It’s time for our weekly ‘Real Wedding’ blog, offering you a sneaky peek into the gorgeous weddings we hold at Shustoke Barn.

With such a versatile space, it’s amazing how different each and every wedding we get to be a part of is! From simple and rustic to romantic and decadent, it’s incredible how unique every event is.

Last Sunday, our couple tied the knot in a bright and summery setting with delicious food, wonderfully personal finishing touches and lively entertainment provided by energetic band Capital Groove.

The Decorations

With hand-made chalk signs created by the bride herself and enchanting, Disney-style floral displays on the tables, tucked away in alcoves and hanging from the ceiling, decorations for our Sunday wedding were bright, fresh and very, very pretty.

We loved the colour theme of green and pink that offered a magical, woodsy feel in our beautifully lit, inviting barn.

How They Made It Their Own

We always encourage couples celebrating their wedding day with us, here at Shustoke Barn, to make the day unique and totally their own in any way that they like (within reason!).

It’s such a joy to see what couples come up with, from funny quirks to touching details and our couple on Sunday chose to do something that we found particularly lovely.

It’s a sad truth that sometimes, not all of our family and friends make it to the special occasions that we would so love to have had them be a part of and the gap left in their absence makes us miss them all the more.

Our newly weds on Sunday weren’t about to say their ‘I dos’ without giving a loving mention to those that they’ve lost, so they set up a ‘forever in our hearts’ table, holding a beautiful selection of photos of deeply missed family members.

What’s on the Menu?

Let’s not pretend that food isn’t one of the main things we look forward to when someone mentions a wedding! Especially when it’s at Shustoke Barn.

We love keeping things relaxed, but when it comes to seeing (and eating) what’s on the menu it’s hard to not get over-excited.

Our Sunday newly weds and all of their lucky guests enjoyed a spread of expertly prepared delights – simple and much loved flavours using only the very best raw ingredients.

Starter:

Rosary goats cheese & roast beetroot salad

Main:

Mixed grill, chicken, chorizo, lamb chops and pork ribs

Baked potatoes with sour cream

Tomato, avocado, Burrata and pickled watermelon (perfect for summer!)

Dessert:

Crème Brulee served with shortbread biscuits (yum!)

The Talent 

We can’t take all the credit for such a spectacular day, a good chunk of it has to go to the fantastic local talent and suppliers that helped our team and the happy couple put the finishing touches on their day.

Florist: Vanilla Blue Flowers

Photographer: HBA

Light up letters: Penny Lane

Music: Capital Groove

Cake: By a friend!

The story of Bonville Champagne starts at the turn of the 20th century when Alfred Bonville, in equal parts reckless and a visionary, decided to risk buying plots of land in vineyards that had been destroyed by Phylloxera* only a few years earlier. His focus was exclusively on Grand Cru vineyards and, despite the economic downturn of the 1930s, the gamble eventually paid off.

The opportunity for commercial success came in the years after 1945, when Alfred’s son Franck began to commercialise cuvées in his name. Since then the Bonville family has overseen the complete modernisation of their production, at one point selling some of their harvest to Bollinger, but always maintaining a focus on their range of amazing Champagnes.

Olivier Bonville represents the fourth generation at the helm of the operation, having taken over from his father Gilles in the 1990s. The vineyards now extend to over 20 hectares in the most sought after villages of Avize, Oger and Le Mesnil – some of the most valuable agricultural land in the world, consisting of 100% Grand Cru Chardonnay. We are delighted to offer this exceptional Champagne at all our venues.

* Phylloxera is a microscopic louse or aphid which eats the roots of vines. It was responsible for wiping out many of Europe’s vineyards in the 1850s in a devastating rampage which changed the world of wine forever. To this day almost all European vineyards are planted on American rootstock which is still immune to Phylloxera.

There’s nothing quite like getting a sneaky peak into recent real weddings held here at Shustoke Barn to get a feel for what it might be like to celebrate your big day with us, so today we wanted to share with you the wonderful marriage of Matt and Kate, with gorgeous photography courtesy of the extremely talented Gareth Newstead.

There must be something pretty special about our lovely venue as Matt & Kate were not the first in their friendship group to tie the knot at Shustoke Barn! After attending their now best man’s wedding here at an earlier date, Matt & Kate had already been a part of one of our previous real weddings and so had seen how beautiful a wedding day here is. Because of this, it was inevitable that they would want to say their ‘I dos’ in our fabulous barn (it’s pretty magical here!).

“The whole team from Shustoke were, as always, amazing on the day and ensured everything run really smoothly but still really relaxed” Gareth Newstead, Wedding Photographer

real weddings

Our venue is ideal for weddings both big and small, with it’s innate ability to be cosy and intimate or very grand depending on your requirements. Matt & Kate opted for an intimate affair with a selection of close family and friends there to share their day and Gareth’s style of unobtrusive, documentary style photography captured it all perfectly.

Unlike a lot of more formal wedding venues, we like our meals to be a part of the fun rather than an intermission and this lovely couple’s guests threw themselves into the enjoyment of our interactive feasts. With a joint of meat on each table and volunteer carvers to share it out, everyone had a good laugh whilst digging in to some delicious food.

“The venue is stunning even without any decoration added and they had done a great job of with all the details, flowers, cake and colours. The beautiful wooden lettering Matt & Kate used worked really well with the barn feel.”

Matt & Kate opted for a towering ‘naked’ wedding cake adorned with white and yellow roses, to keep in line with the rustic décor.

They chose to keep decorations simple, accenting with twinkling fairy lights and delicate spring bouquets, proving that the bare bones of our barn are utterly beautiful without having to go to town on all the bells and whistles.

We pride ourselves on being able to offer a venue and an experience where you and your guests can feel totally relaxed and at ease for your special day and as you can see from the photos of our real weddings, there are always big smiles all round!

We believe that your wedding day should be as individual as you are and even though Matt & Kate had previously attended their friend’s big do, there’s no denying that their wedding at Shustoke was their very own.

A fantastic time was had by all, with guests of all ages in joyous attendance – this is one wedding we won’t forget in a hurry and that will leave Matt & Kate with warm memories for the rest of their lives together.

Keep an eye on our blog page for more Shustoke real weddings!

How do you approach the tricky business of choosing the right wine for your reception and wedding breakfast? This can be a pleasurable process for wine connoisseurs, however for many others it can present a slightly daunting prospect.

Don’t panic! We are here to help.

At Cripps Barn Group we offer a list across all of our venues of top quality wines, selected with the same approach to high standards which we use to source our kitchen produce. Our focus is to provide you with the best quality wines at drinkable prices directly from the vineyards. The benefit of Cripps’ personal knowledge of where the best vineyards are to be found, and who the best winemakers are in those regions, has resulted in a selection of wines which represent some of the finest examples of their type, and which also offer truly exceptional value for money.

We are on hand throughout your wedding planning process to offer advice and guidance where required. There are opportunities to taste the range at our open days, monthly feast menu evenings and after your planning meeting. If further help is required our wine buyer is on hand to give you a call.

So, sit back, relax, let us take care of you and raise a glass to the best day of your lives!

Click here for our pre-order wine list and prices.

With your wedding planning underway, you’ve probably quickly turned your interests onto finding the perfect photographer to document your big day. This is a big one when it comes to wedding decisions and a tricky one too, as unlike your venue, or your dress, or your flower arrangements you’re not going to see the final result until after the day has been and gone, making finding your ideal match all the more important.

With a fantastic selection of Birmingham wedding photographers to choose from, you might be feeling a little stumped as how to make this important decision, but aside from loving someone’s online portfolio, there is more to it that can help.

birmingham wedding photographers
Darren Gair Photography https://thelastofthelight.com

Settle on Your Style

 

Knowing what style of images you absolutely love will help you to narrow down your options, so do your research by scouring the web for inspirational pics.

 

Find a Specialist

 

Being a photographer doesn’t automatically make you someone who is great at shooting weddings, so stick to Birmingham wedding photographers who specialise in the wedding industry to best results.

