I'm hoping to arrange a viewing of Belleek Castle, we are in England so wanted to find out others experiences first before booking a trip over.
I think the castle looks amazing and full of character but have a few concerns / questions if anyone can help...
- The ceremony room (usually their Library Restaurant) looks quite small / dark - we will have approx. 120 people. I can't find many pictures of the room online set up for a large ceremony, can the room comfortably fit 120 with guests being able to see what's going on? I've seen there's a balcony higher up in the room, are some guests expected to stand up there?
- The banqueting hall (for dinner) looks spacious but again quite dark, is it TOO dark? We would have it set up with round tables, and I think they have uplighters in the room.
- Where is the dance floor? I read a review which said the dance floor and bar were quite separate and people were quite spread out
- Are there any outside spaces where a small gazebo / marquee could be put up - just incase guests would rather go outside between the ceremony and dinner?
- Looking at photos online there don't seem to be many pictures outside in the grounds, are they quite plain / not much going on?
- Does it need much decoration?
Thanks - any other info that you think might be helpful please feel free to add
Hi! We went to see Belleek before choosing our own venue. It is quite hard to understand the lay out without seeing it! The castle as a whole is quite dark because of the style of it dark wood etc but I wouldnt say its too dark it kind of fits the style of the castle. The ceremony room is quite small. From memory, sitting room isnt for that many people maybe 60-80 then everyone else would need to stand upstairs on the balcony. The function room is downstairs in the basement is probably the best description. There is a stairs down to it and halfway down the stairs is a small bar that serves drink and would be the quiet bar away from the loud music later in the night if that makes sense. I remember the guy saying that they find a lot of the oldet crowd sit at that bar. Then you conti ue down the stairs into the 'basement' function room. It has a window in the roof in one section so isnt too dark. It is set up with tables for dinner and then after dinner the tables are cleared to make a dance floor. From memory there is a bar in the basement so its in the same room as the dance floor. Basically once you go down to the basement, its your normal function room layout with a bar if that makes sense. Its a lovely room with some really unique parts to it. Definitely room to put your own stamp on it but equally it would be fine with just the ivy leaves around the room that the castle provides. Outside there is a sloping garden at the front that i dont think would suit a canopy. Being honest i think you'd really split up your crowd by providing a canopy as the front door is a bit away from the 'basement' part so it wouldnt really be people popping out to the canopy i could imagine people lingering out there all night. Its a lovely venue, very unique. We felt some parts of it were a bit tired and could do with an update but overall its a lovely venue if your looking for a gothic castle. Staff seemed lovely too. Good luck with your search
Forgot to say the grounds are quite nice for photos, there is a lake or river within the grounds of the castle that would give lovely photos. Also we felt looking at the ceremony room that it would be too small but i remember the guy that showed us around mentioning an abbey or similiar building that is in a nearby town that allows civil/non religious ceremonies and that cud be worth looking into. He said they often get people using that abbey so that cud also be an option
We have booked Belleek Castle too for our Wedding this Winter. First time I saw it thought it was a bit dark & dated too & if only a bit more care & attention went into certain parks of it it would be spectacular but then prob out of our budget! The second time we saw it was at the weekend the day following one wedding & staff were preparing for a wedding that same day & the place looked much better. It has set the bar so high for us that no where else we looked at could compare. It is old & dusty but then that's part of the charm - its has the real castle charm.
Belleek is now part of the blue books group of exclusive heritage venues in Ireland which means it must keep up high standards to stay a member.
If you check out Belleek Castles' facebook page you will see lots of pics of weddings there & how it looks.
Depending on the group size you may have round or long tables - with our no. its long tables in the banquetting hall which is in the basement. It is amazing. Yes it will be dark but lit by candle light & a huge roaring fire at the other end of the hall. there is 3 bars - one in the hall by top table, one on half floor & other is the wooden armada bar in reception room. Only one bar will be open at a time.
We are doing a civil wedding there & having the ceremony in the breakfast / library room. It fits only 120 - seating around 70 ppl & rest standing. We are having all the kids in the balcony.
Since we are having 200ppl we are only inviting close family & friends to the ceremony.
We did enquire regarding a marquee for the ceremony to include more people which is possible however you need to sort all that yourself & it would be located down along the side of the castle. I just want the people important to me there.
There will only be one choice of menu however different options for allergies/vege/coeliacs etc. 5 course kids menus too.
The only bug is that they want the estimated full bill paid 3 weeks prior to the wedding. I am a bit wary of this but I do have a contract & have lots of emails addressing all my queries in email.
The wedding co ordinators are not great at replying to emails so best ring. Once you get a personal email for one of them you are sorted - Donna has been so helpful after I was nearly pulling my hair out trying to get in contact with them & nearly pulled out. Not sure but think she may be new or newly allocated to remaining in contact with the brides & grooms. She sends me regular emails saying hello & responds to all my queries very rapidly!
For me I can't wait for my wedding in Belleek & it looks spectacular in pics!
Best of luck with whatever you decide!
Thanks so much for your helpful replies, they've given me a better idea of the layout and addressed my concerns, really appreciate it.
Wishing you the best of luck with your planning!