Thursday, 26 May 2011

And the venue is......

So after my little apology in the previous post, I thought I should bring everyone up to date with the plans (and remind myself what we've done by writing it all down!)

My last few posts were dedicated to finding the venue.  This was such good fun, travelling around, searching for that little feeling of 'this is it!' and we found it!  After 2 visits to make sure, we chose to get married and have our reception in The Stone Barn in Aldsworth.  This venue had everything we were looking for and suited the relaxed, rustic American Barn feel that we were after.  The place is huge and a blank canvas for us to decorate just as we wish!

The picture (left) is of the converted cattle shed that's linked onto the beautiful stone barn.  This is the reception area and the ceremony will be done in the barn itself.  This means that we have two areas and don't have to wait around for the staff to organise tables etc!

We have also booked our registrar from Gloucester.  Our main problem with this is because we live in Scotland, we have to live in England for 9 days to establish residency!  How crazy?!  We live in the UK and were both born in England, but still have to do this!  I'm hoping to do it by myself (it has to be within 3 months of the wedding if only one of us is doing it) and tie-in dress fittings, hair and make-up trials and as many hen parties as I can fit in all at the same time.  I'm sure it'll keep me busy!

Above is the beautiful barn where we will be saying our vows.  It'll also be the area for our evening entertainment.  We haven't looked into whether we want a band or not yet, but the acoustics in this place are going to be amazing!

Anyway....  can't spoil you all with too many blogs in one day... will fill you all in on everything else tomorrow!

Sorry for my absence....

To all my lovely readers!.....

Sorry for my long period of absence from writing!  There is no excuse for it (apart from flying to Bristol lots and partying with friends in Edinburgh).  My neglect to this blog will only disapoint myself in the future as this is supposed to be a reminder of all the planning I have done for my upcoming wedding!

To be honest, I don't know how all the bloggers out there do it!  I barely have enough time to read them all, let alone write!!

For those out there wanting to check out some truely fabulous wedding blogs, then check out :

These are my wedding style bibles!! 

Also check out for any of you out there looking for a wedding dress on any budget!  It one of the only articles I've written in 2 months!...  whoops!

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Venue Review 5

Venue Five:  Thyme at Southrop

I used a lot in my search for a barn in Gloucestershire.  I didn't spot Southrop Manor on my first look, but I'm so glad I checked back!
If exclusive is what you're looking for in a wedding venue, then this is the one for you.  Priced at roughly twice the amount of the previous 4 wedding venues and only holding one wedding a month, this is a secret, albeit pricey gem for those looking for a wow-venue!

When you first drive up to this beautiful barn in the grounds of Southrop Manor, you can't help but take in the beauty of the Cotswolds around you.  The barn has been refurbished to an amazing standard, and has so much charm.  Anthony who showed us around matched that charm and was so accommodating I wanted to book it there and then (despite it being out of our price range!)

This place has the added excellence of an on site cookery school.  You can also have an alfresco meal in the herb garden too which also backs on to the stables with the most beautiful horses.
There is also an on site cottage, along with a farm house that is just being finished up to provide even more accommodation.  By the summer another building that has just been purchased will become a spa!  What more could you ask for!  They also own the local pub, The Swan.  Give it another 2 years and I'm sure they'll own the whole village!

There is no way we could go for something as extravagant as this, but we wanted to have a nose around to see what a larger budget would get us.  And this place really didn't disappoint.
If you are looking for an exclusive venue with character, charm and beauty then this is the place for you!
For us poorer folk, we'll have to stick to going to the Southrop Summer Fete just so we can grace this stunning venue with our presence again!

Friday, 4 March 2011

Venue Review 4

Venue Four:  Winkworth Farm

For our second round of visits, we wanted to head back to our favourite venue so far, Stone Barn.  I thought it was sensible to look at another venue on the same day too just to see the differences and to see whether we got the same feeling from it as we did the first time.
This is why we booked a viewing of Winkworth Farm in Malmsbury.

We had thought about it before, but cancelled it out as Andy has previous photographed a wedding in the grounds of Winkworth (before the barn was refurbished last year) and he wasn't sure whether he wanted our wedding to be there as it may not be unique to us.

However, I thought this place was amazing!  It had a really warm feeling and had lots of lovely, quirky details to it.  For starters, we could marry outside in the garden which would be beautiful on a hot, summer's day (pictured left), but obviously this is not a guarantee with our British weather!  
I did love the fact that Winkworth have a farmhouse on site with 4 double bedrooms.  They also have a bridal suite next to the barn that is available to brides from 11am.  That was a big selling point for me as it was a gorgeous little cottage, perfect for your first night as husband and wife as well as for the bridal party to get ready in the morning.
There is also a 28 bedroom Best Western hotel 4 miles away for the rest of your guests!

Winkworth pride themselves on being a green venue.  Everything locally sourced, and every inch of the land used to it's max.  There are two outdoor areas, the one to the rear has a great space for BBQ or Hog Roast.  Catering is usually provided by Relish, William's Kitchen or Manor Events, all of whom are very reasonably priced.

Winkworth are very open to decoration, another thing I am looking for in our venue to help achieve our country fete theme.  I love the archery idea (pictured right)!

