The River Cottage HQ, based at Park Farm near Axminster, is best known for Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s cooking series on seasonal, local and ethically produced food. However, last week Bob and I attended a wedding that was held within the stunning 65 acres of organic farmland that surrounds the cottage, and it has to be one of the most stunning venues I’ve seen to date!
Set within a valley on the Devon/Dorset border, the views throughout the venue were breathtaking. For miles all you could see was gorgeous English countryside – add to this the walled vegetable garden, a relaxing quirky yurt, summer decking overlooking the valley, small intimate gardens, the River Cottage itself and some of the most amazing wedding food I’ve tasted ever (yes ever!), and you have yourself a recipe for a relaxing, charming and intimate wedding with a back garden feel.
Here’s a few photos from the wedding that show off the venue. I hope you get a feel for how beautiful it really is………
The day started with a very amusing tractor ride from the car park down to the cottage and summer decking where the ceremony and reception was held. Despite cooking slightly in the heat (30 people in a tractor with the sun beaming through plastic windows is not a good look) the views coming down the hill into the valley were amazing and even with the heat everyone enjoyed the ride!
Our friends ‘tied the knot’ on the summer decking under a canvas marquee facing out to the valley. It was a beautiful humanist ceremony and was made extra special with the countryside as their backdrop.
Darted around the summer decking was a variation of traditional English garden games such as skittles, hook a duck (with Mr and Mrs ducks!), coconut shy and wellie wanging! Of course I was the first to grab a wellie and start throwing – it had to be done!
After the ceremony, we strolled down to the river cottage itself for welcome drinks and over indulged on ‘afternoon tea’ which consisted of the world’s most amazing fresh mackerel sandwiches (I know it’s a big statement but they really were delicious – I just kept going back for more!), roasted beetroot and feta sandwiches, scones with jam and cream and homemade chocolate bon bons. All this was washed down with numerous glasses of pimms whilst wandering around the walled vegetable garden. It all felt very British and I loved every second of it!
After amusing ourselves with the garden games (Miss competitive came out to play and thrashed Bob at giant Jenga! How does it feel to be marrying a winner my love…….!?) we sat down to what can only be described as a 5 star wedding breakfast. The pictures below are testimony to that!
All of the food provided is either grown at The River Cottage or sourced from local produce. Before your wedding, the chef will sit down with you and prepare a personalised seasonal menu based on your taste and style. The produce is then picked fresh that week and prepared from scratch on the morning of your wedding.
We had pan fried Pollock to start cooked in butter with edible flowers and salad. For mains we had BBQ’d lamb cooked to perfection with new potatoes and plenty of summer green beans and peas. AMAZING!
The River Cottage is not the cheapest of venues especially when you take into consideration the standard of food, however, if you are having a small intimate wedding of between 30-60 people then the pricing is certainly affordable and your day will truly be one to remember.
Their traditional threshing barn (currently being restored after a recent fire) has a maximum capacity of 64 guests but during the summer months they are able to accommodate a further 30 guests on the decking which is located just outside the threshing barn.
For larger parties they can hire in marquees; a supplement will apply which is priced by requirement.
Due to the recent fire, a temporary barn has been set up which over looks the valley and this is where my friends held their ceremony. In my opinion, this was a much nicer setting than the threshing barn mainly due to the views from every single angle of the ceremony! You really felt like you were in the middle of nowhere and this added to the atmosphere and vibe of the day.
So if you are searching for a venue that has ample of space, stunning views, delicious food and an English garden party/festival vibe then head over to The River Cottage for a look around – you won’t be disappointed.
Happy Tuesday Peeps,
Festival Brides xx