Welcome to Bride Boggles, our new wedding blog from heat's editor-in-chief Lucie Cave. Lucie, who's getting married in September to Ben Lunt (a heat Torso of the Week, no less), is taking us through her wedding prep process, from getting a Bridal Body to nailing wedding guest etiquette. This week, it's time to discuss the venue...
Traditionally the location of the wedding is meant to be the birthplace of the bride, which in my case would be the Isle of Wight. But beautiful as the isle is, my memories of the place consist mainly of me and my perm trying (and failing) to get served aged 14 in the local pub or getting incomprehensibly over-excited when McDonalds arrived in the town centre. And now, having lived in London for nearly 20 years (hence I can remember the first McDonalds opening...) I’ve never had an urge to get married where I grew up. Another option was my fiance Ben’s hometown of Liverpool - but he thinks it’ll end up turning into an episode of Hollyoaks, which, coincidentally, is filmed just round the corner from his ‘ma and da’s’ house.
One of our first weekends away back in 2008 (when we were still trying to impress each other with swish spontaneous mini-breaks) was to a place which will forever hold wonderful memories. From the minute we first drove into the neatly gravelled drive of Babington House in Frome, Somerset we were hooked - rolling hills, an inbuilt cinema, a pool, Cowshed pampering spa and no one to bother about but a few ducks and some seriously chilled-out guests (including the occasional famous face propping up the bar). To my delight there was even a free-standing bath in our bedroom (a bath! In the bedroom!). Although this delight was later dampened by the fact that Ben had surreptitiously taken a photo of me in said bath and PUT IT ON FACEBOOK so that by the time I got back into work the next week, everyone in the heat office had it as their screensaver.
Walking round the grounds in our special Babington-supplied green wellies, we found ourselves obsessing about how brilliant it would be if we could hire the whole place and have all our friends and family around us. And every time we went back since, we began slowly plotting our big day without even realising. So when Ben popped the question, it was a no-brainer that we’d get married here.
But with our ever-expanding guestlist and wanting to invite as many of our nearest and dearest as possible (it took a few stern words before Ben accepted this didn’t include the men from our local kebab shop) we soon realised the sit down traditional wedding breakfast would be impossible to cater for and set about planning a brilliantly fun shindig - with added food - instead. After all why host 90 people in a formal dinner if you can have 200 people and an effing great party?
So the invites have gone out. And as our ‘do will be all about the party we needed a less formal feel. We looked at this…
And finally decided to go all neon and perspex with these beauties….
[The chosen invite courtesy of our clever designer mate Dom Evans]
The chapel is on the grounds of Babington and although it can only seat half our allotted guests, Babington has arranged it so the rest of them can watch the whole ceremony on a screen in the bar (I know where I’d rather be!).
So the difficult job of the food and drink tasting has begun (we’re having a banquet laid out in the big log room so everyone can help themselves)...
...and we’ve turned our attention to the party. Without giving too much away just yet (incase our guests are reading this!) we’ve got a special act playing, followed by Babber’s resident DJ Nigel Peirce.
[Damian Bailey www.damianbailey.com]
And having been the provider of entertainment and productions at Babington for the last 10 years, its fair to say Nige has seen it all. “I have witnessed some amazing things - some good, some shocking!” he says, “Babington House is the best venue for throwing a proper wedding party, as long as everything is all back to normal by 7am when the locals arrive for coffee and tennis you can do what you want… naked ramblers, giant kangaroos … the lot”.
But Nigel insists he’s the soul of discretion when it comes to what the guests get up to and has told me, “I am looking forward to rocking your wedding with a fine selection of music - and my mouth firmly zipped!”. Phew.