Close your eyes and imagine the warmth of an open fire; the light of flickering candles; the company of your family and close friends. We have no exact word for this feeling - “Cosy” comes close but doesn’t quite hit the mark. The word we are searching for is “Hygge”. In Denmark, Hygge is a huge part of the Danes’ daily lives and, seeing that they are the happiest nation in the world, bringing a bit of Hygge into our own lives might not be such a bad idea.
And then of course, there is the decorating and styling. So far, you have created a Hygge feel by having your best people around you, good food and good wine, laughter and joy which is the most important element. The decorating is just the icing on this Hygge wedding cake but, for all those creative couples out there, also a fun part of the planning process.
Autumn is on its way so get foraging as nature provides all sorts of free ways to decorate your wedding. Scour local charity shops for old books and candlesticks. Pile up the books and group candles together in different heights - the drippier the better - so burn a few candles at home before the wedding to build up some wax on the sticks before your wedding day. Have some fun with crockery and glassware; there are some wonderful hire companies out there who have done the hard work for you and sourced some great vintage finds; mix them up to create interest and then go to town with all the little details. With a smaller guest list you will have more space to fill so throw caution to the wind and go big!
If you are still looking for a venue and like the thought of a Hygge wedding then look no further than The Pilgrims Rest. With three huge inglenook fireplaces, no corkage charges and no fixed suppliers, this candle loving venue is the embodiment of Hygge. Lots of the hard work has been done for you with furs, candles and plenty of wood included in the hire price - even seasonal looks are included with pealights galore and two beautiful dressing rooms. 600 years old this year and packed full of historic soul, this grand old lady is ready and raring to give you a big hug (or should I say Hygge?) on your wedding day.
If you would like more information please visit www.pilgrimsrestbattle.co.uk or contact us - tel: 07552 873448 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Photography: Jessica Bevan Photography and Georgina Piper Wedding
It was the Spring of 2016 and Sam, our new farrier, was attempting to lift the foot of our rescue donkey, Paris. Hating having his feet touched, he attempted to give Sam the slip and proceeded in throwing me face down into the gravel before cantering off down the field - ears forward -looking very rather smug.
Having only just met Sam, I wrongly thought he was a man of few words; what had started off as an awkward conversation quickly moved into a chatty one as he helped me drag a very stubborn donkey back up the field complete with a new set of playground knees for his owner.
At that time I was running The Pilgrims Rest as a cafe but had been itching to turn it into a wedding venue for some time. As we chatted, Sam mentioned that his girlfriend was looking to leave her job (and obligatory neck tie) in the events team of a 5* hotel. Sam headed home and announced to a bemused Amy that had found her a new job. Two days later she knocked on our front door; I was greeted by a huge smile and we hit it off straight away.
Amy was amazing from day one. In the early days she and I pulled out the old commercial kitchen, painted walls and scrubbed floors. I bought a book called “Building a website for idiots” - built one and launched the business. We had no wedding licence then, no chairs, let alone a mirror in the dressing room and looking back it is quite extraordinary we had any bookings at all!
But faith in our new venue came in the form of Zoya and Damien who loved it and booked nonetheless. By the time they married we had a wedding licence, chairs and a large dressing room mirror. Ever since we have kept improving, and adding to, the venue with seasonal looks, pea-lights galore and a second dressing room. It is funny looking back at old photographs and seeing how far we have come.
Initially, Amy would run the wedding days on her own - even cleaning the loos the following day (what was I thinking?). Our couples loved her and, as it turned out, so did Sam who finally proposed to his childhood sweetheart of 13 years on their favourite beach in Cornwall. Now happily married, Amy is on maternity leave with their new addition, the gorgeous little Jack who was born straight into lockdown. Not quite the maternity leave she was planning at all but we are all looking forward to having her back in January - 2021 is certainly going to be a busy year.
It was in early 2018 that Amy and I realised we needed another team member. We advertised, read though heaps of C.V’s and, although highly qualified and experienced, none of them felt right. One of our caterers mentioned he had met another Amy who he thought we would like. A phone call later, Amy-Lou bounced down the path to The Pilgrims Rest, laughed at my jokes (always a winner for me) and Amy and I knew we had found our girl - she was the perfect fit.
Amy-Lou (or Little Amy as I call her) is a self confessed geek and loves a spreadsheet almost as much as she loves weddings. This little power house has been incredible during the last few months working with couples during a very difficult time and I am eternally grateful for everything she has done. Recently she was bemoaning the fact she needed to take some holiday. “It’s very annoying”, she said, “It just gets in the way”. But to the West Country she finally headed with her own Sam for a staycation and is now back after a well earned break.
Talking of the West Country, another “A”, in the form of Anita, packed up her bags in Devon last year and moved to Battle, settling just across the road from The Pilgrims Rest. Her neighbour Tres, who makes the best coffee in Battle, brought her in one day to meet her new neighbours and is now another member of our team. Anita sprinkles her fairy dust wherever she goes keeping The Pilgrims Rest shining like a new pin; fluffing the furs; polishing the windows; even folding the loo paper into little points. She meets and greats and helps on wedding days and we really can’t remember how we managed without her.
