly and warm and the hotel was spotlessly clean and comfortable, even managing to feel homely in the lounge. When we first visited back in January there was a lovely open fire, and last week (early September 2019) when we arrived (in time for Sunday Lunch - highly recommended!) the doors were open to the beautifully landscaped sunny gardens.
Our room was traditionally furnished, in keeping with the old building, boasting a four poster bed, fire place, large outdoor balcony covered in Wisteria (bet it looks amazing in April/May!) - beautifully tiled bathroom too.
The WiFi was mostly fair - good, but the thick stone walls were sometimes an issue. Rural internet isn’t great anyway, but to be perfectly honest, it worked well enough to send wedding pics and videos to family, and I wasn’t wanting to stream Netflix on my honeymoon anyway!
The restaurant was OUT OF THIS WORLD. Hands down the best hotel restaurant food we have ever eaten (and my husband was a very good chef). The menu changes daily and there was always something to tempt and delight us on the menu. The restaurant is unsurprisingly popular so make sure you book! I rather like the way the restaurant does things at The Grange. They seat you in the lounge, serve drinks there and take your order, and when your food is ready seat you in the restaurant. It’s a relaxing and nice way of doing things and adds to the dining experience. The wine list is very good, and the service is exceptional. Young enthusiastic staff, very welcoming.
Breakfast was incredible - I’ve never seen so much choice! I recommend the home made granola, crunchy and a bit chewy - delicious! The full English was fantastic as was the continental breakfast we ate in our room (meats, cheeses, fruit, pastries... YUM!) Every single meal we ate there was utterly delicious, without exception. If you are lucky enough to visit, make sure to try the home made ice cream (OMG)
Our micro-wedding was perfect. The Grange probably do a lot of much larger weddings than ours (I noticed a beautiful, large banqueting room) but we were perfectly accommodated in their Wessex Room for the ceremony (wood panelled, heavily curtained with chandeliers). It felt intimate, classic and romantic. We even had our Spotify wedding playlist on low in the background. The Dorset Registrars who came out to marry us were fantastic too, very friendly and warm.
It poured with rain that day (Advice for brides (and/or grooms!) - bring a lighted mirror, as I did, for make up) which was a bit of a shame since the gardens are beautiful for pictures, but The Grange has a large conservatory area which was actually quite brilliant for photos. We wanted everything no-fuss/ low-key (and we were on a budget) so instead of a photographer we opted for phone camera selfies! The staff helped us with these, recording the ceremony on my phone while taking pics with the other phone! We even got a group shot with a selfie stick. Lots of fun!
We even had two of the hotel staff act as our witnesses! And that brings me to the main reason you should visit The Grange...the staff...
THE STAFF AT THE GRANGE ARE THE BEST! Particularly Kirsty, and the husband and wife managers, Jonathan and Jenny. They were incredible, so welcoming, warm and friendly, that it actually felt a bit like staying with old friends! The little romantic touches made us feel so special, writing words of congratulations on our dessert plates in chocolate, putting our wedding flowers on our restaurant table, opening champagne for us after the wedding, throwing confetti over us for pictures with their charming daughters... never have we stayed anywhere and felt as relaxed, indulged and thoroughly spoilt as we did at The Grange. We plan to go back every year on our anniversary. It couldn’t have been more perfect and I have zero hesitation in recommending them for an over night, a lovely long stay, or your own special day!