YOUR STAY

How do weddings at the Fort work?

The Fort is hired out rather like a glorified self-catering holiday cottage, where you have the whole place to yourselves (sleeping 24), and can do pretty much as you like (anything legal considered, sort of thing). The Fort has much of the apparatus of a hotel, ie Civil Wedding Licence, Alcohol and Entertainments Licence, Fire Certificate and so on, but there aren’t any staff to boss you about. On the other hand, there are plenty of people who are available by separate arrangement (i.e. cost) to help and advise you to get what you want. All of them have a wide experience of the 2,000 plus weddings we’ve already held here, and you can meet some of them when you come – as most of our customers do – to view the Fort.

We hire the Fort out for a weekend from Friday 4.00pm to Monday 10.00am, or for a mid-week from Monday 4.00pm to Friday 10.00am. We also hire it out for split mid-weeks from Monday 4.00pm to Wednesday 10.00am, or Wednesday 4.00pm to Friday 10.00am.  The Fort sleeps 24 people but there are additional mattresses for extra people if you wish, at no extra charge.  Generally close family stay in the fort, and the majority of guests stay in the wide variety of local accommodation in this lovely corner of Cornwall.  Weddings generally take place on the Saturday and Wednesday, but these days are not set in stone.

We’ve been more or less fully booked for the last 20 years, and virtually never have an empty weekend. This means that if you want to come and have a look, it will need to be on one of our changeover days, which are Fridays and Mondays, with visiting hours between 1.30pm and finishing at 3.50pm.

After booking you are welcome to come as often as you wish, though please bear in mind that our main task during these times is showing round new and potential customers. Please make an appointment, and by all means arrange to meet a supplier (such as a caterer, photographer or florist). But please understand that if you are discussing matters to do with your booked wedding with our staff, they may have to break off to show new visitors around. You can make appointments to visit either by phone, or email, or by using the visit appointment form under the Contact link.

Detailed Overview of Weddings at the Fort

Day 1 Monday or Friday (sometimes Wednesday)

Arrive at 4.00 p.m.

A member of staff will show you in, and how to work the lights, heating etc at the fort and read the meters. He will then leave you and your family and friends to settle in. Most parties then start to decorate the Fort and get ready for their wedding day, depending on if the wedding is the next day or not.

Day 2 or Wedding Day

A lot of couples now like us to recommend someone to come and help arrange furniture etc throughout the day, but some couples have a lot of willing hands already.

Caterers arrive in preparation for your wedding reception.

Wedding Guests arrive – possibly drinks on the top of the fort or on the lawns

An hour before the ceremony a member of our staff arrives as the responsible representative on behalf of the Fort.

Registrar arrives to conduct formal interviews about half an hour before the wedding ceremony

Wedding Ceremony takes place

Wedding Photos are taken and drinks out on the lawn (whilst this is happening the ceremony seating is re-arranged to the wedding reception seating or buffet by yourselves or our recommended person, or your catering staff, if you have arranged it with them)

Wedding reception takes place – this can be anything from a sit down formal meal with a full silver service, a buffet – or even an evening fish and chip supper and an ice cream van arriving!

7.00 9.00 pm
Evening entertainment arrives and the party starts!!

Disco’s etc can play to 12.30 am, but live bands must finish by 11.00 p.m.

1.00 am: most guests have left, but those staying at the Fort and any other guests are quite welcome to chill out and listen to low level music using their iPods, iPhones, laptops etc on our music system.

Day 3

Why not have a barbeque and relax with friends and family in our beautiful gardens.

 

Day 4 or day of leaving

Sadly all good things come to an end, and this is the time you have to pack up and leave the Fort by 10.00 a.m. and our cleaners arrive to clean the Fort.

All the above is just a guide to give you an idea of what could happen during your stay here. The whole idea of the Fort is to arrange your wedding just the way you both want it!

Weekend Weddings Overview

Weekend Weddings: overview

Friday: arrive 4.00pm. General organization (& chaos), self-catered or catered dinner for those staying at the fort (20ish people), either here, or at some local restaurant/pub.  Sometimes, if you wish, caterers come to make preparations.

Saturday: Morning preparations, caterers arrive & start up. Wedding ceremony in afternoon, photos on the lawns and often the beach, wedding reception meal, speeches, evening party, collapse.

Sunday: recovery, choice – small gathering for catered/self-catered breakfast/brunch or larger gathering for barbeque/Cornish Pasties/Sunday Lunch etc. In the afternoon/evening some people leave, some stay.  If you wish to have a further party in the evening, there will be an additional charge, to cover our Licence staffing requirement: please enquire.

Monday: depart by 10.00am.

Midweek Weddings: Overview

Monday: arrive Monday 4.00pm, and then similar to weekend weddings except a wider variety of choice as to when you get married.

Tuesday: some people get married (just like weekend weddings, the day after they arrive), with the rest of the week to relax, like a mini honeymoon.

Wednesday: most people with a full midweek booking get married on this day, thus allowing themselves a bit more time for preparations.

