So I wasn't planning on writing this post but the way our wedding venue hunting has gone so far I felt that I needed to write it. Why? Because wedding venue hunting seems to be pretty damn stressful! When we first got engaged I was so excited I instantly hit up Pinterest (had to be done) looking for venue ideas. I fell in love with the concept of a barn wedding - boho, rustic, relaxed. Very 'us'. I told my family that we wanted to keep it small and simple. Sounds easy right?
So we wrote our guest list and came up with around 70 people. Okay small wedding has turned into a medium sized wedding, fine, that's okay! My thinking is that not everyone will be able to make it so that brings numbers down between 50-60. Perfect. However, what I have come to discover is that a lot of places insist on having minimum numbers of 70 people, often more. The hotel that we looked at right by Ullswater - I am looking at you for this one! The hotel by the lake is a nice hotel in a stunning location. They sell weddings on location alone and to be perfectly honest they do not care about the couple. On our tour we were greeted by a pretty sour faced wedding manager who was pretty blasé and bored throughout the tour. She didn't care about us, she turned her nose up as soon as we said 70 guests, stressing the minimum number for a Friday or Saturday wedding. When we were chatting about dates she simply turned the page of her huge binder showing that most dates were taken already. Okay fine, I get that the hotel sells weddings based on the location alone, they don't have to try, hence they don't care.
The thing about hotel weddings is that they churn them out like a factory. There is little personal about each wedding, you need to stick to their timetable and their rules, they don't care about personality. If you want to bring a few bottles of your own champagne they charge £25 corkage, per bottle. Why? Because they can! There is something about weddings that make venues see pound signs. They are out to make as much money as possible.
Well anyway, hotel package wedding, not really my thing but it was good to have a look at the venue to get an idea of what it would be like.
The Stately Home
Next up is a huge stately home on Bassenthwaite Lake which we actually went to see before the hotel by Ullswater. This time it's the building that is gorgeous, old and luxurious. Gorgeous! A little set back from the lake but that's okay, going by Cumbria's luck with weather I would rather my wedding venue didn't get flooded over the next winter! Beautiful room for the ceremony and the wedding breakfast but come to the evening and they put you in a big function room that you would be able to find in any old Holiday Inn. Crazy red carpeting which causes photographers to edit the photos in black and white. Very formal, beautiful but didn't really pull at my heart strings. Timings are restricted which means that guests would be hanging around in between the wedding breakfast and the evening reception for about three hours. Speaking from experience, I have been to weddings where this has happened and I have been so bored. So bored. However, unlike the hotel by the lake we could not fault the customer service of Sarah the girl who gave us the tour. She was so helpful, down to earth and friendly.
But so far very, very far away from my vision of a barn wedding.
The final place we looked at seemed perfect on paper a farm with a barn and B&B. Rustic looking, fairy lights with a relaxed atmosphere. It was truly stunning and I did fall a little bit in love with the venue if I am honest. Out of all of the places we visited this was the one that I could really picture myself getting married in and all the guests having a great time. However the owner was charging a small fortune just for the barn hire alone. When you have to organise everything yourself from decor, tables, chairs, glassware, flowers, food, drinks I would have expected her to be charging around £2500 not £4250. Crazy money!
A wedding is a day, a very special one of a kind day yes, but it's just a day. I'd rather save on the wedding day and spend more on an amazing honeymoon. A hotel/ stately home/ manor house package deal is not for us. We are still hunting for the perfect boho barn venue, that doesn't get greedy and charge a fortune. I have a couple of potentials and I am waiting to hear back from a few so we shall see. I know the right place for us is out there, it's just a case of finding it.
-- Jayne xo
This is the first in a series of posts about planning our 2017 wedding. I will be writing my thoughts, my plans and my findings in the hope that it will help other like minded boho loving yoga brides out there. Not a yoga series but very much my life right now!