Well, we thought it was the perfect idea. But once we got into the nitty gritty of it all, there were a few flaws in our plan.
Firstly, would we be able to squeeze our 100 guests in with room for eating, dancing and general milling around? (It’s a generous garden, but not humungous!) What would we do about food? Finding a caterer would be relatively easy, but how much room would they need for prep and serving? What about loos? We couldn’t have a hundred odd guests traipsing in and out of the house all day, which meant hiring some porta-loos. Again, that’s a relatively easy job, but would there be room in the garden for them? (Hmm, the space issue seems to be repeatedly cropping up).
And so we looked to plan B.
We struggled to find a suitable local reception venue, and accepted that holding the ceremony in the village church may not be the most practical option for us. We began to broaden our search. I Googled like it was going out of fashion, and got through more blogs and magazines than I thought possible. I made a spreadsheet with a list of (many) potential venues. There were columns for hire charges, average cost per guest for food and drink, distance from home, and an extensive pros and cons list for each one. If the venue wasn’t a hotel, there was a column for where guests could stay and the associated costs.
Now, I love me a spreadsheet. I often make excuses to whip one up (I know, I need to find some hobbies!) but I’ll be honest. This got boring and I started to lose enthusiasm. Nothing was blowing me away.
I got goose bumps and a light bulb flickered.
Oxford is one of our favourite cities – not too far from home, and where we’ve spent many a day together, particularly in the dating days of our relationship. And on visiting The Jam Factory, I was sold. It had the perfect relaxed feel we had hoped for, the food was amazing (whoop!) and Claire (the event co-ordinator) was a sweetheart. We loved that it wasn’t a traditional wedding venue, and that we could pretty much do as we wished with the place.
The Town Hall too is just gorgeous. The Assembly Room where our ceremony will take place has beautiful panelled walls, and doesn’t feel like a bog standard, one in, one out civil ceremony room.
A day after visiting, we sealed the deal, put down a deposit, and had a ceremony, venue and date. Our wedding day is Saturday the 5th July 2014. Holy moley, it now all seems very real. In 15 months, we are getting married.