Thursday: a Thursday wedding often suits couples wishing to depart for their honeymoon straight after the reception. If you wish to have a further party on an evening following your main wedding evening, there will be an extra charge to cover our Licence staffing requirement costs.

Friday: depart by 10.00am.

THE FORT BUILDING

Is the Fort Cold?

No, the Fort is not damp or cold. There is a powerful central heating system with thermostatically controlled radiators throughout the Fort. The Fort is in effect like an enormous storage heater – when the stone all around you is warm it will stay like that for hours and takes days to fully cool down.

We will ensure the Fort is warm when you arrive – which isn’t difficult as it’s been fully booked for many years now. Alternatively, in the summer, the Fort can be thought of as like a cave, cool whatever the weather. The timing control is found by going down the stairs outside the kitchen, turning right at the bottom and on the wall at the end of the short corridor on the right.

Does the Fort ever get cut off in winter?

No. At least – not yet. We benefit by being close to the sea and by the Gulf Stream. We only have snow about once every seven to ten years, and it’s never been deep.

Is there disabled access? Is the Fort suitable for disabled people?

There are ramps from the end of the car park down to the back door of the Fort which can be used for wheel chair access.

Once people are down in the main area, practically everything is on one level, including several en-suite bathrooms which can be made available as you choose: (these are not specifically fitted out for disabled people, but are generally quite suitable).

The gardens are down a flight of three steps from the main area, and we provide a wheelchair ramp down these. There are a two further wide steps at the entrance to the garden, for which the wheelchair ramp can also be used.

We have had a large number of visitors who are disabled in a variety of ways, and the best thing to do is to come and have a look, as different disabled people have quite different attitudes to these issues.

Will there be enough hot water?

Yes we have a very large boiler which will keep all the large corner baths stocked with lots of hot water during your stay. There are also showers above the baths.

Is the Fort non-smoking?

Yes the Fort is a non smoking building. There are signs at the entrances to the Fort to inform your guests. We would ask that you ensure that all your guests are aware of this and to make sure that none of them smoke in the Fort, including the bedrooms!  Please note that secret smoking in bedrooms will probably set off the fire alarm, which will incur a call out charge to reset the system, never mind the disturbance to everyone else.

How many people can sleep in the Fort? How many beds are there?

We have accommodation for 24 people through 8 bedrooms this includes

three double rooms (two of which are optional bridal suites), three family rooms for four and two single rooms. See Accommodation FAQs for more details.

How are the beds arranged in the Fort?

See Accommodation FAQs

Is there a cloakroom in the Fort?

Not as such. We provide a moveable coat racks on wheels with hangers, and this can be put where you choose – generally in one of the bedrooms, sometimes at the bottom of the main entrance spiral stairs, sometimes in one of the corridors.

Is the Fort spooky? Does it have a ghost?

The Fort is not spooky, probably because nothing dreadful has ever happened here (as far as we know). We’ve never heard of any ghosts or any sightings. One interesting potential sighting occurred a few years ago when a group of Past Lives Therapists stayed here, and one lady, who had only been here a number of minutes, asked whether the stairs outside the kitchen were new. It turned out that they were relatively recent, and certainly not original as they appear. She said that she knew that because they were ‘silent’. She said that on the other stairs she could ‘hear’ the voices of bored soldiers. This is interesting, as it is known that the Fort was used as a barracks in the later part of the 19th Century, when the coast road was a private military road connecting the forts, and the soldiers would almost certainly have felt very cut off, and have little to do. We also know that they were bored from the writings on the walls of the magazine (for gunpowder storage), where some of them were imprisoned for minor offences during the start of the First World War in 1914 (see Prisoners’ writings).

VIEWING THE FORT

When can we come to see the Fort?

You can come almost any Friday and Monday, generally between 1.30pm and 3.50pm as these times are on our changeover days. Please give us a call to make an appointment (tel: 01752 822864), then we’ll have everything ready for you to look at when you arrive (photos, table-plans etc).

If you get delayed or may arrive early it is not a problem, just give us a call to let us know so that we can be ready for you. It’s worth saying though, that as people often get delayed, or arrive out of turn, it can mean that you may have to wait while someone else is talking with one or other of us (on the other hand, you are welcome to look around yourselves while waiting).

How often can we come before/after we’ve booked?

As often as you like – no problem. Please give us a call to arrange an appointment, even if you feel you don’t need to specifically speak to anyone here. If you do need to speak to someone here, please bear in mind that our changeover day visiting times are primarily for us to show round new and potential clients, so you may need to wait a little while. You are also welcome to come back at any time after your booking – if you want to show someone who didn’t make it to your wedding for example – or you’re on holiday in the area, or if it’s an anniversary, we regularly have 10 year anniversary couples coming to show their children round (who look very puzzled to think that mummy and daddy could have done anything like this before they were born!). Sometimes they will also book a repeat visit, needless to say, at a very special discount. Whatever the reason, we are always delighted to see you again.

Can we visit on a weekend or on another day during the week?

