We love it when our couples are featured on the beautiful Rock My Wedding blog, and so we were so happy to see these amazing images of Tony and Lee’s dreamy wedding from last year. We loved these two, along with their lovely daughter Evie, and it was such a joy to be involved in their special day. Tonya and Lee were looking for a mix of country house and rustic barn setting to get married, and so Pennard provided all the elements for them to create a wonderful relaxed country wedding with a vintage vibe. Have a look at the full blog post here and see more amazing images as always by the brilliant John Barwood .

Emma and Saket’s Indian inspired wedding took place at Pennard House in September 2017 and will be particularly loved by flower lovers. Emma’s mum is a florist and supported by two further florists the wedding was a wonderful frenzy of autumnal floral colours. We particularly loved the incredible autumn hedgerow inspired installation on the staircase.  The roses in the gardens at Pennard were also still in full bloom, making everything look colourful and beautiful.

I’m passionate about flowers and I knew from the outset that flowers had to feature in a big way at our wedding. I’m very fortunate that my Mum is a florist and flower grower and we spent many hours together coming up with ideas. We designed a spectacular installation for the staircase, inspired by a countryside hedgerow.”

The sun shone, creating a perfect setting for Emma and Saket’s outdoor ceremony. Guests were then treated to a specially designed feast of authentic Indian dishes, breads and chutneys. Emma styled and planned everything herself, and has now gone on to offer her planning services to other couples – click here for more info.

It was such a pleasure to host such a lovely relaxed wedding.  To see more photos, have a look at the post on the gorgeous Rock My Wedding blog. Images by www.helenliskphotography.co.uk

The gorgeous couple Emily and Kyle were married in the garden at Pennard in August 2017. Emily, the beautiful bride in her exquisite Temperley Obelia dress stole the show in every way, so much so, she caught the attention of the team at Love My Dress.

“I fell in love with my Temperley dress instantly. It’s so unique with gold and white embroidery and is bohemian but with a glamorous twist. A touch vintage with modern geometric patterns, it felt romantic, floaty and utterly unique! Alice Temperley is a local Somerset designer, so it felt like it was meant to be.”

Creating the perfect Somerset wedding, using local designers and suppliers, we at Pennard couldn’t have asked for more in a wedding couple. Emily says,

“I wanted to get married close to my family home and use all local suppliers. It had exactly the right feeling we wanted. A pretty English country house with a festival boho vibe complete with tepees and Glastonbury connections.”

And we’re so glad we were able to work with them both to make their wedding dreams come to life.

Without further ado, fill your soul with warmth and love, and take a look at these stunning photos shared on Love My Dress.

 

Where to go with a group of over 300 staff for the annual work party, when you want to offer something a little different but not too challenging, relaxing but structured, where everyone leaves having had a good time but where the managers have achieved their work goals too?

Increasingly more companies are looking for a brief along those lines. For something different from the year before, that is fun and exciting but, of course, within budget. It can be difficult to find large overnight venues that have the same creativity as more boutique or smaller venues, or where you have the privacy for you and your team to unwind carefree. So what do you end up doing?

Superdry

In 2016, retail brand Superdry had this predicament. For their Annual Global Store Manager Conference, they wanted to do something different to previous years and more in fitting with their brand. They were looking for a place where they could get some work done in the morning, for their global store managers to spend time together, to have fun and experience something unique as a team.

The Brief

We presented them with the idea of a festival style two day stay in the fields at Pennard House, where they’d shun the restrictions of bricks and mortar and cross over into a world with canvas overhead and grass underfoot. Having hosted many a tented village at Pennard, and the closeness to the Glastonbury Festival site, it was a great opportunity for us to show them what a country house in Somerset could offer. For some it was a first time experience away from the hairdryers and the wifi, for others it brought back fun memories of past music festivals. As it turned out they were a very upbeat, positive bunch who embraced everything we gave them. Here is how it panned out.

Tents!

Festival Style Party

To feed 300 people could take a couple of hours. And you know what it’s like when you see someone eating and you have to wait before your turn: torture. So we erected a one size fits all catering tent to feed everyone at once and allow them to get on with the rest of the day’s plans.  All 300 slept in our 16 foot canvas tipis, that come with real beds, fresh linen and woven coir floor mats. We had plenty of loos and nearby showers to help everyone feel a little refreshed after their sleep.

Festival Style Party

 

The Business End

We had other tents for the morning’s workshop sessions, which doubled up as the fashion show venue and the music tent after dark. As a retail brand with plenty of visual content available, we had a few Superdry campaign images on large stretched vinyl screens that helped personalise the event, inspire the staff and even perhaps add at least a reminder as to why they were all there!

img_7267 img_7249

 

Festival Style Party Atmosphere

A festival style party wouldn’t be the same without flags, festoon lighting, fire pits and a solid night of music, DJs and the compulsory Somerset cider.  If it wasn’t for the looming sight of Monday, I’d say these revellers could have carried on for days!

Festival Style Party Festival Style Party

dscf7213 Festival Style Party

 

We had a fantastic time hosting Superdry.  It was a great way for their employees to come together without any other work distractions. There was a really good atmosphere over the two days which made the ‘working’ part a lot of fun too.


