Festival Brides and Grooms, do we have an amazing new outdoor wedding venue to share with your lovely faces today. Think beautiful meadows, glamping bell tents and yurts, wild flowers, a secluded lake, toilets and a large covered barn. The best part about it is it is just outside of greater London and you can even get a tube there! Finding 100 acres of green space so close to London is extremely rare so if you are city couple hoping to plan a festival wedding, this venue should be at the top of your search list!
Allow me to introduce you to Home Farm Glamping, a fabulous festival wedding venue in Hertfordhsire…..
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am a former corporate lawyer who woke up one day and realised I’d stupidly abandoned my farm roots and that I needed to get out of my air-conditioned office and annoyingly restrictive pencil skirt and back into the countryside where I belong. I grew up racing around Home Farm in Hertfordshire on my fat little pony, falling off regularly, stomping around in the mud in the winter, hiding from my mother in the long grass in the summer, and generally having an amazing time. After university I qualified as a lawyer and started working for a big international firm. I enjoyed it, but began to realise that I wanted more freedom to be creative and to meet interesting people. Around that time my father fell ill and it became apparent to the whole family that someone needed to go and help him at the farm. Despite a childhood messing around on tractors with Dad, I don’t have any real farming knowledge at all. What I did know, however, is that farming is becoming increasingly difficult to sustain, and it is vital that farms diversify. It seemed like it could be perfect timing. I knew first hand how many people like me work incredibly long hours in little offices, often without even having windows that open. The really unique thing about our farm is that it is inside the M25, slap bang next to London. I realised the opportunity to share a place I love with all the other trapped-in-London outdoorsy people I had met along the way, and to create a sustainable business that would allow my family to continue the farming we have done there for 400 years. I still don’t think most people realise what amazing countryside is available to them right on London’s doorstep. I still live in Brixton with my husband, I just whizz up to work each day on the tube!
If you had the chance to go to any music festival, which one would it be and why?
I think Glastonbury always has to rank at the top for me because the sheer size of it is so breathtaking, plus the music is usually hard to beat. I’ve always loved the idea of The Burning Man, but I absolutely know that I’m not cool enough to go – perhaps I’m still too much of a corporate lawyer for that! On the flip-side I love the more intimate festivals that are popping up across the country at the moment, they are all so different in content but the same underlying ethos of very relaxed people behaving in a far more sociable and engaged way than most of us do normally in our day to day lives. That seems to me to be the magic of festivals: the way people open up and interact with each other, even if its as little as just smiling at everyone around them. How often do people in London on a busy tube or bus do that? It’s this relaxed, happy, at one with the world environment that we hope we have created at Home Farm Glamping.
Tell us a bit about Home Farm Glamping and how it came to be a wedding venue?
Home Farm Glamping actually sprang from a hen do I went on a few years ago. My family had recently asked me to consider giving up my career in the City to help Dad run the family farm and, tempted as I was, I initially couldn’t quite see how I could add value. At the hen do we stayed at a glamping site which was great, but we quickly started talking about how we would do things differently – one of the big problems for our group was that none of us had cars so it was tricky and expensive to get to by train and taxi. It made me realise that the really unique thing about my family’s farm is that it is a proper piece of green English countryside, yet only 11 miles from London and easily accessible by tube. I started jotting down ideas then and there.
The wedding side of the farm grew organically from people coming to stay and falling in love with the place. I hadn’t advertised myself as a wedding site, my first wedding couple asked me out of the blue if they could use it and I thought, why not? It is perfect for anyone whose main friendship base is in London but who yearns for an English country wedding. It is the perfect canvas on which to build your dream wedding whilst being surrounded by your close family and friends for a longer period than just the wedding afternoon and evening. Having recently got married myself, I know that there is an enormous amount of build up and preparation for an occasion that flies by so quickly you cant quite believe it actually happened, all I wanted the day after my wedding was to do it all over again, more slowly. Home Farm Glamping allows you to invite your best friends and family up the day before the wedding to spend some time with you and help you get ready for the biggest day of your life. It also means that all those best friends are still around the day after the wedding to relive every special moment with you.
What sort of space is available to hire for a wedding and do you have any facilities on site?
For weddings we hire out the glamping site for the entire weekend, this is really the place for couples who want to make a weekend party of their special day. We have 3 yurts and 9 bell tents spaced out around a large wild flower meadow, sleeping a total of up to 51 guests in great style and luxury. There is a gorgeous view over the fields on one side, and woodland around the other sides so it becomes a little secret space for you to get creative in. We have 6 lovely bathrooms complete with showers, real toilets and heated towel rails, so even your mother-in-law-to-be cant object to the facilities, no need to hire horrible portaloos. There are several drinking water taps, and plenty of space for parking. We have a large barn which you can use for a separate chill out area away from your main marquee structure, or which can double as a catering tent for your team. A 100KVA generator is part of the package providing more than enough power for all your requirements. We will build a big campfire for you that we light at dusk so that your guests have somewhere to relax and chat, and even toast a marshmallow or five.
Do you offer any additional services such as catering or a marquee?
