Is your perfect wedding more 'all-hands-on-deck D.I.Y fun in muddy fields', than fairy-tale castles and huge budget banquets? You're not alone.
If you don't have a meadow in mind - or a lucky friend who owns one – seeking your perfect festival wedding venue can be tricky. Most outdoor spaces are unlikely to come with a handy brochure, website and on-hand wedding planner to help you make the most of the site. If you don’t have a team of location scouts willing to trample the countryside to help you find the perfect field, the search can be long and gruelling.
Expensive hotels or huge country estates might not be the right fit for your day. There’s a bountiful array of English houses with impeccable grounds that may seem dream-like on paper. Factor in other guests, rules and regulations, in-house policies, time restraints and expensive guest accommodation and it’s very possible your choices become limited whilst your wedding budget rockets. This is where self-catering and D.I.Y detailing become every canny bride’s best bet.
The last few years have seen a surge in popularity of D.I.Y weddings. Blogs, forums and inspiration gathering sites such as Pinterest have enabled brides to share tips, cut expensive corners and learn crafts in order to personalise their day without breaking the bank. There’s an element of fun in recruiting guests to pitch in and help with tasks.
Our very own Katherine Hudson, Founder and Director of House of Hud, notes the key factors of this artfully prudent trend:
"Wedding Festivals, and D.I.Y Weddings are now reaching a new era of sophistication, giving an element of creative control over your big day. Whether it's creating the perfect chill out areas, a music-all-dayer, or an after-hours party tent, festival weddings are a great way to show your personality all whilst having a great time!"
Finding a festival wedding venue means you have a wide array of marquees and tents to choose from. Perhaps the Bombay Boudoir, with bright pinks and burnt orange glittering linings will take your fancy, or perhaps an infusion of two framed tents, such as the bohemian Arabian Tent to party in and the fairy-tale Cornish Cream to dine in. You can also play around with fun props and decorations to create the festival wedding look, such as our wrought iron day beds, and twinkling mirrored cocktail tables with parasols.
So D.I.Y decorations and detailing are one thing, but what about the backdrop? How do you find the perfect festival wedding venue?
Searching online for wedding-specific land for hire isn’t easy. We recommend dropping the word ‘wedding’ and approach the search as if you are looking for a big, fun, family property or venue.
Booking Holiday House Lettings
Search for sites that cater to large parties, without initially mentioning the ‘W’ word. In the world of weddings, this may bag you a better bargain during initial enquiries.
Often, isolated farms with acreage, buildings and converted barns will already have bathroom facilities (no expensive Portaloo hire!) and may be able to house guests in need of overnight accommodation. If the setting is right, there may be a space that can be brightened and spruced up to become the perfect honeymoon suite.
You can really put your stamp of wedding individuality on a farm or exclusive hire country manor. The bonus? You wouldn’t have to share with other guests (as you would in a hotel) and, of course, everyone can stay for an entire weekend of fun, rather than just one night.
Set up in 1895 to preserve the country’s finest natural beauty and places of historic interest, the National Trust supports a great cause and will make a beautiful backdrop for your wedding.
A large percentage of National Trust lands are officially designated as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. When inquiring in to a National Trust field, the key is to find fields owned by the trust and contact them directly.
Found your dream field in, say, West Sussex? Look online for the National Trust Regional Officer for West Sussex and contact them directly with your query. Alternatively, contact the Head Office.
Each area has their own guidelines. The National Trust are guardians to ensure any plans will not affect local wildlife. If the land of your dreams also houses a rare, precious wildflower, it’s unlikely you will be granted permission to use their land. The fees of hiring the land will vary. Desirable land, such as next to the seaside, may garner a higher price.
Tying the knot on council land may not sound particularly glamorous, but it’s our top tip! It is always worth looking in to council-owned land for a one-off hidden settings. Council land can often lie next to iconic and beautiful listed buildings. It may be a worth scouting for hidden gems and wedding-worthy back drops. Not convinced? We love the story of a bride we know who was looking for land to place their marquee and discovered the council owned the perfect park for hire, adjacent to Hampton Court Palace!
Cricket Clubs & Pavilions
Level ground, easy access and quite often beautifully green settings – cricket club land works incredibly well as a festival wedding venue.
Always check the home fixtures and away-days before enquiring at a cricket club for your wedding day. Assess the perfect day for your event before launching in to other details.
In our experience, prices to hire a club or cricket grounds can vary dramatically. A cricket club that specialises and markets itself as a wedding venue specifically will probably charge more than a smaller ‘local’ cricket club. Budget more for clubs with large or formal outbuildings. Top tip? For those who are looking for land to set their marquee, search for clubs that would consider renting their land for an event, rather than those with websites dedicated to weddings. The key is to be the first across the line!
Find Your Own Field With An Ordnance Survey Map
Lucky enough to stumble upon a field that could be the perfect setting for your wedding, but not sure how to check if it would be suitable? Consult an Ordnance Survey map! The map will give you the boundaries, the level and will reveal features of the landscape invisible to your eye on the ground. Guaranteed to save you time to narrow down your choices as you deem whether a field is suitable whilst checking if it’s available for your festival wedding. In our experience at The Arabian Tent Company, when it comes event planning accurate details and time-saving tips are priceless!
Recommended websites to help you on your field hunt for your festival wedding:
Email Katherine at Katherine@arabiantents.com - Rye Island in Henfield, West Sussex, is home to beautiful countryside and ready for Spring/Summer 2017 to host your marquee wedding.
Field Lover – a sort of ‘gumtree’ for fields, where you can post whether you are offering a field, or simply looking for one for your festival wedding.
Land for Events – offers an online service to find your perfect field as a festival wedding venue.
National Trust- For those looking at the National Trust, look here to finf what land and landscape the National Trust has to offer for your festival wedding venue.
And for unique festival props and accessories: