Booking our wedding venue was not an easy task. There were many disagreements, moments of pure joy, tears, heated discussions and excitement. It was a complete emotional rollercoaster, wedding planning is stressful! In the end, the right decision was made and we’ll be getting married in a venue that’s better than I ever could’ve imagined.
Our official wedding date is the 31st October 2020. Choosing our date was easy, I’ve always wanted an autumn wedding. As you all know autumn is my favourite season so getting married at this time of year has been my dream since I was little. The 31st of October falls on a Saturday in 2020 so it felt like it was just meant to be.
Finding the Venue
One of the first things I did after getting engaged, after drinking lots of champagne and celebrating of course, was download an app called Bridebook. Bridebook is a complete wedding planner that breaks down every task and gives you small, manageable things to do each month. It makes the whole thing seem simple and easy and has been a massive help! When it came to searching for a venue Bridebook has hundreds of options. We searched for venues in several locations, Somerset, Essex, Bath and Winchester and requested brochures from all of them.
There were two that we really loved the look of which were Hedingham Castle and Boreham House, both in Essex. The brochure for Hedingham Castle was gorgeous, handwritten with a brown ribbon tying it all together. It felt very luxurious and I had a good feeling about it right away. While the pictures of Boreham House looked beautiful it just didn’t excite me as much as Hedingham.
Viewing the Venue
We made the appointment to view both venues over a weekend. Hedingham was first and when we arrived I instantly knew it was the one. It was a gut instinct. The grounds were beautiful and I could only imagine how amazing it’d look in autumn. It had a rustic feel to it which I loved and I was so excited to have a look around!
We were met by a woman after we parked who took us inside a house and asked us questions such as the date we had in mind, how many guests we were thinking of having and if we had seen any other venues. She gave a few photo albums of previous weddings they had done before and they were incredible! I was done. In my head this was it!
It was then time for the tour. We left the house and made our way up to the castle, crossing over a bridge where wedding photos are taken and confetti is thrown. Hedingham Castle was built in 1140 and has stayed within the same family all these years. The owners live on the grounds in the second floor of the house. I really liked this fact as it meant it wasn’t just another wedding venue. You could tell that take great care had been taken into preserving it and it seemed a lot more personal.
I was completely blown away by the castle! Firstly we were shown the room where guests would arrive and wait with drinks and canapes before the ceremony. It looked like a mix between Harry Potter and Game of Thrones haha. We then went up a stone, spiral staircase into the room where we’d be getting married. I cannot describe to you how beautiful it was. During the ceremony, the window shutters are closed and candles are lit all around the room, making it extremely cosy and romantic. Perfect for an autumn wedding.
We then went upstairs to see where some wedding photos would be taken and then headed back out. We went into the house to view where the reception will be. Due to the number of guests, we will be having a marquee reception. Just after the ceremony guests will wait in a room where they’ll be offered drinks such as mulled wine. If the weather is nice they will be able to go out into the grounds. We’ll also try to have pictures taken in the grounds if it’s not raining.
Afterwards, we’ll then head into the marquee for the meal and the party. The venue was holding a wedding later that day so the marquee was in the process of being decorated. It looked gorgeous! There were twinkly lights everywhere, the tables were all positioned and the table where the cake would be was in place.
It didn’t matter that this was the only wedding venue I had seen, I knew it was the one. It was beautiful, the people we met were all so lovely, they were organised and said they did everything they could to make things as stress-free as possible. Catering was included with the venue and we were impressed with the sample menus so that was a huge plus.
I loved the history of the castle and knew my dad would love it too. It honestly was the perfect place for an autumn wedding and getting married in an actual castle would just make me feel like a total princess. I had zero interest in viewing any other venues, there was no need.
As I mentioned at the start this was an emotional rollercoaster. I was 100% sold on Hedingham. I was so excited, it was all Jaz and I could talk about on the way home and he seemed just as happy as I was. When we got back and told people how it went there were some family issues. One person thought the venue wouldn’t be big enough for the number of guests they wanted to invite and immediately wrote it off. The guest list was already a touchy subject between us and hearing that just brought the entire day down.
After some time had passed Jaz had managed to talk to this family member properly about the guest list and resolved that issue so it seemed like it was all going ahead. Happy days! Then, completely out of the blue, Jaz decided he wanted to look at other venues and told me he wasn’t completely sold on Hedingham. I was devasted, to say the least, he told me this the week we were planning on booking it and it was a pretty big shock.
I won’t go into all the details but we fought on this a lot and it seemed like we weren’t getting the venue of my dreams. We tried looking at others but I just wasn’t interested. Nothing compared to Hedingham and I didn’t know what we were going to do. Jaz decided to view a couple of venues on his own and if he felt like one was a contender then the plan was for me to go back up to Essex to see it.
I didn’t like the fact that he was viewing venues without me and with other people, it just wasn’t how I expected things would go. However, viewing these venues was what he needed to be sure Hedingham was the one. He realised the others weren’t right, weren’t as grand and just weren’t us.
It took a long time for him to convince me that he genuinely did love Hedingham. There was confusion, miscommunication and a lot of tears. I wanted this to be a happy moment for us to look back on but it wasn’t turning out that way. In the end, me, Jaz and my mother all sat down to have a big chat about everything, list all the pros and cons, get everything out in the open and clear the air.
After we’d had that big chat and Jaz had seen the other venues there was no question about it. We were getting married in Hedingham Castle! It was absolutely perfect and nothing else compared. We were both very excited. It took him a while to get there, he’s someone who needs to explore every option while I know instantly and can trust my instincts, but eventually, we were on the same page.
We filled out the booking forms, paid our deposit and have planned on viewing the venue again, at a wedding fayre event they’re holding in November, with our parents and siblings. We can’t wait to see our venue again, especially during the season in which we’ll be getting married.
31st of October 2020, 742 days. I’m so excited!