BUSYBRIDES INTRODUCES YOU TO A NEW WEDDING VENUE IN BERKSHIRE
Monkey Island Estate is a historic hotel and now open to accept wedding bookings and BusyBrides had the pleasure to be invited to be shown around this this luxury wedding venue only shortly after their reopening in April.
As I drove towards the venue it took me through the historic village of Bray, which initially reminded me of driving through the Cotswolds, with brilliantly coloured trees and foliage in blazing bloom already the appeal of getting married here starts way before you even arrive to the island.
Accessed only by footbridge, boat or helicopter and surrounded by elegant gardens, I took the entrance via the footbridge and immediately I could see this vision of beauty, like I was entering Berkshires answer to a paradise island and if like me you are a nature lover, you can get up close to all the wildlife that wander freely around the island.
Originally a medieval monastery, the beautiful grounds and the views across rivers from all sides gives you the perfect setting for a dream countryside wedding day.
This adult only Wedding Venue is set across 7 acres of lush green lawns and beatifically manicured gardens, down river of Bray village, this hotel has been the haunt of monarchs, aristocrats and artists, along with writers, famous performers as well as the locals.
It is close to Windsor and also to the boating hotspots of Henley and Marlow but if boating is not your thing, Bray is the only village in the UK that boasts a staggering 4 Michelin starred restaurants in just one town, so this is certainly a place to visit to enjoy unforgettable culinary delights
The entire estate has been lovingly renovated by the award winning Champalimaud Design that has a beautiful contemporary feel whilst keeping the original features of this 18th century property.
With a talent for the application of colour, pattern, texture and a seasoned understanding of the foundations and principals of classic design, no crevice or corner has been missed but renovated with stunning wallpapers and highly desirable designs to leave you wanting to stay longer.
There are two locations on site that you can get married.
Firstly there is a permanent structure, above, right in the middle of the island between the hotel and the brasserie that will leave you and your guests wanting to soak in the views long after the ceremony has ended.
Or if you prefer to be inside (or if the weather turns), the River Room sits out over the river with three walls of windows, floor to ceiling that provides the most amazing views, so if your eyes were set on an outside wedding and you found it to be raining that day, you would not be left with any disappointment.
As a wedding planner, I can visually see that the way this has all be renovated and laid out it works perfectly for any wedding day. The walk towards the ceremony on its own with its perfectly manicured trees either side just gives you the grand entrance you could only dream off right from the start.
After your ceremony, you have oodles of places to hold your welcome drinks, either on the lush green lawns or the vast patio with chairs set out ready for your guests use not to mention the monkey island brassiere where your guests can soak up those amazing views and wildlife that frequent the island, whilst you enjoy all the land has to offer for your photos.
As you move on to your wedding breakfast you enter the spacious Marlborough Ballroom, named after the 3rd Duke of Marlborough who bought the land back in 1723. Again beautifully renovated to such a high end finish with those stunning views you have certainly come accustomed to since you entered this incredible island.
I don’t know about you, but if I get a hotel room, it can as large as likes, but without a view, I’m always underwhelmed. This is another element that just makes me fall in love with this wedding venue as every single room on Monkey Island comes with its own amazing views across the river and the island. In addition to that, your stay at Monkey Island Estate is so much more than a room with a view as you can also make full use a number of stylish and relaxing spaces including the famous The Monkey Room, The Monkey Bar, The Whisky Snug, picturesque terrace and thoughtfully designed grounds.
EXCLUSIVE WEDDING HIRE
If you want complete privacy, the positive here is that Monkey Island can be hired exclusively for you and your party. i imagine music to your ears for a private celebrity wedding. YTL will be offering an exclusive package where the happy couple get to stay in the beautiful Wedgewood Suite, below, which is a Grade One listed suite providing picturesque views of the Estate and the River Thames, which has a master bedroom and separate seating area, dressing room and en-suite. Then you get the remainder of the rooms within the hotel to share between your family and friends to stay.
To grab an exclusive deal the package consists of a headcount of 100 that includes 5 canapés per person and 2 glasses of champagne throughout your welcome drinks, followed by a 3 course stunning menu to choose from, half a bottle of wine per person throughout their meal, mineral water, their toast drinks in readiness for your speeches, plus as a extra little touch, they provide midnight snacks in the Wedgewood suite for the happy couple.
Lets not forget to mention that there is a stunning purpose built Floating Spa barge situated at the end of a beautiful floral pathway, where treatments are enhanced by the gentle movement of water and the happy couple receive a 5 star complementary luxury spa treatment. If you like the sound of exclusive use and spa treatments, then this dreamy luxury wedding venue is a must see for your special day. However, as with any wedding venue, exclusivity obviously comes at a price.
NON-EXCLUSIVE HIRE OPTIONS
You can of course have a non-exclusive package which is comes at a cheaper cost, it will give you everything that the exclusive deal with offer you in terms of package at a minimum spend, and still offers you the River Room and the Marlborough rooms exclusively, but you just have to share the rest of the island with other guests staying within the hotel.
For those of you that love a marquee, and us included, there are options to hire the land in front of the hotel by request.
If you find that the hotel rooms do not provide enough space for your guests there are also private residences that you or your guests could hire during your wedding celebration. The accommodation of the private residences are in keeping with their classic character against the backdrop of the delightful village of Bray. My favourite being Lavender House
As if all of this does not sound temping enough, you have the resident award winning Chef, Will Hemming, serving up modern British menus.
Whilst I were there I dined at the Monkey Island Brassiere where I enjoyed the most delicious Windsor & Eton Ale Battered Fish and chips which was bursting with flavour, whilst also enjoying the views across the river and watching the likes of sunseekers and princess yachts passing by.
Even as a visitor you can enjoy champagne and exquisite food whilst gazing at the playful frescoes that date from the 1730’s or take yourself of to the spa, located on Monkey Island’s purpose built spa barge, where treatments are enhanced by the gentle movement of water
I could have spent the entire day here just enjoying and exploring the various areas of the island that Monkey Island Estate has to offer and watching all the baby ducklings, signets and goslings milling around basking in the sun. I’ve not even had the chance to share with you the history that this island boasts, this is another blog all on its own, but if you are into your history, then do look up Monkey Island on Wikipedia.
BusyBrides would like to extend their thanks to the lovely events team member who took their time to show me around this stunning wedding venue, all ready to temp you with a first class service and a beautiful picture perfect wedding. I have no doubt that this venue will get booked up very quickly.
Here are some more pictures I snapped on the day