Words from Elizabeth of The Grange & H-Coo Events
I have been running an outdoor wedding venue at The Grange Farm, North Somerset for the past four years. Being my family home I have a big passion for the space and I love the freedom, flexibility and outdoor wedding inspiration I can offer couples.
H-Coo Events uses the old cider orchard at The Grange as the backdrop for marquee weddings. One of the best aspects of running H-Coo is all the fantastic couples I get to meet and work with that are full of creative ideas of how they want their day to be; they really are able to put their own stamp on things here and express themselves as a couple.
Not everybody would choose an outdoor venue for their wedding and that’s fair enough, it’s a very personal decision. The couples that do decide it’s for them and book really get it and embrace the space! Which is very exciting indeed.
H-Coo Events also offers coordinating and styling services at The Grange (I also offer these services in the South West area at other Venues). In the Orchard I’m flexible about how much or little I help with the planning and styling. Couples are supported so if the thought of an outdoor venue is daunting there is no need to worry as I take care of the less interesting but very important bits. Along the way I have been part of some really different, magical, quirky and most importantly, personal weddings. It is very heart warming to be just a small part of a couples wedding.
As you can imagine I have heard some crazy ideas and seen a lot of great activities incorporated into weddings. One enthusiastic groom had the idea of a ‘Jacuzzi Wedding’ with enough tubs dotted around for all the guests… a field full of hot-tubs! That was pretty usual, it didn’t happen, just an idea.
I’m waffling trying to find a way to avoid the word ‘trend’ here. I have a background as a Fashion & Textiles Designer so thinking in trends can feel a bit like being on a production line and that is absolutely not what I’m are about here, every wedding is different…. but actually when you’re stuck for ideas or just wanting to knock ideas around, looking at what other people have done can give you a bit of inspiration and you can always find your own way of doing it for your own wedding. It’s only natural that certain things & designs are popular, coming in waves year after year but in a slightly different forms.
Creating a day that is very personal, engaging & memorable is key. Here is some outdoor wedding inspiration and ideas that will continue to be popular, and they work really well especially for outdoor or marquee venues;
Recycling & Cups
Personalising or adding a guests name to their cup is a great way to make it stand out. Not only can it double up as a place name but it encourages people to hang on to their glass or cup. Practical and thoughtful. Collecting jam jars and using those for the table or welcome drinks is very savvy! With recycling, zero waste and single use plastic on the forefront of our minds, find ways to reduce waste is important to a lot of couples.
Running Times & Games
The great thing about having your wedding outdoors is the space. It’s great for energetic children to run around but just as much fun for the adults. The skittle alley and bouncy castle are classics, but the more interactive games like Beer Pong, Inflatable games & DIY photo booths are a way to keep your guests happy and entertained and a good ice breaker too to get everyone mingling.
There is no need to twiddle your thumbs waiting for the meal when you have games for your guests to dip in and out. Having a more relaxed schedule that varies from what we think as ‘traditional’ is also a great way to keep things more relaxed. That could be speeches before the meal rather then after, or extending the wedding ‘day’ into more of a weekend. Camping and glamping overnight, a great way to utilise the venue and extend your time there.
Getting your guests involved in dessert is a way to make them feel part of the wedding and it helps you out when it comes to cost. In the spirt of Merry Berry have a ‘Wedding Bake Off‘ perhaps? You can even judge and give out prizes to the best bakes. If that doesn’t sound like an appealing option there is an increasing trend of treating the wedding cake as dessert, then you know it definitely will not go to waste.
Smores, another way to enjoy the Fire pit.
The fire pit is included in the venue fee at The Grange, and proves very popular. Making the most of it by either toasting marshmallows or inviting guests to make ‘Smores’ a melted marshmallow digestive biscuit sandwich is something a bit different to offer.
Alternatives to fresh flowers
Fresh flowers are great, however sometimes a combination of fresh with dried flowers or decor for certain pieces or areas can work well and be more convenient. Such as dried flower crowns and button holes that can then be more easily kept as a keepsake after the day. Décor or dried garlands around marquee poles or blessing archways that can be made up ahead of the day, this can make things more economical. Wreaths will continue to be popular and are very versatile whether they are fresh or dried.
There is so much more to this than face painting! Although that is also a way to add a bit of sparkle. I was super excited to showcase some body art at our opening evening last summer by the talented Amanda from Painted Peach. Bridal body art is very elegant and different, and if you have an outdoor blessing it would look great in this setting! Or what about a stag or some kind of woodland creature handing out welcome drinks or entertaining guests, a body painted fire juggling performance. The possabilities are endless with what you can do.
This is exclusive to Painted Peach, details below.
If you would like to find out more about what I offer do drop me a line. It’s still possible to book your wedding this summer at The Grange with one space left currently for 2018. I’m are also taking bookings and enquires for 2019/20.
Credits . . .