Unfortunately, as the Fort is exclusively hired to our couples over a couple of days, we are unable to gain access to show you around on any days apart from our change over days. We know that if you live fairly nearby this can sometimes make it difficult for you to take time off work and come and see the Fort. In fact the majority of our couples are based far away, generally in the big cities of the UK, and need anyway to make a short break of it to come to Cornwall. Naturally we will not disturb our couples who have already booked, just as you would not expect us to during your wedding.

To make things a little easier we have changeovers on every bank holiday except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year, and if, on a rare winter occasion, we do not have a booking, we may host an open weekend for couples to come and view. This is however quite rare.

PRICES & TERMS

How much does it cost to hire the Fort?

It’s very different according to the time of year (see PRICES). Mid-weeks are by far the best value at any time of year as you get an additional day and night, and they are often a thousand pounds or so cheaper – and your guests will come! Everyone thinks they won’t, but they do as this is a wonderful holiday area. Almost all of our midweeks are booked out each year – often by couples that start off thinking their guests won’t want to take the time off.

What’s included in the price?

The Fort is hired out rather like a glorified self-catering holiday cottage – bigger and grander, of course, but similar in that you have the whole place to yourselves and can do pretty much as you like. The price is for the hire only, and includes for the use of the whole place for a weekend, mid-week or split mid-week break, and does not include for any catering or staffing.

The Fort has much of the apparatus of a hotel, i.e. Civil Wedding Licence, Alcohol and Entertainments Licence, Fire Certificate and so on, but we don’t charge corkage, and we don’t charge for extra people staying! The only compulsory extras is your wedding insurance.

There aren’t any employees to boss you about, but we can recommend key people who are available by separate arrangement (i.e. you pay them directly) to move furniture and beds if required, decorate the Fort and generally help and advise you to get what you want. They have a wide experience of the 2,000 plus weddings we’ve already held here, and if they’re not involved in showing new and potential customers around, you can arrange to meet some of them when you come (as almost all of our customers do), to view the Fort.

The hire of the Fort includes full exclusive use of the:

Napoleonic hall

8 bedrooms accommodating 24 people (3 en-suite double rooms, 3 en-suite family rooms and 2 single rooms sharing a shower room)

Kitchen

Guest toilets

Tennis court

Roof terrace

Gardens and

Private pathway to the semi secluded beach!

To make your stay that little bit easier the Fort also includes the following:

Tables and chairs for 120 people

Cutlery and crockery for 120 people

Glasswear for 120 people (inc champagne, 6oz wine, 8oz wine and half pint glasses)

Kitchen equipment (including ice machine, coffee machine, dishwasher, plate warmer, cooking utensils & pots)

Wine cooler

Bed linen and towels for 24 people

An extra 5 single mattresses

3 highchairs and 2 travel cots

Tea & coffee facilities in each bedroom

Washing machine, tumble dryer, iron and ironing board

White drapes and fairy lights decorating the Napoleonic Hall

White drapes in the Summer House (depending on time of year)

Sky TV & wifi

Almost everything that you need to make your wedding day and stay as smooth and comfortable as possible!

Are there any extras to pay on top of the tariff price?

The ceremony fee is paid direct to the registrar office, usually between £295 – £310 depending on whether you choose a mid-week or weekend wedding. Bank holidays can also be more expensive.
Catering, decoration, flowers and photography is also paid direct to the supplier you choose.

Are there any hidden extras?

No! There are no hidden extras as everything is told to you up front! A £750 cautionary deposit is due with the final payment which returned to you within 21 days of your departure minus any large breakages (We also require you have wedding insurance with £5 million public liability on it as this protects yourselves against various things which might occur during the build up to your wedding and during the wedding itself. This is payable to the insurers direct and will be requested when you pay your deposit and complete your booking form).

Do you do last minute discounts or special offers?

Yes – have a look at our Special Offers page. This is how we generally fill one or two awkward bookings that won’t seem to get themselves booked up. The registrars need 28 days for your Notice of Marriage meaning that you could book the Fort for your wedding as little as 29 days in advance! We have had a number of couples arrange their weddings in this short period of time and many have said that they liked having to arrange it so quickly as they had less time to stress over things that didn’t matter to them. Booking a year or so in advance is the norm.

How much freedom do we have to do as we wish?

We have various licensing and noise pollution limitations (see our Terms and Conditions) though we try to allow most things at the fort, and we are keen to help if we can with any unusual things: we once had a pet rabbit attend a wedding, we have had lots of dogs as bridesmaids and pageboys, and the arrival of the bride and groom by speed boat and helicopter. You can choose your type of entertainment from live bands to discos, flowers from the most exotic to none at all. We have had fancy dress weddings (lots of men in tights and friar tuck!) So if you are unsure just ask: it may be allowed.

Do we need insurance?

Yes wedding insurance is compulsory at the fort, we can provide you with details or you can arrange your own insurance and provide us with a copy of your insurance certificate. It is important to make sure that the insurance knows that you have the fort for a weekend or mid-week not just for one day, we ask that you take out the insurance as soon as you book the fort. We also insist on £5,000,000 public liability cover. Insurers our couples regularly use are identified on our Wedding Contacts page.

What can’t we do?

