The history of The Old Parish Rooms
The Old Parish Rooms, Hockley Road, Rayleigh, is a beautiful grade 2 listed building, and intimate, stylish wedding venue set in the heart of Essex.
Boasting 2 impressive mezzanine floors, overlooking the ground floor level, The Old Parish Rooms is the perfect venue to host any wedding, birthday party, or special occasion.
Steeped in history, and originally built in 1863, the building itself used to be an all boys school and connected to the local church.
At this time, to study at the prestigious school used to cost a whopping one pence per day, which by todays standards would have still only cost £1.26 per day.
Furthermore, the building also proudly displays 1 of only 30 heritage plaques produced by The Rayleigh Town Heritage scheme, further cementing it’s place as one of Essex’s most treasured buildings.
The venue itself is approximately 100 square meters, and has a guest capacity of anywhere up to 100 guests.
Additionally, for seated guests, the venue can accommodate up to 80 people, and for ceremonies there is space for 50 of your nearest and dearest friends and family members.
Equally, decor at the venue is elegant and understated.
The beautiful real wooden flooring stands out against the freshly white painted walls, giving you an elegant and stunning space to make your own.
In 2020 The Old Parish Rooms underwent an upgrade.
The internal sound system was upgraded to a 7k void acoustic sound system, that can be used by visiting wedding and event DJ’s.
The dance floor area is now surrounded by 4 venu 8 void acoustic 8 inch speakers, all powered by 2 top end Yamaha amplifiers.
Importantly, the sound system is all brought together by void venu 212 subwoofer that is discreetly placed underneath the stair case to the upper mezzanine floor.
Time to drink !
With an assortment of arrival and dinner drinks packages you can be sure your guest are kept well hydrated and suitably oiled up for the evening wedding party.
Choose from tea, coffee, Italian prosecco and red / white wine.
Additionally a glass of bubbly for toasts can be included.
Indeed, this is all handled with ease by the team of dedicated in house staff. The excellent staff will keep drinks topped up throughout the day.
Feeling a little peckish ?
The Old Parish Rooms take catering seriously, with a mouthwatering menu to please every palate.
As well as an assortment of canapés to choose from. Including mini steak tartar en croute or smoke salmon and creme fresh blinis, you can be assured that your guests will be delighted with what is on offer.
Moreover, starters range from Crispy coated fried brie, with caramelised red onion jam. As well as confit of duck spring rolls with sweet chilli sauce and cucumber noodles.
Our favourite from the main course menu has to be the Braised beef bourguignon with Confit shallots, mushrooms, silver skin onions and creamed potatoes.
The layout of The Old Parish Rooms
The layout is ideal for functions.
Uniquely, the intimate space, with fully staffed bar directly next to the dance floor, means that your guests won’t have to travel far to top their drinks up.
Especially, as the music can always be heard from the bar. Therefore, you are never at risk of missing your favourite tune.
The venue also recommends on the best wedding suppliers in Essex.
Choose from a list of highly commended business, such as your truly Fox and Braces for your DJ’s. Fauxevermore, for your faux flower dreams, Party Squared, for props and styling & Joe Kinnerman for photography and many more.
We LOVE providing DJ services for this amazing wedding venue.
Essentially, the layout is absolutely spot on. It provides us a captive audience throughout the evening, as guests have no empty rooms to disappear into.
The far lower ground floor, under the opposite mezzanine is the ideal quite place.
In particular, due to the placement of the new upgraded sound system.
The beauty is that guests can still hear the music, so if they do hear their favourite track, they can spring into action and join everyone else on the dance floor.
Equally, it’s also a huge deal to enjoy working with the venue.
Thankfully, we have built a great relationship with the venue owner, Laura, and the the catering / bar manager, Stefan, both of whom are superb at what they do.
Laura, provides a personal and tailored service to all the couples who enquire (and obviously after seeing the venue – book !).
Stefan runs the catering and bar with precision and efficiency, unlike anyone else we have seen.
It should also be noted that we sometimes travel up to 150 miles to DJ at some wedding venues across the UK, and believe it or not, The Old Parish Rooms is only a 7 minute drive from us.
And now with the added benefit of the amazing new void acoustics sound system, we are able to set up within 15 minutes.
Previously, we DJ’d at our first wedding at this brilliant venue in early 2017. From then on it has been one of our favourite venues to attend.
We have so many fond memories of weddings, birthday parties and corporate events. Indeed, we have no doubt that going forward, we will create many more.
What do our wedding DJ’s think of the venue then ? – Let’s ask one of our most experienced DJ’s Gary D
I played my first ever wedding DJ set for Fox and Braces at The Old Parish Rooms. Back then it was the old set up.
As expected, I brought my DJ booth and speakers up the mezzanine floor. I then got set up prior to the wedding ceremony starting, and went on to grab a coffee on the local high street.
Later, I returned at to the venue about 6pm. Giving myself plenty of time before the evening party started.
The atmosphere was immense and I knew my DJ set was going to go down a storm.
Because of the layout, I remember looking down towards the wedding guests and thinking that the venue was perfect size for a wedding party.
Finally, at 7pm I started my DJ set.
Due to it being a summer wedding, there was still some light being let into the venue. Therefore I started slow and smooth, with some Motown and funk, before building the tempo into the first dance.
As a result, by the time the first dance was about to commence, the wedding guests were raring to go. The light had dimmed by this point, therefore the ambience was perfect.
Prior to starting my DJ set, I had placed our ADJ uplighters all around the permitters of the dance floor.
Each uplighter is linked to my American DJ airstream DMX Bridge. They can then be controlled by my iPad via wifi and bluetooth.
For example, at the press of a button, I have the ability to totally change the colour scheme and brightness of the uplighters.
However, for the first dance, I always keep it classy and minimal with all white uplighting.
Beyond the first dance, it was an epic wedding p[arty for the rest of the night.
There were about 100 guests, which fitted perfectly with the size of the venue.
The wedding music consisted of some current chart, 90’s dance classics, indie, and some classic sign along tunes.
Best wedding ever
I would still rate it as one of there best weddings I have ever done.
Furthermore, I have been back many times since. I have even had a chance to DJ on the new sound system that the guys have installed at the venue.
The new void speaker system blew me away !.
Plus the fact that the mezzanine level is now totally free from the big DJ booth and speakers I used to take up there.
A big thank you to the staff, who also make me and the other guys feel welcome at the venue.
I can’t wait to come back !
Finally, for further information about booking your wedding or event at The Old Parish Rooms in Rayleigh, contact Laura, here:
Photography by “Love That Smile Photography”