Photography by Alex Tenters Photography.
Ever wondered what it takes to run a wedding venue?
We have the fabulous Emma Deeley from The Tythe Barn giving us the lowdown on the behind-the-scenes of this barn wedding venue in Oxfordshire.
Over to Emma…
Notes from The Tythe Barn
There’s so much written about the preparations you need to cover as a couple during the lead up to your big day, but what’s involved in the planning process from a venue’s point of view?
It may surprise you to hear that couples are increasingly booking their wedding venue up to 2 or 3 years in advance to ensure they snap up their ideal date. Here we talk you through just a few of the things that we do at The Tythe Barn in Launton in that period before a couple gets married with us in rural Oxfordshire.
Working within the wedding industry is wonderful – seeing couples so excited as they take their vows together, surrounded by all of their close family and friends. At the barn we have often got to know the couples and their families so well that by the time the wedding day arrives we almost feel a part of their family, and it is most certainly a privilege to be part of what is often considered the best and most important day in their lives. However, running a wedding venue is hard work and a full-time business – in every sense!
It often makes us laugh that people think because we run a wedding venue we only work weekends! The truth is that The Tythe Barn is always a hub of activity and the whole team involved in its running are flat out throughout the week, the weekend and most evenings too!
The girls in the main office plough through numerous emails and enquiries that often require answers on the finest of details whilst they juggle quotes, available dates, event planning and meetings – helped by numerous cups of coffee I might add! We planned and hosted 99 weddings last year and although we have systems in place and certain processes that we follow at particular points within the planning stages, each wedding is very different and therefore deserves individual attention.
Months before the wedding we are often supporting and advising our couples with their supplier choices or we may have been asked to measure the dimensions of one of the oak beams in the barn to help the florist with their own preparations.
On the other side of the office the bookkeeper is balancing the books from the weekend weddings and dealing with contracts and invoices, as well as making sure we are up to date with all of our policies and any legal requirements, risk assessments and health and safety.
Meanwhile downstairs, we will probably have the all-important run through meeting between our function manager, a couple, and their parents, chatting in depth about their wedding day and discussing every tiny detail. These meetings can take up to 2 hours, are planned 3 months in advance and take place 6 weeks before the wedding day.
One week before the wedding we ask our couples to drop off all their bits and pieces for the wedding day – favours, place settings, the table plan etc. With up to 3 weddings per weekend taking place during the peak season, this can mean we are holding quite a few incredibly personal and sentimental belongings for a week. Recently we built ourselves a dedicated store house for safety, security, and peace of mind for both us and the couple.
Outside, our gardener will be mowing lawns, raking the gravel or watering the plants, and we have a constant flow of deliveries arriving. The drinks store will be being re-stocked and the drinks needed for the coming weekend’s weddings will be taken over to the main barn for chilling. The upkeep of The Tythe Barn is essential at all times and maintaining a high quality approach throughout is fundamental, therefore there is always something being worked on; the benches may be having another sand down, clean and polish ready for the weekend’s outdoor ceremony and there will be checks on all the main equipment to establish that everything is in full working order and ready to go again for the next event.
It’s not always positive and often the more difficult side of the business is left for Will to deal with; a fault with the musical equipment, an undelivered order of the bride’s favourite wine for the wedding the following day, a broken 8ft window because a stone was thrown up by the lawn mower – and most recently – a power cut in the office for the best part of the day! However, we always pull together, and as a team we all know our side of the business inside out.
My role is a varied one, most days I focus on the advertising and marketing of The Tythe Barn, liaising with magazines, photographers and online businesses, or tweaking our website and designing our brochures. Much of the marketing these days involves a lot, and I mean A LOT of social media ‘stuff’ but I am also responsible for the interior design of the barn, The Nook and our bridal suite – The Hut.
Reg, our rather lovable dog, is our meet and greet expert and always at Will’s side.
The details that need to come together to put on a wedding day are numerous and the cogs of the wheel all need to work smoothly and closely together from beginning to end – which can often span a one year or two year period.
What I can confidently say about all of our staff at the barn is that they give their all, all of the time. Everyone is passionate about the barn and works desperately hard to ensure that every single wedding we host is ‘just right’ every time. Their loyalty and dedication astounds us and I think we all feel like we live and breathe The Tythe Barn but we wouldn’t have it any other way!
Words Emma Deeley, The Tythe Barn