Heaton House Farm is a superb exclusive use wedding venue set in the rolling countryside of the Cheshire and Shropshire borders. As regular readers will know, we have spoken to the team at Heaton House farm on a number of occasions, and their posts are always super popular.
Now with summer fast approaching, we’ve had the pleasure of catching up with the team again. This time, we wanted to get an idea of how everyone at Heaton House plans for a summer wedding given the vagaries of our lovely British weather.
You know what we mean, as you may have booked your venue a year or even two in advance, which is so exciting and this is really where your wedding planning begins. But no one can plan what the weather will do on your big day.
Over to the team at Heaton House Farm now to tell us more about of a summer wedding and how their wedding parties always thoroughly enjoy themselves even if the weather takes an unexpected turn.
With warmer weather just around the corner, tell us what makes Heaton House Farm an ideal summer wedding venue?
We like to think Heaton House Farm stands out as a wedding venue all year round, but there is certainly something magical about the setting sun on a warm summer’s day! Our rural location in the stunning countryside makes for some incredible views during every season, but in the summer, the luscious green hills really do come to life.
You get some sensational photographs that take in three different counties, along with the possibility to explore all the land around the venue. We’ve got lots of open space outdoors and summer makes it easier than ever to enjoy.
Our couples have the chance to wander our grounds, take some great shots in the fields and share a romantic moment under our large oak tree. It looks stunning on a summer afternoon, and when dusk falls, festoon lighting can illuminate the way across the grass.
But one of the main reasons we’re ideal for summer weddings is because of our flexibility. If the Great British weather does turn, we can easily accommodate all guests indoors.
Do you have an outdoor ceremony space?
Absolutely, and it’s one of our most popular places for couples to tie the knot. We have a gorgeous Oak Pagoda outdoors, that’s licensed for all civil ceremonies. It really ties in with the feel of Heaton House Farm and can be decorated by our couples with flowers and bunting.
The hand crafted oak beams provide a great rustic feel, and as they marry, couples can look out on the wonderful views and the majestic oak tree.
The area underneath and around the Oak Pagoda is all paved patio, so we can comfortably seat around 150 guests in this charming space, without worrying about muddy shoes or accessibility. For larger parties, we can extend onto the grass too!
Following a ceremony, how can a wedding party continue to enjoy celebrating outside? For example, do you have any seating areas, games, places for younger guests to run around a little, and so on?
After a summer ceremony, our guests will typically move around the patio and enjoy the views, as we serve champagne, cocktails or the couple’s favourite drinks outside. We can bring everything outdoors, so guests can simply sit on our patio benches & tables and relax under the sun.
There’s lots of patio space all around the farm buildings and a huge open area of grass. As you can imagine, it’s very popular with the little ones during the summer who like to run around and burn off all their energy!
The grass is the perfect place for garden games too, which many of our couples like to enjoy – from croquet and boules to cricket and Connect 4! There’s lots of space for bouncy castles and we’ve even had couples re-create a classic village fete with traditional games like Splat-the Rat and Ring-toss!
Which are your favourite outdoor areas for picture perfect summer photos?
There are so many to choose from!
Our private water gardens are also hugely popular too. All the flowers are in full bloom in summer, bursting with life. The cascading waterfalls and lily ponds reflect the sun beautifully (or the rain!) and a glimpse of the sun’s rays coming through the Love Arch and illuminating the happy couple really does look perfect!
As we all know, our British summers can be unpredictable, so if a couple have arranged an outdoor ceremony, but it rains, do you offer a ‘Plan B’?
Absolutely, we always have a Plan B – usually from the initial planning stages. One of the things we make clear to couples when they come and visit Heaton House Farm for the first time is the flexibility we offer with regards to the weather.
We have our outdoor ceremony area and then we have three additional licensed ceremony areas indoors – an oak-beamed barn, under the pleats, and under the stars! Each is equally wonderful in its own unique way.
For outdoor weddings, we arrange a back-up Plan B with the couple a few weeks ahead of the big day. We monitor the weather, and then the day before we make a decision about whether to hold the ceremony outside or move it indoors.
Of course, sometimes we have to change plans on the day itself, but we make sure everything is as the couple would want it to be, whether they are indoors or outdoors.
What about indoor photo opportunities if the weather plays up?
We do have lots of opportunities for indoor photos, but we also help couples just embrace the weather and make the most of it – and this includes outdoor photos in the rain!
Our couples have full, exclusive use of our entire venue, so they’re free to take pictures wherever they’d like. Our rustic barn is always popular, as are some romantic shots under the twinkling stars.
We always have umbrellas on hand, and many of our couples like to get outside and take photos – whatever the summer weather! Reflections in puddles, rain-soaked trees, and colourful wellies all make for great wedding photos.
Regardless of the weather, many couples want to celebrate the delights of summer in their choice of venue decorations, flowers and food. Effectively bringing the outside, inside. Is this something you can advise them on?
Of course, and we work with some of the best suppliers in the country to help couples personalise the venue exactly as they’ve dreamed.
The great thing about summer is that practically any colour combination works. You can go as bold and bright as you want, which means there’s so much choice! Our caterers are increasingly providing summer BBQ food too, as an alternative to a traditional wedding breakfast.
We’ve even had summer themed weddings right in the middle of winter! One particular one that stands out was a Hawaiian themed wedding, when family circumstances changed but the couple still had the wedding they’d always wanted – complete with beaches, palm trees and delicious summer cocktails!
Summer weddings are super popular, so how far in advance should couples book with Heaton House Farm to avoid disappointment?
If you have a specific date in mind, then as far as possible! We’re already taking bookings as far ahead as summer 2021!
Saturdays and the August bank holiday weekend are always incredibly popular, and we’re seeing more and more weekday weddings during the summer holidays too.
And finally, do you have any standout moments from summer weddings you’ve hosted?
There are so many – from the wonderfully creative, traditional summer fete games to a huge fairground carousel on the grass!
But one that does stand out in particular was in August last year when the heavens well and truly opened – right at the start of the ceremony. We’d erected a Mandap for the couple outside by the tree, and as guests were arriving the rain came down heavily. We had to gather towels and brushes, and dry off the Mandap, the aisle carpet and all the chairs.
Just as the bride entered, it poured down again! The groom later sent us a thank you note to say that one of his fondest memories of the day was the Heaton House Farm Staff running out to guests and the bride with their arms full of umbrellas. The bridal party came down the aisle with umbrellas, and we had one team member under a huge coat doing the ceremony music, but everything turned out wonderfully!
All images courtesy of Heaton House Farm