FAQ's - Frequently Asked Questions

 

BOOKING

Can we visit St Donat's Castle before we book our wedding?
Yes, you are welcome to visit St Donat's Castle to view as a potential wedding venue.  Please be aware St Donat's Castle and its grounds are private and viewings are strictly by appointment.  You can contact the events team to arrange a viewing which we offer between 9am-4pm Monday to Friday.
 
What is the booking process?
Once you have received the details on weddings at St Donat's Castle and have met with a member of our events team, we are able to reserve a date for you with no commitment for up to 2 weeks. This allows you time to book the registrar (which we recommend doing as soon as possible) and to enquire with other suppliers, check the date with close family and friends and discuss if we are the venue for you; after 2 weeks a decision is required or we will release the date held.
If you choose to confirm, we send across a contract and an invoice for a deposit of 25% of the venue hire. The final payment for venue hire is then required 6 months before your wedding date.  We accept BACS, debit, credit and cheque payments, unfortunately we do not accept amex.
 
What is your cancellation policy?
Our cancellation policy is outlined below, but if you would like to see our full terms and conditions please ask our events team for a copy of our contract:
All cancellations by the client must be made in writing to Atlantic College and formally acknowledged. In the event of a booking being cancelled for whatever reason the following charges will apply:
- Less than 2 weeks notice of cancellation: 100% of estimated account to include the beverage allowance
- Less than 4 weeks before function date: 80% of estimated account to include the beverage allowance
- Between 4 weeks and 12 weeks before the event: 50% of estimated account to include the beverage allowance
- Between 24 weeks and 12 weeks before event: 20% of estimated account to include the beverage
- 24+ weeks loss of venue hire deposit.
These terms may be waived if space can be re-let at no disadvantage to Atlantic College

 

CEREMONY

Can we have a civil ceremony at St Donat's Castle?
Yes, we have a licence for outdoor and indoor ceremonies from 12.30pm which you can book at an additional fee. 
Should you choose an indoor ceremony, this will be held in the Bradenstoke Hall.
Should you choose to have your ceremony outdoors, this is held in the Inner Courtyard but is weather dependent. If the ground is too wet or the forecast is uncertain we will decide for you to hold this inside of the Bradenstoke Hall instead.
To book your registrar, you will need to contact the Vale of Glamorgan Council, as well as your local council if you live in a different county. 
 
Can we book to get married at St Donat's Church?
St Donat’s Church belongs to the Church of Wales and is a quaint 12th century church on the grounds of St Donat’s Castle and holds approximately 80 guests, but can accommodate up to 100 with standing guests.
For larger parties we recommend St Illtud's in Llantwtit Major.

If you are interested in marrying at St Donat’s Church or St Illtud's Church you need to make contact with the Rectorial Benefice of Llantwit Major, and their contact details are:
Alison Weston
Parish Administrator
01446 792439
rblm2013@gmail.com
www.llanilltud.org.uk
Their working hours are Monday to Friday, 9am to 2.30pm.  

 

Can we have a humanist ceremony or blessing at St Donat's Castle?
Yes, if you would rather not opt for a civil ceremony, we happily accommodate humanist ceremonies and blessings which you will need to provide your own celebrant for. These can be held in either the Inner Courtyard (weather permitting) or the Bradenstoke Hall at an additional fee.
 
Should we provide music for our ceremony at St Donat's Castle?
The Bradenstoke Hall has a PA system built into the room which can be used for ceremony music. To use this you must provide your own music player that has an auxiliary jack such as an iPod.
If you marry in the Inner Courtyard, you must provide your own music system as we do not have a portable PA system; due to the acoustics a standard music system such as a CD player works fine and we can provide power access for this.
Of course, you can instead have live ceremony music such as a string quartet which you must arrange directly; should you need any recommendations on live ceremony music providers please visit our recommended suppliers page or speak to a member of our events team.
 
Can we throw confetti or petals after the ceremony at St Donat's Castle?
We only allow the use of natural and bio-degradable confetti or rose petals to be thrown outdoors.

 

 

DRINKS RECEPTION

Can we have our drinks reception outdoors?
In ideal weather, the drinks reception will be held outdoors on the Top Lawn, where there is also seating, tables and umbrellas for some guests, as well as space for you to provide garden games should you wish.
If the weather is not suitable for an outdoors drinks reception, this will be held inside the Great Hall where there is a small selection of seating available.
 
