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by Emma Hla

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Back in April I spent a few days at Pynes House, one of our luxe Country House wedding venues in Devon. My reason for visiting was our latest styled shoot project in collaboration with Katrina Otter Weddings. As part of these shoots, it’s always really important to me that we capture the venue as it is before we begin to style. It’s these raw images of the venue that I find beautiful and, with my directory hat on, so very useful.

When I was searching for a venue I would love to see styled spaces and real weddings, but I also loved seeing the blank canvas aspects too, so when I first saw these images by Amy at WOOKIE Photography, I fell in love with Pynes House all over again.

The story of Pynes House is one of family, love and a dedication to restoring the house to it’s former glory. So come and take a tour of this beautiful wedding venue and see the heart of the house beating once again.

Welcome to Pynes House

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Kate:

The main part of the Pynes House was built around 1700, although significant additions were made throughout the 18th and 19th Centuries (including the grand entrance hall). The house has long had connections with the good and the great. Jane Austen is believed to have visited and provided the inspiration for Barton Park in her novel, Sense and Sensibility.

My husband and I and my brother and sister-in-law bought the house nearly 4 years ago. We weren’t specifically looking for a big project together, but happened to see the house and instantly fell in love with it and its potential. Pynes house is also our home and we have been very fortunate to share both the highs and lows of the restoration work here.

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Our first two to three years at Pynes House were a period of intense restoration work (and as a Grade II* listed building, this was all undertaken under guidance from English Heritage and our local conservation officer). Our biggest job was to replace the roofs which had been leaking for some years, although there were plenty of other jobs as well, including the repair and refurbishment of 99 windows!

Inside, the list was just as long and we repaired delicate plasterwork, installed bathrooms (we particularly love our roll-top baths with a view…) and re-decorated – we had a vision of making the most of the huge Georgian windows to create light-filled rooms which complemented the abundant original features, but also gave a sense of contemporary comforts. The main part of the house is now complete, but work continues and our next project is to create a further six bedrooms for guests on the second floor – this has thrown up new challenges as this area of the house had not previously been occupied since the second world war, but we know they will be gorgeous rooms with far-reaching views.

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From the moment we saw it, we thought Pynes House would make a stunning wedding venue. The large State rooms (which are hired for weddings) were designed for entertaining and the house really comes alive when we have weddings and other celebrations here. We also knew its location is perfect – a beautiful rural setting in the Exe Valley, yet only minutes from the city of Exeter with its range of accommodation, restaurants and excellent transport links. We also knew that the restoration work at Pynes House was going to be extensive and that maintenance would be on-going – weddings and other events are essential support for this.

We love weddings and are lucky to be involved in these joyous occasions. Of course, there are added pressures in the build-up to such an important event, but with this comes the excitement and anticipation and often a commitment from everybody (from suppliers to the couple’s friends and family) to go the extra mile because it is such a special day. There is a real sense that the house is fulfilling its original purpose (albeit in a modern way) as a space for people to come together, celebrate and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.

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We particularly love having ceremonies here – we know all the work that has been put into bringing together the couple, their friends and family for their wedding and the ceremony itself is at the heart of all that work – it is a real privilege to be a part of such key moments in people’s lives.

Wedding Advice from Pynes House:

Try to work out your priorities – if you know what is really important to you both as a couple, then you will know what you can and can’t compromise on. Find out what is and isn’t included – most venues
are different from each other in terms of their packages in the headline charges, so it can be difficult to compare, but don’t be shy to ask whether there are any additional charges and, in particular, whether VAT is included as this makes a huge difference to the end price!

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Oh take me back!

Pynes House is simply magical and it’s so very welcoming too. You can tell this is a family home and I love that so many of our handpicked wedding venues have this common factor.

If you would like to explore more, take a peek at the Pynes House listing on our directory.

Thank you so much to WOOKIE Photography and of course Kate!

Lots of love…

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