Venue no. 9

So here it is, the venue that is top of our shortlist…

The Tythe Barn at Launton, near Bicester, Oxfordshire.  Which also, slightly to my dismay, was featured on Rock My Wedding today as they are hosting a wedding fair in a couple of weeks time.  No-one go booking up my venue!!

It’s just beautiful, I’m going to let the pictures speak for themselves (for once!)

Oh. My. Goodness.

LOVE.

Now for the dilemma… it’s an hour’s drive from the Church.  And after much consideration, I don’t think I could bear to give up the idea of getting married in the Church where I grew up (for more details, and other people’s opinions on this dilemma, see my question featured on ‘Ask Jenny‘ over at Rock My Wedding).

So, how far is too far?  We’ve contemplated asking guests to all stay at the same hotel the night before near the venue, and then putting on a coach / bus to the Church, and then back to the reception venue.  But this would be an hour on a bus, each way.  So two hours.  Lots of people have said ‘it’s your day, do what you want’.  And ‘if people want to be there, they will’ and ‘an hour isn’t that far – provide some drinks and nibbles for the journey and it’s a great chance for people to get to know each other’.

But we’re still undecided.  Throw into the mix that this venue is right at the very, very top end of our budget (read over our budget), it’s all a big dilemma.  We can probably scrimp and save over the next 12 months to come up with the extra pennies, in fact we KNOW we will, as this is the venue we want.  But our guest’s comfort is also important to us, and is two hours on a bus just too much to ask??  All those lovely dresses and suits so carefully packed, now getting creased.. oh Lordy, what a mess.

Because here’s a secret.  This has ALWAYS been my number 1 wedding venue.  For like, ever.  Well, since I attended a wedding here a good few years ago (before I even met The Mr, who knew such a time existed!?).  But I refused to look at it, because I knew it would be too far from the Church in Amersham.  And now I have looked at it, I just know how much I want it.  And it makes me feel sad.

So in summary, it’s back to the baked beans on toast student lifestyle for us for the next 12 months!

Please, if you’re reading this, let me know your thoughts on asking guests to travel a two – hour round trip, just so I can have my perfect wedding day.  Am I turning into a Bridezilla?!

Venue no. 4

A week on, and two more venues we’ve looked at.  Bit the same as the first week, one lovely, with lots of pictures to show you, the other not so lovely, and not so many (infact, no) pictures.

So, venue no. 4 was Duffield House, in Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire. Luuurvely!  Both The Mr and I agreed, this is now top of our shortlist!

Doesn’t look much as you come in from the road, infact we almost completely missed it and drove straight past.  The big, spikey black fence and electronic gates don’t look very welcoming, so first impressions weren’t great.

It’s no country mansion or 17th Century barn, that’s for sure.  But it got better and better the further in we went…

The main function room is lovely and spacious, a really big room with lots of natural light and high ceilings.  The room decor is very neutral, the curtains are a dark cream colour, and the floor is a pale grey.  We could easily have tables of 8 (rather than 10, gives everyone a bit more leg room!) and still fit in all our guests without needing to put them on the dance floor and then move things around later.  This is a big plus for us.  The other big plus, is that the venue is exclusively ours for the whole day.  As it’s a conference venue during the week, there’s no wedding on a Friday, which means we could go and set up on the Friday afternoon into evening, knowing that everything is done for the Saturday.  No rooms on site, but this means there’s no noise limiter, and the disco can go on until 1am before they kick us out!  So let’s have a little look inside 🙂

This is the function room.  At the time, they were having a conference there this afternoon, so had only set up one table to look like a wedding table, the other half of the hall was set up for the conference.. here’s the view of both sides:

(what do we think of the two different type of chair covers??? I really like the ‘fitted’ ones, but The Mr liked the looser one.. but I for one can say I’ve got heels caught in the folds before and gone flying!!  Possibly the lycra could be a bit sweaty on a hot day??  Comments please!!)

(so that last one is a little bit dark, but that’s my rubbish camera on my phone, it’s not actually that dark in there!).  The dance floor would go at the end where the flip-chart currently is.  The windows you can see actually look onto a ‘sun room’ type corridor that runs along the back of the room, leading to the toilets and lounge room on the right hand side and connecting to the entrance lobby on the right.  It was a lovely sunny room, with chairs set up along both sides, with the old fashioned paved tile floor, lovely!!

This is the entrance lobby with bar, pub prices we were told (but then we are in a very posh part of Bucks, so imagine somewhere between a pub and a hotel (about £3.50 for a standard pint of lager, £4.00-ish for a glass of wine, mixers and soft drinks £2.00 each – I thought this was pretty reasonable!! Spirits were on the dear side though..)

The doorway you can see on the left leads into the function suite, and the stairs on the right (only three stairs) lead up to further toilets, cloakroom and an additional room which we would also have use of, perhaps for a chill out room, or the ‘xbox room’ which The Mr has decided on!  Here’s a peek inside (set up for a civil ceremony at the moment, but we could have it however we wanted)

This picture doesn’t really do it justice.. the room is actually much bigger!!

Then, the other room we’d have use of is the lounge room, part of the old house and a bit away from the function room.  The venue suggest that the bride and bridal party can get ready here in the morning and have pictures taken, it’s also a safe place to store presents, or to take private pictures of the bride and groom during the day, or if we just want a bit of ‘quiet’ time to spend together.  There are two sets of double doors leading out to the patio, which joins up with the main patio, but is secluded by some trellis with climbing plants.  Again, just lovely, and really thoughtful.  There’s also quite a dramatic staircase just outside the room, again, I’m thinking of the pictures (ok, so the carpet on the staircase isn’t great, but that’s what black and white photos are for!!)

Now, let’s have a look outside, shall we?

This is the view from the grounds, looking back onto the patio that the function room opens out onto.

In the summer, they will provide garden furniture, large wooden tables and chairs, plus parasols.  We can also rent garden games to put in the grounds, or a bouncy castle etc!  So let’s see the grounds..

There’s lots of little nooks and crannies hidden away for cute ‘married couple’ shots…

Just imagine the pond in the height of summer, the fountain going, the water full of beautiful water-lilies and surrounded by wild grasses.. mm… lovely!  And here’s a picture back across the grounds to the house:

So like I said before, it’s no ancient, grand manor house, or 17th century barn, but it’s spacious, well equipped and with lots of chances to take lovely pictures.  The venue are generous with what they include in the set packages, and prices aren’t outrageous!  There’s a dedicated event manager who will be there on the day, and although there aren’t any rooms on site, they have a deal with the nearby Bull Hotel in Gerrards Cross, and a superior room plus chauffeur driven car to the hotel are provided for the bride and groom at the end of the night, as well as discounted rates for wedding guests.

So like I said, this one has become swiftly top of the list!