Well a lot has changed since I last wrote a blog post, the main factor being that I’M GETTING BLOODY MARRIED!
I can’t quite believe I am even writing that, even after 4 months of being engaged it still sounds surreal and I can’t see that changing. We haven’t wasted any time when it comes to planning and I thought it would make an incredible memory, and potentially a half interesting read to document the planning process. So lets start from the beginning.
So, where to start?
First things first, decide on the style of wedding you’re after. Pintrest will become your best friend here. We spent hours scrolling and searching through images and suggested sites, looking at everything from flowers to favours. Luckily, Conor and I both have the exact same vision for our Wedding so it was easy to decide on the style of venue we wanted to view. But if you’re unsure, spend time looking at varying styles; from estate homes to church weddings – Pintrest will provide inspiration for any venue.
Booking your Venue viewings
As Conor and I are getting married back in Wiltshire, and we are in Brighton and working weekends – we had to be super organised and book in viewings during the few days we were able to pop back home. So that’s exactly what we did. We had such a specific vision in mind that we narrowed around 8 venues that we liked to look of, down to a couple of venues we were seriously considering.
Personally we didn’t feel the need to view venues which didn’t offer key elements we were set on having. A big one being that we wanted a dry hire venue. What does this mean? It means you have much more flexibility, from catering to venue styling. A dry hire venue means you are paying solely for the space, all other elements are down to you to source. This may seem daunting to some, however for us we had such a clear vision on what we did/didn’t want, it was the only option.
Style of Venue
So you’ve spent hours scrolling through Pintrest and you’ve finally settled on your style, time to book in the viewings! For us we were both set on a rustic, farm style wedding and loved the idea of having our Wedding Breakfast inside a barn and an alfresco ceremony, if possible. Due to both our jobs, we knew we’d get married between July/August so an outdoor ceremony wasn’t such a crazy idea. Knowing this, here are some of our top barn style venues in the South West.
Bake Barn is situated near Salisbury on Fonthill Estate, a beautiful venue with breath taking views of the surrounding countryside. Fonthill Estate also offers other Venues; Quarry Wood – perfect for a rustic/festival themed wedding and the gorgeous Deer Park Barn which is perfect for a more intimate wedding/party. Unfortunately they didn’t have any availability for 2023, therefore we didn’t book a viewing but if we wern’t so set on a 2023 date we absolutely would have. If you like this venue I recommend getting in touch ASAP as it’s proving very popular!
The Gathering Barn
Another gorgeous barn just outside of Warminster. This venue offers a 4 day dry hire, including onsite accommodation. A little out of our original budget, but with no corkage fee and a beautiful setting you could easily plan a budget friendly DIY wedding!
Cider Barn @ Dillington Estate
The Cider Barn is located in Ilminster, Somerset and is part of the Dillington Estate. We did view this venue as we loved the rustic feel of the barn and the surrounding countryside views. The barn comes inclusive of the stretch tent, which makes for a perfect spot for evening drinks. If you’re looking for a Church service, the barn is located right next door to the gorgeous St Mary’s Church.
Ashley Wood Farm
This gorgeous countryside venue is also located outside of Salisbury, Wiltshire. The farmyard is the perfect rustic venue, with on-site accommodation and outdoor ceremony space. Another dry hire venue that offers gorgeous countryside views over the Fonthill lake.
So you’ve decided on your style, found some venues you like and made some bookings. Now you need to think about what to ask when looking around. Before viewing our venues I made a list of questions so I wouldn’t forget anything. These are some of the things you might want to check over when you’re there!
- What dates do you have available?
- Do you charge extra for weekend dates?
- When can we have access to the venue?
- Do you have any accommodation on-site/nearby? Is this included in the hire cost?
- What are your bad weather options? (This is KEY if you’re planning an outdoor ceremony)
- What available parking is there?
- What is the ceremony/reception capacity?
- How many toilets are there?
- Do you charge corkage?
- Do you have a list of recommended/frequently used suppliers? (It’s really helpful to use suppliers that know the venue)
- What fridge capacity do you have?
Of course you will have many more questions I’m sure, but these are a few I noted down before our viewings which might be helpful for you.
So there you have it, our favourite countryside barns and even a sneaky peak at our chosen venue..
Don’t be afraid to book lots of viewings, although we only ended up only viewing a couple, if we hadn’t fallen so head over heels for our venue so soon we wouldn’t have hesitated to view many more. I will also list some super helpful sites when looking for venues and suppliers.
– Gigi & Olive
Of course, feel free to message me on Instagram too if you want to chat to someone about where to begin. Planning a wedding is completely overwhelming, I’m no expert that’s for sure but I’ve got myself organised and happy to share tips where possible! Happy planning 🙂