First thing’s first, the venue… If you’ve been keeping up to date with my Instagram stories over the past 6 months or so, you’ll know that our wedding venue is somewhat unique, beautiful, and – so far – incredibly stressful! I’ve never been one for the ‘easy option’ and my wedding has been not exception…
The Venue – Where are we up to?
For those of you who don’t know, we’ve chosen to have our wedding reception at my parents’ house in a stunning, old, (and currently semi-derelict) barn. (We’re getting married at a church in Tavistock).
The barn (when completed will be named ‘Chapel Barn’) has always been an incredibly special place. My parents have had plans to do it up for the past 10 years (since we moved to Devon) and they finally started by doing the roof back in 2017.
In April 2018 Euan popped the question and after initially deliberating over whether to use the barn, or to have a marquee in one of the fields, we decided on the barn. Which meant there was a timescale for the project and things needed to start moving pretty quickly!
The floor needed digging out completely (it used to be home to 3 giant corn mills!) so that was the first job. Then it was underfloor heating and re-laying the floor. That started in October and is the only thing that has been completed *sigh*.
We’ve had the windows & doors made, which have arrived in a less than perfect condition *sigh* so need to be sorted asap. Then they can be put in and we can finally get the second floor in! Then stairs need to go in and that’ll be the worst of the structural stuff done. Until that point, my blood pressure will remain pretty high…
The Venue – What has been difficult?
At the moment, the most difficult thing has been waiting for it all to get done. Mainly because until it’s finished, it’s hard for us to decide exactly where everything is going to take place! I’ve got a pretty good idea in my head of logistically how it’s all going to work, but until I’ve seen it in the flesh it’s really hard to be 100% certain.
The other thing which has been slightly hard is the size of the barn. It only seats around 100 people comfortably, and our ideal guest-list is more like 150… But, we knew this was the case when we chose the barn over the marquee (and was actually one of my reasons for choosing the barn… but more on that later).
The Venue – Best Bits?
My absolute favourite thing about the venue being the barn is that it’s so incredibly special & personal to us. I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve worked for wedding venues, or because I’ve always thought of my family home as the perfect place to celebrate my wedding. Either way, I’m so grateful to be lucky enough to have this amazing barn to use!
I also love that I’m completely starting from scratch. Whilst it would be so (so so so so) much easier to get married at an existing wedding venue where everything you need is provided already, I cannot express how much I’m loving the challenge of putting it altogether myself. I am a wedding planner after all, so it makes sense!
Recently I’ve been looking into tablecloths and comparing prices, as well as all the fun bits like table decor and signs. It’s not an easy journey but fully worth it!
The Venue – Top Tips?
Okay, so top tips for your venue search…
Don’t pay too much – you’d be amazed at how many venues totally overcharge for the ‘privilege’ of using their space. At some point I’ll do a blog with a breakdown of venue costs etc so you can see what you should be spending.
Decide what is most important to you a find a venue which fits your needs. There are hundreds (and hundreds) of venues out there, so don’t compromise on the things that matter. Everyone will have different priorities, and that’s okay! So figure out what yours are before you start your venue search. The perfect one will be out there, I promise!
Make sure everything you need is included, not extra. Sometimes a deal will seem too good to be true, which means it probably is!
Wet weather!! If your venue is perfect in the rain, then it’ll be extra perfect in the sun. This is the UK, and good weather is a luxury, not a guarantee. Hope for good weather always, but go for a venue that is prepared for the worst.
Most importantly… fall in love with it! You only get one shot, and feeling comfortable and happy with your decision is a total priority. You can absolutely fall in love with a venue as much as I’ve fallen in love with our barn, if not more!
So that’s the venue. Next up I’ll be sharing our suppliers, how we (I) found them, and some top tips for choosing yours!
If you want to see more from the barn, head on over to my Instagram page (@lilabaileyweddings) and have a watch of my ‘Barn Renovation’ highlight.