 

If you’d like to host a festival style event and are looking for a venue to partner up with, let us know. We’re always open to ideas, however large or small so please do contact us here and let us know what you have in mind.

Your colleagues deserve something better than an afternoon of strategic games to aid lateral thinking and a “trust fall” exercise before lunch time sandwiches. It’s 2017 and your team away day should be interesting, challenging and educational, as well as fun.

But before you start to think about what you could do, here are four key points to consider first:

  1. Your team away day really does need to be away: An afternoon activity in the private room in a local pub is ok, but is it memorable enough to stick in people’s minds (for good reasons) a year later? Take them away from their comfort zone, stay the night, out of their county into an environment they’d never normally be in. There you’ll find you’ve got their attention.
  2. It should be NEW: As soon as you organise something people have been to or done before, you’ve lost 50% of their focus and motivation.
  3. Go beyond their expectations. It’s your chance to make them feel special as a group. Choosing something that’s better than anything they’ve anticipated will make them excited and you nothing short of amazing!
  4. Plan well. You can manage the whole occasion on your own but when does that leave time for you to get the most out of it as well. A successful team away day is based on a well composed plan, personalised to the team and with as much engaging activity as there is time to relax. So plan all the details in advance, and pull in support to help you coordinate the day so it all goes to plan.

So what type of team away day to go for?

This is totally dependent on the dynamic of the group, how well they get along and what you want to get out of your time away from the office. If you are looking to do some work related activities, how can you make these more interesting, how can you use your environment or venue, in order for it not to feel like work yet still achieve your goals? Think of unique ways to design your day – perhaps have breakout sessions on the terrace, experience sharing on a walk or brain storming an idea whilst playing lawn bowls. Teams often respect the fact that at some stage they’ll need to do some work, but if you can lighten the mood and make the most of the new surroundings to help make work seem like play, you’re half way to success.

 

Team Away Day Ideas

 

Party time.

If your team away day is a chance for staff to let their hair down and party then you really want to facilitate fun and opportunities for people to enjoy themselves. For large groups something like a festival style away day, with food stalls, fire pits, tipis and a music stage, can be great for new experiences and having a good time together. Once you are all on site, organising activities for large groups can be quite stressful especially when people are there to have a party too, so don’t try and schedule too much into the day. However, if you need to cover a few work related items, schedule them in the timetable (shared with everyone beforehand) for the pre-lunch slot so that you give them enough time to themselves.

Festival style away days are not going to be for everyone, so do think of the personalities in your team first. For the more home comfort loving members of the group you can reassure them there are showers, loos, real beds and chargers for your phones. You’ll find that as long as people are well informed beforehand, they might approach it with trepidation, but by the end of it they have fully embraced life under canvas and wholeheartedly agree that getting out of their comfort zone is actually great to do once in a while.

Family sized fun.

For smaller groups, you may have more budget to include activities. Dependent on the time of year, you might want to plan a trip out for the day. The venue you choose to stay in will have stacks of ideas about places to visit to suit all tastes. You don’t have to do something hugely elaborate for people to get a sense of a place: organise guided walks, orienteering, foraging or things that get you under the skin of the local culture a bit before heading back home. If the venue you are staying in has all sorts of games and space to entertain you, don’t feel you have to escape for the day either. People will appreciate the time to be still, with no agenda and to admire a beautiful view.

 

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Soaking up the culture.

For away days at Pennard House for example, one particular activity we offer are tastings of Somerset’s great selection of ciders. One of the reasons guests choose Pennard is to enjoy the idyllic, rural countryside and with cider apple orchards of our own, cider is a huge part of the local identity, so it’s nice to give them a greater sense of it’s character and learn some history too. We can arrange trips to cider producing farms or have the experts come to our orchards. We try and be as flexible as possible when it comes to scheduling activities to make things work around your time schedule. We’re always open to new ideas and any activity that we haven’t yet thought of, we of course will work with you to make it possible.

A competitive spirit.

For those with a little more energy and who like to keep active, you might want to include some challenging games into the schedule. We’ve had teams at Pennard try and build the best tipi in the garden or if raining, build wicker sculptures indoors. The length of time you give to these activities depends on your group, but go with shorter over longer, and you won’t find you’ve lost their attention. As much as we don’t like rain to stop play, a wet weather contingency plan is always sensible. 🙁

In summary:

There is certainly a balance between work and play, organised activities and free time that you want to get right for away days. Working with the venue to make the most of what’s locally available, will make the trip more unique than if you apply some ideas taken off the internet. Pick an away day that best suits the majority of the group, their enthusiasm will be infectious and the heel draggers will not be able to resist enjoying themselves too. And always have a back up plan, agreed with the venue, to change at any moment the weather isn’t doing what you’d asked!! Be brave and your efforts will be rewarded!


For more information on team away days at Pennard and how your group, large or small, can make the most of their time with us, please get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.

Pennard House is one of Somerset's hidden treasures. A Grade II listed family home surrounded by breathtaking Somerset countryside, this is one of those places that makes you feel at home the moment you arrive. behind the scenes to save you any stress or strain.
The location of choice for Vogue, Marie Claire and The English Home magazine, Pennard House is a beautiful, family-owned country estate, just waiting to host your perfect event. But don't just take our word for it, see what others have said about our exclusive venue.