We have an idea when our Big Day will take place. Early summer next year would be perfect. Working in a school means that we are tied to school holidays. It seems to rain most of August and there's a good chance that many of our guests would be off on their hols, so the Spring half term would make much better sense.
Trying to find a venue has been much harder than I anticipated. A few months ago we thought that we had found a "maybe". An Edwardian boathouse on the River Avon that had been converted into a restaurant. The location was idyllic, the food yummy and most importantly, well within our budget. But, Mr R had reservations. It was too rustic...all scrubbed pine and mismatched chairs. He wanted somewhere a little grander. There was only the one room in the restaurant and we would fill it to the point that space might be a bit tight. I had visions of our guests spilling out onto the riverbanks, but Mr R, who has his head well and truly screwed on, pointed out that our English climate is a bit unpredictable and the heavens may well decide to open.If that happened there would be nowhere for our guests to escape to when they require a much needed breather from the celebrations! Of course all this made sense. We haven't ruled it out totally but it made sense to carry on looking.
How difficult is it to find the perfect venue in the Bristol/Bath/Wiltshire area for an informal wedding of around 45 guests, that doesn't cost the earth and is a little different. We don't want a hotel that's part of a chain, a golf club, barn or conference centre. Country houses tend to be too grand or require you to take over the whole building for a couple of nights. We don't want the hassle of hiring a hall and sorting everything out ourselves from the cutlery to the tables and chairs,tea urn to the loo paper! I find venues that look lovely from the outside but then don't like the colour of the carpets, the curtains or the light fittings! Maybe we are being too picky. But why shouldn't we. This isn't any old day we are talking about, this is our wedding day. Second best, or making do, just won't do!
I have got rather excited about one possibility. It's called Goldbrick House and it's in the centre of Bristol. It is more than just a restaurant. There are an array of rooms that you can hire of all shapes and sizes and there is a terrace so that guests aren't confined to being indoors. The decor is hopefully grand enough for Mr R without it being over the top.The pictures on the website certainly looked good and there would be plenty of room for everyone.
So I dragged Mr R to Bristol again and bought him lunch there. We had to eat in the cafe bar as there was a wedding going on in the other rooms, but the food we ate was delicious and I liked the eclectic decor. Mr R ran his critical eye over the place and thought it looked a little worn in places. I rather thought this added to the charm , but we can't really make a proper judgment without a seeing the other rooms and discuss what they have to offer with their events coordinator.
You can hold the ceremony there as well, but I would rather like to say my vows in somewhere rather special. And I know a place that fits the bill perfectly. Blaise Castle museum is a beautiful mansion in parkland not far from the centre of Bristol. The ceremony can be held in a suitably grand and rather sumptuous room.Mr R would definitely approve!
Time to make a couple of appointments and another trip along the M4 I think! Mr R will be there to ask all the right questions and to make sure that I don't, as I'm prone to do, let my heart rule my head.
Fingers crossed and watch this space!