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
The Pilgrims Rest is 600 years old this year. Rather like a ship we refer to our wonderful building as a “She”. Much more than just bricks and mortar (or in her case, sandstone, lathe and plaster), The Pilgrims Rest has a real soul and, although this might sound strange, it is true; you can literally feel if she is happy or sad - as if she is taking on the spirit of her visitors. This is why weddings bring out the very best in this grand old lady and she comes to life when laughter and happiness floods through her walls.
It is true to say that she has seen more than her fair share of life over the centuries - good and bad. Visitors have come and gone, from the original pilgrims to Battle Abbey in the 15th century, right up to brides and grooms in the 21st. She has hosted gatherings from medieval banquets to 1920’s tea dances with tankards of ale and glasses of champagne happily consumed beneath her eaves.
Her doors have been temporarily closed in the last few months but seeing as she was around during the black plague and Spanish flu I doubt this is for the first time. We are just a small part of her history - a chapter - and in centuries to come another custodian of The Pilgrims Rest may well write about the time when COVID-19 meant she had a little rest for a few months.
During this time her gardens have been tended and she has been fluffed and polished. The time for resting is over and although weddings are not yet taking place, couples are still getting engaged and planning their wedding days. Countless weddings this year have been postponed and, with our 3d virtual tours well under way new bookings for 2021 and 2022 are still coming in. It seems that nothing can stand in the way of true love. As they say, “You can’t keep a good man (or woman) down” which seems particularly true of engaged couples.
So, we are waking up our old lady and re-opening her ancient doors for appointments. Come and see for yourself why The Pilgrims Rest is such a unique venue and become another chapter in her history…
For more information please email email@example.com or call 07552873448
We all love to have something to look forward to, whether a summer holiday or the perfect wedding day. Whatever the dream, it is the planning of, and the run up to it, that is all part of the fun. In recent weeks, people have seen their holidays cancelled and wedding plans ruined. For couples who have saved for months and even years, they have had to watch their wedding days come and go; the doors to their venues closed, wedding rings still in their boxes and not a trace of confetti blowing in the wind.
Across the country, thousands of weddings have been postponed over the last few months with couples and venues like ours finding new dates to hold weddings. Happily, with a new wedding date planted firmly in the diary, previous disappointment can quickly evaporate and excitement resumes - a new wedding dream shining brightly at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel.
With a new date can come new ideas - both creative and practical. It is easy to get swept along in the wake of Pinterest weddings so, for those who have nagging doubts about their initial choices, this is their chance to take a step back, carefully reflect and decide what is really important on their day.
Small weddings have always had an appeal for some, but “Micro” weddings are now gaining increasing popularity. Lockdown has made couples realise whom they have missed and are now radically cutting their guest lists. Fewer guests means you are able spend the day with the people you really love rather than those you feel you ought to ask. An added bonus is that smaller weddings simply cost less, freeing up more budget to spend on something totally extravagant or not spend at all.
Some wedding dates have been postponed to a different season and it is great to see so many couples embracing the chance to have some fun with decoration and colour - peonies are being swapped for pumpkins; cherry blossom for twigs; bunting for baubles. Your wedding plans may have changed a little but change is often as good as a rest.
Talking of rest, The Pilgrims Rest is a venue unlike any other. Beautifully furnished and with two separate dressing rooms, it includes seasonal decorations in the venue hire. From furs for the benches to pea-lights and wood for the fires, all you need to do is add your own personal touches. 600 years old this year, The Pilgrims Rest is truly magical and perfect for weddings all year round.
We now offer a 3d personalised virtual tour and will be opening our doors for booked individual appointments. For more information please call The Pilgrims Rest team on 07552873448 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Photographs by Tali - Photo & Film
What is a “Micro Wedding”? Essentially it is a smaller wedding, although the actual numbers differ. Sometimes described as one with less than fifty guests and at other times no more than twenty, there is one thing that wedding blogs all agree on - done right, there is nothing small about a micro wedding.
Seen as a new trend stemming from a reaction to Covid 19, the simple truth is that smaller weddings have been an organically growing trend for some time now; one that simply makes perfect sense for some savvy engaged couples - both financially and logistically.
Couples choosing the smaller wedding route do so for a number of reasons; whatever reason, the truth of the matter is that shrinking your guest list means you can spend more money elsewhere - maybe on the perfect wedding dress or even vintage champagne? Either way, a smaller wedding means that you are able to say your “I do’s” surrounded by your absolute nearest and dearest - and what could be better start to married life?
So, the decision to have a more intimate wedding has been made; the next step and possibly most important decision, is to find the perfect venue. Look for one that still feels cosy with fewer guests. The last thing you want is to be sitting in a cavernous space with no atmosphere; forget Pinterest wedding favours and flip flops in baskets, creating a truly memorable wedding is all about the atmosphere.
Next, the food; it is likely you will put more emphasis on what you eat when you hold a more intimate wedding, so choosing a venue that doesn’t restrict your choice of caterers and one that gives you total flexibility is vital. Unless brown and wrapped up in copious amounts of string, ditch those wedding packages - a smaller wedding means you can get more creative so take this chance to have fun with your culinary decisions. You might hanker after a mountain of canapés served on frozen ice or a gastronomique eight course tasting menu. Perhaps a less formal enfamille meal might be your bag? Whatever you choose, make sure it really is your choice.
The Pilgrims Rest has been ranked by Bridebook and WedInspire in their top intimate and small wedding venues. 600 years old this year, this ancient gem is a wedding venue unlike any other. Offering exclusive use with no fixed suppliers and no corkage charges, The Pilgrims Rest is the perfect venue for couples looking to hold a small but perfectly formed wedding.
Now offering personalised 3d video tours you can come and have a good look around from the comfort of your sofa. If you would like more information or want to book a tour please call 07552873448.
Photography: Georgina Piper Photography