Thicket Priory

– Our 1st Birthday! Part 2 –

January 2020 – July 2020

Happy Sunday! I hope you all enjoyed part 1 of the Thicket Priory Birthday blog, I have certainly enjoyed putting this blog together and reminiscing about the past year which has been packed with so much!
Here’s part 2…and what a 6 months it’s been as I’m sure you’ll all agree! So here goes nothing…

January 2020

In January we took our first leap into the world of being part of an industry Blog, B.LOVED which was a great match for Thicket Priory.  Following Elsie Love Photography attending our Luxury Wedding Planners event back in October she captured some amazing images of the Priory for our first full Blog write up which was super exciting! Check it out here.

January was all about projects!  Projects bringing the history of the Priory back to life!  Bruce loves to ensure we are sympathetic to the history of the Priory, so the projects of restoring the old servants bells and bell boxes, plus the original keys was one of gargantuan proportion.

The Keys have been lovingly transformed into sheet music where you have the challenge of guessing the songs on each line!

The Bell boxes needed a little bit of ‘The Repair Shop’ style treatment to clean them up and reapply gold leaf to help them shine again!

The final piece to the puzzle was then the bells themselves which can now be seen in our Old Kitchen.

Projects weren’t just underway in the house, the team were hard at work planting snowdrops and daffodils on the driveway and around the grounds.

Sarah decided on a new working space for zoning out which we think suits her down to the ground! The Jefferson room is also the room which is licensed for legal ceremonies so when marrying with a celebrant in the on-site Chapel, this is the room you would say your legal words with a local registrar.

We also jazzed up the corridor heading to the offices with the wonderful photoshoot pictures from the Ambience Venue Styling Shoot from 2019!  We also received the full video edit from their Shoot showing all the wonderful suppliers in full swing!

Other news from January 2020 saw us gain our full premises license, we had one last push for the Hitched Awards, attended the Suppliers get together at Baba Ganoush HQ and had a wonderful photoshoot hosted by Beady I Design to finish off the month.

February 2020

The final month of Winter saw our snowdrops blooming, floods in York, a Christening, two weddings and an awards ceremony.  But let’s dive in first with the video published from a shoot back in October 2019, hosted by Stephanie Moran Couture with the theme of Swan Lake.

The geese were certainly loving it!

Our first Christening at Thicket Priory was for the super cute Erin, daughter of Angela and David.  It was a lovely family day and the Priory provided the space for children to be entertained for the day inside during the winter! It also was a celebration for Erin’s 1st birthday!

We had two weddings in February, which could not have been more different in style showing just how versatile our venue truly is.  We have the ability to host a wedding with fewer guests, understated but stunningly beautiful where emphasis is on family and friends getting together to enjoy great food and great company.  Sarah & Pete kept us laughing all the way through their wedding planning where we would refer to the wedding day as ‘Pete’s Day!’.   Quote of the day was Pete saying ‘You know it’s a busy day when I haven’t done my crossword’…we loved it so much we framed it!!

The second wedding of February 2020 had all the bells and whistles, it was a weekend packed with live entertainment, guest activities, the raising of a military flag on the front lawn and much much more!  It was such a wonderful success to see all the pieces of Becky & Darren’s dream wedding coming together over the three days they were here with their guests!

Behind the scenes the team had lots of fun in February, from Pancake flipping competitions and the excitement of new business cards, to Henri capturing some beautiful images of the grounds and the Team taking a trip to London for the Hitched wedding awards!

London was an amazing trip for the team to take to attend our first awards ceremony which unfortunately didn’t see us bring home a trophy but we were so proud to be part of the short list and to see the support we have from our Friends of Thicket Priory, Friends, Family and Industry experts!

February photoshoot was incredible which I’m sure you’ll agree, arranged by the lovely Blonde Army here’s a few images to whet your appetite!

Photography by Emma Ryan Photographer

March 2020

I’m not sure how I feel about starting the March section of this blog as this is when the world as we know it decided to go on a rollercoaster ride…but at least we were all on it together!

Behind the scenes of the Priory we have been working on our catering plans since day dot and March placed the final pieces in our Caterers jigsaw with a fabulous tribe of very talented caterers aboard the ship to work with our wonderful weddings and events of the future.

Whether you choose from the extensive range of individual dishes or menus, or request something bespoke, our fabulous choice of recommended caterers will accommodate your every need. From formal wedding breakfasts to more contemporary sharing food, you are in very safe hands. Whichever of our renowned local caterers you choose Baba Ganoush, Purple Chilli, Hog & Apple Food Co. or Payal, you can be assured they use the finest locally sourced produce to create experiences you won’t forget!

Thicket Priory Catering

We started the month with an upgrade to our room key tags, adding more of the beautiful Gryffin brand to the welcome for our guests.  Lovingly pressed by Debby, Andy’s wife! Thanks Debs!

The two weddings we managed to sneak in before the dreaded Coronacoaster hit were incredible!  We had Mr & Mrs Barker, 7th March and Mrs & Mrs Hall, 14th March!

Kim & Tom had the most wonderful weather for the tail end of winter meaning the ladies could enjoy some fizz in the orchard the day before the wedding and the boys enjoyed a pre-ceremony pint on the terrace the morning of the wedding! Ideal!  The family feel created by both the Barker and Mudd tribes whilst here at the Priory was amazing, everyone felt like part of the furniture, from Terry the father of the groom who loved every minute of his time at the Priory, to Ruby the Tunnocks Teacake lover and Theo the first ever honorary member of Team Gryffin!