Check out my last post for a bit about my past year of engagement…
Bradstone Manor is tucked away in the Devon countryside and is absolutely stunning. Pure tranquility some might say! The wedding space itself is a beautiful barn with two floors, a bar area, and separate kitchen space. An incredibly unique venue that you can really make your own.
With a church situated within metres, it’s the perfect place for a gorgeous country wedding. And if a church ceremony isn’t your jam, there are plenty of places nearby for registrar ceremonies. Or how about a non-legal ceremony in the courtyard instead?
There is also accommodation onsite in the form of the Gatehouse… Amaaaaaazing!
Okay, so the venue is run by Romilly & Mark who live at Bradstone Manor, but they don’t have a background in weddings… So that’s where I come in!
With the venue hire, couples get me as their wedding co-ordinator. This basically means I’m there from an hour or so before guest arrival, until after the first dance in the evening. I’ll be keeping an eye, making sure everything is running smoothly (and on time!), as well as greeting suppliers, liaising with the caterers, and any other on-the-day bits which need sorting (there’s always something).
If couples want a bit more from me, such as help with set-up or clear-down, or perhaps even supplier sourcing & management, I’ve put together a brochure exclusively for Bradstone Manor couples. We’ve got two couples booked in already which is brilliant!
I’m super excited about working with Bradstone Manor for many reasons, but as my other work is not based around wedding co-ordination – more admin etc – it’s lovely to be doing it here.
So that’s what I’m up to! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the different areas of the wedding industry I’m exploring at the moment.
Keep your eyes peeled for an exciting blog post series, coming in April!
As most of you will know, for the past 2 years I’ve been working for a beautiful wedding venue on the edge of Dartmoor – Ever After. You’ll have seen from Instagram how stunning the venue is and how much I have enjoyed my time there. I’ve seen the business grow amazingly over the past 2 years, and I know it will only continue to grow, so it’s wonderful to have been a part of it. I wish Nicola & Steven and all the staff & suppliers I have worked with every success for the future!
But now is the time for new adventures, perfectly placed alongside a new year as I start my new position at The Bishop’s Palace at the beginning of January. I’m going to be their Weddings & Venue Manager, which is a huge step up for me and an incredible opportunity. I’m totally thrilled and very very excited to get stuck in! It’s a chance for me to really prove myself and spread my wings.
About The Bishop’s Palace
My new adventures are going to happen in the medieval city of Wells, which is where The Bishop’s Palace can be found. It has been home to the Bishops of Bath & Wells for over 800 years (wow!) and the current Bishop resides there now.
Parts of the palace, and the 14 acres of gardens are open to the public (plus their award-winning cuisine in the cafe!) and the place as a whole is run by the Palace Trust; an independent charitable organisation (a little bit like the National Trust, but on a smaller scale). You can hire The Bishop’s Palace for many things (including film sets – let’s hope I’m involved in a few of them!), but I’ll mainly be focussing on the hire for weddings.
You can find out more about The Bishop’s Palace by visiting their website.
So yes, my new job is in Wells (which is near Bath & Bristol), but we won’t be moving anywhere yet. This position is part-time, which means I’ll only be commuting for a couple of days a week, and my hours are flexible so I can dictate the days & times I’m travelling.
I’ve also got some other exciting projects on the horizon, which have only really fallen into place over the past couple of weeks. It’s funny how things work out! It’s a huge leap of faith, but I’ve figured you don’t get anywhere in life without taking a few risks!
So, that’s that. 2019 is going to be full of new adventures, exciting projects, and big dreams. But for now, I’m off for the Christmas break. Someone pass me a mulled wine!
Aaaand onto number two… With them being only a week apart, I was most definitely in the wedding fayre mood, and as we were having to travel up to Bath we decided to make a long weekend of it which made it even more exciting.
