Ask the experts: Mark Godley of Deer Park on hosting eco-friendly celebrations

Ask the experts: Mark Godley of Deer Park on hosting eco-friendly celebrations
Deer Park is the perfect marriage of glorious grounds and historic indoor spaces

Deer Park is a glorious venue in the Devon hills. We sit down with Managing Director Mark Godfrey to find out about its eco-friendly weddings and celebrations

Deer Park is approaching a huge milestone with its 300th birthday – and it’s never looked better. But at the heart of this exclusive-use mansion nestled in the rolling Devon hills is a spirit of innovation because the venue has long championed green and sustainable practices alongside superb hospitality – with fabulous accommodation and mouthwatering menus.

Ask the experts: Mark Godley of Deer Park on hosting eco-friendly celebrations
Deer Park is close to Honiton in Devon – so a dream spot for a UK destination celebration

What does the Sustainable Wedding Package at Deer Park include?

Over the last seven years we have been adopting as many sustainable practices as possible. Our super eco-friendly wedding package includes cider made from our own fruit, which also works well in bottles for favours. Head Chef Hadleigh Barrett creates a seasonal plant-based feast with produce from our walled garden. Obviously the important element in an eco-friendly wedding is the reduction of waste, so we work with our couples to ensure that between us we make a difference while everyone has an amazing experience!

Ask the experts: Mark Godley of Deer Park on hosting eco-friendly celebrations
Eco-friendly celebrations at Deer Park champion local, seasonal and minimal waste

Everyone loves a garden party, and more so than ever now. How do outdoor celebrations work here?

We love being outside, and with 80 acres of grounds we have so much offer. You can even enjoy a relaxed and intimate wedding in the Walled Garden. A short woodland walk takes you to the Summer House, which is now licensed for outdoor weddings and features a stunning flower aisle. Celebrations continue in the Italian Garden, set in front of the Georgian Orangery. Plus, there’s a large lawn for garden games and wild children!

A foodie extravaganza is promised here, with produce grown on site. What are your menu highlights?

Food glorious food is our passion at Deer Park. Head Gardener Ollie produces masses of fabulous produce. We can do the finest fine-dining or something rustic on the South African Braai. There’s even the large Bushman wood-fired oven for pizza – a favourite among guests are the chef’s amazing dessert pizzas. For super casual we offer delicious Vietnamese street food, tacos and burritos, healthy Buddha bowls or Greek mezze. Finish the night in front of the open fires with ham & cheese toasties.

Casual dining alfresco is also a speciality – with a feast of flavours

What accommodation do you have for the newlyweds and their guests?

The first romantic night of wedded bliss has got to be spent in a tree house, of course! But it all starts at The Playhouse where the bride and friends stay the night before. There’s a dining table that doubles up as a hair and beauty bar and a fridge full of bubbles. Meanwhile, the guys check into The Shed, equipped with a pool table, dartboard and outdoor BBQ kitchen. The main house has 14 ensuite bedrooms and an additional 15 garden rooms are available overlooking the orchard and grounds. If more accommodation is required, we can add yurts, bell tents or teepees.

Ask the experts: Mark Godley of Deer Park on hosting eco-friendly celebrations
There’s a home from home atmosphere for you and your guests – and space to spread out

What do you see weddings being like after lockdown and what trends are coming through?

Couples are adding on a day or two, going more informal and utilising the gardens. Certainly, we can see that retreat and festival style weddings over a long lazy weekend are becoming the thing and many couples now want to go as eco-friendly as they can.

The gardens are lush in Devon’s mild coastal climate

Deer Park Facts

Deer Park Country House, Weston, Honiton, Devon

01404 41266; hello@deerpark.co.uk

deerpark.co.uk

social: @deerparkcountryhouse


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