Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Riding School licensed for wedding ceremonies?

It sure is! We are able to host Civil Ceremonies, Civil Partnerships and Vow Renewals within the Riding School.

Do we have exclusivity of the estate?

The Riding School and the courtyard to the entrance doors are exclusively yours for the day. You are most welcome to use the stunning gardens and grounds of the estate for your photographs, but please always be mindful that there will be visitors on the estate too.

Can we marry in the church on the estate?

Absolutely! Please ask us for more details.
You will also have to contact the vicar directly to make these arrangements.

How do we book the Registrar?

The local Registrar for Calke Abbey is South Derbyshire Registry Office. Please contact them on 01629 533985 to make all ceremonial arrangements.

Please be aware that it is your legal responsibility to book this service. You are responsible for paying any fees due to the Registrar directly.

How long can we provisionally hold a date?

We are happy to provisionally hold a date for you for 14 days. After 14 days, all provisional dates will be released.

What is the capacity?

For a Wedding Ceremony and Wedding Breakfast we can host a maximum of 160 guests
And for an Evening Reception it is a maximum of 240 guests.

However, the Riding School works just well with small numbers.

How much is the deposit?

Regardless of the package that you choose we require a deposit of £2500 to secure your date.

The remaining fee will be split, with 50% of the remaining balance due 6 months after the deposit due date and the remaining 50% due 12 weeks prior to your wedding.

Catering fees are paid directly to the caterer.

(Please don’t hesitate to discuss a payment plan with us if required)

Do you recommend that we have wedding insurance?

When marrying at the Riding School, it is mandatory that you purchase wedding insurance. Sometimes, accidents do occur and a wedding insurance policy not only covers you for issues that may arise at the venue but also for things such as supplier failure.

Do you have any accommodation on site?

The National Trust have five beautiful self-catering cottages available across the estate.
A map of the estate and their locations can be provided to you. Please be aware that none of the cottages are within walking distance to the Riding School so arranging transport is advisable.
~Ticknall Lodge – Sleeps 3
~Heath End Lodge – Sleeps 3
~Wicket Nook Cottage – Sleeps 2
~Thatch Cottage – Sleeps 6
~Southwood House Farm – Sleeps 14
The cottages are subject to availability and we are unable to hold these for you.  You can book them direct with the National Trust.
When you book your wedding with us, we are able to provide you with a discount code.

Do you have local taxi telephone numbers?

Please feel free to book a company of your choice however, we have provided you with the telephone numbers of the companies that are local and are used most regularly for weddings at Calke Abbey.
~A1 Taxi’s – 01530 413535
~Abbey Cars – 01530 416060
~Village Cars – 01332 706020
When booking your transport, please ensure that yourself and your guests provide the company with the correct postcode.
For Day Guests, please use: DE73 7LE.
For Evening Guests & end of the night pick-ups, please use: LE65 1RR.

As Calke Abbey is situated within a ‘black hole’, mobile phone service cannot be guaranteed therefore, we recommend that you include this information within your invitations and kindly ask your guests to pre-book their transport for no later than 11.30pm. The gates automatically lock and taxis that are booked late will not be able to get onto the estate.

Do our Guests have to pay to enter the estate for our wedding?

When your guests arrive at Park Entry, they will need to make the National Trust team aware of whose wedding they are attending, and they will be let through free of charge. Parking is also free of charge.

Can we leave our vehicles overnight?

You are very welcome to leave your vehicles in the car park overnight however, we must stress that all vehicles are left at the owners risk. Neither Ivy House Weddings Limited or the National Trust will take ANY responsibility for any loss, damage or
theft to any vehicles or items left on the Calke Abbey estate.

Will the bar be open before our ceremony?

Due to the wedding ceremony licencing rules, only non-alcoholic beverages can only be purchased from the bar before the ceremony. The bar will fully open after the ceremony.

What time does the bar close?

Last orders will be called at 10.45pm and the bar will close at 11pm.

What time can our Band/DJ play until?

Music must end by 11pm.

Is there a sound limiter?

We don’t have a sound limiter, but we do ask that music is kept to a respectful limit as staff do live on the estate. If we feel that the respectful noise limit is being exceeded, we will kindly ask that it is reduced.

Can we have fireworks?

Due to the historic nature of the estate, the nature, the welfare of the wildlife and animals on the estate and the proximity to East Midlands Airport, we are unable to allow fireworks, pyrotechnics or Chinese lanterns.

Do you allow balloons?

We are unable to allow helium balloons within the Riding School.

Can we have real candles?

As the Riding School is a Grade I listed building unfortunately, we are unable to allow real flames within the Riding School.
We do allow battery powered candles and have an abundance of these as part of our extensive wishlist.

Can our guests throw confetti?

Of course! We do love a good confetti shot and we would you to use natural petal confetti within the courtyard to the front of the Riding School.

Can we bring our own alcohol?

As well as offering reasonably priced drinks packages, we are able to offer the Riding School as a corkage free wedding venue.

Under the guidance of the catering team, you will be able to supply all the alcohol required for your reception drinks, table wine and toast drinks.

The bar will also be fully stocked and all alcohol after the wedding breakfast MUST be purchased from the bar.

Any unopened alcohol that belongs to you will be held back and returned to you upon collection of your belongings.

Can we choose our own suppliers?

Other than the caterers and the companies used for ceiling decor, you are most welcome to use suppliers of your choice. We do ask that you notify us of any booked suppliers so that we can make contact with them to discuss the logistics of your day, including health and safety procedures whilst working at the Riding School and on the Calke Abbey estate.

How accessible is the venue?

Whilst the venue is just a small walk from the car park, we understand how hard this can be for some guests. Please do make us aware of any additional assistance your guests may need.
The Riding School does have step free access throughout.

Is the Riding School child friendly?

Yes we are! Are well as baby chaining facilities and high chairs we also make sure the bar is stocked with child friendly juice.

When can we have access to the venue to set up?

If there are no weddings the day before your own, you are very welcome to set up at the venue between 11am and 2pm. However, if there is a wedding the day before, we will work closely with you and your suppliers to make suitable arrangements.

What time do our suppliers have access to the venue on the day of the wedding?

Access on a wedding day is from 9am. We will contact each supplier individually to arrange access on your behalf.

Will the Riding School be warm?

The Riding School has underfloor heating but no air conditioning, we aim to kept it to a comfortable temperature throughout the wedding season.

We would love a drone to film at our wedding, would this be possible?

Absolutely, however this is a little complicated due to the Grade I listed nature of the estate so please do get in touch with us before booking your videographer.