We do not allow:

Amplified music, microphones or loud instruments in the gardens, this can be very annoying for our neighbours (yes, they’re not obvious, but sound carries a long way by the sea).

Fireworks on our grounds, as we are on the coast and near farm animals. You can have firework displays by arrangement with the local farmer on the hill directly behind the Fort: displays which are given permission have to abide by certain criteria.

Guest numbers above 120. This would exceed our Fire Regulation limit of persons at the fort.

If you are unsure whether it will be allowed please get in contact with us.

Is there a charge for the additional mattresses?

We have an additional 5 mattresses which we leave available for your use. We do not charge for these, but they do not have any bedding supplied with them.

Can we bring a dog or two? Can we bring other pets?

Yes! We allow well behaved dogs. We also allow other pets within reason, please do ask prior to bringing them. All we ask is that you clean up any mess that is left in the gardens and be considerate to the surrounding livestock in the area.

Do you allow candles in the Fort?

Yes we do allow candles, both inside the fort and on the lawns. However please keep all candles away from the drapes and other decorations, and ensure that they are on a secure base.

Do we have to clean the Fort before we leave?

No, please don’t. Just tidy and respectable will do. We have cleaners to clean the fort between bookings, so you do not have to change beds, clean bathrooms and floors etc. On the other hand, we do ask that you return any furniture that has been moved to its original position. This can be done by yourselves, or you can arrange through us for a recommended person to do it, at a separate cost, for you.

How many people can attend a wedding/reception?

Guest numbers are limited to 120, including children and babies.  This applies at all times and cannot be increased on the basis of having a marquee or other shelters. Please see The Wedding Reception FAQs for more details.

Can we have fireworks?

Please see The Wedding Reception FAQs

CONTRACT ARRANGEMENTS

How do you structure the payments?

When you are considering getting married at the Fort and are planning a visit, it is worth considering making a provisional booking if you are keen on a certain date or time of year.

We can provisionally book a date for you with no obligation and no deposit pending your visit. As date availability changes very quickly at the fort it is advisable to do this, as it will ensure the date is still available when your visit is planned

When you are ready to confirm a booking (usually within 2 weeks of your visit) then we ask for 1/3rd deposit of the booking price. The final payment, complete with a £750 cautionary deposit, is then payable 15 weeks prior to the booking. We are happy to accept stage payments: please see the FAQ below.

What sort of deposit do we pay?

To confirm a booking we require one third deposit of the booking price.

Do you accept stage payments?

Yes. Please feel free to ask, as we would like to help where we can, providing the initial deposit is paid, and the complete amount has been paid 15 weeks prior to the wedding.

When is the final payment due?

The final payment complete with a £750 returnable cautionary deposit, is due 15 weeks prior to the booking.

How do we cancel a booking?

To cancel a confirmed booking you need to send in a written cancellation letter signed by the person who signed the booking form. Obviously the sooner we know about a cancellation the better. If we can re-book the fort for the same price as you booked it for, then you would not be liable to pay the final payment. However if we could not re-book the fort then you would still need to pay the final payment.

As we require you to have wedding insurance certain things are covered by this, like illness, death or unemployment. However just deciding not to get married would not be covered! For various insurers, please see our Wedding Contacts page.

Can we change the date of a booking?

This is sometimes possible depending on availability and if we can re-book your existing date.

Can we make a provisional booking (ie pencil one in)?

Yes! Either before you visit, during your visit, or afterwards. When you are considering getting married at the Fort and are planning a visit, it is worth considering making a provisional booking if you are keen on a certain date.

We can provisionally book a date for you with no obligation and no deposit pending your visit in a couple of weeks. As date availability changes very quickly at the fort it is advisable to do this as this would ensure the date is still available when your visit is planned.

How much is the deposit to book the Fort, and when is the final payment due?

The deposit is 1/3 of the booking price, with the final balance due 15 weeks before the first day of the booking period.

Is there a cautionary deposit?

Yes – We require a cautionary deposit of £750 which is payable with your final payment, 15 weeks prior to the booking.
This deposit is returned to you within 21 days after your booking has finished minus any breakages have occurred during your booking.

Do we need to arrange any insurance?

Yes. Our insurers require you to have wedding insurance in place, with a minimum cover of £5,000,000 public liability. This insurance needs to be taken out within one week of booking the fort. Please see insurers on our Wedding Contacts page that are frequently used by our couples.

Do you do shorter bookings than the periods shown?

The shortest booking that we do is a Monday to Wednesday or Wednesday to Friday. We do not hire the Fort out for just the day.

CATERING

Who does the catering?

That is entirely your choice! We provide you with a list of our recommended caterers – ones that we know well and who know how the Fort works – but you can choose one not on the list if you want to.

The caterers we recommend know where all the Forts equipment is, how the equipment works, and most importantly, how the Fort works! We would always advise that you choose one from our list but ultimately the choice is yours. If you choose someone not on our list we always advise that they come and visit the Fort, on one of our change over days, to see the way in and the equipment that the Fort provides before you book with them.

Can we arrange our own catering?