How long does a drinks reception last?
A drinks reception usually lasts between 1.5-2 hours.  During this time, your photographer will have the opportunity to take a variety of photos around the grounds and seafront at St Donat's Castle, as well as photos of your wedding guests.
 
Can we have music playing at our drinks reception?
Yes, you are welcome to provide live performers for your drinks reception such as a string quartet or choir. For anything substantially louder please discuss this directly with our events team first.
You can also provide your own music system to play music and we can provide power access for this.

 

Can we provide our own food and drink for the drinks reception?
All food and beverage is exclusively provided by our catering partners Town and Country Catering. Whilst they do not allow corkage, they are flexible and will be as accommodating to your needs and ideas as possible.

 

WEDDING BREAKFAST

Where is the wedding breakfast held?
The wedding breakfast is held in the Bradenstoke Hall, which can accommodate up to 150 guests seated - you are required to have a minimum of 90 guests. 
On selected dates, the Dining Hall may be available as an alternative room and can seat up to 220 guests and requires a minimum of 150 guests; an additional fee would apply to hire the Dining Hall.

 

Do you provide tables and chairs for a wedding breakfast in the Bradenstoke Hall?
Yes, for a wedding breakfast in the Bradenstoke Hall we provide round banqueting tables as well as trestle tables for a straight top table.
We have the following number of tables for you to work with for your seating plan:
- 14 tables suitable for 8 per table
- 10 tables suitable for 10 per table
- 1 table suitable for 12 per table
- 6 trestle tables suitable for 12 in total.
If you opt for a round top table, we use the table of 12 for this to allow you more comfort.
The Bradenstoke Hall can hold 14 banqueting tables with a straight top table, or 15 round tables with one of these being the top table.
We also provide banqueting chairs, which we recommend hiring in chair covers for. Should you choose to hire in an alternative chair we would be happy to recommend suppliers for you or you can visit our recommended suppliers page.  For hiring alternative chairs, these must be delivered on the day of your wedding from 9am and collected the following day by 9am if there is another wedding or event that day. Your supplier will need to contact us in advance to discuss access to the Bradenstoke Hall.
Our tables and chairs are inclusive of the venue hire price.
 
Do you provide tables and chairs for a wedding breakfast in the Dining Hall?
Yes, in the Dining Hall we have traditional straight tables and chairs for up to 200 guests; these tables and chairs must be used for your wedding breakfast. Due to the nature of the tables we cannot remove any from the Dining Hall and the chairs used must be those provided. Should you wish to provide chairs covers for these, please check with your supplier to ensure what they provide is a suitable size and fit.

 

What if we want to hire long tables for our wedding breakfast in the Bradenstoke Hall?
The Dining Hall is a perfect layout for a wedding breakfast using straight tables.  Should you wish to have straight tables in the Bradenstoke Hall instead, you would need to hire in these tables and instruct your supplier to deliver these on the day and collect the following day by 9am if we have another event that day. The Bradenstoke Hall can accommodate up to 100 guests on straight tables.
 
What time is the wedding breakfast and how long does this last?
Once your ceremony has finished (and your guests have arrived at St Donat's Castle if your ceremony is off-site) your drinks reception will begin. This lasts approximately 1.5-2hrs which is then followed by your wedding breakfast.  The wedding breakfast and speeches can last between 1.5-2.5hrs depending on your party size and the number of speeches.
 
Do you provide highchairs that we can use?
Yes, we have 8 highchairs which you can use. Please let us know on your seating plan where these are required so we can ensure they are setup in the correct place ahead of time.

 

Who provides the catering for weddings at St Donat's Castle?
All catering is provided by our nominated catering partners Town and Country Catering who bring a wealth of experience in fine dining.  Whilst Town and Country have a selection of menus for you to choose from, please feel free to discuss with them any bespoke catering needs you may have.

 

Do you cater for special dietary requirements and offer a menu tasting?
Our caterers will happily cater for all special dietary requirements and also offer a wedding tasting at one of their hotels. For all catering questions, please contact the External Catering Manager of Town and Country on les@townandcountrycollective.co.uk.

 

 

EVENING PARTY

Where is the evening party held and what time?
The evening party is always held in the Bradenstoke Hall. Most couples invite their evening guests from 7.30pm, but you may want to do this earlier or later depending on what time your ceremony began.

