Tales From The Other Side – A Coombe Trenchard Bride’s Top Ten Tips


Images by Freckle Photography.

Whether you’ve just booked the venue or are yet to discover the wonder that is Coombe Trenchard, this is a beautifully written piece by a bride who recently married at this eclectic Devonshire country house. But the thing is, Emily loved the venue so much she’s decided to stay as their new Wedding Coordinator!

Emily has some truly wonderful tips below, not just for those of you marrying at Coombe Trenchard but also for those embarking on the magical (and sometimes challenging!) adventure that is planning a wedding.

Here’s Emily’s tales from the other side…

Notes from a Coombe Trenchard Bride


Am I basking in the glow, or still completely exhausted..? This is the question I am still asking myself 4 months into married life. It feels the same but different; marriage is comforting presence in an otherwise familiar sea of work, Sunday food shopping and Netflix decisions.

Relief is palpable; the 18 months of my life spent considering, communicating, dreaming and pinterest-ing were utterly and totally worth it. Possessed of a certain surreal, dreamlike quality, our wedding day went exceptionally well; sunshine, happy smiles and our favourite people investing and involving themselves in a day that meant so much to so many.

With such a momentous build up, it is a strange sensation when the day is actually happening, but also when it has happened. That constant stream of wedding thoughts in your head cease and allow contemplation and fresh ideas to burst in, the future suddenly opens up like the first green buds in Spring.

In my new capacity as Wedding Co-ordinator at Coombe Trenchard, I have the honour of assisting and supporting our 2017 Brides & Grooms as they take this same journey. Wonderfully, Coombe Trenchard is incapable of holding the same celebration twice; it is possessed with too many unique spaces, has too much room for interpretation and allows its beauty to be channelled in so many glorious ways. My excitement at being involved as others create their ‘Best Day Ever’ is huge, my passion and true love of everything that weddings represent ensures that this responsibility feels safe and well placed amongst my positivity and enthusiasm.

Top Ten Tips

It seems fitting as I transition from Bride to Wedding Co-ordinator to reflect on my own experience and attempt to support those within the whirlwind and joy of planning their Big Day. So, here are the top ten tips from the new Mrs Colwill:

  • Invest emotionally in Coombe Trenchard. This may seem obvious, but I almost see Coombe Trenchard as a being. Arranging meetings with Sarah, visits with Parents and seeing Facebook and Twitter posts gave me such warm feelings. I do believe this magnificent home is imbedded with its own character and arriving the night before the wedding felt like greeting an old friend. I highly recommended booking tastings, trials and cups of tea in the lead up to your big day; it feels like you are sharing your loved ones and memories with a place that holds a very special place in your heart.
  • Use your time wisely. I remember the see-saw effect of wedding planning well. You go through hugely productive flurries, before focusing on normal life for a short time. Do try to book in a weekend a month or an evening a week to keep up to date though. I felt very organised but still found the fortnight beforehand hugely stressful. You do not want to be handcrafting signage or frantically buying bridesmaid’s presents in the grand build up. Make lists, involve friends and family and enjoy the time spent on your day in a measured and thought out way. Discuss the day in detail with Sarah and myself at Coombe Trenchard and give due thought to exactly how you want the day to flow and feel from the outset.

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Hiring a Wedding Planner – Who, What, Why, When & Where


Images by Hannah Duffy Photography.

I’m feeling all kinds of emotional this morning and I’ll tell you why…

Today is the first post of the New Year from my dear friend Katrina Otter. Kat is our resident wedding planner here at Coco Wedding Venues and she provides us with a wealth of planning tips and advice on these very pages. But she also happens to be the Wedding Planner of the Year 2017 as of last week’s The Wedding Industry Awards and I was there to scream, clap and ugly cry at this brilliant announcement.

