Cote How Frequently Asked Questions

Is Cote How a public hotel

Cote How is a small family business which offers its home as a private hire venue. We live onsite and welcome you to our home where we host your special occasion. We are not a hotel which offers services to non residents, or the general public. You will benefit from hiring a bespoke venue which specialises in intimate and exclusive celebrations and can be completely flexible (within reason). There is no set formula and other than booking the registrar at a particular time and date, we can build whatever type of event you choose.

Are you open for us to come and take a look at the venue?

We can arrange a show round of Cote How by appointment only. If you wish to bring any friends or relatives with you then can we suggest that you limit your visits to 4 people. Weekends are an extremely busy time for us particularly in wedding season and we cannot offer show rounds when the venue is in use as each couple have sole exclusivity for the duration of their stay.

Can our guests use the whole of the house?

The venue is used on an exclusive basis so rest assured that there are no other guests on the premises throughout your wedding. Your wedding style will determine how much of the venue is in use on the day for you. Some weddings are for the house only and some include the barn too. These areas are clearly defined in your wedding contract. There are also some areas of the house and grounds that are marked as private as these are staff only areas, are off limits due to health & safety or is our private living accommodation. Access to the main staircase that leads to the bedrooms is strictly limited to residents only. Therefore on the wedding day we ask that any additional members of the bridal party that are not residents arrive ready and wait in the downstairs reception areas of the house and not in the bedrooms.

Are you onsite to make sure everything we plan is carried out?

Yes, Caroline agrees all of your arrangements with you during your planning stages and it is her and the family team that serves you and your guests on the day ensuring that every detail of your wedding is carried out to perfection. Unlike other venues we do not change shifts or leave site, ensuring that everything we have agree is carried out to perfection!

Venue Hire 

Do you offer exclusivity (are we the only wedding that day)?

Yes, we believe that your wedding is a private and intimate affair and so we only offer total exclusivity for every wedding on-site, whether a 2 hour ceremony for 2 people, or a full weekend package for 70 people.

Can we use the house and barn?

Yes you can hire either the house, lawn and house terrace only or the house and barn which includes barn courtyard. Some parts of the venue are closed after use to suit the flow of your event. For example the house ceremony room and guest lounge are closed in the evening once the party has moved to the barn. If your wedding is in the house only then all rooms will remain in use.

Do you offer any discounts to your prices?

Yes, in addition to our midweek and seasonal discounts we have special late availability and Winter offers which you can see on our website here. If you are on a budget and need to make savings to your budget please ask Caroline for expert ways of trimming budgets without impacting on quality - She is in expert in this!.

Can we walk to the lake on the day for photographs?

Yes, the meadow leading to the lake edges of Rydal water is ours too, so unlike other venues you can actually take a short stroll along the river bank and dip your toes into the lake! Rydal Water is literally 200m from our barn gate and we do encourage you to take advantage of this amazing treat. Your photographs are so important and the views on the lake side are truly amazing! 

Is the bar in the main evening party room itself, or separate?

We have two cash bars which are open throughout the day. The house bar is situated off the main reception room, and the barn bar serves local real ale and chilled lager on draft. The house bar does close once the party moves to the barn for dinner and evening reception in order to keep your wedding in one place.



The house capacities:

50 people in the Fairfield ceremony room for the wedding ceremony
50 for an informal buffet or 24 for a formal wedding breakfast (3 tables of 8 people) 24 for an Afternoon Tea (3 tables of 8 people)
Up to 16 for fine dining in the main reception room

Barn capacity:

70 people in the barn for the ceremony
70 seated in the barn for a hog roast
70 for an informal buffet
50 for a seated formal wedding breakfast

Can we have an evening reception?

In order to have an evening reception after your ceremony (full day wedding) you will need a minimum of 24 people in the house and 40 in the barn

Do you allow marquees or teepees in the grounds?

We do not allow marquees or teepees on site. As we specialise in smaller more intimate weddings, which suit our infrastructure, therefore additional capacity is not really required. If you are looking for a larger wedding then we feel that larger venues can accommodate this much easier.


