Olivia’s first post: The Proposal and The Venue | UK Wedding Blog


Hello lovely readers – I’m Olivia, the new SYGM Blogging Bride!

Rob and I met on New Years’ Eve 2009. I’d just started university and really wasn’t looking for a boyfriend, but we instantly clicked and I knew he was someone I needed to hold on to. Fast forward a few years, and we bought our first home together – a gorgeous little narrowboat, moored on the Trent and Mersey Canal. Not your average first home, but it was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made!

It was Christmas Day 2014 when Rob asked me to marry him. It was the first Christmas we’d spent on the boat, and it really couldn’t have been more perfect.

Still sleepy from our boozy Christmas Eve antics, I was a little surprised when Rob leaped out of bed and told me he was going to “collect some wood for the fire” which he’d left in his car. Usually, we’d lay in bed saying “you get up first”, “no, you get up first” and so on, but he seemed a bit eager. I put it down to Christmas Spirit and carried on snoozing. All smiles on his return, he asked me if I wanted to open one of my presents there and then.

“It’s more for me than for you,” he said.

So I sat up, and he turned to the dog who was lay next to us and got him to give me his paw. At which point, Rob pulled a little box out of his pocket. I remember thinking “if this is a Pandora charm, I will kill him”.

Of course, it was a ring. We cried. He didn’t even ask me the question. We cried some more. I made him ask me. And that was that – we were engaged! I was going to be someone’s WIFE. Gulp.

Engagement Ring

The rest of the festive period was a whirlwind of crying tears of joy and drinking Prosecco, and it was nice to have the time off together to make a start on our wedding plans. We knew we didn’t want to wait too long, but Rob works away a lot, and his working season runs from March to October, so we picked November 2016 to give us enough time to save, and to just enjoy being engaged for a little while.

The first thing we did was book our venue. We already had our eyes on it before we were even engaged, but on our first visit to Donington Park Farmhouse, we knew it was the place where we wanted to get married.

The décor is rustic and relaxed, and your dinner is served to you in the pig sties. Amazing. It’s right next to the race track, so there’s pictures of historic racing cars hanging from the walls – this is ideal for Rob, as he builds racing cars for a living! It seemed to encapsulate the two of us combined, so we didn’t even bother visiting other venues.

I remember having butterflies in my tummy as we took our tour of the venue. It was being set up for a wedding later on that day, so it was great to get a feel of how things can look. The barn just oozes character; exposed brick, high ceilings, and twinkling fairy lights – a great combination, I’m sure you’ll all agree. There is also a nice number of bedrooms at the venue, so our family can stay over and enjoy a breakfast with us the morning after.

We knew we didn’t want a church wedding, so we plan on having our ceremony at the venue too. This will be in the Threshing Barn, but if we were having a smaller wedding, we could opt for the Hitching Room which can hold up to 80 guests.

Donington Park Farmhouse Wedding Venue

If you’re recently engaged, then booking the venue and setting a date should be one of the first things you do. I found it so much easier knowing exactly what date I was working towards, and knowing that the biggest part was booked and out of the way. It meant I could relax so much more!

When looking for your venue, set yourself a budget. If you’re a dab-hand with a computer then set yourself an Excel spreadsheet up. Compare your venues with room hire, catering costs, and how much extra they’ll charge to host your ceremony. Be warned: even if you already know that weddings are expensive, you will still be shocked at how much people will charge you! I think you kind of become numb to numbers by the end of it, but make sure you set yourself a realistic budget and stick to it.

It’s also worth noting how many restrictions you have. As our venue is a listed building, we’re not allowed to pin things to the walls or have open flame candles (something I was originally gutted about, until I found some gorgeous LED candles that look like the real thing). We also can’t have fireworks because we’re too close to the airport.

Once all the boring, formal questions are out of the way, you can really start to get excited. I have to hold myself back from emailing them every 5 minutes, or popping over every weekend just to have another look! That’s the feeling you should have when booking your venue. After all, this is where you’ll say “I do!”

Once the venue was booked, I knew exactly what I wanted to do next: DRESS SHOPPING! But that’s a story for next time…

Thank you for reading, I can’t wait for you to follow me on my wedding planning journey!

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