 

Set Up Meetings

 

With so much on your plate on the run up to your wedding day, it can be tempting to organise everything you can remotely, via email. This is great for the initial back and forth to get an idea of prices and what’s on offer, but if you want to find the perfect photographer for you it is essential that you set up a meeting. The personality of your chosen photographer and how you get on will make a huge difference to the overall experience and result, as having your photograph taken on such a personal day is a very intimate thing. The more comfortable you feel, the better the pics will be!

We’ve got a fantastic selection of Birmingham wedding photographers featured on our Suppliers page to help narrow down you choices. Here are 3 of our favourites:

Darren Gair

Darren is an excellent documentary wedding photographer who we have had the pleasure of dealing with many times, as he captures beautiful, candid snaps of newly weds and their family and friends here at Shustoke Barn.

The laid back approach that Darren adopts makes for wonderfully natural images, catching those intimate moments that you will treasure for a lifetime.

birmingham wedding photographers
birmingham wedding photographers

HBA Photography

With wedding images good enough to be used for advertising purposes across major highstreet stores, HBA photography brings you one step closer to that picture perfect wedding you’ve always dreamed of.

Passionate about wedding photography and inundated with amazing reviews, it’s no wonder that we see these guys back at our venue time and again.

David Wadley

If you’re after a real expert in the field of wedding photography, look no further than David Wadley! Such a pro at weddings that he is regularly called upon to write articles on wedding photography for all the best bridal mags and professional photographic books, David is unrivalled in experience within the Birmingham and West Midlands area.

Having worked as a pro wedding photographer for 36 years, snapping an impressive 3000+ weddings, David undoubtedly knows his stuff when it comes to create that perfect wedding album,

birmingham wedding photographers

The way that you and your wedding guests start and finish your big day plays an important role in making everything perfect from beginning to end, so finding the ideal Birmingham accommodation, whether that’s a 5* hotel, cosy B&B or luxury self catering, is essential.

 

Remember that some of your guests might be travelling to you from further afield, so when you’re getting ready to send out your official invites, it’s always a nice touch to offer some suggestions of fabulous local places to stay that are suitable for all budgets. Pop an extra page into the envelope with your invite with venue directions, information and accommodation options or make a page for it on your wedding website to help out your friends and family.

 

If you’re not local to our venue yourself or you’re unfamiliar with the best Birmingham accommodation, we’ve got you covered! Here are some of our favourites that you and your guests will love:

Birmingham accommodation

Lea Marston Hotel

If you’re looking for somewhere to prepare for or wind down from the wedding day that offers some serious pampering, Lea Marston Hotel is the Birmingham accommodation for you. With it’s fully equipped health club, rejuvenating spa, 9 hole golf course and contemporary bedrooms there’s not much that this hotel doesn’t offer!

This is the perfect place for the bridal party to get ready for the day ahead or for guests looking for something a little bit special.

Birmingham accommodation

The Belfry

Offering world class luxury, this award-winning hotel is one that we couldn’t miss off our top Birmingham accommodation list.

Enveloped in over 500 acres of beautiful countryside, this is one place where you can really unwind, relax and get out of it for a while.

A wedding is such a special occasion for everyone involved that splashing out on a truly memorable hotel is totally justified (take a look at their luxury lodge that sleeps up to 8), but a bargain never hurts! The Belfry makes luxury just that little bit more affordable with some exceptional offers available for all guests.

Birmingham accommodation

Little Bridge Cottage

Fancy something more home from home in the form of a gorgeous self catering cottage? We love Little Bridge Cottage and the quirky Arctic Hut that is also available to rent for the night, complete with wood, cooking equipment and a sumptuous food hamper.

Ideal for couples or groups of 5 who are looking to share, this cottage is warm, welcoming and an absolute joy to behold!

Breakfasts and packed lunches are available on request, for those who love the privacy of a self catering but don’t much fancy doing the washing up.