Wedding Arrangements

Do you offer a wedding planning service?

Yes you have your own dedicated wedding planner in Caroline. With over 30 years experience in the wedding. design and hospitality business, you can be assured of the best advice. Caroline will guide you through every step of your wedding, plus we will offer you a whole host of guides from the client area of our website once you have booked your wedding here. These guides are a valuable step by step guide and timeline to ensure that you know exactly when things are due or need addressing. This service is all free of charge.

What do we do to book the wedding?

Once you have decided that you want Cote How as your venue, you will need to check with Kendal Registry office for their availability at the time and date of choice agreed with Caroline. Once this is booked, you may proceed with your booking with Cote How. 
A booking is not confirmed until a full £1,000 deposit has been paid and your wedding contract signed and returned to us.

Can you supply details of local registrar so we can contact them?

The local registrar’s office is in Kendal:
County Offices
Busher Walk
Tel:0300 303 2472 (select South Lakes area)
Email:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Show rounds and pre-visits

Can we come to visit the venue?
We can arrange private or group viewings with our wedding planner Caroline, once you have completed some preliminary questionnaires. 
As you will no doubt understand, time is limited, as we have many couples wishing to make appointments each year. Mid-week is less time constrained and we can usually arrange private viewings then. Weekends are very busy and so a group show around might be the best available option. Where possible, these visits also need to be limited to one hour, in order to try and accommodate everybody!
To arrange a viewing, please make an enquiry by completing this Simple Wedding Enquiry Form.

Can we come again closer to the wedding date to show friends, family and professionals?

Yes we encourage this in order to go through the details again closer to the wedding date. As our time and venue vacancies are extremely limited between events we do need to limit your visits to just one 'Final Planning Meeting'. This is timed to be 8-12 weeks prior to your wedding date. You will come prepared having completed our online wedding guide and time line so we literally just need to check the finer detail at this stage. If you have suppliers such as photographers and venue stylists wishing to view the venue you must arrange for them to attend this meeting too. We time this for one hour after our meeting starts and you can show them around alone as Caroline may have other appointments to attend to.


Car Parking

Do you allow parking on-site?

It is really important to us to make the venue car free for the wedding itself. This enables photographs form any angle at any time and actually makes your photographers work much easier. We have tried very hard to create and maintain a naturally beautiful environment and believe that this in the most important factor with choosing this venue - It is surrounded by natural beauty.... So a bright yellow car in the centre of a great shot is a real spoiler!
We move our own cars in order to accommodate this too as we genuinely try to make the venue look stunning on your day. We therefore need you to believe in this and be happily on board with this policy. People driving to the venue late for the ceremony expecting to park onsite is what we wish to avoid. We do explain all of this in our Guest information Pack which is available from our client area once booked. Taxis and pre-booked transport is an essential part of accommodating our car free policy and does make your wedding day far less stressful.
For overnight residents we can accommodate 3 cars, though these are removed to the lane or car park down the lane for the wedding itself, then retrieved after the weddings has moved into the barn and all garden photos are completed. There is limited parking on the lane outside and plenty in the public pay and display car park just 50m down the lane, though they get filled very early at busy times and during good weather as walkers will arrive early for a day in the fells. Again we emphasise that your guests are best transported via pre-booked minibuses. These will do pickups in Ambleside or Grasmere and will ensure that your guests arrive and depart in a timely manner. We have plenty of minibus numbers and taxi companies in our suppliers section of the client area of the website.

Are there any local car parks nearby?

Yes, the nearest is called Pelter Bridge Car Park just 50m before us on the lane. This is a pay and Display Car Park patrolled by the National Park. Other options are to find spaces along the lane near Rydal Church, or to park in Ambleside's long stay car parks and walk/bus (555 or 599) to us.



Do you offer flexibility for catering (us using external suppliers)?

We have our own on-site caterers and we source all of our food locally. We develop our own menus seasonally and have tried and tested our menus ensuring that we have control over the quality of what we offer, in addition to the provenance of the food we serve. We offer a wide and varied selection of food options, but if you have any special requests outside our normal menu selections, we will do our very best to accommodate them. 
Menu options are available here 

Can you cater for special diets?

