|Save the date... We're getting married.|
Admittedly when you tell people that you
had your wedding reception in a pub above a station it certainly makes people
stop in their tracks for a moment. The Parcel Yard pub was a little bit unusual and against convention, but it was actually a
brilliant mix of quirky and practical. Just like me! Ha!
I guess the first thing I should mention is
that I’ve never really been a ‘big white wedding’ kind of girl. In fact, I
didn’t ever really imagine that I would get married. But when we made
the decision to become parents, my other half and I discussed how that meant
we would actually be 'more than married', as come what may, our child would always be
a bond between us. By comparison, getting married became a lot less scary! Or it was until I started organizing the wedding and I quickly found myself
swamped by ‘essential’ wedding must haves from flowers to matching favours. Eek!
Overload! It was clear that our wedding would be a ‘wedding that’s not a wedding’,
just a simple ceremony and a cracking party.
|Our three little bridesmaids wearing converse with their dresses.|
Researching for a suitable wedding venue locally, we found out
that in Maidenhead you can only get married at 12 noon at the Registry Office
on a Saturday, and that most of the hotels with a wedding licence around here
wanted to charge upwards of £80 per head. Ouch. Not quite the type of budget or
type of day we had in mind! We just wanted to get married and have a party, not organise a two-tiered event with a 5 course meal and another buffet in the
evening! We needed to find some new inspiration!
Having lived in London before
and being a bit of an architecture and history geek (Don’t laugh, it worked - he
asked me to marry him!) the ideal was always London, but knowing how expensive
some of my friend’s weddings were, it meant that I was pretty skeptical about
finding anything that was suitable.
|Some girls get flowers for a romantic present. |
I once got a framed London Underground Poster print of Camden station! Love it!
Although I used to live in Camden, I had no
idea there was a Registry Office there as it hadn’t really ever cropped up on
my radar amongst the cocktail bars, market stalls, canals and clubs. Luckily for us, Camden Registry Office had several options for a
late afternoon wedding at the weekend. But then realizing that it
wasn’t actually in Camden, but opposite St. Pancras station, I was still
struggling with where to hold the reception… Should I hire a coach and bus
everyone back to Maidenhead? Surely I couldn’t find a venue that was cool, but
within our small budget.
And then I found The Parcel Yard.
A converted pub literally in the heart of
King's Cross station with several function rooms available, and no upfront fee
to hire the rooms, just a minimum spend. So I gave them a call.
Now, a good friend of mine who recently got
married said that you can tell a lot about a venue by the way they talk to you
from the very first contact. And that for her, when she spoke to her venue, she
‘just knew’ it would be the right place for their wedding. I have to say, my
first impressions talking to The Parcel Yard were brilliant. Yes it’s a pub,
but they have an Events Manager and she was friendly, knowledgeable and easy to chat to, a great
start. So we arranged a visit to explore the pub.
If you haven’t been to King's Cross in the
last few years, then I need to explain. These days it’s a very up and coming
area and the station itself has undergone a massive overhaul with a brand new
roof that makes you stop and say ‘wow’. Or at least it does for me. It’s
Instagram heaven! The Parcel Yard is right in the middle of the station
concourse and you go up stairs to reach it. If you’re a Harry Potter fan its
right next to platform 9¾.
|That's us in the concourse... not the usual type of wedding photo that you get!|
Once you go upstairs, quite a surprise awaits! Its huge!
Spread across two floors there are several rooms and a covered courtyard area all filled with fantastic vintage style furniture, wall
art and original transport signage.
|My nephews doing their Harry Potter moment.|
It has a distinct charm of its own, which
for us was perfect - there would be no need for fancy bows on the backs of
chairs or complicated flower arrangements. This was a Great British Pub and its
character should be let to shine through. No ‘Dressing’ required.