Looking at their calender, they are getting pretty booked up, so I better get thinking!!....

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Venue Review 3

Venue Three:  The Stone Barn

Now, what can I say about this place?....  I absolutely love it!  
I found the website and tried so had to get an appointment, and finally nabbed one on New Years Eve.  When I looked at the pictures online, I knew that Andy would love the rustic look of it.

As you can see from the picture, this venue isn't your typically traditional barn!

This venue offers the beauty of the barn, which is licensed for ceremony's and the rustic, relaxed feel from the cow shed!
It was quite refreshing to come across something so different.  It is a fairly new venue and has only been holding weddings since summer 2010.  It is run by the team behind Cripps Barn who have a fantastic reputation for holding great weddings and have a superb catering company.

This is highlighted even more so by Stone Barn's 'God Grilla'!  

Reported in the Telegraph as the largest BBQ in the word!  It can cook 1000 sausages or 7 whole lambs in one go!  If that isn't a wow feature then I don't know what is!

I really want the beauty of a converted barn, but after looking through many blogs from rustic, American, big barn weddings, this barn definitely fits the overall bill!

I can imagine the space (pictured right) would look fantastic bathed in candle light for the ceremony and the acoustics being amazing for a band in the evening.

Will I be able to find another venue that would satisfy both Andy and myself, and bring together all our rustic, vintage ideas and our love of food?

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Venue Review 2

Venue Two:  Pristin Mill & Tythe Barn

After our visit to the very pretty Wick Farm, we drove 25 minutes to potential venue number two.  Before I was even engaged, I knew that this venue would be on my list of places to see after it appeared on the last series of BBC Three's Don't Tell the Bride.  What I didn't know was that there are 2 venues to choose from on site.  The Water Mill and the Tithe Barn.

Sandra Meyer showed us around the Water Mill first.  There's no denying that the venue is beautiful.  They have made a feature of the mill inside, and have really used the space well, placing the ceremony and reception room at the top (with an outdoor terrace looking out onto the stream), the bar area on the middle floor and the toilets at the bottom.  The grounds are stunning too, and on a sunny day would be awesome and will maximise the space. 

I did like the look of the Mill, but my main concern was about access.  My mother is in a wheelchair.  There is access to the ceremony room as there is a hill behind the Mill, but she wouldn't be able to use the bar.  And every time she would need to use the toilet facilities, she would have to go outside and down the hill.  I just think that if our wedding was on a rainy day, this wouldn't be a fair deal for her.  She would also have to go back up the hill, which would have been quite difficult as it was quite muddy and had lots of gravel.

Sandra then showed us the Tithe Barn.  This was more our style anyway, but the minimum number they take is 80, which is exactly the number we are looking at.  I already knew it would be too big for what we were looking for though.

This barn is beautiful, but it is vast!  The ceremony would take place on the mezzanine meaning my mother wouldn't be able to attend.  She would have to be seated in the main hall area below, and although we worked out that we could have about 20 others seated down there with her, it just didn't feel right for me.

These venues are beautiful, and would suit someone wanting a unique venue, great outdoor space and character.  My main problem was the access, but I also felt that it was very corporate.  This is no bad thing, but for my husband to be and I, it's just not what we're looking for.

I would recommend it, and it looked fantastic all dressed up on Don't Tell the Bride (series 4, episode 5) but it just didn't have the relaxed feel that we wanted.


Thursday, 17 February 2011

Venue Review

Venue one: Wick Farm

On December 29th, Andy and I decided that whilst we had a car and free time, we should go and have a nose around some wedding venues.  Neither of us are religious or traditional, so we cancelled out a church straight away.  We wanted something relaxed and rustic that would match our personalities.  That's when we decided to start looking at barns.

First up on the list was Wick Farm, just south of Bath.  And we weren't disappointed!

This beautiful barn has been a wedding venue for less than a year, and is simply stunning.  I loved the relaxed feel it had, and the owner, Julian Janes was fantastic.  He was the perfect mix of relaxed ease, and professional businessman.  (I loved the added detail of his young son roaming around on his quad bike in a Barbour jacket!)

The grounds provide easy access, and although bare from winter, I can imagine to be beautiful in full bloom.  The outdoor area overlooks the pond, filled with geese and ducks, and the field where they keep the sheep.  You can't miss the pigs on the ride up the driveway either!

Inside, the barn is simple and stunning.  There is an upper and lower barn that are linked.  The Upper is used as the main function room, and can hold wedding ceremonies and seat up to 130 guests for the wedding breakfast.  The Lower Barn is the bar area.  There is also a bridal dressing room upstairs that you can use to get ready.  I think it's a wonderful little touch!

This venue works hard without having to even try and provides lots of little extras in clay pigeon shooting, pony riding and archery.  

The prices shocked us too as I think this is a steal at £2800 for venue hire on a Saturday during peak times!  That includes all tables and chairs too!  Strawberry Field Catering are the recommended local caters who are also reasonably priced.

I really loved this venue and thought that anything else I saw wouldn't live up to it....

.... look out for my other wedding venue reviews to see whether we chose Wick Farm!