Yes! we have many years' experience and have built a fine reputation for attention to detail and fexibility, so whether vegan, dairy-free, wheat-free, gluten-free, or raw diet only, we can cater for you! There are additional charges for special diets outside of the normal menus meat or vegetarian options.

Can we bring in any of our own food to help keep the costs down?

The only food permitted to be brought in is your wedding cake. We will supply a table and cloth and a knife for your cake cutting photos. If you wish to have a particular type of cake stand, you will need to hire this in, although we can offer a traditional 10” glass stand or a wooden tree ring free of charge.

After we have cut the cake for photos, can you cut in into slices and serve it?

Yes. We can offer this service and can cut your cake into portion sizes and supply plates, forks and napkins for a buffet or served to your table. There is an additional charge of £1.50 or £2.50 respectively for this service.


Can we bring in our own wines and champagnes?

As a fully licensed premise we do not offer any from of corkage.

What kind of wines and sparkling drinks do you offer?

We have a comprehensive list of wines, including our standard ranges, premium, ethical and organic options. We also offer local real ales and Peroni on draft in the fully stocked barn bar. 

Can we put an amount behind the bar instead of specifying a particular round of drinks, as some people would prefer beers, rather than Prosecco or Mulled Wine?

Yes. We often manage a tab behind the bar to accommodate a varied list of drinks. This only works from the barn bar, where there is plenty of space for guests to be served quickly. If a round is needed for a toast, it is advisable to pre-order the same round, as it can be ready all at the same time and served quickly to the tables. Likewise, we advise wine with a formal meal, as we can leave equivalent bottles to the glasses per person, pre-ordered on the tables to save walking to and queuing at the bar during food service.  Any pre-paid drinks are then left on the side tables for distribution throughout the meal.
We allow 6 glasses per bottle, so bottle equivalents are allocated to each wedding. Any further drinks required can be purchased from the bar or, if authorised, added to the wedding tab.


What standard wines do you offer?

We ask you to choose one red and one white from:
Reds: Merlot, Rioja, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec/Tempranillo. Whites: Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc 

Can you play our ceremony music?

Yes. Unlike many venues we will take responsibility for this (very stressful) element of your wedding. We have a Sonos sound system throughout the house and barn and can play the same music simultaneously. We will play your ceremony music for you, plus we can play your own playlists as background and milling music throughout your wedding. This way you have personalised music which plays a major part in setting the tone of your wedding day. 

Do you offer flexibility for entertainment (us using external suppliers)?

If you wish you can use our Sonos System and playlists for a low key evening in the house or barn. If you want anything more then you can source your own entertainment to suit your style and budget. The house will only accommodate a live accoustic singer due to size. The barn will take a live entertainer / disco set up or a 3 piece band. Midweek weddings are kept low key, and so no bands mid-week!

Do you have any in-house equipment (lighting, speakers etc.)?

We do not have any disco lighting for entertainment, so you will need to arrange this via your entertainment provider.

Do you have an in-house stage and dance floor?

The barn has plenty of dance floor space.

Background music - how is this catered for?

We recognise that some couples are very into their music and this is a really important element of their day, others are very relaxed about the music and would prefer us to play background music from our archives. If you wish to design your own playlists then we can play these for you via our Sonos Sound System..



What are the payment plan, deposit and cancellation charges?

To complete your wedding booking we require a £1,000 holding fee to save the date. This is retained for a maximum period of 7 days whilst your contract is agreed, signed and returned. After this time your holding fee and any payments made on account are non-refundable. In addition to your holding fee, full payment of the wedding is required within 6 months of your wedding date. Any extra costs incurred on your wedding day that is not already paid for in advance e.g.: Bar Tab, extra guests added at late notice, damage or loss (see below), is then deducted from the £1,000, the balance of which is refunded to you within 7 days of your wedding. We therefore strongly advise that you take out wedding insurance to insure against any unforeseen circumstances. 

