The Wedding Supplier Interviews: Episode 8
East Sussex Wedding Photographer, Peter Prior has been recommended as a preferred Grand Hotel Wedding Photographer for over 20 years. During that time he has photographed in excess of 50 weddings at this magnificent wedding venue.
The Grand Hotel in Eastbourne is the highest rated 5 Star coastal hotel in the UK and always offers the friendliest welcome and service around as well as the highest standards in all areas you’d expect from such an establishment.
Although pretty amazing all year round, being located at the pretty end of the seafront, Peter loves shooting Christmas weddings at the Grand Hotel. Its amazing Christmas Trees and main fireplace always add to the atmosphere.
Today Peter speaks with Billie-Jo Clarke the Events Office Manager at the Grand Hotel about the hotel and weddings in particular.
Peter: Please can you tell me a little about the Hotel and what it offers.
Billie-Jo: Where could be more romantic to celebrate a white wedding or civil partnership than at The White Palace, as The Grand is affectionately known, one of the most beautiful wedding venues in Sussex.
Couples have been tying the knot at The Grand for generations, seduced by its old world charm, elegance and style. Enticed by our fabulous reception rooms, superb cuisine and co-ordinators at every stage, helping you chose from the various wedding packages; making certain your wedding or civil partnership is unique to you. We are licensed for civil ceremonies and partnerships, which together with our superb reception rooms and catering create the most perfect of wedding venues in Eastbourne or the whole of Sussex.
From the architectural splendour of the Compton Room to the spectacular Silverdale Room, whether your wedding or civil partnership is a small family affair or an event on a grand scale, we have the setting, and most of all the experience, to make your most important of days truly memorable. And where better to spend the first night of a honeymoon than in one of our sumptuous suites with breathtaking views overlooking the sea. If you’re looking for a luxury wedding venue in East Sussex that truly understands the meaning of the word “grand”, there’s only one choice.
Peter: What sets you a part from your competitors? Why should couples book your venue particular?
Billie-Jo: The Grand Hotel is the only 5 star costal town hotel in the UK.
Peter: How many weddings a year do you host?
Billie-Jo: Approximately 50 wedding every year from intimate weddings to large weddings accommodating 180 guests.
Peter: Can brides contact you at the moment and how can you help them to view the hotel? (Do you offer video show rounds etc?)
Billie-Jo: At present due to the coronavirus we have a reduced skeleton team including the events office manager, me Billie-Jo, who will be more than happy to help answer any questions in regards to their special wedding day. Once the global pandemic has settled and we are back to normal life we will be most certainly offering show arounds for our interested future couples.
Peter: Do you have any exciting new offerings in the pipeline for 2021 and beyond i.e. new products/services etc
Billie-Jo: We are certainly planning on revealing a new offer for 2021 – keep your eyes pealed!
Peter: I expect you’ve been super busy re arranging weddings and events for your poor clients. How have you found it?
Billie-Jo: Couples have been very understanding when postponing and we booking their wedding and the Grand Hotel has been very accommodating in helping our couples move their wedding date to a future date free of charge.
Peter: Do you have any particular wedding story that stands out?
Billie-Jo: Here’s a excerpt from a recent Blog post on the hotel’s website
“From the initial venue enquiry in February 2018, to a spectacular wedding celebration in glorious sunshine-drenched Eastbourne in August 2019, the planning time span of Stephen & Lewis’s big day was about the 18 months average, and that is most definitely where ‘average’ disappeared…
The gents wanted the wedding of the year to be remembered by all their guests, and went about its planning in exquisite detail, element-by-element with the Events Team at The Grand Hotel Eastbourne with a mix of tradition and a generous helping of ‘because we can’ …and of course you can. The experience and expertise of the entire team at this five star venue ensures every detail, dream and diva’s desire are made to happen.
With a beautiful Art Deco theme, and their own monogram created, the S&L brand was born. The branding flowed seemlessly throughout the entire wedding journey from a bespoke aisle runner, table plan, seating cards, monogrammed mirror coasters and charger plates, wedding favours and more.
Guests were on board wearing 1920’s inspired outfits too, a fabulous sea of black, white, jade and silver on the Grand’s Putting Green for a post ceremony alfresco drinks & canapés reception whilst the newlyweds whizzed off in their vintage Rolls Royce (Stephen’s uncle runs a chauffeuring service) for some seaside photos.
60 guests then made their way to the huge balcony of the hotel’s Presidential Suite for confetti canons and drone footage, to wow the returning newlyweds – amazing footage captured the occasion with a direct sea view backdrop. It’s what perfect planning delivers.
Enter quote of the day (apart from “I do” obviously!),
“Stop everything! I’ve left my crown in the car”
The Events Office ground to a halt whilst said crown was found and replaced on Lewis’s head – and the wedding breakfast can begin.
The Compton Room, the hotel’s original ballroom, with its feature pillars and intricate ceiling cornicing (dance floor, stage & bar too) is simply stunning, ideal to host the most special of occasions. Smoked duck breast to start, slow-cooked Persian style lamb roulade followed by butterscotch pecan tarte, cheeses, coffee & petits fours were the choices from the menu tasting back in April this year, intermingled with traditional speeches brimming with emotion and happiness.
Speaking of brimming… did we mention the specially monogrammed Champagne saucers, built into an impressive Champagne Tower by the Grand’s Conference & Banqueting Team? They wanted memorable, and with the evening’s live band, Marilyn Monroe lookalike performance, show girls, more confetti canons, dry ice and a specially constructed moon shape poser chair, this celebration will go down in the history of the Grand full of life and love. Demanding? A little (it’s your day; demanding what you want is what we want too!) Memorable? Without a doubt.
“Thank you for making the best day of our lives, I hope the best of all our guests’ too”
The grooms, and many of their guests had already planned to extend the celebration by staying at the hotel another night or two which is a popular trend. After all, we are a resort town, full of things to do while the highs of such an incredible event soak in. Relax and reflect with much love and the sincerest of congratulations enveloping Mr & Mr on their married life together.
“The Grand has made an indelible mark on our hearts, thank you all”
Weddings at the Grand Hotel start from £6,000… from this you can add any amount of sparkle and upgrades as you wish. To make your own enquiries and to book a show around the unique celebration rooms at the hotel, please call our friendly Events Team on 01323 412345
Peter: Please offer a tip or piece of advice for brides and grooms considering booking the service you offer. i.e. what to look out for,/questions to ask/things to avoid etc
Billie-Jo: As wedding coordinators, we will always highly recommend coming into the hotel for a show around and to discuss face to face all the couples’ requirements. That way, we can build up a positive and strong relationship from the start.
Planning your own wedding is a mammoth task therefore we would always advise making a timescale list to keep you on track.
Peter: I have to agree about coming into the hotel for a show round. Once inside there is nothing like it!
To contact Billie-Jo and her team at the Grand Hotel please call 01323 412345 or check out the website here.
+44 (0) 7590 983418
East Sussex Wedding Photographer Peter Prior has developed an international reputation for an exciting and unobtrusive approach to covering the wedding day.
Peter shoots a blend of contemporary, reportage, documentary and fine art wedding photography, and his work has been described as having a "certain timeless elegance".