Birmingham accommodation

Langley Cottage

For simple and affordable comfort, Langley Cottage is there to welcome you with open arms after an eventful day.

The guestrooms are quaint and cosy with ensuite bathrooms, full English and Continental breakfasts are offered and a guest kitchenette gives you the choice of being able to cook and eat in, should you wish.

Birmingham accommodation

For more of our recommended Birmingham accommodation, take a look at our Accommodation page.

Your rustic barn wedding here at Shustoke Barn is bound to be pretty amazing, but we don’t want your experience with us to start on the big day itself – we want to be there for you on the run up too.

We know that planning a wedding can be quite a hefty task, particularly if you’re not all that familiar with the area and what is accessible to you, so we’re always thrilled when we’re able to set in and help out wherever possible.

From the most incredible food spread imaginable, courtesy of our fabulous in-house chefs to all the little finishing touches you need to make your day really perfect, we can assist with it all! Your rustic barn wedding with us will be everything you hoped and dreamed, with minimal wedding planning stress.

Feast Evenings

 

Food is a big part of every wedding day and an important one to get right. This is why we take charge of all of the catering requirements on behalf of all of our happy couples.

We’ll take on the task of getting everything prepped, cooked, served and cleaned away for you but we’re leaving the best job for the bride and groom to be – choosing the menu.

We have so much on offer when it comes to food, whether you’re after something big and hearty like our impressive sharing feasts, elegant and dainty like our afternoon tea, or fun and informal like our delicious Baz & Fred stone baked pizzas, we’ve got something for everyone.

When it comes to selecting your menu, we would love for you to come and visit us for a fabulous feast evening in one of our sister barns in Gloucestershire.

For just £50pp you can come and indulge in a night of banquet-style eating, cooked up by our head chef, accompanied by a selection of fine wines and champagne. Be sure to book in early though, because places do go fast!

Join us for our monthly tasting banquet on 25th April at Cripps Barn. Book now!

Amazing Local Suppliers

 

Every supplier that you choose for each aspect of your big day has an impact, so it’s a big job trying to find the right ones.

To help you out, we’ve created a comprehensive list of all of our favourite, local suppliers in the area who can make your rustic barn wedding something really special.

From wedding cake designers to the music and entertainment, you’ll find everything you need on our ‘Suppliers’ page.

barn wedding

Accommodation

 

Just as with finding great local suppliers, finding the perfect accommodation for you and your guests is a biggie too, but one that can be tough if you don’t know the area.

We’ve created a list of nearby hotels, B&Bs, private cottages and pubs that provide wonderful rooms to suit all budgets. We’ve even listed the distance from our venue to make your life even easier!

Allow your guests to party the night away at your rustic barn wedding without having to worry about getting home. Be sure to pop some of our recommendations onto your wedding website or invites to help your friends find somewhere ideal for them.

barn wedding

Decorations

 

It’s the little things that can make a huge difference on a wedding day, but often, sourcing 100s of candles and remembering the pack the fairy lights is the last thing you want to be worrying about.

If you’re hoping to having some gorgeous, ambient light at your rustic barn wedding, just ask us about our candle and fairy light packages. Want to make the most of the outdoor area too?

We’ve got three huge fire pits available for hire, to be placed in our courtyard and used for the all important marshmallow toasting as night falls.

Looking for some wedding entertainment with a twist? Then Gavin Parsons: Master Magician, might be the answer you’re after.

We’re all for entertainment that’s a little bit ‘out there’ for the fabulous weddings that we hold here at Shustoke Barn, so we more than welcome options that lean towards the edgy side.

Live music is great and in fact, works nicely alongside Gavin’s magical services too, but there’s something about the up close and personal aspect of table-side magic that really makes an impact.

Forget about awkward silences between family and friends who don’t know each other so well – table-side magic is the ultimate ice-breaker!

Wedding Entertainment with Gavin Parsons: Master Magician

 

If you’re leaning towards hiring a magician to entertain you and your guests on the big day, you won’t find much better than Gavin! Recently voted winner at the 2016 National Wedding Industry Awards for best wedding entertainment, it’s clear that we’re not the only ones who think so.