Yes – most people have caterers in for the main wedding day, but cater for themselves during the rest of the stay. You have full use of our well equipped commercial kitchen throughout your stay. Please contact us for a full inventory of catering equipment that we provide for you.

Is catering included in the price?

No – the price we charge is for the exclusive hire of the Fort, the grounds and the accommodation, it does not include for any catering.

What sort of catering is available?

The caterers we recommend vary from large catering companies to small local caterers. However they are all very flexible in their approach to catering at the Fort, and they can adapt their menus to suit your individual needs and tastes. Please contact our Caterers for prices and ideas.

How many tables and chairs are there?

We have enough tables (round and rectangular) and chairs for up to 120 guests. The round tables seat 8 and we have 12, seating 96 in total.

Is there enough cutlery/crockery/glassware etc?

We have more than enough cutlery, crockery and glasses for 120 guests. For a full list please email us for an inventory.

Do we need to hire anything in?

That is entirely up to yourselves. Some people hire in special lighting, different chairs, chair covers (quite popular), glasses, cutlery, table linen and decorations: even chocolate fountains, marquees and hot tubs! The only things that we do not provide for the wedding dining are table linen and pint glasses/ port glasses etc. Please visit our list of wedding contacts for contact details and email us for an inventory on what is provided.

Does the Fort have a drinks licence? Is there corkage? Is there a pay bar?

The fort has a full alcohol and entertainments licence, but you can provide all your own drinks free of charge to your guests and we do not charge you any corkage! Think of the saving on those bottles of champagne!

You can choose to hire in a pay bar, and we can provide you with details of someone who will run one for you, or supply the bar yourselves and give away your drinks to your guests. Some bars charge a set up fee and then charge your guests as in a normal bar setting. Their prices tend to be more like pub prices than hotel prices.

Can you make suggestions for table layouts?

Yes. Please visit our Table Layouts page for plans that will fit into the hall. You may also need to discuss this with the caterers of your choice.

Is table linen included in the price?

We provide you with 3 banquet cloths for your use throughout your stay. For the main day though you will need to make arrangements for your table linen, which is normally through the caterers of your choice. However there are firms which hire table linen and decorations which can sometimes work out cheaper than hiring through the caterer, and also handy if you are doing the catering yourselves. Please contact us for up to date information.

How many people can be catered for?

Up to 120 people. Please see The Wedding Reception FAQ for more details.

ACCOMMODATION

Are the beds of a good quality?

Yes. Most of the beds are high quality Vi-Spring Beds – We have two Four Poster Beds also with Vi-Spring mattresses.

Will there be enough hot water?

Yes we have a very large boiler, which will keep all the bathrooms and wetrooms supplied with plenty of hot water during your stay. There are also showers above the baths.

Are there any cots or high-chairs?

Yes. We have two travel cots and three high chairs for you to use. Please note we do not supply any bedding for the travel cots.

How many people can sleep in the Fort? How many beds are there?

We have beds for 24 people through 8 bedrooms which all come with bedding and towels. This is set out as follows:

Bedrooms on main floor
Bedroom 1 1 Super King Bed and 1 Double Sofa Bed

1 ensuite shower room (suitable for disabled use)

Bedroom 2 1 Super King Bed and 2 Double Sofa Beds

1 ensuite bathroom

Bedroom 3 1 Four Poster Super King Bed (usually used as the bridal suite)

1 ensuite bathroom

Bedrooms on lower floor
Bedroom 4 1 Single Bed

(sharing shower room with Bedroom 8)

Bedroom 5 1 Four Poster King Bed

1 ensuite bathroom

Bedroom 6 1 Four Poster King Bed and 1 Double Sofa Bed

1 ensuite bathroom

Bedroom 7 1 Super King Bed and 2 Single Beds

1 ensuite shower room

Bedroom 8  1 Single Bed

(sharing shower room with Bedroom 4)

Can more than 24 people stay - and is there a charge?

Yes! More than 24 people can stay at the fort without extra charge! We provide you with an additional 5 single mattresses for your use and you can bring more if you wish. The bedrooms at the fort are large and most can easily accommodate extra mattresses on the floor. The only thing you need to provide is the bedding for these as this is not included – most people bring a sleeping bag.

How many people can attend a wedding/reception?

120 maximum.  Our fire regulations allow us to have up to 140 persons in the Fort at any one time. This figure includes children, babies and any staff, registrar and entertainers as well as you and your guests. So taking this in mind we allow no more than 120 guests to attend the wedding as this allows for 15 extras coming and going through out the day.

It will be your responsibility to ensure that numbers never exceed 140 at anyone time. Putting extra people in marquees is not acceptable. This is because if these became unserviceable it would thereby invite a situation in which there would be excess /dangerous numbers liable to enter the Fort.

Small print:  Our fire regulations allow us to have up an absolute maximum of 140 persons in the Fort at any one time. This figure includes children, babies and any staff, registrar and entertainers as well as you and your guests. So taking this in mind, and also the amount of space available, we allow no more than 120 guests including the wedding couple to attend the wedding.  This allows for up to 13-15 catering/serving staff, our own representative, and others such as the registrars and band member coming and going throughout the day.