With around 100 guests invited for the
wedding we chose the ‘Side Room', also known as The Waiting Room, which has three sections, but is one long
room. We felt that this would give us enough room for a DJ, a dance floor,
tables and chairs for most people and enough room for the buffet. This room had
a minimum spend of £700, a reasonable figure for us to hit as we were planning to feed
our guests and to put a tab behind the bar.
|Outside the pub, just before going in to see our guests.|
|The First Dance|
|Lots of room for the guests to stand and watch. |
The Parcel Yard is a Fullers Pub so they
have a full range of draft beers, another ‘wow’ moment for my other half who is a fan of Real Ale. And
unlike most wedding venues in posh hotels, the bar prices weren’t outrageous,
so we felt re-assured that once our tab had run out on the night our guests
wouldn’t feel as if they were being ripped off when they ordered their own
|Ales on tap|
|We designed a bar tab for our guests to use at the bar|
In addition to the usual daily menu
available to customers at The Parcel Yard, we also had a canapé and buffet menu
to choose from. This meant we had the option of doing a simple style meal for
everyone like Fish & Chips or Pie & Chips, or a buffet that we could
choose. Put simply, the food is leagues ahead of the average ‘boozer’ type pub.
We opted for the buffet as we wanted to make sure there was something for
everyone and that the atmosphere stayed informal. (And we were worried that if
everyone ate pie and chips then no-one would get up and dance after!) They gave
us great advice on how many of each dish to order to cater for all of our
guests and on the night they made sure that each hot dish was bought out as
quickly as possible so it remained piping hot and tasty.
|We used a transport theme on our Menu|
The location of the pub also deserves a
mention. Seeing as we had got married at Camden Town Hall and were staying at
The St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel, it meant that everything was in walking
distance. We were also able to take advantage of St. Pancras station next door for an amazing backdrop for our wedding photos, which was also highly practical as it meant we were under cover - essential for an April wedding! Oh, and we also went to Paris on Eurostar for our Honeymoon so it was super practical on all counts!
But it wasn’t all about us, (honest!) we had our guests to consider too. Our
London crowd were chuffed to bits as it meant they could jump on the tube to
get home, but several of our other friends from Leicester and Birmingham also chose
to get the last train home! The rest of our guests stayed around King's Cross
and there were plenty of hotels to suit every type of budget.
|The underground is right outside... handy for photos too!|
But with a great range of beers and food, a
central London location and no room hire fee there must be a catch to The Parcel Yard?
Well, they do charge a 12% service charge
to cover the staff serving in the room. I have to admit, prior to our party, I
had looked at this charge and wondered if it was necessary. But oh, my word,
the staff on the night were BRILLIANT. And that’s not just me saying that.
Everyone I spoke to after the wedding had something positive to say about them.
That’s pretty impressive for a pub in a station that’s more used to being
packed full of punters watching live sporting events than hosting wedding
When I asked our guests what they thought,
here’s just a few of the comments we got back:
"Nothing too much trouble and everything
done with a smile."
"Top marks to the waiter I made friends with. He never let my throat go dry. Literally. He made sure I always had two glasses in hand."
"They were schamazing! All understood what
was required for a great night and attentive. Always came back with a tray of
drinks for the table and recalled who’d asked for what. I like that J. Bonus was we were 2 mins away from platform home too!"
"We’ve never experienced service and smiles
like it. From the time we arrived to the time we left, nothing was any trouble.
They thoughtfully remembered everyone’s drinks, cleared the empties away
regularly. The food was outstanding (great range and so different from the
usual buffet fair that gets bought out) and the hot bits were piping hot."
So if you've been racking your brains trying to figure out where to have your significant birthday party (we won't mention numbers!) or like me, you'd like to organise a 'wedding thats not a wedding' then you can't really go wrong with the Parcel Yard. Just as long as you can handle the surprised looks when you tell people you held your wedding reception or birthday party in a station!
We went away from our wedding thinking we'd had a great night. But as we spoke to our friends one by one they all commented on how great the venue and the staff had been. Feedback like that deserves sharing, and hopefully reading this might save some of you some time and effort as you try and find the perfect place for a party of your own.
You can find out more about The Parcel Yard on their website and they also have a virtual tour where you can see all of the rooms, just like on Google Streetview.
(No payment or incentive was received for writing this post, we genuinely had a blast!)
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Labels: architecture, Camden, Fullers, Harry Potter, Kings Cross, London, Maidenhead, Party, Party ideas, Party Venue, Real Ale, Station, trains, wedding