 

How many guests can we invite to the party?
You can invite up to 200 guests for your evening party. 
There will be a less formal setup in the Bradenstoke Hall, however there will not be seating for all evening guests (who should be on the dance floor anyway!)

 

What evening entertainment are we allowed?
A band or DJ are most popular with our couples, and the staging allows convenience for your band or DJ to setup on.  Please ask your entertainment to send our events team their PAT certificates and PLI ahead of your wedding day.
 
Can we use a smoke machine?
Due to our fire alarm system, we do not allow smoke machines. We do however allow dry ice machines which allow a great photo opportunity for that first dance,

 

What lighting is there for the evening party?
The main lights of the Bradenstoke Hall will be turned off and we setup table lamps on the windowsills. We do recommend you hire in uplighters for additional lighting as well as your evening entertainment providing disco lighting.

 

What time does the party end?
Last orders are at 11.45pm, music finishes and the bar closes at 12am.

 

DECORATING THE VENUE

When can we, and the suppliers, have access to decorate the venue?
Suppliers are permitted access from 10am on the day to setup, with chair delivery companies access from 9am when previously arranged.  Due to the summer being our only event season, we usually have consecutive events which therefore doesn't allow access the day before your wedding day to setup.

 

Do we decorate the venue ourselves?
Anything that is non-perishable such as your place names etc, we ask that you drop off to the events team a few days before your wedding. When we meet with you we will discuss in detail how you would like this setup and we will happily take care of this on the day for you, as long as it is within reason of what one person can do in a 1.5-2 hour time frame. If you are bringing more decoration to personalise the venue for your day, we may require assistance from your wedding party to setup.
 
When can the cake and flowers be delivered?
Anything perishable such as flowers and cake must be delivered on they day and setup by the supplier after 10am.  As a reminder, if your ceremony is on-site with us, legally you cannot have any food or drink in your ceremony room which includes your cake - therefore please arrange delivery of your cake for after your ceremony has ended.

 

Are we allowed candles, balloons and hanging decorations?
We must respect the history and character of this beautiful 12th century castle, and therefore we do not allow any decorations to be hung from any of the walls in the castle.  The exception of this is around the windowpane you will find three hooks which can be used for hanging decoration.
We do not allow real candles inside the castle; LED alternative candles are permitted.
Due to the height of the ceilings, we do not allow helium filled balloons indoors - once one escapes, we just can't get it back!

 

Do you provide an easel for our seating plan?
Yes, we have a wrought iron easel that works best with a seating plan that is A1 or bigger in portrait orientation.
 
Do you provide a cake stand and knife?
Yes, we have silver square and round cake stands (30cm diameter) and a silver knife.

 

Can we have fireworks, Chinese lanterns or sparklers?
To respect our environment we do not allow fireworks or Chinese lanterns.
We do allow sparklers for outdoor use only, but ask you provide a bucket that we can fill with water to extinguish the sparklers.

 

LOGISTICS

Can my photographer visit beforehand?
Yes of course, please feel free to ask your photographer to contact us and we can arrange a visit and show them the 'hot spots'.
 
Where can the wedding car drive?
The wedding car can drive as far as under the portcullis of the castle.  The wedding car can also drive down to the barracks to get you nearer to coast for some more photos!
 
How big is the visitor car park? Can guests leave their cars overnight?
Our visitor car park can accommodate around 60 cars, but don't fret, there are other parking areas and our parking attendant on the day will be able to manage and direct your guests.  We do not allow cars to be left overnight.

 

Can our guests arrive by mini bus or coach?
Yes, we often have coaches and most local coach firms will know where we are. If you need any recommendations please do get in touch with our events team.

 

Can you help us with local taxi numbers?
Yes, we have a document we can send across. We do recommend where possible on your invitations, to instruct guests to book their taxis in advance of your wedding day.

 

Can we drop off decorations to you before our wedding day?
Yes, we ask you to meet with us 1-3 days before your wedding with all your non-perishable decorations and instructions of how you would like these to be setup.  We will store these and set these up for you on your big day.

 

When do we collect our decorations?
Anything left overnight is done so at your own risk, we therefore ask that you take as much with you as possible after your evening party has finished. Anything left we will gather and leave in the room for you; if we have another event the next day this must be collected by 9am.
Where can our guests smoke?
Due to smoking in schools legislation, we are a non-smoking campus. Therefore, should your guests want to smoke, they will need to do this on the main road outside off the college campus.