The future is looking bright for weddings, and here at River Cottage, we are looking forward to welcoming our couples and their guests back to the farm to celebrate their big day with us. Now that the road back to normality is looking a little clearer, it's the perfect time to look ahead and begin planning to say 'I do', surrounded by friends and family.
Being a working farm, we love to embrace the outdoors and the changing seasons when organising our weddings. This can be reflected in every aspect of your wedding day; from the food served at your feast, the drinks to celebrate your marriage, all the way to the flowers and foliage picked from our garden to decorate your tables. Each season presents different opportunities to make your day truly special.
Moving through the year, we’ve put together a list of some of our seasonal favourites that can enhance your day.
Our yurt offers a wonderful welcome for your guests on a cold winter’s day, as the low lights and hay bales create a unique, warm and inviting atmosphere. We can serve your guests a homemade mulled cider in mugs, warmed on top of the stove (adding a dash of brandy for an extra kick!)
Slow roasted meats served with root veg and rich gravy are always a popular choice for winter, as they are ultimate crowd pleasers and so warming for the cold months. Winter weddings don’t always have to mean Christmas, but you can give a nod to those festive flavours in your menu. Our chef’s sticky ginger and parsnip pudding with spiced pears and almond cream is an exciting take on a winter dessert while still using traditional, seasonal ingredients.
Winter weddings offer a chance to be really bold and dramatic with your colour scheme. Anything goes in this season, which means that deep reds, greens and royal blues can make an appearance, in everything from attire to your wedding stationary.
The last thing a bride wants to be is cold on her wedding day. For an alternative look to a couple’s photo shoot on your wedding day, try leather jackets or even cosy knitted jumpers! There are no rules for your wedding, especially not during winter.
Spring months bring warmer weather, so you can start thinking about activities outdoors to entertain your guests. Our games package is popular with all ages (in particular the adults!) and includes the coconut shy, skittles and the ever-popular welly wanging!
Spring brings with it a vast amount of fresh produce, most of it grown right here on the farm. Fresh spring greens are always a great accompaniment to your meal, whether it be meat, fish or veg based. Pasta is becoming more popular at weddings as it can be made in so many ways – ravioli, tagliatelle and gnocchi are amongst the favourites.
As the months get warmer, couples can welcome their guests with a drink in our Kitchen Garden. Cocktail sharers are a fuss free way of keeping all of your guests with a glass in their hand and can be made with or without alcohol. We love our Kitchen Garden Cooler, which uses organic vodka, lemon and thyme syrup, topped with soda and fresh herbs from our garden.
In the garden
There are a number of places that you can choose to say your vows at River Cottage, but the most popular by far is in our Kitchen Garden. The ‘aisle’ takes you on a walk through plots of fresh produce growing in our garden, and your guests can enjoy the warmth of the summer sun while you declare your love for each other.
Water stations can keep your guests hydrated throughout the warmest hours of the day. Think about adding cucumber, lime, or even lemon verbena and mint to your water to keep things interesting.
The night before
Weddings are a wonderful way for all your family and friends to be in one place, together. Our Farmhouse sleeps up to six guests, and the adjoining Gardener’s Cottage sleeps another four. Gathering your loved ones together for a meal in our Kitchen Garden on the eve of your wedding gives you a chance to thank those who have helped make your day possible.
In recent years, dried flowers and foliage have become very popular, especially when couples are finding that they can pick and dry flowers and leaves from their own gardens. A walk through the countryside can provide you with all of the materials you need to create your own beautiful floral arrangements.
As night falls
Our courtyard looks stunning strung up with festoon lighting in the darker evenings, and our braziers can provide warmth and light. Handing every guest an eco-sparkler to light at the end of the evening is a lovely send off for you as a couple.
Autumn is well and truly game season, which gives us a chance to offer up some warming, hearty dishes for your wedding. Pairing a traditional meat with a less common ingredient can surprise and delight your guests, so dishes like our smoked and roast wild venison, celeriac and seaweed puree with crispy celeriac roots and pickled pears are always popular.
Many thanks to Nigel John, Helen Lisk Photography, Raj and Jade Weddings & Benjamin Wheeler, for permission to use their beautiful photographs.