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Gracelands Forresters Beach. An honest review.
Posted by Kate, Hall Occasions on December 07, 2015
We had the absolute pleasure of attending a family wedding over the weekend,with the reception held at a relatively new (and slightly hidden) coastal spot- Gracelands at Forresters Beach on the New South Wales central coast.
You're wedding guests will have a unique point of view regarding your choice of reception venue, it is from that point of view that this review is written.
After doing our usual website stalking prior to attending the big day, we had high hopes. Let me tell you- Gracelands did not disappoint.
I now take pleasure in walking you through our experience of Gracelands in detail, for a simple pro's and cons list, please scroll directly to the bottom of the page.
Alternitively, if you've landed here by accident, and are looking instead for our rustic wedding tags, please visit Hall Occasions home page
Gracelands is tucked away in a side street of Forresters Beach, on the central coast of NSW. The exterior of the building is entirely unassuming, we actually drove straight past it the first time around.
It may seem as though it should "pop", however Gracelands melts into it's surroundings, rather than boldly stating it's presence.
The outside is simply the beginning of Gracelands vibe of elegance in simplicity, and this theme echo's throughout it's interior.
A message board is available, and this too, offers a soft hue of background lighting and greets your guests with subtle excitement.
Photo- Gracelands website.
We were some of the first guests to arrive at the reception, even with just the few of us, you simply couldn't escape the welcoming and warming vibe that greets you as soon as you enter the building. It embraces you from the moment you enter.
The space is vast, with a mix of high ceilings and alcoves, a sparse array of chairs and lounges, and minimalist decor. It should have felt far too large with all that open space, however Gracelands manages to embrace you with warmth, and instantly soothes and relaxes you. Whilst large, it has an intimate feel I've not experienced at any other venue I've attended.
The open space and stunning decor were the first thing we noticed, however Gracelands has a treasure trove of elements that you are constantly discovering all evening long.
Seating was an eclectic mix of tables, rustic wine barrels, and a few lounges for those looking to get cosy for the night.
The entire space subtly motions you to mingle and intermix with your fellow guests, it seems impossible to not want to wander and discover more of this fabulous space.
Adjoining the dancefloor, are some absolutely stunning french style doors, leading out to a lusciously green grassed alfresco area, a space which is a considerable size, and makes for amazing photo's.
At first I was a little concerned that the " inside/outside" spaces may lead to segregation of guests throughout the evening, however the flow of the two has such synergy, it feels like one space, as opposed to two separate spaces, and my concerns were entirely unjustified. Guests freely mingled and moved around between the spaces as the night progressed.
Reviewer side note- one does not generally chat about the toilets in reviews, however it is worth noting the loo's are very " intimate" - you are more than likely to smack somebody in the head when opening the door to enter or exit, the door swings inward directly to where one washes their hands. This lead to many giggles during the evening, and is not a huge issue, however so many guests commented on this, it certainly is worth mentioning.
This reviewer grew up in a musical household, and acoustics are something I can not help but notice. If you're planning to have live music, Gracelands open spaces lend itself beautifully to acoustic performers, and at soft volumes, it maintains the perfect sound space.
I would suggest that the sound is perfect is 90% of the space, however in the areas where the ceiling is lower, and you're in more of an alcove, the sound does tend to echo ALOT, and it can be one loud mush of sounds, and is very hard to hear. This is genuinely one of my only critiques of the venue. Not insurmountable, however do take the time to have your MC listen to the sound in different spots around the venue to achieve harmony throughout.
For a relatively new venue, Gracelands offers an incredibly polished service, that simply can not be faulted.
There were ample servers and bar attendants. Each and every member of staff was above and beyond pleasant, and genuinely seemed happy to be a part of Mark and Rose's big day.
No request was too large or small, if they were busy and posed with a question, it was still answered with a smile. If needed, the staff were always available and at the ready, however at no time did it feel like the staff were " in the way"- they seamlessly blended into the background whilst completing their tasks.
The staff at Gracelands should absolutely be commended for their high level of service. ( and no- I don't know the owners, anyone who works there, or is involved in the business- this is my honest opinion! )
Can I just say- SWOON! Oh the food! Soooooo goood. Nom Nom Nom. We were treated to the deluxe canape package, and it was simply amazing.
The food was a constant stream of canapes, that left even those of us ( like my husband) with a larger appetite completely full and satisfied, convinced we could not eat another bite..... until we saw the dessert come out!
From the smoked duck served on cucumber boats, pork belly on an apple salad (best dish of the night in my humble opinion) to the lamb Koftes with Pita bread or slider burgers, it was all absolutely amazing, and could not be faulted.
As a mother myself (although our children did not attend the evening) , I was completely impressed when parents who's children were in attendance were notified dinner would be served for children WHENEVER the children would like it- no set time, simply say the word of when your littlies are hungry, and Hey presto- it will be cooked fresh at that moment. It may seem small, however this is invaluable when you're trying to get kids to wind down at a particular time, or keep them in a routine.
Dessert was an assortment of miniature delights, presented with such elegance and flair they were (almost) too good to eat. Each miniature morsel of goodness was available for us to serve ourselves, and place in small bamboo, boat shaped plates (which were darn cute and suited the theme of the day perfectly) .
Seriously people- the food was rock solid. (the groom of this particular wedding is a chef- an establishment choosing sub standard food would not have been chosen here)
Two very enthusiastic thumbs up from me.
Time for a no-nonsense summary of my views, and again, I remind you, whilst this is a glowing review, it is honest, and I am in no way affiliated or contracted to Gracelands at Forresters Beach
- Perfect for a rustic feel wedding
- Feels incredible intimate despite the vast spaces
- Staff are amazing- ample staff on to constantly keep the flow going
- Food to absolutely die for- I can testify that in the deluxe canape package every dish amazing ( I tried it all- you know- for " research" hehe)
- Outdoor area is fantastic, the lawn is well cared for, the size of it is perfect for any sized crowd
- Feels intimate despite it's open spaces
- Could happily accomodate a small crowd or a larger amount of guests without issue
- Presentation of food incredible
- Effeciency of staff brilliant, every need is met with a smile
- Perfect amount of seating for mingling
- Couches are a great little hangout spot
- The subtle lighting is perfect, not to stark, not too dark
- Dancefloor great size
- Layout can be suited to your needs
- The outdoor area makes for a fabulous photo backdrop
- Great " indoor/outdoor" flow - no segregation of guests
- Plenty of accommodation available within walking distance
- Accoustics noisy when all in there when standing/seated in brick corner
- When opening entrance to toilets you're more than likely to whack someone as they're quite small and not layed out the best
- Great for summer- make a note to check on their heating for winter
- Can be a little breezy with the doors open
Have you attended a wedding at Gracelands or have something to add? I'd love to hear from you and get your views in the comments below!
Hall Occasions is located on the New South Wales Central coast, and specialises in custom designed swing tags, personalised wooden laser cut items and wedding bomboniere. See our range