on January 4, 2013
OLD STRATFORD COMMUNITY HALL I was invited to a post wedding reception last September. The bride and groom had already married, in August, in Mexico. Although they had a good sized wedding party at their wedding, as the couple live in England where most of their friends and family also live, yet married as far away as Mexico, this meant that many family members and friends were unable to attend. A post wedding evening reception near to their home in England was planned a month after the wedding ‘proper.’The bride’s father (a cousin of mine) had passed away before the wedding and the bride wanted to make sure she held the event in a venue large enough to accommodate many family members from her dad’s side of the family to attend her post wedding celebration, as well as other close family and friends. The couple and their parents decided to hold this very special celebration evening in the Old Stratford Community Hall in Old Stratford near to Milton Keynes.The town of Milton Keynes and the surrounding area is quite far away from us and so we had (myself and my husband) booked into a hotel in the village of Stony Stratford so that we could attend this get together, raise a glass or two to the happy couple and not have to drive home until the following day after breakfast.OUTSIDE AREAOn arriving at the venue I thought this seemed a good hall for an event such as this. The outdoor area was large and it was noticeable that smokers were using this area although the weather was cold. The outside area is large enough to provide smoking areas far enough away from the entrance so that guests don’t have to pass through the haze of smoke (which often seems to happen now public places are non-smoking in this country and smokers tend to huddle near to doorways). I thought the layout of hall and grounds was fortunate in this respect. CAR PARKThere were plenty of car parking spaces for those using the community hall although not really necessary for us as we arrived by taxi. However, it is nice to be dropped off by the halls entrance and not have to cross roads or walk far, especially in bad weather when dressed for a party. INTERIORThe interior was good, I thought. On our arrival the bride and groom greeted us at the entrance and explained where everything was. One could see the foyer layout was beneficial to this type of event as here there was a table set out with glasses of champagne ready for guests to take on arrival and throughout the evening. Also here could be seen a table which was used to house presents and envelopes. There was a storage area where extra chairs were stacked, room for coats. The toilets led off from here. There were two large rooms; one was the main hall for dancing and the held bar. We went into the hall and met other guests. This is a good sized room which was large enough so that the many tables were set up with buffet type food and decorations and with chairs around. One end of the hall was set up for the Dee Jay and disco equipment and this fitted in nicely and there was plenty of room for dancing. The hall was large enough to provide further space to the side of the disco for the photo booth which had been set up. Here, guests could have photos taken. A varied selection of hats was supplied, I suppose with the intent of making the photos fun and not overly ‘posed.’ The idea of this booth was so that the newlyweds had photos to keep of all the guests attending as a memento, and guests were given four passport sized photos to take home, or more if they re-visited the booth. The other hall could be accessed from its own entrance and also from the main hall. As well as the bar there was room in here for guests to stand around and converse and hot food, such as soup, was set out on tables in here. TOILETSToilets were certainly clean and well equipped at the start of the evening but were well used and so, as you would expect the floor around the wash basins became wet and slippery as the evening wore on. I thought the ladies toilets were fairly modern in design. I expect the same would be true of the gents. There is a disabled toilet. DISABLED ACCESSFor disabled users of the hall there is a disabled lavatory.The community hall is on ground level and I think well accessible for wheelchair users and anyone with mobility issues. LOCATION Serving the villages of Old Stratford and Passenham the Old Stratford Community Hall is at the end of Deanshanger Road (A422), and by the A5 it is accessible from neighbouring areas. It lies in Northamptonshire and is on the boundary with Buckinghamshire. The hall is near to the town of Milton Keynes. We booked a taxi from our hotel to take us to the Old Stratford Community Hall which is only a very short drive from the hall.COMMUNITYThe community hall is modern, airy looking and up to date, having been built in 2000. I would think this hall, which is run by volunteers and a manager, is an asset to the local community and its neighbours. It is available for hire.A firework display is held here for Guy Fawkes Night.The hall is used for a playgroup five days a week and for other local groups and events which, to name just a few, are: Mother and Toddler Groups; Tumble Tots; Badminton; Football; Zumba Classes; Slimming Clubs and more…The community hall is funded partly by donations from the parish council, I understand, and also money is raised through events and hire of the hall/s for private functions such as wedding receptions, Christenings, birthday parties etc. FACILITIESThe community hall has good modern facilities including:StageChanging RoomsBarCatering FacilitiesToiletsDisabled toiletCar ParkOVERALLA very enjoyable (post) wedding reception was had by all in the Old Stratford Community Hall. Of course, the hosts and their families must be thanked. And were, for this having arranged the evening and catered well for their guests, but also choosing a suitable venue has much to do with the success, in my opinion, of any event. Good, clean facilities always help to provide a good celebration and, having just the right amount of space for ones guests, furniture and equipment is the key to a great night. The guest list for this event was large and both halls were used but for smaller receptions/parties one hall would be ideal. I thought this hall was a very good venue.
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