The balance payment is due 6 months prior to the wedding date. If you book your wedding within 6 months of your wedding date, then full payment will be required on booking plus your £1,000 holding fee. 
You can make payments towards your wedding at any time or on a monthly payment plan or in quarterly intervals, provided that the full amount is paid in advance of your balance due date as quoted on your wedding contract.  
If you cancel your wedding and have paid more than the £1,000 deposit, the monies can be refunded on a sliding scale – Please refer to our website for our full terms and conditions for details.



Do you allow dogs to the weddings?

We are dog friendly at Cote How and can allow 1 well behaved dog to all or part of the wedding if you so wish. However, they are not permitted upstairs and therefore overnight stays are not possible. Some of our local accommodation providers do take dogs. During the meal we do ask that your dog is put into a cage or tethered outside when we are serving food.
You must ensure that your dog is taken out of the grounds for toilet breaks!



Can we invite children to the wedding?

Yes! We allow a limited number of children at the venue, dependant on guest numbers / size of wedding.

Do you offer children’s meals?

We do not offer a child’s menu, but a smaller plate of the adult choices!

What age do you class as children?

Children are all those aged 2 to 12 years of age. 
Children aged over 12 are classed as adults for catering purposes.

Do you have high chairs?

We have one high chair which is free to use. Children under the age of 2 are counted as they take space at the tables, but we do not charge for children under 2, as we do not cater for them, unless otherwise requested.



Do you have on-site accommodation for the wedding party?

Yes. We have three rooms on-site which are reserved for the immediate bridal party only. This includes the Bridal Suite and two other rooms which are reserved for family members only (this excludes bridesmaid parties). These rooms are available for weekend weddings as a two night stay for the same guests. As we are such a small team we cannot accommodate room changes after one night so we will only allow the same guests for both nights.

Do you have additional on-site accommodation for the guests?

No. We do not have any accommodation on-site other than that reserved for the main bridal party. 

Bridal Suite and checking in times

Can we access the accommodation early to get ready for the wedding?
If you have booked a midweek one day wedding, then there is no accommodation included and we will expect you to arrive ready to go!
If you have booked a weekend wedding then you will have the opportunity to arrive the night before, enjoy breakfast then get ready in your own room.
If you are travelling a distance, then we advise that you book the venue for a 2 night wedding. This allows access from 16:00 the day before the wedding, and also allows for any venue styling that you may wish to attend to ahead of the wedding. The barn is available from 17:00 – 19:00 the night before the wedding, provided that you have booked the venue for that evening too.
If you booked a midweek wedding then we can allow the use of one bedroom for final touches and dressing. This is limited to the bride and one helper only. You will only get access from 12noon, therefore if dressing here is required we suggest that your wedding ceremony time is no earlier than 3:00pm. 

Check out procedure

If there are any adjustments to the bill can we pay the balance on check out?
Yes. Any remaining extras, accommodation, and bar tabs can be paid in full before check out.

What time is check out?

Check out from the bedrooms is 10:00am, as we may have to prepare the venue for the next wedding.  If we have no wedding checking in, then we can be a little more flexible on the day!


Venue styling


Do you offer flexibility for decorations (us using external suppliers)?

Yes - If you wish to have items such as chair covers, sashes, any other items then we encourage you to hire these in from a professional who can set this up pre-wedding for you. If you wish to add any finishing touches to the venue yourselves such as bunting, table dressing, table decorations favours and flowers etc this can only be accommodated as a weekend wedding when we will be on hand the night before to assist with this. If you have booked a smaller mid week wedding then there is no time to dress the venue yourselves as access is only from 12 noon.  

Do you allow us to layout the room(s) to our tastes and needs?

It would depend on the numbers involved, but we will advise on best layouts for each wedding. For example, any more than 40 for a sit down meal will have to be accommodated in a horseshoe layout rather than round tables due to size restrictions.

How many tables and chairs do you have?