This award-winning planner has the most incredible vision but her skills are firmly rooted in the logistics, schedules and spreadsheets that are the backbone of your wedding day. Planning a wedding can be quite a daunting process and for some couples this might be the very first (and only!) time they try to organise such a big event. If you’re finding yourself a little lost right now then this feature is perfect for you as Kat will be taking you through the 5 w’s of hiring a Wedding Planner – who, what, why, when & where.

We hope this post offers some guidance about what Wedding Planners do and if their services are something you feel you require, we’ve also included links to some of our absolute faves for you to research. To kick things off we have a beautiful behind-the-scenes film by Roost Film Co. from a private garden wedding Kat planned last Summer. This couple are also quite special to us as we introduced Claire & Tom to Katrina and together they created a truly stunning day.

So press play and see the role of a Wedding Planner in action!

The Five W’s to Hiring a Wedding Planner!


A big hello, a belated Happy New Year from Katrina Otter Weddings and welcome to my first wedding planning feature for 2017!

If you’re recently engaged (congratulations BTW!), new to the world of wedding planning or a newbie to the beautifully stylish pages of inspirational pretty here on Coco then here’s a quick re-cap about me and my partnership with Coco Wedding Venues

And in 2017 we’ve got some more deliciously detailed and essential collaborative planning features in store for you, covering everything from roles and responsibilities to a three-part series with florist supremo Jay Archer.

Kicking off our 2017 series is today’s feature, the five W’s to hiring a Wedding Planner.

I have to be honest with you, today’s feature has been a rather long time in the making and one that I’ve postponed for at least a year now!


Well, over the years that I’ve been working as a Wedding Planner I’ve met with, learnt from, collaborated with, supported, mentored, listened to, socialised with and formed friendships with some truly incredible and inspirational UK and destination Wedding Planners.

As a profession, we work incredibly long and unsociable hours, our job can often be stressful, tiring and frustrating, we’re on call 24/7, we go above and beyond for our clients and we do all of this with a constant and unwavering sense of calm and positivity.

It’s because of all of this that I’ve procrastinated – I desperately want to do justice to this feature, our profession, the role we play and the work we do and of course to my wedding planning colleagues, mentors and friends.

So, it’s finally time to stop procrastinating (one of my 2017 wedding planning resolutions) and breakdown the Who, What, Why, When and Where to hiring a Wedding Planner…


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How to Curate the Perfect Gift List



These days, the minefield of wedding etiquette has thankfully eased and you’re generally able to create a wedding that breaks the norm here and there – or everywhere! – to create your own very special occasion that’s a true reflection of you both, and the same goes for your Gift List.

Friends and family dearly want to help you get set up in your shared home (even if you already live together), and with Prezola, the’ve got it covered. There’s 30,000 gorgeous gifts to choose from, supplied by 300 top homeware brands, including favourites like Wedgwood and The White Company, together with specialist boutique brands such as Nkuku and OKA, so you’re bound to find items you love. It’s everything the high street has to offer, in one place. And if you opt for our Premier Plus account, which costs just £59, you’ll be able to add an unlimited number of honeymoon funds, cash contributions, charity donations and custom gifts of your choice to your list, too with no fees, third parties or commission.

The key is to include lots of different price points, and both traditional items such as quality linen, cutlery and ovenware with more modern choices that show your personalities and hobbies, from art to outdoor items to useful kitchen equipment to fun experiences and day trips.

So where do you start..? Compiling a wedding list can be quite daunting with so much choice! Here’s my top must haves that should be on every modern couple’s wedding registry.

# 1

Last-a-lifetime ovenware

This is all about useful, quality items you’ll love cooking with for decades. It’s hard to beat Le Creuset, which is one of our number one sellers. It will last you a lifetime so think carefully about your colour choice if you’re the sort who likes to coordinate. Or just go ahead and mix it up with a rainbow of options!

Le Creuset Coastal Ovenware, £7.00 – £220.00.

# 2

A quality dinner service

A clean, simple, white dinner service is a must-have. Look for elegantly rendered fine, white bone china that’s versatile enough to dress up or down at your next gathering.

