If you are a foodie couple who want to create a unique wedding menu with exclusive use of a stunning farm in the breath-taking countryside, this could be the perfect wedding venue for you, so read on...
In April I had the pleasure of going to River Cottage to meet Elli and Lydia and talk about weddings at River Cottage! Most people know River Cottage from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's cookery programmes, but there is something very special about River Cottage unlike any traditional farm.
It was a stonking hot spring day - the perfect weather to see River Cottage and its gardens in all their glory. Whilst we chatted under the ceremony willow-cane archway in the kitchen garden looking towards the farmhouse, it was very easy to imagine a bride getting ready for her big entrance whilst the wedding guests sit on hay bales. Therefore, it seemed only logical to start here with the questions...
Couples can now say "I do" in River Cottage's garden amongst the sweet peas, in Hugh's farmhouse or in the restored threshing barn depending on a couple's preferences and ceremony numbers. The garden is particularly stunning, who wouldn't want to get married amongst the flowers in the fresh air?
River Cottage can hold a maximum of 64 guests during the day rising to 94 guests in the summer (with use of a canvas marquee outside the threshing barn) and an additional 26 guests in the evening for a party with live music or a DJ. River Cottage can accommodate larger groups with the addition of extra marquees.
No. Weddings get exclusive use of River Cottage, nowhere is out of bounds and guests are welcome to wander the smallholding at their leisure. We even have an open kitchen policy, so guests can watch the chefs at work preparing the wedding menu.
This is a very exciting and unique element to weddings at River Cottage - the wedding couple create their own unique menu. They can literally choose anything they want as their menu so long as the ingredients are in season. There are no set ideas so couples can choose the food that they love.
To help with the decision making, about 3 months before the big day, you will get to meet with River Cottage's head chef, where together you will go through your ideas and create your dream wedding menu. As an extra special touch on your wedding day, River Cottage's head chef will introduce the courses with a description of the menu, where the food came from and how it was made, which will guarantee to get your guest's tummies rumbling.
(Sorry but I really have to put some food pics here to stress just how magnificent the food is! Cue food montage)
Couples can do anything they want including cream teas in the kitchen garden, cheese courses served with chutneys and local apple cider brandy from The Somerset Cider Brandy Company, and afternoon teas.
In the evening you can also choose from a range of evening snacks such as wood fire pizzas (highly recommended) to Moroccan spiced slow cooked lamb in pitta with salads.
The menu prices start from £51 per person for a two course menu to include coffee and petit fours.
The petit fours aren't just any ordinary petit fours; these petit fours are created to resemble a couple's favourite childhood sweets. For example, one couple is having marshmallows on skewers made for toasting over the fire pits in the evening and another opted for ferrero rocher-style chocolates. There is even one couple having a giant after eight - we will create absolutely anything you want.
During the day you don't have to be cooped up in one place all day - there is a whole farm to explore, chefs to watch, games to play or wellies to wang! Welly wanging is a little tradition at River Cottage that has become very popular at weddings and can be part of your wedding day too. The winner of the competition is awarded with a golden welly signed by Hugh.
In addition to the welly wanging you can have use of our games package that includes a coconut shy, wooden skittles and hook-a-duck, which is a great way for guests, young and old, to mingle and is the perfect ice breaker for those who haven't met before.
The River Cottage team will set your wedding up for you! All you need to do is deliver your decorations, favours and little extras the day before, brief us on how you would like it all to look and then you can leave us to set it up in the safe knowledge that we will create your vision. This allows you to really enjoy the process and the days surrounding your wedding without any panic or mad dash to get that last bit of bunting strung.
To have your wedding at River Cottage prices start from £1525 in low season (Monday to Thursday from November to March) to £4875 in high season (Saturdays from May to September). This fee includes exclusive use of the entire farm from 12pm until Midnight, tableware, jam jars of seasonal flowers picked fresh from the gardens (I was greeted with an abundance of daffodils in cute jam jars everywhere which was simply divine), handmade bunting and tractor transfers. The license can be extended until 1pm by prior arrangement.
On your wedding day, you and your guests will be greeted by our tractor to take you down to the farm. This is a great way to see the beautiful landscape, create a lively atmosphere and to emphasise just how exclusive your wedding reception is.
River Cottage is a great all year round wedding venue where the food and gardens mirror the seasons and because you will have the use of so many beautiful buildings no matter the weather or time of year your wedding will be absolutely stunning.
There is also beautiful yurt that can fit 70 people, which is the perfect place for toasts or welcome drinks and canapes.