With the experience of hundreds of weddings under his belt, including many celebrity dos, Gavin is no stranger to performing in our beautiful barn. Specialising in close-up magic and sleight of hand, he always leaves guests amazed!

Gavin is always happy to tailor his performance to suit your wedding day requirements, so you can choose to have him mingling with guests during the meal and whilst photos are being taken or enjoy a full performance in the evening.

What to Expect

 

We don’t want to give too much away, because where’s the fun in that?! But what we can say is that you and your guests will really be in for a treat with Gavin’s fabulous talent.

From psychological illusions to misdirection and sleight of hand using objects borrowed from the audience, Gavin’s superb style of close-up magic is enough to leave anyone wowed.

 

“Gavin is a new breed of magician. With his dedication and pure commitment to magic he has been accepted as a full member of the ‘International Brotherhood of Magicians’”

 

Hiring Gavin is perfect if you’re wanting something that leaves your guests speechless and adds a unique element of magic and escapism to your special day.

What is Close-Up Magic?

 

There are lots of different styles of magic, but close-up magic is usually a winner for wedding entertainment. Also called ‘mix and mingle magic’, this is the most flexible performance style and is the ideal way to provide entertainment for everyone that feels really personal.

Perfect for guests of all ages, Gavin will wander around in amongst your guests performing incredible tricks right before their very eyes. No hiding behind fancy props and big stage set-ups, this is street magic at it’s finest.

How to Book

 

As with all things wedding, it’s best not to leave booking your wedding entertainment until the last minute, particularly when booking an award-winning supplier!

If you’re keen to hire Gavin to add some magic to your big day, get in touch with him as soon as you have booked your wedding date in with us to avoid disappointment.

If you’re looking for wedding flowers that evoke childhood memories of magical, English country gardens you need look no further than Love From Katie.

Inspired by summers spent with her grandmother as a child, Katie Griffiths has transformed her lifelong passion of beautiful blooms into a talent to be shared with the happy couples, just like you, here at Shustoke Barn on your big day. 

We just love the simple, rustic style of the

arrangements that Katie creates with such fluidity and ease, which sit perfectly within the country charm of our lovely barn venues and we’re always delighted to see her back time and again.

A florist that knows your venue inside out is a real bonus when it comes to figuring out your dream wedding flowers, so if you’re thinking of tying the knot at Shustoke Barn, you couldn’t be in a safer pair of hands.

With bouquets influenced by nature and “the enchanting colours and textures of the seasons”, Katie at Love From Katie wedding flowers knows just how to bring glorious Cotswold days inside, to be a part of your celebrations, with a natural charm like none other.

Louise & Matt Cripps Barn Wedding

Flowers by Love From Katie

Using a stunning selection of Ammi, David Austin Roses, Delphiniums, Stocks, Eucalyptus, Astilbe, Wax Flower, Dahlias, Lavender and Rosemary, Louise and Matt were given the pleasure of wedding flowers they’ll never forget.

This ideal choice of blooms was the perfect addition to their relaxed, Cotswold country wedding at our Big Sister venue, Cripps Barn, in the heart of Gloucestershire.

Saying your ‘I dos’ this year? Read on for why Love From Katy might just be able to provide you with the wedding flowers of your dreams…

Flowers Tailored to You

 

“Listening to someone’s very own love story is the reason I love what I do and my aim is to help bring your floral dreams to life.”

 

Katie Griffiths doesn’t just set out to deliver any old wedding flowers – the arrangements that she creates are bespoke and unique to each and every couple.

Once you’ve made the decision to meet up with Katie and discuss your requirements, it won’t be long before the creativity starts flowing!

Inspired by your very own love story and carefully taking into account all of your preferences, Katie always manages to come up with something that you never could have quite imagined yourself.

It’s this dedication to every individual couple that enables Katie to always wow us and her clients without fail!

A True Passion for Wedding Flowers

 

“For me flowers have such a magical quality and I always knew it was inherent in my being to do something close to nature.”