Is there other accommodation nearby for our guests?

Yes plenty – please visit our accommodation list which includes self-catering, hotels and B&B’s or visit the local area website.

KITCHEN

What kitchen utensils are there?

We have a variety of large saucepans, frying pans and roasting dishes. We also have ladles, spoons etc. If you would like a full list of what is included please contact us and we would be happy to send it over to you.

Does the kitchen have everything we are likely to need?

Probably, but not necessarily everything your caterer might expect to bring. Please do ask about certain items if you are keen to have them there.

What large equipment is in the kitchen?

  • 2 large commercial ovens, giving you10 gas hob rings in total and a large grill.
  • 1 plate warmer
  • 1 super fast dish washer (for recently used items)
  • 1 ice making machine
  • 1 coffee machine
  • 1 very large commercial refrigerator
  • 1 microwave
  • 1 chiller cabinet
  • 1 wine chiller (in the Napoleonic hall)
  • 1 water boiler for constant boiling water

In the utility area downstairs, there is also:

  • 1 washing machine
  • 1 tumble drier
  • 1 iron and ironing board
  • 1 under counter domestic freezer

THE WEDDING SERVICE

Can we get married at any time?

Generally the registrar service prefers weddings to take place during daylight hours. However if you have a special reason to get married at a different time, then it is worth speaking to the Registrar Service to see if they can accommodate your request.

Do people usually get married on the weekend or mid-week?

Either is possible, and nowadays, equally common, especially here at the Fort. The benefit of a mid-week wedding is that it is cheaper than a weekend wedding. So if you are working on a budget, an out of season split mid-week, or full mid-week wedding is definitely something to consider.

When is the best time of year to get married?

Any time of year really!!

A Winter Wedding – imagine the crashing waves and howling winds, then imagine getting married in front of our large real log fire, decorated with holly and ivy and some fairy lights in between. In fact it’s mild here compared with most of the country, and we have even had people having a Cornish cream tea out on the lawn at Christmas (with coats on).

As everything can happen inside the Fort, bad weather is not a problem here. We also experience some really lovely clear crisp sunny days during January and February. So winter is an ideal time to get married at the fort. Also worth considering is how much lower the rates are out of high season.

A Spring Wedding – This is a beautiful time of year at the fort: our gardens are full of beautiful wild flowers, in keeping with the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty that surrounds us. Still cool enough to make use of the real log fire, but if you’re lucky, warm enough to enjoy a barbeque on the lawns.

A Summer Wedding – Just imagine sitting out on our lawns during the long hot summer day sipping Pimms or champagne and looking out over the 3 miles of golden Whitsand Bay. Or maybe strolling down to the private beach and dipping your toes in the clear blue water. Why not consider a summer mid-week and experience the fort and its surroundings for longer.

An Autumn Wedding – With the leaves changing colour, the area around the fort takes on a beautiful autumnal feel. Still plenty of light to be able to get those stunning photographs outside on the lawns and beach.

Who performs the marriage service?

The local registrar from our Saltash registry office performs the legal ceremony. They arrive around ½ hour before the wedding service is due to start. They will then conduct a short interview with the bride and groom. The ceremony can be enhanced to enable you to develop and design your ceremony to suit your own personal wishes.

How much does the Registrar cost?

The cost of the ceremony is as follows:

Fees last updated 12/06/2015

Legal Notice of Marriage or Civil Partnership
Entry of Notice – £35.00 per person

This needs to be place at your local registry office

Distinctive Cornish Marriage/Civil Partnership at Approved Building
Monday to Thursday – £384.00
Friday and Saturday – £415.00
Sunday or Bank Holiday – £455.00

Do we need to book the registrars?

Yes you will need to book the registrars yourselves. This can be done very easily by calling them on 0300 1234 181. They will then book your ceremony date and time in and take a deposit to ensure that it is yours!

Can we get married outside?

Yes, you can hold a legal ceremony in our Summerhouse, where your guests are seated directly outside the Summerhouse, and you yourselves are facing the sea in the entrance of the Summerhouse with the registrar.  There are restrictions on music and amplification in this area, which we will need to control.  Please see ‘The Wedding Reception’ FAQs for more details.

Outside wedding are generally not possible in the winter months between the end of October and beginning of April.  Any outside weddings will always be at the discretion of the registrars, and will not be possible at any time of year if it is very cold, very windy or there is any form of mist or rain.

It is possible to have other ceremonies, such as a Humanist Ceremony or a blessing, on the lawns or beach:  for a Humanist celebrant please see our contact list.

What happens if we have planned our ceremony outside but it is raining? Is there an alternative?

Don’t panic! You can move your ceremony location from the Summer House to our Napoleonic Hall, or the other way round, up to one hour prior to the ceremony! This freedom means that you are not stuck having your ceremony inside when it is glorious outside or outside in the rain when there is the Napoleonic hall inside.

N.B. The registrars will have the final say as to whether the ceremony can take place outside – they need to keep your legal paperwork safe and dry so it can feature in a Who Do You Think You Are? programme in 100 years from now!

