Last weekend we went to a wedding. For us weddings are a bit like buses. We haven’t been to one for years and then, last year, our best friends got married and, this year, we were invited to the marriage of the son of a good friend.
When we were young, it felt like we were at a wedding every other weekend all through the spring and summer. Now, the formal ceremonies we attend on a regular basis tend to be of a more sombre nature.
The wedding last weekend took place at Hornington Manor, a “barn wedding venue”, on a working farm in rural North Yorkshire. It honestly was a truly delightful concept. As far as I could tell, the bride and groom rented the entire venue for the whole weekend. The “entire venue” consisted of a 19 bedroom Manor House, extensive, incredibly pretty grounds, and the Wedding Barn.
The accommodation is divided up into different sections, each with its own kitchen and sitting area. The Grade II listed Manor House dates back to 1770 and has been tastefully restored to provide luxury self-catering accommodation. It retains many of the original features including medieval ceiling beams, hooks for servants’ bells in the kitchen, deep wells and ancient cooking ranges.
The beds were dreamily comfortable and, it turns out, the mattresses are made from hemp grown on the farm. Hemp, apparently, does not require the use of pesticides in its cultivation and has naturally thermodynamic properties making it ideal as a mattress stuffing. Better still, the waste produce from the hemp processing is recycled as biomass fuel to heat the property. The mattresses can be bought at John Lewis or directly from the farm for their wedding clients.
The “whole weekend” consisted of the bride and groom, their family and a few close friends spending Friday night to Sunday afternoon together at the venue. It was relaxed, informal and a very contemporary concept, having everyone all together in this way, both before and after the wedding itself.
The only downside of the approach, for me at least, was the amount of work involved in self-catering for forty people. Everyone seemed to be rushing around preparing food, washing dishes and tidying up almost constantly throughout the weekend. I should say that nobody seemed to mind, and everybody mucked in with a smile on their face. I bet they were all exhausted in Monday though.
The wedding was part DIY and part catered. I believe that Hornington Manor wedding clients have the option of engaging external suppliers that are recommended by the venue, for as much or as little of the occasion as they desire. This enables them to balance their budget and how much they are prepared to do themselves. On this occasion, it seems that, apart from the catering at the wedding itself, they organised most things themselves including post-ceremony canapés and cocktails and all the decorations and table linen.
The result was a wonderfully unique and beautiful event. The bride and the bridesmaids looked stunning, the ceremony was warm and personal, the food was delicious, the speeches were sweet and funny, the accommodation was luxuriously comfortable and even the weather was fantastic.
Thanks to Dave and Jackie and Ben and Danielle for the privilege of letting us share your special day with you!