Hi everyone, Vanessa here writing my first blog post for SYGM as the new 2015 bride! Huge thanks again to the lovely Phoebe & Rebecca for choosing me to keep you entertained with all things wedding! So the logical place to start would be with the first and most important decision…our venue!
As you’ve read all ready, mine and James’ engagement came as a total surprise to me. After the initial shock and excitement of getting engaged sunk in, I realised that we had to actually plan a wedding! Where to start!?
Unlike some, I have never been the girl who had their wedding planned from childhood. To be perfectly honest I’d never though much about what my wedding would be like. Therefore we really had no starting point whatsoever. It’s amazing though how quickly you establish what you both do and don’t want for your day.
A week after our engagement one of my bridesmaids started asking where we thought we might have the wedding. We hadn’t a clue. She gave me some really lovely ideas and sent links to various venues (thanks Faye!) The one that really stood out for us was Gate Street Barn. We called them straight away to go and have a look around. Two weeks to the day that we got engaged we went along to Gate Street Barn.
Gate Street Barn in located in Bramley, Surrey. This was a great location for us as it’s about a 40min drive from where we live. It was a miserable, drizzly late October Saturday, not the best day to see a venue that you hoped to get married in the summer in. As we followed the signs for the barn, the butterflies in our tummies started. Wow. Just the drive from the A281 to the barn was spectacular. The lane was gorgeous. Things were going well! It was beautiful, even on the greyest of days. We were sold before we even got out of the car.
Gate Street Barn is one of those venues that oozes “that feeling”. We loved it instantly. The barn was being set up for a wedding later that day so we had a really good idea of how our ceremony would feel. It was something that we had decided on early on that we would hold the ceremony at the same venue as the rest of our wedding. GSB make this so easy. We were shown around the site, with each new area we stepped into we got more and more excited.
We were given the GSB tour by the lovely Lisa. She made us feel so welcome. We were blown away. The barn is filled with great features; a stunning bridal suite which can be used throughout the day by the bridal party (or anyone you give the room code to) to freshen up or even get ready in. The barn has ample space, with gorgeous oak beams dressed in fairy lights (I’m a sucker for a fairy light!) It also has a second smaller barn adjacent to the barn called The Pheasantry where the bar is situated. Perfect for when the main barn is being turned over for the wedding breakfast and later the dance floor! Another lovely touch was that the chairs supplied by the venue are really nice – no need for chair covers which funnily enough was one of my dislikes.
We left beaming with excitement. We reserved our date the very next day and haven’t regretted it since.
If I had to give some top tips for venue hunting (bear in mind GSB was the one and only venue we saw!) they would be:
1. How does it feel? Are you overwhelmed and can picture yourself and your loved ones there on your day?
2. Does it have all of the facilities you require? Do you want to stay on site the night of your wedding? Gate Street Barn offer the most gorgeous accommodation, they have even recently started offering the cutest little shepherds hut.
3. The scenery. Does it have all of the elements you want for the day. We wanted greenery, and a really countryside feel. GSB is built on a real farm that is home to Long Horn Cattle – they come right up to the fence which makes for great photo opportunities. The gardens are beautiful planted too for all seasons which ensure you’ll always have a stunning backdrop whatever the weather!
4. Does it suit your budget? It’s easy to get carried away. The venue & the catering are the most pricey elements of your day. We loved that our venue doesn’t charge any corkage. Brilliant and quite rare to come by if you’re planning on stocking your own bar.
5. How restricted are you. Are you tied into certain caterers, bands, dj’s etc? Gate Street Barn have a selection of approx. 8 caterers that are recommended. Each of which offering something unique and to any taste you can imagine. However if you don’t want to go for one of the suggested caterers you are able to use anyone else you like. We went for Kalm Kitchen who were highly recommended by GSB. I’ll be writing about them soon I’m sure!
Ultimately we were sold on the beauty of the place as much as the friendliness and hospitality that GSB showed us. We’ve been back several times since to show our parents and also for their annual open day. We know that the team at Gate Street Barn will be there for us every step of the way, which is a reassuring when planning the biggest day of your life!
Thanks for taking the time to read and I hope you enjoyed my first post!