This wedding fayre (you’ll be pleased to hear, I’m sure) was infinitely more successful than the Exeter one, for many reasons. The first one being I was faaaaar less nervous. I knew which bits I needed to improve on, and (in the few days between them) had managed to make some important changes to my stand and my selling tactics, so I was feeling confident. Plus, having already done one those initial ‘first time’ nerves were almost completely eliminated.
I wasn’t totally cool as a cucumber though, which I think is important. A touch of adrenaline never ‘urt no-one!
Wedding Fayre #2; Bailbrook House
From the moment we arrived, it was clear this wedding venue was much more suited to brides in need of wedding planners (and we were right!). It’s a beautiful venue and the wedding fayre itself had been excellently publicised, thanks to event organisers Boodelicious Events.
Our stand was in a perfect location which was another massive bonus… We were positioned in the far right corner, and although that sounds a little ‘out of the way’ it really wasn’t. Brides & Grooms would enter and, as with the first fayre, not really know what to do or say for the first couple of stands. However, by the time they got to us they had spoken to a few people (but not so many that they were bored) and any uneasy awkwardness had diminished.
I managed to speak to pretty much every couple that went past which I was thrilled with, and had some really lengthly conversations with a few. It was an amazing confidence boost, and a few couples were genuinely interested in what I did and how I could help them. Of course, the services of a wedding planner aren’t for everyone, but I certainly met a few people who were promising clients.
I was thrilled with my stand set-up this time too (how perfectly matching was Euan?!). I had borrowed some miniature white easels from Euan’s boss, which I rested signs on, giving the table an extra dimension. And, as mentioned in the previous blog post, I printed out more ‘Lila Bailey’ postcards and gave one to each bride who went past, consequently starting a conversation with them.
The atmosphere at Bailbrook House was brilliant too; the room was beautiful and warm, and the suppliers were friendly and happy to have a chat. I thought the organisers were brilliant and would definitely work with them again! It felt much more natural, nurturing, and almost like we were all in a little wedding family (despite having never met any of them before!).
Soooo… All in all, it was a great experience and a successful one at that. Big love to all the fabulous couples and suppliers I met, and hopefully you’ve enjoyed this post!
Naturally, I vlogged the Bath wedding fayre which you can find below… Don’t forget to subscribe to my Youtube channel, and follow my social media pages! x
Florals with a fabulous edge… Well, as you may have noticed, I co-ordinated a fabby floral photoshoot recently at the amazing wedding venue, Ever After, where I have been working a lot recently. The setting was just perfect and the photos… wow!
The sun was shining but there was just enough cloud for Charlotte to get perfect lighting on her wonderful shots… It’s always worth remembering that sometimes a little cloud on your wedding day is actually preferable to harsh beaming sunshine. Just ask any photographer, they’ll be sure to tell you!
Ever After has the most magical floral feel. It is so idillic and peaceful, and the gardens are just breathtaking. I don’t know about you but I’ve never been anywhere quite like it! Perfect for a stunning garden wedding, and they also do intimate winter elopements too!
Fabulously floral Katherine Milligan from Millifleur provided an array of to-die-for flowers, capturing the natural feel of the venue with a sneaky hint of modern. She is definitely the go-to florist for your wedding… Have a cheeky peak at her website! Possibly the nicest lady around, and I can’t wait to work with her again!
Need a photographer? Thankfully you are in the right place. Charlotte from Charlotte Dart Photography and Film took some incredible shots (well, you can see that for yourself!) and she was a darling to work with. She was quick off the mark at editing and getting them back to us, and I loved them so much I had to totally update my website to do them justice!
Now, you probably don’t need a model for your wedding, but just in case here is Alice, our gorgeous model who very kindly agreed to help us out last minute and doesn’t she just look wonderful?! She was natural and easy and made the photoshoot work like a dream. We abso-fabso-lutely couldn’t have done it without you Alice, so thank you a million!
Styled right? I sure hope so!
Feeling inspired? Your wedding could look just like this! Find out more about how we can help you create this amazing floral affair by visiting our weddings page…