Beautiful wedding at Hope Mill

Hope MillThought this fabulous wedding was worth a little write up. Dinosaurs and afternoon tea…what a combo!! We love it. This gorgeous venue is one of our all time favourites, Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester. It’s situated in the ground floor of a former cotton mill, now a grade 2 listed building. The space is SO unique. Super high ceilings, two large spaces that both feel cosy, fab staff, flexibility to create the wedding you want in the space, AND they are not a wedding factory.

We were beyond delighted to be selected to provide a vintage afternoon tea for the wedding of our clients Lauren and Chris. Booked 12 months before their wedding we were counting down the days. It was a complete honour to be catering for them in Hope Mill. vintage afternoon tea

With 130 guests at the wedding we had a lot to do. We baked lots and lots of cake, 150 scones, and made over 1300 yummy sarnies. The guest list included 16 vegetarians, two vegans and 17 children. The menu catered for them all. We had eight different sandwich fillings on the menu, and 14 different types of cake.


The room was set-up with the most gorgeous solid wood trestle tables (on hire from, vintage books and dinosaurs on the tables, and the most beautiful floristry from Eden Floral Styling (our vintage china to complete the look). Set-up and smooth running of the day managed by the fabulous Stef from Alternative Weddings Manchester.

floralsRun up to the big day was busy, the day itself beginning with room set-up. The empty space soon filled and looking great. Then back to our base to make all those sandwiches. We were using a mix of rolls, thinly cut wraps, seeded, wholemeal and white bread. All the sandwiches and scones were served to guests at the tables, along with lots of hot loose leaf tea. The cakes were presented on a beautiful table for guests to help themselves. This was a great option for our clients, they were keen to keep the wedding informal with lots of opportunity for guests to mingle. It also meant guests had lots of choice of what they ate!

Cakes included our best sellers Lemon Drizzle (with a fresh lemon curd filling), Carrot Cake and Nan’s Chocolate Fudge Biscuit, one of my Nan’s recipes. It wasn’t long beforevintagecakes guests were filling their plates. Our tea-lady team were on hand to keep the cake table tidy and topped up, teapots full and everyone happy. Once food, tea and speeches were finished our team cleared the tables and helped prepare the space for the evening of entertainment. We all had a fab time, tea-ladies and guests alike. So much LOVE in that room!!


If you want to know a bit more about the day, or about what we could do for you, just get in touch…

A few more images from the day…

vintage afternoon tea 1 vintagecake vintage cake table vintage china

Village Hall Weddings

Couples looking to tie the knot have SO many options when it comes to venues these days…just google ‘wedding venue Manchester’ for a start…the options are almost endless. Over the six years we have been in business there has been a definite increase in the number of couples choosing village or church halls for their wedding celebration venue. Many moons ago this is where many wedding celebrations would take place, they are making a come back big time and we LOVE them.

Village Hall Wedding

They can offer a huge amount of flexibility at a very very low cost. Have you had a search in your local area? Many of the buildings are beautiful with great amenities and catering space. We have been in many that have gorgeous flooring, high ceilings, beautiful windows and great outdoor space. And all at a low cost. There isn’t normally a restriction on which suppliers you commission to provide your food and entertainment, leaving you to create the wedding of your dreams. You can source your own suppliers, those who you hand pick to match exactly what you need and want. You can decorate the space with pretty much anything you like. Arrange a bar that suits your style and guests. Get the food in that you really wanted on your wedding day. So many positives.

And what about the downsides…are there any? We’ve struggled to come up with any that can’t be fixed…perhaps just a couple of things to keep in mind…

Staff – a village hall does not normally come with its own team to run your day for you. You need to consider who is going to switch the lights on, let your guests in and serve them a welcome drink and nibbles, light the candles, turn your tables around for the evening, clear up any rubbish and leave the venue tidy.

This is where we have seen a big increase in the work that we do. Our fab team of lovely tea-ladies (and a couple of gents) can take on any of these tasks (and lots of others too). We don’t just serve the afternoon tea, we do all of the above plus lots more…often staying until the wedding ends to make sure it all runs smoothly. Its a great way to take the pressure off friends and family and leave all your guests to enjoy their day. Get in touch to find out more!

Venue dressing – a village hall can be a large space and the task of dressing it can seem daunting. Many clients underestimate the work that can be involved and some spend hours the day before their wedding getting it right. Its worth making a detailed plan early on about how you will manage that…and it IS manageable. Careful planning and talking to those that have done it many times is well worth the time investment. It might be worth considering getting the help of a professional venue dresser (not as expensive as you might think), or at least getting your friends and family to help you out. We work with some amazing venue dressers and will happily recommend them to you.


Wedding planning – if you are booking a hotel wedding you will be assigned a planner or coordinator…a village hall won’t come with one of those. If you haven’t planned a wedding or event before this might unnerve you. There is quite a bit to think about and organise. At Alice’s Vintage Pantry we have catered for and managed lots and lots of weddings, we are happy to help with the planning and can offer lots of advice. Just get in touch and ask away!!

Happy wedding planning lovely people!


Baking the perfect scone…

Scones come in all shapes and sizes, a wealth of recipes are available from savoury to sweet, fruit or cherry filled, milk, buttermilk or cream. Then there is the shape – drop scones, triangle, square or the more commonly used round scone. Topped with butter, jam, fresh cream or cream everyone has their favourite scone.

Scones and Cream

At Alice’s Vintage Pantry we have tried lots of different recipes and make different scones for different occasions. No matter what your favourite type is or what recipe you are using, if you are baking your own follow our scone tips to get your perfect scone.


  • Don’t spend too long rubbing the butter in to the flour – the quicker you do it the lighter your scone will be;
  • No matter what your recipe says, make sure your butter is at room temperature, if it’s too cold it will take too long to rub in to the flour and will result in a heavier scone;
  • Roll out your dough to a depth of no less than 2 cm’s. This will seem deep but it will give you a greater height to your scone;
  • Make sure you apply even pressure to the rolling pin, to get an even rise to your scone the best way to start is an even dough;
  • Dip your scone cutter in a little flour prior to cutting, it will prevent the dough sticking to the cutter and will help give a more even rise;
  • Once you have cut your scones, place them upside down on the baking sheet, again this helps them to rise more evenly;
  • If you want a softer top to your scone, cool them on a wire rack and place a slightly damp clean tea towel over the top;
  • Whilst scones do freeze well, they are always best baked fresh and served the same day.
  • And of course make sure you serve them on a tiered vintage cake stand with a cuppa served in a dainty vintage teacup!

Vintage Cake Table

Try these tips with Delia Smith’s basic scone recipe…

225g self-raising flour

40g butter, at room temperature

1½ tablespoons caster sugar

a pinch of salt

150ml milk

Preheat the oven to gas mark 7 (220c). Grease a baking sheet.

Sift the flour into a large bowl and rub the butter in rapidly using your fingertips. Stir in the sugar and salt, take a knife to mix in the milk little by little. Knead the mixture to a soft dough.

Turn the dough out on to a pastry board and roll it out using a floured rolling pin. Cut the scones out using a 4-5 cm cutter and place on the baking sheet. Dust each one with a little flour. Bake near the top of the oven for 12 minutes or until golden brown.

Enjoy with good quality jam and clotted cream.