Anita brings with her the four legged member of our team - Amber - her beautiful little dog. With a coat like velvet and a permanently wagging tail , Amber keeps Anita company while she dead heads the roses in the garden and sweeps up confetti.
We certainly have created an “A” team in more ways than one. Our most recent member of the team’s name doesn’t begin with an A but has the right vowel so we think it counts. Waverley joined our team a few weeks before the world turned upside down. As it turns out, she met her fiancé Luke right outside The Pilgrims Rest a few years ago. Back in the office once again after lockdown, she announced that they had finally decided to tie the knot and were nipping down to the registry office to say their “I do’s”.
Not knowing us especially well, being a team newbie, Waverley asked if they could take a few happy snaps outside The Pilgrims Rest in her dress. Well, we couldn’t idly stand by and have one of our team left out in the garden, so we suggested they made a morning of it getting ready in The Bryant and Fitzherbert dressing rooms. As a surprise wedding present, we asked the lovely Sarah Williams to come and capture their morning, and capture it she did. There were lots of tears (joyful ones) and smiles (huge ones) with both of them looking fabulous and very, very happy.
Choosing a venue is as much about the team behind the scenes as the venue itself. As you will see from our reviews the Pilgrims Rest team goes above and beyond to ensure your day goes without a hitch. It might be small, but it really is a perfectly formed “A” team.
If you would like receive more information about The Pilgrims Rest or arrange a personal video tour then please email us on email@example.com or call 07552873448 .
Photographer: Sarah Williams Photography and Darren Buss Photography
Over the years I have been to many weddings both great and small, from village halls to local pubs; Claridges to The Savoy. During the last few months I have found myself reflecting on weddings, wondering what makes one imprint on your memory more than the next?
For me, one particular imprinted wedding was that of a great friend who had only invited 16 guests. Having never been to what is now referred to as a Micro Wedding before I was surprised to see so few of us at the church. It wasn’t that they didn’t have many friends - they did, but had decided to only have their very best friends and close family.
I knew the bride had opted to wear a designer suit up the aisle so was amazed when she appeared at the church door. It turned out she had woken the day before the wedding with the realisation that she wanted to look like a traditional bride. Hanging her suit back in the cupboard she hurried off to a local wedding dress hire shop. A few hours later, having tried on every dressing the shop, the owner disappeared upstairs and returned carrying her own wedding dress - a classic 1960’s number covered with enormous daisies, a square neckline and flowing sleeves - complete with a rather strong smell of mothballs.
To put this in context, this was back in the 1990’s and at the time 1960’s wedding dresses were worn to fancy dress parties as a joke. Not wanting to offend, my friend tried it on to find it was a perfect fit. She took it home and hung it out in the sun to air. On the morning of her wedding she picked some wild flowers, popped them in her hair and walked down the aisle looking like a boho bride twenty five years after (and before) it was fashionable; she looked absolutely perfect!
As they say the devil is in the detail and, being a chef, the bride had been very specific about the meal. Food was the order of the day and we sat around a huge table chatting and laughing, with delicious food and excellent wine. It was a truly wonderful day and we all felt incredibly honoured and special to be part of their tiny guest list.
Their wedding was the polar opposite from another we had recently been invited to. The bride’s father was extremely wealthy and nothing was too much for his little girl - evening having a huge lake dug on their property to create the perfect view from the marquee. As the couple left the church we were lined up like little soldiers and given dried rose petals in little baskets to throw. In those days you would normally nip into a newsagent and buy a packet of confetti on your way to the wedding, so we all quickly hid our shop bought ones and stood, throwing the pretty petals over the bride and groom as instructed. As the happy couple settled in their convertible classic car, a little boy, who had been watching us, scooped up a pile of grass cuttings, leaves and twigs and lobbed them right at the bride’s head. There she sat - totally horrified - completely covered in churchyard debris. It was not part of the carefully curated wedding day at all but it was terribly funny.
I don’t remember much else about that particular wedding - what we ate, what the band played, the flowers on the table or even the view of the lake, which just goes to show that the amount of money you spend doesn’t necessarily make a lasting impression. It is only the image of this happy little boy, wanting to be part of the fun, that has stuck with me for decades.
It is safe to say that 2020 has been a year that will not be forgotten in a hurry, but alongside some desperately sad stories there have also been ones of joy. I think we have realised what is important to us having missed our family and close friends above anything else. As a team we have greatly missed hosting weddings at The Pilgrims Rest, so when we receive phone calls from our couples telling us they are tying the knot this year with, or without, government restrictions in place there is a great deal of excitement.
The Pilgrims Rest team we would like to take this opportunity to wish every 2020 couple out there, wherever they choose to marry, the very best of luck on your wedding day. We hope this little blog might help to reassure you all that, when surrounded by your very best people - no matter how few - your wedding day will be one that stays in hearts and memories for a very, very long time.
The Pilgrims Rest has last minute availability for the final months of this year. If you would like to arrange a virtual viewing of the venue or further information, then please contact a member of our team on 07552873448 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photography: Georgina Piper Photography