Wedgwood by Jasper Conran China, £16.00 – £170.00.

# 3

Quirky personalised gifts

One of the big trends we’re noticing in wedding gifts is for couples to reflect their true personalities by choosing bespoke gifts like personalised wall art or retro decor. It’s a chance for your guests to buy something that’s really you.

Old English Company Print ‘Gin to my Tonic’ Black A4, £16.00.

# 4

Home Sweet Home

Some of us like to take on a little more than we can chew at any one time, right…? If you find yourself saving for the wedding and that home renovation then here at Prezola we can actually help with those costs! As part of the New Beginnings inspiration you can ask guests for a cash contribution towards your new home, whether it’s that fancy bathroom that’s on the wishlist, a kitchen makeover or just general home improvements.

New Kitchen Fund, £50.

# 5

Talking-point electricals

Electrical items are no longer the functional but necessary items on a wedding gift list! For instance, if one of you has a love of vinyl, you can enjoy listening to your favourite records wherever you go on one of our Crosley Cruiser Turntables. It’s modelled on a vintage suitcase and it’s surprisingly lightweight, available in a huge range of colours with a built-in stereo speaker too.

Crosley Cruiser Turntable, available in various colours £74.99 – £89.99.

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Our A – Z of Wedding Venues (Part II)


Image by WOOKIE Photography.

Time for Part II of our A – Z of Wedding Venues!

If you’ve missed Part I then take a little look here, but if you’re ready to crack on with that wedding venue check list then go, go, go!

The A – Z of Wedding Venues



Are you after a venue that will fit your number of guests or will your number of guests have to fit the venue…?

Yep, N is for numbers.

For us, we knew we’d have a fairly small wedding so our guest list came after we found the venue. But the larger your celebration becomes, the harder it can be to find a venue to fit your requirements. Most weddings will fall into our Party Capacity of around 60 – 150 guests, but anything larger and you may need to start to think about alternatives such as marquees and tents to accommodate your gang. You can view our venues that suit Grand and Epic weddings on our Venue Finder.

If you fancy a small wedding then you can check out our Elopement and Intimate wedding venues. Don’t be put off by the size or grandness of some of them; for example every room at the The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa is licensed so your nuptials can be a very private affair indeed, you can even marry in your own suite!

Some couples want a small ceremony with minimal fuss but luxe details and Ever After in Devon is one such venue that can provide you with everything you need for your elopement. Other faves include Crear and BoHo Cornwall – the latter only hosts up to 10 guests which I think is rather special.


Outdoor Weddings

Oh outdoor weddings… How I love thee.

From pretty garden receptions, ceremonies by a lake to magical tipis in woodland settings, the outdoor wedding is certainly a desirable on your venue wish list.

But planning an outdoor wedding can be a logistical mission! Whether you choose to have a tipi, yurt or marquee it doesn’t matter, all outdoor weddings need a little more planning and there are additional things to consider and think about such as hiring in toilets and generators.

Luckily for you one of our lovely venues, Sami Tipi, have written a book which covers all aspects of planning an outdoor wedding! You can read about the book here and you can buy direct from Amazon here.

Here’s 3 simple tips from Sami Tipi

  • An outdoor wedding, as some people may assume is not a budget option, so like with any wedding discuss what you are willing to spend on. Find out if family are going to help you and then get quotations for all of the different elements so you are going into your wedding planning (whatever style) with your eyes open.
  • Having an outdoor wedding means you choose the team of suppliers you want to work worth, so surround yourself with good suppliers who you feel you can work with and will help you to pull together your outdoor wedding.
  • Having an outdoor wedding couldn’t be more fun, it allows you to have the day that you want, not how someone tells you it should be so enjoy it and embrace everything including the weather!




P is for planning!

Most venues will have in-house planners or coordinators; they will be able to assist with all the logistics on the venue side and, as they understand how the venue works, they will help you get the most from the venue on the day. They can also give you guidance on which suppliers to contact, but it will be YOU contacting and negotiating with the suppliers rather than the coordinator.

