We decided early on we wanted a barn venue that would be suitable for a small day ceremony then a big party in the evening. The range of options Ufton offered were spot on, but we were equally impressed by the venue’s ethos and other work in the community.
Plus, we were made to feel welcome from our very first meeting with Emma Norton, and she was fantastic to deal with every step of the way. The competitive pricing was also a factor, but at the end of the day Ufton was a stunning venue that offered us what we need both aesthetically and practically.
Once we’d set the date to December, we decided winter colours and themes should feature – with a silver and navy colour scheme – along with some Scottish touches to nod to Phil’s nationality. We decided to use Ambience Venue Styling and we worked closely with Claire to help bring our vision to life. With just 24 people sitting for dinner we faced a challenge in filling the barn out, but Nicki’s idea to have a square table, combined with Claire’s centrepieces and decorations, managed to give the room a really intimate feel. And the festoon lights really fostered a warm and romantic atmosphere in the evening, with so many of our guests commenting on the beauty of the venue.
We had a civil ceremony in the Long Conference Room in The Main House. While the guests waited for Nicki’s arrival we had a mixture of instrumental versions of romantic contemporary pop songs, then 1000 Years by Christina Perri as Nicki walked down the aisle. Chris, Nicki’s Mum, read ‘Recipe For Marriage’, and Phil’s Mum Flo read ‘Wedding Verse’. As we left following the ceremony we had an instrumental version of ‘Viva La Vida’ by Coldplay.
Nicki originally thought she wanted a fitted mermaid dress, but her mum convinced her to try on an ‘A-Line’ style, and she immediately fell in love with it!
Following our Scottish theme, we wanted to incorporate thistles and roses, and these were featured in bouquets and button holes, provided by Helen at Croppers In Bloom.
Fosters Catering did a fantastic job of the food and drink on the day, and the canapés – served alongside prosecco and a choice of beers – were:
Duck spring roll and hoisin sauce
Onion bahji and coriander salsa
Roasted red pepper and parmesan crostini Smoked salmon and dill blini
The wedding breakfast menu didn’t follow a particular theme, instead we selected what we thought were the best options after a couple of tasting sessions with Darren Foster. We had red pepper and tomato soup with basil oil to start, followed by pan fried chicken breast stuffed with mushroom and tarragon mousse, mashed potato, creamed leeks, sautéed green beans and red wine reduction, with dessert being raspberry and white chocolate cheese cake
All guests arriving in the evening received a glass of prosecco, and there was a premium hog roast buffet with salad options later.
We wanted the cake to reflect the silver and navy colour scheme of our wedding. A friend of our maid of honour made a wonderful cake – we chose to have 4 circular tiers of the flavours: fruit, chocolate and sponge cake. This sat nicely on our cake table with our guest book and postbox for our wedding post!
We decided early on we’d go for a DJ rather than a band, with an eye on helping curate the playlist. Nicki’s a huge music fan and Phil is actually a producer at BBC Radio 2, so between us we thought we’d be able to pick a few floor fillers! We went with Live Entertainment after being impressed by their overall package. They were very clear about what they needed and the various deadlines, and we had a productive dialogue as things changed in the build up to the wedding. Simon and Paul couldn’t have been more accommodating, and many of our friends commented that it was the best disco they’d ever seen at a wedding (the all-Scottish climax of Proclainers/Deacon Blue/Runrig was a particular hit!)
We spent a lot of time looking at different photographers and were initially impressed by Helen Sarah’s reportage-style photographs and overall philosophy. However, when we met her in person for an exploratory meeting we knew she was the one – we instantly clicked with her and he did an amazing job of putting everyone at ease during the day. But her best asset was the fact that most people didn’t even notice she was there, enabling her to capture those natural photos which are among our most loved from the day. There are so many photos that make us laugh, but the one of us laughing in close up on the road outside the venue is our favourite. We’ll never reveal how Helen got that reaction though…
– Don’t see wedding planning as a chore – do as much of it together as possible, it makes it so much more enjoyable and invests you in every part of your big day
– Do it YOUR way – it’s great to get advice from friends and family, but figure out what’s right for you
– Make sure you have people around you on the day who you trust, because at some point you’ll have to let go of the planning and just enjoy the day!
– Don’t worry about pleasing other people – it’s about the two of you, and make sure you grab time for just you on the big day
– Book Ufton Court, you won’t be disappointed!