When we first got engaged, searching for our dream venue was top of our list! The right venue for you as a couple really does set the tone for the rest of the day and your vision and ideas you have to create your dream wedding.
Myself and Steve are spoilt for choice in Essex where we live, as there are so many beautiful venues. Most of the weddings I have attended in the past for family and friends have even at beautiful country manor houses, set in acres of stunning gardens and with a lot of history behind them. I do think these venues are a beautiful backdrop for pretty much anyones wedding, apart from ours! The thing is, as regal and stunning as they are we always knew they weren't going to fit the theme and vibe of the wedding day we wanted, so we had to think a little more out the box and do some more research into venues which we felt would accommodate and support our vision.
Good old Google soon became our best friend, as we spent many a night searching for venues not too far from us and loved ones, which also would allow us to get married there as we didn't want to get married in a church. I also am a rather picky person when it comes to food...I must be one of the only people here in Britain who HATES with a passion roast dinner or anything that resembles it! Yes I know, you must think I'm mad like most my loved ones do but hey ho, each to their own.
One evening we stumbled across a venue called 'Gaynes Park'. We'd never heard of it or known anyone personally who'd got married there, but after looking through their beautiful photos, reading some fantastic reviews of the place and realising it was only around a 40 minutes drive from our home, we knew we had get in touch to book a visit and hope it was the venue for us...
A couple of weekends later myself, Steve, my parents and my sister, came along with us to check out the venue. Our trusty sat-nav took us to Epping no problem, and through absolutely beautiful countryside. We soon arrived and were greeted by a beautiful, rural and long driveway to the approach of Gaynes Park. I think the approach to a venue is really important, as that is the first thing your guests will see and experience as part of your wedding day. We also noticed straight away the more than ample parking that the venue provided, which is always a plus trust me! Some we looked at struggled to get more than around 30 cars which for a wedding of around 120 guests like ours, would not be suitable.
Stepping out of the car and being greeted inside the Mill Barn by the lovely Yvonne, we very quickly got a good, homely and welcoming feeling. The venue happened to be getting ready for a wedding the next day, so it was really helpful and a good chance to see how the staff worked there like clock-work to set everything up and see how beautiful it all came together. We hadn't even been shown around the whole venue and grounds but we had already decided it was our dream venue and we just had to have it! My family with us were equally as excited and my mum and dad even asked when they could move in it's that stunning! :) The venue provides on-site accommodation for the bride and groom in their own private cottage, sweetly named 'The Apple Loft Cottage'. There is also 'The Coach House' on site, with 10 rooms for loved ones to stay in once the celebrations are over. This includes breakfast the next day, all together as a family in the stunning setting and to discuss over tea and a yummy cooked breakfast the events and magic of the previous day. Once we saw the venue provided this, we were definitely sold! What a lovely way to end your wedding day by having a private cottage as husband and wife and then the next day, strolling down to the Coach House to meet your loved ones.
Now I don't want to reveal TOO much about the venue just yet or the decor we are using there on our big day, but below are some images to give you a little taster of what's to come from beautiful Gaynes Park...
Every time I look at pictures of the place, even from others wedding days that might have completely different taste to ours, I still can't get over how perfect it is, how amazing it will look in our wedding album in years to come and can't quite believe how lucky we were to find such a unique, welcoming and professional venue with a real USP. The team at Gaynes Park are not only extremely professional, helpful, experienced and honest but also make you feel like you are a friend of theirs when you talk to them about your wedding and that does really help calm the nerves and make the whole experience that much more pleasant and enjoyable.
I would highly recommend no matter where you are in the country, checking out Gaynes Park as it's honestly a fabulous venue and one we can't wait to get married in!