Can we have a religious ceremony at the Fort?

Yes this is possible; however it cannot take place whilst the registrar is present at the fort. It can, however, take place just before they arrive, or after they depart.

What sort of music and readings can we have at the service?

The only music or readings which are not allowed during the legal ceremony are those of a specifically religious nature. A lot of people have special words or readings put into the ceremony. It is necessary to discuss this with the registrars themselves who are very helpful and full of ideas.

THE RECEPTION PARTY

How many people can attend a wedding/reception?

120 maximum.  This figure includes children and babies. Our Fire regulations allow up to an additional 20 persons to cover any staff, caterers, suppliers and registrars to come and go throughout the day. It will be your responsibility to ensure that numbers never exceed 140 at any one time.

Can we extend the maximum number of people by having a marquee?

No. Even with a marquee outside your guests will all be coming inside for the evening party as well as the ceremony (depending on the weather), and if the marquee became unserviceable it would thereby invite a situation in which there would be excess /dangerous numbers entering the Fort.

What does the term Regulated Entertainment mean?

Broadly speaking, it’s entertainment, ie in this case, music, that’s loud to the point that it’s difficult or impossible for you to talk, so you have to listen to it.

Can we have a live band in the Fort and what time can they play until?

Yes we do allow live bands in the fort. However it is very important that the band is aware of our music rules prior to the event. We must ensure that all amplified music is kept within the building. We have installed treble glazing, and as long as all the windows and doors are kept shut whilst the band is playing, there is normally not a problem. We have someone on hand during the time the band is playing to ensure that our music Entertainments Regulations are adhered to.

It is important to check with us prior to booking the band to ensure that we are happy for that particular band to play at the fort. We have had on occasions some bands that have not complied with our regulations and these bands will not be allowed to return to the Fort.

Live bands can play until 11.00 p.m. and must have no more than 7 persons in the group.

How long can our party go on in the evening?

Under the Licensing Act 2003, Regulated Entertainment has to be finished at certain times. However this does not mean your party has to finish! You can use our ‘plug and play’ sound system after the main party to play background music and chill out after a hectic day with your close family and friends.

Live bands can play until 11.00 p.m

Discos can continue until 12.30 a.m

You will find that this is normally quite adequate and live bands are accustomed to finish at this time, as it takes quite a while for them to pack up their equipment.

Can we have a band or music out on the lawns?

That depends: you are welcome to hire in one or more acoustic only musicians to play outside for during your ceremony and your reception. A harpist, violinist, acoustic guitarist or similar can be a beautiful addition to your ceremony or reception.

You can have amplified music during the ceremony, but this has to be volume limited by ourselves. Music at any other time whatsoever cannot be amplified: this includes sound systems of any sort, microphones, drums, and brass instruments. This is due to the beautiful tranquil environment in which the Fort is set, and our Licensing conditions.

It is very important to check with us whether the type of entertainment you are thinking of is covered under our Entertainments licence and that we are happy to accept the band or DJ you are thinking of hiring. Please do check prior to putting a firm booking down with your entertainer. If you would like more information on this please feel free to contact us and we would be happy to discuss it further with you.

Is there anyone to call on for help?

Yes. You can always call on our main trouble-shooter, James Buss on 01752-822866. This number is up on a notice board in the kitchen of the Fort, along with those, Ruth (tel: 01503-230711) as well as several others to turn to, including emergency plumbers/electricians etc.

Most people by-pass this anxiety during their weddings by arranging direct with James Buss himself to attend the wedding and help move furniture around and a hundred and one small things to help the wedding go smoothly.

Is there a member of staff on the premises at all times?

No. The whole point of the way we let you have the Fort is that you have it to yourselves, to do (within reason) what you want.

The only time we specifically provide someone is during the wedding itself and the hour before, which we are obliged to do for the purposes of our wedding licence.

We are also required to have some one at the Fort whilst there is any type of regulated entertainment taking place. eg. Live bands and discos.

The benefits of this privacy far outweigh any perceived disadvantages, and if you need help and advice, James Buss (see section on Anyone To Help) is the man.

Can we use confetti inside/outside?

Inside, yes! By all means. It is easy to sweep up. Outside, it’s a big problem, particularly if it gets wet, when it’s next to impossible to remove. Even if it’s biodegradable, we’re talking months or years, not tomorrow.

Can we have fireworks?

The Fort is not insured for fireworks so none can be set off in our grounds. However if you have a burning desire for a firework display it can be arranged!

The farmer, Lyn Wilton (tel: 01752 822215) who owns the field above us, occasionally rents out the field for fireworks to be set off from, which are spectacular from our gardens or the roof terrace of the Fort.

We require you to use an established Firework company as they will be aware of all the dangers involved and the regulations that need to be considered. We will also require a copy of their insurance prior to the event.

We are in a coastal location, so we need to ensure that the coastguard is informed in case anyone on sea or land reports the display as emergency flares. There are also horses close by, so we need to be informed of any planned firework display.