We have 5 x 8ft round tables which each seat 8 people comfortably.
We have 10 rectangle tables which measure 1.9m x 0.7m.
We have 50 gold chairs with green velvet seat pads used in the house Fairfield ceremony room. The style is called Cheltenham. We also have 70 white chairs for use outside or in the barn. These are slightly larger than the indoor chairs and do not take a chair cover. Sashes are sometimes used on these as added decoration, but not essential.

Are tablecloths and napkins included?

Yes. We include white linen tablecloths and napkins in all wedding packages and this is calculated into your wedding costs.
Any additional styling such as chair covers and sashes are at an additional charge.

Access for decorating Access/Setting up the night before

Can we access the barn and venue the night before to decorate it ourselves?
Access to the barn and whole venue depends on the package you have booked. To access the barn the night before, you will need to book the venue for the night before the wedding, in addition to the wedding night. Weekend packages include a check in from 4pm on the Friday night. the barn is then available from 4-7pm for decorating.

How much bunting will I need to bring?

The barn measures approximately 10m long and 5.5m wide. It has two ‘A’ framed beams in the centre which are 5.5m wide. Most people add bunting in a cross formation and/or under the two beams. We have added cup hooks to the ends and centre of the beams to make this easy to put up.
Barn Measurements for bunting (remember to add plenty extra to these measurements to allow spare and for the drape of the bunting):
The main beams or 'A' frames in the ceiling form a corner to corner for criss cross - From corner to corner measures 8m taught. You will need two lengths.
Bar measures 3m and has 3 cup hooks - 1 each side and 1 in the centre. 
Window Ledge measures 2.7m x 45cm deep. There is a cup hook on each side.

Can we change the current decor in the barn?

The barn already has a plethera of twinkling fairy lights and the beams are adorned with festoon lights. These are fixed into place and cannot be changed. Due to health & safety implications we cannot allow any further electric decorations to be brought onsite. We limit the ceiling decor to bunting. Table decorations can include battery operated lighting. The rectangle tables are narrow, therefore large table decorations will not fit. Please limit your table decorations to jars of flowers interspersed with tealights / battery operated lighting. 



Can we pre-book transport to shuttle guests to and from the venue to Ambleside and Grasmere accommodation?

Yes it is easier for you to book the transport for your guests in coaches or minibuses as this helps to make sure they arrive and depart in a timely manner. There are a few companies that will offer a private booking using minibus shuttles between here and their accommodation.

Can you recommend any local taxi companies?

Taxis are sometimes reluctant to take advance bookings which is why we recommend minibus / private hire companies. However - if you do need a private taxi it is worth enquiring now, then confirming any booking closer to the date. 
All taxis must be pre-booked to collect between 11:00pm and 11:15pm. The barn will close at 11:30pm prompt. 
Please note that we cannot ring taxis for guests. All pre-booked taxis will wait on the terrace in front of the house and will not go down to the barn. Make sure you are waiting on the front terrace if you have booked a taxi. Cote How cannot be held responsible for any taxi bookings.

We have a lot of guests and think maybe a coach is better

Larger coaches are great but due to the narrow single track lane access is limited. Coaches must drop off on the main A591 outside Rydal Lodge (opposite Rydal Church) then guests walk across the wooden footbridge over the River Rothay and into our field. The house is on the left hand side. Wellies advisable if wet weather!

How do we find contact details for transport?

For contact details of coaches, minibuses and taxis please refer to our Wedding Suppliers page of our Client area once you have booked your wedding here.


Didn't find your answer?

Please refer to this list and if you cannot find your answer please feel free to email us your query using the contact page



Cote How added the WOW factor to our wedding - Such an amazing time. Love it here!  John and Jo Coppock 

Thank you Caroline for hosting our wedding! You and your team pulled out all the stops to make it absolutely perfect! Such a gorgeous location with you as a brilliant wedding planner who organised pretty much everything for us! Could not have wished for a better day! We would highly recommend!! Xxx   Kerry Gibbons

Lovely, peaceful place, fantastic host in Caroline!   Claire Chapman

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Get in touch

Cote How
LA22 9LW

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