Jenny, from Jenny Wren Wedding & Events is an established and well respected Cornwall wedding planner.
While holidaying in sunnier climes over Christmas, Jenny’s other half Damian popped the question, and so began her journey of planning yet another wedding, but this time – for herself!
Intrigued to hear how a wedding planning journey might differ for a wedding planner when the wedding is their own, I invited Jenny to share her wedding planning journey with us here on Pasties & Petticoats…and she agreed!
Now, over to Jenny with her latest installment in her wedding planning journey – deciding the date, picking the place!
Damian and I thought long and hard about what time of year we would like to get married. With summer being my busiest time with work, planning and managing client weddings, at first a winter wedding seemed like the obvious option.
I have always loved the thought of getting married in December, winter weddings can be styled so beautifully and can offer something different from many weddings guests may have attended. As well as this, I thought how liberating it would be to not worry about the weather and instead just focus on making the venue all lovely and cozy inside for our guests.
Before arranging any venue viewings we talked logistics and drew up a list of criteria which our venue would need to meet, this would focus us and help with short listing. This included:
Devising the guest list early on is essential to give an idea of numbers, which will then in turn allow you to instantly rule out any venues that can not accommodate these, saving precious time.
We found this task really enjoyable, thinking about who we would like to share our day with, however the list can quickly get much bigger than anticipated! So we had some structure to it, separating it into three categories; people who we could not bear not being there, the people who we would really like to attend but not critical and the people whom we would enjoy having if space and budget allow.
Two spaces or one?
For me personally it was important to have two separate areas, one for ceremony and one for the wedding breakfast and evening party. For some this may not be a priority and many venues handle the room turn around very efficiently, but I knew I would want everything pre-set the day prior, so I could triple check my tables before going to bed the night prior!
We knew we would have some older guests and some babies attending, so having somewhere away from the buzz of the evening reception and loud music was a must. A breakout room is ideal for grandparents who want a cuppa and children who have crashed out in their prams.
Set up access
A venue where we/our stylist can gain access to the day before was important. If you plan to decorate the venue yourself or have family/friends do it for you, access the day before is essential. I know I wouldn’t want to be thinking about placing the name cards and centrepieces on the morning of our big day!
We knew we would have friends and family from further up the country travelling down for the wedding so needed to ensure the venue had either accommodation on site or close by. With a range of offerings and prices to suit different tastes and budgets.
The list went on but this gives you an idea – you can read more tips on questions for your venue on my blog post here.
Armed with our criteria list, we researched potentials and set up our viewings at our four shortlisted venues. We tried to see these all fairly closely to each other so they stayed fresh in our minds for comparison. I already knew the venues well but I wanted Damian to experience it as any other couple would. I also lapped up being treated as a bride to be myself for once!
We looked at the following venues, all of which were wonderful…
A country estate in South East Cornwall tucked down two miles of private roads and one of my personal favourite wedding venues to work at.
A cliff-top fort in the South West of England standing tall among sweeping lawns, with its own private beach.
A family run stately home which sits within its own four hundred acre private estate of parkland and garden.
Then finally our chosen wedding venue, the stunning;
‘Steeped in history and set amidst spectacular wooden countryside in the small parish of Bude, Launcells Barton combines a family-owned, Grade 11 listed manor house with a purpose-built Events Barn, fusing old world charm and contemporary design to create a sophisticated venue with timeless appeal’
The converted 19th century stone built Mill Barn, with exposed beams and French doors would be where we would say our vows. We loved the idea of doing this in such an old building, full of stories and memories!
As well as the character and beauty of the buildings and surroundings, the owners Matt and Lara are absolutely lovely. They made us feel welcome and relaxed, knowing our wedding would be in the best of hands. This was so important to us, you will spend a lot of time talking through details of your wedding with the contact you have there and you need to feel confident in them as well as the venue itself.
We drove away that day, knowing it was the venue for us!
Due to a number of reasons, from us buying a house, family being away in December and me having a busy year of work ahead, we decided to change the month to May 2017, also allowing us a little more time to plan and to save. I’ll have to save my winter wedding dream for one of my clients instead!
May will be much more doable for us and if it meant we could have our perfect venue, it was worth the wait. You will find that in wedding planning, sometimes plans may have to change and allowing yourself to be flexible to this will make it much easier and less stressful.
We checked registrar availability, which is really important to do before booking your venue, as there only a certain amount of registrars allocated to an area and once they are booked, they are booked. There is not the option of bringing one in from a different location. We booked ours up and signed on the dotted line.
Until we had set the date and booked the venue, the wedding almost didn’t feel real and each time someone asked how plans were coming on, I almost shied away from answering. Now we could proudly announce it and I couldn’t wait to get onto the save the dates!
Pete Cox Photography (main featured image)