I can’t go without mentioning our very first ‘Thicket Priory Mr & Mrs’ where we were greeted by Kim in Tom’s suit and Tom is Kim’s dress! Well played guys!

Lauren & Matt, our luckiest couple to date managing to get the very last wedding before BOOM…Lockdown!

My memories of Lauren and Matt’s wedding are a combination of Lauren’s tears, the most epic cheese board EVER, men in braces and top hats, damson gin, beautiful flowers, THE veil and definitely the entire Thicket Team’s favourite evening entertainment so far…DJ Sax Jonny Ross Music!

I cannot write about our final wedding without mentioning the epic efforts from the team helping someone who was stuck in the mud!  I think this photo says it all!

…then we started on a journey which is fair to say none of us would have ever expected to be on,  the entire world was united by a common enemy, an invisible enemy who did not discriminate, and what a journey it has been!

We began by creating our own hand sanitizer aptly named ‘Corona Kill 60’, and I must stress two things with our product; 1) no Gryffins were harmed in the making of the product and; 2) Do not add to Tonic!

Life as we know it was about to change but I don’t think anyone was prepared for just how much! Changes were made to our home lives and working lives where we needed to look at how to stay safe, how to stay sustainable and how to stay sane!  Difficult decisions were made to furlough half the team, Sarah and Flame as operational team members found themselves dealing with absence from the Priory which was not easy.  Anna and Becca began the task of postponements, working with couples and suppliers to rearrange wedding dates, trying to keep the process as stress free as possible.

April 2020

April was the month of adapting to a new ‘normal’ and really trying to understand just what we can be doing and should be doing whilst we were in this rather strange bubble of lockdown!  I was missing the team, I was missing our couples and their guests…and I’m confident they were missing us too!  So it was getting to the time of thinking outside of the box.

Kelly Chandler provided an amazing group called ‘Wedding Venues Rebuilding’ to help pull together a group of wedding venues to help each other through these rather strange times…and I must say it has been a life line! Big Thank you Kelly, and of course all the lovely venues who are part of the group!

April was definitely when we realised this wasn’t going to disappear over night, so we took steps to shut down the bar and the tucked the building in for a little ‘snooze’.  We then have had time to do things which we usually wouldn’t have time to do including; redesigning the bar menus, Facebook live became a staple part of my weekly life, pushing our social media forward with canva Pro and a new gimble gadget!  We even started a few fun games and continued our couples quiz, featuring Charlotte and Craig from Hello there films.

As a venue who values our people above anything we needed to show just how grateful we were to all those NHS – Key workers out there who were fighting against this horrible virus, so here’s our thanks in video form after lighting up the Priory Blue!

Spring at Thicket Priory was a wonder to behold as the gardens started to bloom and the grounds were teaming with life! Duckling rescue was my favourite day!

May 2020

May brought us more exciting ‘firsts’ with our first virtual wedding fair, a team virtual afternoon tea and the celebration of ‘Mr & Mrs Wheatley…still to be’!

First lets start with just how we coped as a team who is usually so sociable being lockdown away from each other.  An invite was sent out with clear instructions from the Maître d for all diners!  We were all at home and were challenged with creating a tea room at home so we could have a team social with quizzes and stories of the history of Thicket provided by Bruce himself!

May was the month of some amazing blogs, both in-house and guest blogs!  There’s a great feel good blog by Sarah on 8 ways to stay positive! Check it out here!

Other highlights from May included new curtains for the Vulliamy suite, celebrations of VE day which saw some amazing tributes in Thorganby village, Zoe & Rich taking part in Thicket Priory Mr & Mrs, our first Virtual wedding fair, Becca’s creation of the Step by Step Planning guide, our Instagram facelift, moorhen ducklings in the grounds and finally the at home celebrations of Catherine & David who’s wedding should have taken place at the Priory on 30th May!

June 2020

With 6th, 13th, 20th and 27th of June as postponed wedding dates the Priory was definitely missing the hustle and bustle of smiling faces and happy people!  We got some lovely images of the activities some of our couples took part in to mark their wedding days!

Nick & Claire celebrated their wedding day with their four legged friends with some cold drinks in Plovdiv the European Capital of Culture 2019, where they live!

Followed by a bit of a top trump from Stephanie and Matt who live in L.A. and headed to Paso Robles, the wine region on the Central Coast of California for a long weekend of wine tasting where they actually got engaged!  It wasn’t quite their Yorkshire Wedding but they 100% got better weather than us!

Blogs in June covered a guest blog from the wonderful Zoe at Treasured Brides, a Q & A sessions with some of our wedding planner friends, advice on how to choose your wedding cake from the lovely Lisha at L.S. Cakery and a fabulous blog helping all those couples out their switching seasons because of covid-19 that Winter weddings doesn’t mean Christmas decorations, holly and Mariah Carey singing All I want for Christmas!

What else happened in June:

– The Office became more covid-19 secure with more space! Thanks boys!
– We had another duckling rescue!
– We reopened the doors for venue tours and had some lovely goodies to give away thanks to Baba Ganoush Dining and L.S. Cakery
– Bruce’s final charity figures were published from the lock-down competition held for all employees at both Thicket Priory and Corries.
– Andy and the TP Estates gang finished the wonderful gates which look incredible!
– Anna & Becca started to do ‘table workouts’ to keep fit…ready for some new profile pictures thanks to Phoebe Jane Photography!