 

You wedding day is a truly special event and you want every supplier that you involve to be as excited about it as you are.

Katie has a true passion for creating beautiful, floral displays and this shines through in her work, meaning that every bouquet, button hole and centrepiece is just that little bit more amazing.

Inspired by Nature

 

“My style is influenced by nature and the enchanting colours and textures of the seasons.”

 

For a deeply rural, rustic look that fits in just right at our beautiful countryside barns, being inspired by the natural world is an absolute must.

There’s something about the almost innocent displays that Katie puts together that really does transport you back to childhood summertimes.

Whether it’s an impressive, sprawling overflow adorning our chandeliers or delicate, finishing touches to your wedding cake, everything will fit in with the season of your wedding.

Planning on having a wedding cake to complete your big day? Of course you are! But did you know that this is something that you should be looking at getting ordered around 6-9 months in advance?

Often, newly engaged couples are quite shocked to discover how far in advance they need to get the ball rolling on certain things, to get the final result that they want, amongst other need-to-know bits and pieces of key information.

As a newbie to the wedding industry, there are all sorts of questions you will need answering and we frequently find that the process of getting your dream wedding cake designed and ordered is one that’s leaving you particularly stumped.

The last thing you want is to be left in the dark when it comes to wedding planning and here at Shustoke Barn, we love to do everything we can to make your day run as smoothly as possible before, during and after.

To help you get your head around sorting out that all important wedding cake, we’ve got the insider scoop from local wedding cake celebrity Ben The Cake Man

Ben The Cake Man: Your Wedding Cake Questions, Answered

How will my cake be designed?

 

The idea of being involved in the wedding cake design process appeals to some and seriously daunts others, so what can you really expect when it comes to the creating side of things? The long and short of it is, it’s totally up to you! You can collaborate with Ben The Cake Man to create something that is totally unique or base your choices on his existing designs.

If you would like to have a hand in the designing, you don’t actually need to know anything about cakes or even have any firm ideas about what you want the structure of the cake to look like. Ben recommends that you bring in any images, colour samples and material swatches that you love so that together, you can draw inspiration from those.

Will there be enough for all my guests?

 

One point about wedding cakes that leaves brides and grooms confused is will the wedding cake actually be big enough for everyone to have a slice?

The proportions of wedding cakes vary enormously, from the ultimate centrepieces to much more modest sizes and as you might imagine, the cost matches accordingly.

Ben says:

“If you have a large number of wedding guests, but have a limited budget, plain iced cutting cakes can be supplied to increase the number of portions and help reduce cost.”

This is great advice for those of you keen to have enough wedding cake to give all your family and friends a piece, without the expense of having an extra large cake created.

A cutting cake is a sheet cake, that tastes exactly the same as the showpiece but without all the decoration and tiers. With this, you can opt for a smaller wedding cake that acts as the ‘display piece’ but still make sure there’s plenty to go around.

When should I order my cake?

 

As mentioned above, getting the timing right when ordering your cake is crucial. Leave it too late and you may have to start making other plans!

You should aim to get your final cake order in around 6-9 months before the big day, so in line with your wedding dress too! Designing, baking and creating a beautiful wedding cake is very time consuming and talented chefs like Ben The Cake Man are in high demand, meaning that time slots are scarce.

How much will my cake cost?

 

The cost of your wedding cake will depend entirely on the design choices you make, so it’s impossible to offer a price list.

If you’re concerned about staying within your budget, don’t be afraid to speak up and let Ben know what your limits are so that he can create something for you with this in mind.

 

Clients can email me with as much information as possible about their preferences so that I can then offer an initial quote or a guide price.

I have priced the cakes in my gallery to give an idea of costs for different styles and size.

If you are happy with the approximate costing, it’s important that you reserve the date you need you cake by and I ask for a £100 non-returnable deposit to do this, which is deducted from the final cake price.

Want Ben The Cake Man to design and create your bespoke wedding cake? You can get in touch via his website (just make sure it’s sooner, rather than later!).

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