RBJ and I have decided not to do a package wedding. We want the freedom to do it our way and to personalise all the little details. Now a lot of wedding websites and magazines hark on about doing this to make it “unique” and “different”. However at the end of the day most weddings are an accumulation of ideas and pretty things nabbed from other people’s weddings on Pinterest and Instagram so I’m not sure “unique” is quite the right word.
For me, the most important thing about doing it ourselves is just that – I am really excited about planning the day with RBJ – choosing the food, going for a long weekend to France to source our own wine, making our save the dates and invites etc. I really don’t like the idea of buying everything readymade or choosing a venue that tells us how we have to do things/ which suppliers we can use. Whether doing it this way will save us money or not, I’m not sure, but the main thing for me is that at the end of the weekend we can stand back and say “WE did this”.
We chose our venue for exactly this reason – the only thing the owner is providing is the barn. Everything else is for us to source! And with the wedding date being a very popular date for weddings next year (what with being a bank holiday and the popular month of May), we thought best to get our bums in gear sooner rather than later!
Now life is pretty hectic at the moment so to avoid sleepless nights worrying about all the things we need to get done, I made a good old fashioned to do list on excel which is as follows:And ticked off this week – accommodation. North Hidden Barn doesn’t have any accommodation however Hungerford and the nearby town of Ramsbury have some beautiful hotels and B&Bs. After plenty of googling (what did brides do before Google??) I took a day off work to go down and check out my shortlist with my Mum. What is important will no doubt differ from person to person, but for me, the things that really mattered were:
(a) Location: We are having the ceremony and reception all in one place so our guests can park up and then relax until the dancing ends. So it is important to us that there is accommodation close by too so it’s all contained in one area.
(b) Wedding day prep: I wanted one room big enough for my 5 beautiful bridesmaids (8 if you include our little ones!) my mum and I to get ready in. I’m really excited to have my mum, sisters and best friends all together on the evening before and morning of the wedding and want to all be together rather than in separate rooms.
(c) Rehearsal dinner: RBJ and I are lucky as our families have met lots before and get on well. Therefore although there is no need for the whole formal family meeting/ rehearsal dinner tradition, I do love the idea of a dinner just family and the wedding party the night before. So we wanted somewhere that could host that for us.
(d) Separate places for us the night before (again silly tradition but one we are sticking to!)
(e) Boys hangout: Now morning of the wedding I plan to be beautifying and getting ready. But RBJ and the boys won’t need as long so I wanted him to have somewhere fun to hang out in the morning (that is very close to the venue so he can do one final rekkie in the morning).
(f) And finally, Price. We wanted a range of places with plenty of options for guests that weren’t too pricey.
One of the things I’m not too fussed about is a big plush room for me and RBJ on the night of the wedding. I plan to be well and truly shattered plus we won’t be there for long! And as much as I love my saunas and spas, we won’t have time to use it and as our ceremony is quite early, our guests probably wouldn’t have time either, so having spa facilities wasn’t on my list.
So there you have it – one more thing off my to do list! Top tip for anyone looking for their wedding accommodation (or any group accommodation for that matter) is: HAGGLE. I realised very early on that when you are making a large block reservation this far in advance, people are willing to negotiate a little on price. Which is great for us and for all our lovely guests!