If you’re looking for someone to assist with every aspect of the planning process – from working out budgets, searching for your venue, contacting and liaising with suppliers, helping you choose flowers, negotiating the logistics, writing and posting your invitations (and everything in between!) then my friend, you need to get yourself a wedding planner.

I know many in-house planners / coordinators that I would trust implicitly with the running of my wedding day so it’s all in the detail – do you need someone overseeing the venue aspect or do you need help with everything – start to finish…?

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Our A – Z of Wedding Venues (Part I)


Image by Rebecca Goddard Photography at Iscoyd Park.

There’s a lot to consider when it comes to the wedding venue… Right…?

Well, to break down this somewhat daunting process I’ve come up with an A – Z of Wedding Venues; hopefully this will bust some myths, make you feel well-prepped for venue visits and of course settle those planning nerves.

This feature is broken into two digestible parts so swing back Wednesday for the next instalment and make sure you pin the bookmark image at the end for easy reference!

Let’s get started…

The A – Z of Wedding Venues



If you’re getting married, you’ll need accommodation of some description. Whether it’s for you and your family, guests travelling from afar or if you want a large bash with everyone you love under one roof.

If the latter is important to you, then hotels and large country estates will be the first place to start when searching for your wedding venue! For those needing accommodation in the area then have a chat with your venue to see if they can recommend some great local places to stay then include this info in your wedding stationery suites or on your wedding website – however do make sure they cover lots of different budgets.

Also, if you know there will be lot’s of guests using a particular hotel, then it’s always worth enquiring if there is a discounted rate for wedding guests.

Glamping-wise, you can find all venues who offer Glamping right here. But again, not all of you guests will feel comfortable with this so again make sure you’ve covered the local b&b/hotel options too.




Approx 10-15% of your overall budget will probably be spent on the venue. With the average wedding costing £21,000* then that means some couples will spend around £3,360 on a venue. But this is all “average” folks and it can be considerbaly more. So, to get your figures in check here are some tips to get you started;

Before you head off and start searching for venues, you probably need to get the budget in play. We have a full post on this which you can read here; but to help, here’s a quick breakdown for you!

  • Make a spreadsheet.
  • Decide who’s paying for the wedding – are you going alone or are family contributing…?
  • Set a (rough) date – but remember to be flexible when you start the search!
  • Work out how much you can save taking the above points into consideration.
  • Allocate you budget – what’s important on your big day and what’s nice to have…?
  • Get quotes.
  • Give yourself a contingency fund – you’ll thank us later.
  • Double check everything from the budget, to what you need to buy, to the suppliers you’ll need on board!

We’ve covered budget questions to ask your venue and things to consider when you’re searching in this article here.



When it comes to your ceremony, you’re rather spoilt for choice…

If you fancy a simple Civil Ceremony then the majority of our wedding venues hold a license, meaning your whole wedding can be under one roof. You’ll need to give notice and book your officiant via the County Council your venue sits in. A little tip; it’s always a good idea to enquire with the County Council and Registrar before securing your venue, just in case a Registrar isn’t available for the date/time slot you have in mind!

An alternative to the Civil Ceremony is the Humanist Ceremony. This kind of celebration can take place any where, at any time as a marriage license isn’t required. A Humanist ceremony is a non-religious blessing where couples can exchange their own meaningful words and symbolic gestures such as hand-fastening with ribbons. There’s no script, so it’s totally personal and flexible to the Bride & Groom. This kind of ceremony is perfect for couples looking at outdoor and woodland wedding venues.

Scotland is the only country in the UK that legally recognises a Humanist ceremony, so if marrying in England, Wales or Ireland then you’ll need to have a Civil Ceremony before or after the wedding day. You can find out more about Humanist ceremonies & celebrants here.

If you want to keep it traditional, then a whole host of wedding venues have beautiful Churches onsite.


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