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Venue review: The George In Rye, Sussex

We couldn't resist the quaint charms and fabulous food offered by this hidden gem of a wedding venue

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The thing I still can’t get over, having spent a weekend at The George In Rye, is how vast it is behind its quaint entrance lobby and restaurant. It makes perfect sense that the George owners have done it this way – a sprawling hotel would completely ruin the cute little high street of this coastal town and yet they need the numerous rooms and suites to cater for the constant stream of satisfied customers in and out of the doors, including newlywed couples and their guests…
The George In Rye, as, dare I say it, the saving grace of an otherwise behind-the-times town, offers the whole wedding package. And as an added bonus, it’s just a fast train from central London for those city slickers wanting a personal, small-town wedding.

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How many guests can attend a wedding?

If you’re after an intimate celebration, The George offers their 16th Century Benson Room, with private bar and a balcony made for brilliant photo ops, which caters for 40. A bigger guest list can easily be accommodated in the air-conditioned Ballroom, which is elegantly neutral in decor so you can decorate it to your personal big-day colour or theme. The ballroom has a kitchen devoted solely to catering for weddings, so there’s no risk of sharing your chef with guests dining in the busy Grill downstairs. That being said, if the same team are behind your wedding breakfast menu as the hotel’s restaurant, your guests are in for a treat. We enjoyed a three course dinner which hit the spot – the scallops to start were perfectly cooked and fantastically sweet, and the locally-sourced lobster for main was delicious. Seafood is Rye’s speciality.

Do they hold a wedding license?
Yes, both the Benson room and Ballroom are licensed for civil ceremonies. That being said, after visiting the town, we have to agree with the wedding team at The George that saying ‘I do’ at the town hall is a must, if only for the experience of making your way back to the hotel on foot with the town crier leading the way, announcing your happy news.

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Is accommodation available?
This isn’t just accommodation, this is luxury accommodation. The wedding package includes booking the eight hotel rooms which are located nearest to the ballroom (just a few steps from the dance floor to dreamsville at the end of the night!), but The George boasts a surprisingly large number of rooms, suites and lodges hidden behind the main 14th Century building for any other guests that want a bed for the night. Each room/suite has a unique design, so parents of the bride can relax in a room reminiscent of a Nordic chalet, while your minimaids jump up and down on the circular bed in the Miami suite. A tip: bag a room with a freestanding bath for yourself before your family and friends snap them up, it’s the ultimate in luxury.

Are there local wedding suppliers?

One of the biggest selling points of The George is their knowledge of the best local photographers, florists and cake designers. And thepièce de résistance is the Rye Retreat, a beauty salon just one cobbled street away from the hotel, which offers all the beauty treatments and hair salon services you’d expect from a city spa. The organic facial is simply the perfect treatment to have the day before your wedding to ensure radiant skin, and the hair stylists are on hand to turn your entire wedding party into beautiful swans, not to say they started out as ugly ducklings of course!

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Where are the best places to take photos?
The balcony, looking over the quaint high street, is a fabulous spot for pictures, as is the short walk from the town hall or local church over cobbled streets. Don’t forget, you’re not too far from Camber Sands, so if you have your heart set on sea and sand as a backdrop, it’s definitely doable.

How much does it cost?

Prices for The George’s two wedding packages, Traditional and Indulgence, as well as their bespoke wedding service, are available on request. To speak to their friendly wedding team, call 01797 222114 or visit thegeorgeinrye.com/weddings.

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By Victoria Joy