Please do not allow any of your guests to provide anything in the nature of a surprise display in our grounds. Fireworks are inherently dangerous, and forfeit of your deposit will ensue, not to mention potential litigation.

Is baby sitting or a creche available?

A local nursery school regularly provides qualified staff to help out with babysitting and creche facilities at the fort – please phone Little Monkeys on 01752 823859.

What if we do not want to hire a Band or DJ?

If you would prefer to do things yourselves we can provide you with high quality professional music equipment, (including lights) which you can plug a laptop, Ipod or mp3 player into. Some people make up a complete night’s play list prior to coming to the Fort, and use this instead of hiring in a DJ. The same Regulated Entertainment timing applies, ie to finish at 12.30 p.m. We provide you with this equipment free of charge so you can save a lot of money!

Can you help us arrange music and entertainment?

Yes, certainly. We can advise you on different musicians, discos and bands and give you contact details. We also have access to some very good entertainment agencies.

The actual booking of bands and discos is something that you do yourselves.

Can we put up decorations in the Fort?

Yes! Please see Decorating the Fort FAQs for more information.

How many cars does the car park take?

The main car park behind the Fort can take up to 20 if they are parked carefully, with someone in charge. There are a further 20 or more spaces in the laybys up the drive.

Additional car parking can be arranged with the local farmer, Lyn Wilton (tel: 01752-822215) in a field at the top of our drive – your guests can then be ferried down by a local minibus from Cremyll Cabs (tel: 01752-822196), or, in summer, may choose to walk on down (it’s a lovely half-mile walk, gently sloping downhill). However you will probably not find this necessary as many of your guests will be staying locally and will either car-share or take a taxi here. Some of our recommend B&B’s even drop their guests to the Fort so that they just have to get a taxi back!

Does the ferry from Plymouth stop at night?

No, it runs 24 hours a day – it is actually considered part of the A374, the King’s (or Queen’s?) Highway. It runs constantly through the day (there are actually 3 parallel ferries), and between 9.00pm and 7.00am just one ferry runs twice an hour each way, on the hour and half hour from this side (Torpoint), and a quarter to, and a quarter past each hour from the Plymouth side. It takes about 8 – 10 minutes to cross.

DECORATING THE FORT

Can we decorate the fort as we want it?

Yes you can! There are many fixings already in the walls over all of the arches (some of which hold our fairy lights) as well as metal poles over all of the windows which you are welcome to use. The only thing we ask is that you do not make additional fixings into our walls: this is particularly important as in some places there is concealed wiring.

Can we decorate the outside of the fort?

Yes. Some places that you may like to decorate include the drawbridge and main entrance gates, the spiral staircase hand rail, the bridge to the lawn and the Summer House. You could also hang lanterns or decorative hearts from the trees or line the bridge to the lawn with solar fairy lights for the evening!

There are so many ways that you can personalise the Fort to make it perfect for your day. Again all we ask is that no additional fixings are added and that everything is taken down at the end of your booking.

THE GARDENS AND GROUNDS

Outside The Fort

The Fort is set in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is on the UK’s Heritage Coastline on the Rame Peninsula, an important bird migratory point and nature conservation area. Surrounding the Fort there are large gardens offering panoramic sea views over the dramatic coastline of Whitsand Bay.

The spectacular South Cornwall coastal footpath runs both ways from behind the Fort’s grounds, and provides superb walks. The Fort (Grade II* Listed) and its grounds are surrounded by the further reaches of Mount Edgcumbe Country Park, with its Grade I Listed Formal Gardens – reputedly the most beautiful Country Park in England.

The Fort has a large lawn, an all-weather tennis court and a private access to the beach at Polhawn Cove.

Can we bring a dog or two? Can we bring other pets?

Yes! You are welcome to bring well behaved dogs. You can also bring certain other pets within reason, but please do ask prior to bringing them. We have had dogs as pageboys and bridesmaids, as well as ring bearers, and we know that they can be just as much part of the family as the human guests! All we ask is that you do your very best to avoid any mess in the gardens (there are plenty of other areas around us), and that you do not allow them to go onto our furniture and that they are controlled when amongst surrounding livestock in the area.

Is there anywhere for a helicopter to land?

Yes – on the lawn in front of the Fort. We have had a number land there and we would advise that there is a limit to the size of helicopter that could manage it – four seaters should be fine – as well as lots of other considerations that helicopter pilots should know about.

Can we have a marquee?

Yes you can have a marquee on the paved area outside the Garden House, on the lower lawn, along the bridge into the garden or the roof terrace, but not on the main lawn. The paved area and roof terrace are a great place to hire a marquee for your reception if you are worried about the weather, and the lower lawn can be used if you would like hire a marquee to dine outside in. If you would like some more information please feel free to contact us or visit our recommended marquee company for further details.

Can we have a barbeque? On the beach?

Yes – to both! We supply you with a charcoal BBQ (you will need to supply the charcoal) which can be used in the main gardens on our purpose built area on the top lawn. You can also certainly have one down on the beach, though you will need to arrange the barbeque yourself, and consider issues like getting supplies down (and back up), and the suitability of the beach path for your wedding guests when they are all dressed up.

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