We don’t have any sort of package set up, as we find that most weddings are very different and we want to stay as flexible as possible to try to make all your ideas and imaginings come true. We do have a great relationship with a few marquee companies who can provide any sort of tent you like – including giant katur tipi hats or a stretched yurt, and we also have some great local catering teams who have worked at our venue and know it well who we can put you in touch with. They will even come back the next morning to dish out the aforementioned and much needed bacon rolls if you like! But there is no obligation to use any of our recommendations, and we’re happy to liaise with anyone you want to use.
Tell us about your gorgeous Bell Tents?
Are you sure?! If my husband, family or friends heard you ask that they would be jumping around trying to warn you not to get me started on a topic I can be a mega-bore about! We LOVE our bell tents!
They are the most romantic little tents out there, they somehow manage to be spacious and cosy at the same time and after you have slept in one it is very hard to go back to a boring bedroom. We are especially proud that at every wedding we have hosted, the parents of both the bride and the groom have stayed in our tents, despite their gravest doubts when the idea was first mooted by the excited couple! All our tents are sat on a decking platform, they are fully carpeted and each contains a double bed with a proper mattress and thick luxurious duvets and pillows. They have a squidgy arm chair that becomes an additional bed if needed, and an extra camp bed can be set up as well. They are all differently decorated with bright rugs and cushions, there is a slightly eccentric collection of books in each and a thriving population of cacti and succulents. In our view there really is nothing better than lying snuggled up in bed in your bell tent listening to the nature all around you, only improved perhaps if your new Mr or Mrs Right can be persuaded to get out of bed to bring you a cup of tea.
If our readers were to book Home Farm Glamping, what can they expect?
We only do a few weddings each year so we aim to make each one unique and special to the couple. We work closely with the couple and are happy to try to solve any requests and ideas you may have. This is a long way from the conveyor-belt style venues that churn through weddings and, despite claiming to be individual, steer you towards the exact set up and style they always use. This is your day, and if we can achieve the details you want then we will. We don’t have any packages on offer, you rent the whole site for the period of your wedding and as part of that you get all our knowledge and experience with the venue to help you through. We aren’t a wedding planning service, but we’ve seen a fair few and are very happy coming up with ideas and suggestions as and when you want them. There are lots of good local suppliers who know the venue and who we are confident recommending, but we are also very happy liaising with anyone you want.
A testimonial from one of the weddings we hosted last:
“Just wanted to say thanks again for such an amazing weekend. Home Farm truly was the backdrop for our dream wedding. We are so glad we found you guys and have had so many comments about what an amazing wedding it was. Thank you again. Tess and Scott”
How do you know if Home Farm Glamping is the right venue for your wedding?
Home Farm Glamping is the perfect venue for you if you want a relaxed, outdoorsy, informal, festival style wedding surrounded by your friends and family. Not everyone is keen on camping, although we normally convert all but the most agoraphobic to the joys of fresh air by the end of the weekend. If you picture your wedding starting off as a huge garden party, with drinks on the croquet lawn and children (and adults) roaming freely through the wild flower meadow, before settling into your chosen marquee with a gorgeous view across the countryside, and ending up toasting marshmallows with your best friends around a roaring campfire under the stars, then this is the place for you. Home Farm Glamping is special, and different, and entirely unforgettable. We’re biased of course but it’s amazing how many of our guests say exactly the same thing..
What’s your best piece of advice for couples who’re trying to choose their wedding venue?
Choosing a venue is incredibly stressful, partly because it happens so early on in the process while you’re still trying to just enjoy being engaged, and partly because of the pressure of choosing the place that will influence the style of your whole day. I would say that you should always call and chat to the venue, you will know from the first call whether the owner/manager is someone you can work with – they are going to be a big part of your life in the build up to the wedding and you need to feel confident that you can contact them with any question no matter how big or small. Planning a wedding is tricky enough with all the balancing of two different families, keeping costs under control, and dealing with the thousands of suggestions and opinions offered by your well-meaning friends. When I first got engaged a friend sent me three bridal magazines. It was such a sweet gesture but I’m afraid to admit I opened the first, got 5 pages in, and nearly had a panic attack at the sight of SO MUCH CHOICE! My advice would be to think about the types of venues you and your other half have the most fun in. Is it a quirky restaurant? Is it a swanky hotel stay? Is it an incredibly trendy tumbledown warehouse? Or is it outside in the countryside on a walk, round a campfire, at a private open air gig? If it’s the latter, give us a call.
What are some of your favourite memories from previous weddings/couples you have worked with?
At the risk of sounding incredibly cheesy, I have loved all the weddings we have done at Home Farm. As a venue owner you spend a lot of time with a couple and on the phone and emails, really understanding what they want from the day. The first wedding we ever hosted was on a gorgeous May day, and once the reception and wedding breakfast were over and the band had started I went for a walk up on the hill above Home Farm. The sun was really low and an enormous full moon had already come up. Some guests were strolling around the meadow together, while others were having some drinks under our huge oak tree and admiring the excellent dancing going on in the tipi. The whole evening was bathed in this very serene pink light and I remember feeling incredibly happy and proud of how gorgeous it all looked. I got back down and the wonderful bride had changed from her high heels into the coolest pair of white sparkly trainers I’ve ever seen and was in full swing on the dance floor with an enormous grin on her face.
Finally, what’s your quote/motto at Home Farm Glamping?
Hmm.. stumped by the final question… “I came, I saw, I glamped”?! We don’t really have a motto, we just want our guests to come and enjoy our magical space and create some amazing memories of their own.
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