Images by Lisa Dawn.
So what does make Blenheim Palace a special wedding destination I hear you ask..? Well funnily enough I have some answers for you. Discover why the Oxfordshire UNESCO World Heritage Site makes such a special, memorable and unique venue for a wedding celebration and civil ceremony!
Happy Friday reading my friends… The fact geeks and true romantics amongst you will be very happy.
- 300 years of history and counting Blenheim Palace is a privately-owned home and Estate with a hugely diverse history that is still being written. The Dukes of Marlborough have lived here since 1705 and today the Palace is home to the 12th Duke and Duchess of Marlborough and their family. The Estate is a working one and is part of a long, living and lasting heritage.
- Sir Winston Churchill (who was born in the Palace) once said “My greatest achievement was to persuade my wife to marry me” and he achieved this in The Temple of Diana in the formal gardens here. Churchill proposed to his beloved Clementine as they took shelter from a downpour in summer 1908. The spot is now a romantic must-visit for couples and a popular wedding photo location.
- ‘The Finest View in England’ Blenheim Palace is surrounded by over 2000 acres of Parkland, and is one of the largest and most impressive projects by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, the famous English landscape gardener. The parkland is unrivalled and in 1874 Lord Randolph Churchill (Sir Winston’s father) named the one part of the Park as having “The finest view in England”.
- UNESCO World Heritage Site There are only a few places across the world given the right to call themselves a World Heritage Site, and Blenheim Palace is one of them. Being awarded its status in 1987, the Blenheim Palace Estate is ‘recognized as being of outstanding international importance and therefore as deserving special protection’, meaning you won’t find a more beautiful or cared-for setting for your big day.
Images by Hannah Duffy Photography.
I don’t think many people would describe me as ‘outdoorsy’. Sure, I like a little alfresco lunch in the summertime, a long dog walk to my fave coffee shop and I did seek out a walled garden wedding venue just to have that outside element to my big day. But ‘outdoorsy’ – no.
So, it was quite the surprise when I found peace in a beautiful woodland just an hour or so down the M25.
GreenAcres Woodland Weddings is a wedding venue with a difference; these ancient woodlands are a place where you can truly celebrate life’s journey. I mean the full cycle people and all the emotions that are entangled in these momentous events that we all experience – new life, the joining of two loved ones and ultimately that time when we must bid farewell.
GreenAcres is the place where all of this and more can be celebrated.
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.
Our couples (that’s you by the way!) know what they like. They have their own individual styles but keep an eye on emerging trends from fashion, interiors and design. They of course want their wedding & their wedding venue to reflect all of this and more…
The venue search is one of the very first steps of wedding planning and it’s often the point at which you’ll feel those first stressful ‘planning’ moments where it seems the venue of your dreams just doesn’t exist. The wish list that you can find yourself penning prior to the search can be, let’s say, optimistic. Sound familiar…? Well don’t worry, I’ve been there myself.
The crushing reality is that there is no such thing as a ‘perfect’ venue but I can say with confidence that you will always find the right venue that gives you all the feels and connects with your big day plans. So whenever I tell a newly engaged bride-to-be to relax, breathe and enjoy the venue search journey I really mean it. It’s a wonderfully romantic part of the planning process.
So shall we take a look at what we predict you’ll be loving this year in the world of wedding venues…?
We know that our couples will visit on average 4 locations before they find ‘the one’ and a relaxed affair with family & friends is still the top priority for wedding days so couples are wanting to find a venue they feel at home in – warm, welcoming and super friendly.
In 2016 we saw the rise of the ‘back-garden wedding’ where the at-home vibe overflowed. This isn’t going away for 2017, but not all couples are fortunate enough to have a tipi-sized field as a garden so we’re seeing home-from-home venues becoming increasingly popular. One such venue is the wonderful Weekend Weddings at The Copse.
Here you can be as formal or as laid back as you like. Here you can choose all your suppliers and organise your reception your way. Here you can stay with 18 guests and relax and enjoy getting ready for your wedding, staying three nights at the weekend, or one or two nights in the week.
Sticking with the outdoor trend, we love the strong statement greens making an appearance in Pantone’s 2017 colours. So where better to find this trend than in the woods, but not just any ol’ woods, I’m talking luxe woods.
Hygge has been a key word on everyone’s lips and it continues into the wedding world. Think log cabins, toasty wood burners and secret woodland hangouts where there’s an abundance of blankets, kisses and whiskey.
Sound like your kind of thing…? Then fforest weddings are the ultimate woodland wedding venue. The 200 acres of fforest farm are part of an area of unspoilt natural beauty, wrapped in woods, wildlife and wonder. fforest Farm is the perfect location for a relaxed, informal, weekend-long celebration with family and friends. It’s yours for the weekend with its choice of event spaces from giant hat tipis, dining and party barns, garden pavilion, private tiny stone pub, large communal firepit and secret woodland sauna.
This is what I mean when I say Luxe Woods!
Hidden for more than 70 years, the 18th Century servant accommodation at Pynes House has been lovingly restored to provide six further luxurious guest rooms.
Pynes House are delighted to announce the restoration of the old servant accommodation on the top floor at Pynes House, with stunning results. The refurbishment of these further 6 bedrooms brings the total to 12 double rooms available to hire for weddings or special weekends.
Each room has been individually designed and styled by interior designer, Holly Keeling, to incorporate Lewis & Wood wallpapers, beautiful fabrics and vintage pieces. Untouched for 70 years, every effort was made to retain the authentic feel of the spaces with original features ranging from distressed beams to servant bells rivalling those of Downton Abbey. Guests can enjoy the character and stunning views alongside contemporary styling, including super luxurious bathrooms.
Now I’ve been fortunate enough to have spent a night in their luxury bridal suite, but my heart is very much longing to return to be a guest once again!