Crockwell was one of the first venues in the UK to offer weddings in a beautiful barn setting. The oak-beamed barn here at Crockwell Farm was first developed over 15 years ago, with further developments and continuous improvements occurring every year since to create what is now the unique complex of converted barns and cottages which make up this very special wedding venue.
We would love to show you around Crockwell…
01327 361 358
Weddings in former farm barns have become increasingly popular over the last 15 years as couples have realised their numerous benefits; while barn venue owners simultaneously continue to improve the Barn wedding offering. Many couples became tired of restrictive hotel rules with little character, and no exclusivity and realised Barn wedding venues had a lot to offer in these areas in addition to their usually picturesque settings.
There has also been a trend over the past twenty years for couples who are not religious and therefore do not want a church wedding but also don’t relish the thought of a Registry office to look for more atmospheric licensed venues for their ceremony and Barns have really filled this void. Not only do they offer a slightly formal, often “chapel” like feel with their high, beamed ceilings and rectangular shape which lends itself perfectly to an aisle, they can also be turned around for evening entertaining if necessary. This means guests are not having to travel between two venues as would have been traditional, but can celebrate the whole day in one place.
Barn wedding venues tend to occupy rural locations, in picturesque surroundings. They may be a little “off the beaten track”, unlike some larger more corporate venues or hotels, but this is often an added attraction for couples who desire something more unique for their wedding. Barns come in many shapes, sizes and forms from Cotswold or Hornton stone to brick or wooden clad and all have their own feel but most are beautiful, unfussy and natural looking structures. Due to their generally rural locations, there tends to be plenty of room for onsite parking for any number of guests as well as extensive land for gardens, grounds and fields which can be made use of for reception drinks and photographs.
Inside, barns offer excellent protection from the British elements. Unlike temporary marquees which can feel too cold or too warm and are vulnerable to very wet or windy weather, barns are permanent, usually well insulated and heated, and are unaffected by poor weather. They have a unique atmosphere unlike a formal ball or function room. For whatever reason, they feel formal while at the same time cosy. In short, they are the perfect place to hold a party! Barn venues also offer great flexibility when it comes to personalising your day. Couples do not need to be precious when it comes to decorations and can let their imagination run wild. It really is a blank canvass.
At Crockwell we started very small, and have grown and developed over the years. We were early, though not the first farmers to diversify into barn wedding venue in Northamptonshire or Oxfordshire area. Bay & I were lucky enough to farm here; we had ourselves married in Eydon Church and held our wedding reception at Crockwell in a marquee on the lawn in 1987. We had a lovely but not very waterproof 18th century stone barn which formed part of the lambing sheds, along with a pole barn behind, some stables and stone outbuildings. We also had more modern steel framed barns which were originally built as the grain shed and workshops for the farming enterprise.
In 1999 we started work on the conversion of the barns. At the time we were not sure where our plans we would take us; we certainly had no definite plan to hold weddings, let alone the 70 or so a year which now take place in our barns. We formed two cottages out of the stables and outbuildings with the intention of doing some bed and breakfast and holiday lets. It seemed a real shame to divide up the main barn so we put it back together; insulated and formed a ceiling, keeping all the beams and cross-beams exposed. We put in under-floor heating, and found some wonderful oak floorboards to stay in character. We employed a local blacksmith to make windows from the narrow slits which had been the air vents for the barn (or maybe for shooting arrows through)! He also made the wall lights which are complemented by warm up-lighters and beam lights which highlight the beamed ceiling. We ended up with the ceremony barn pretty much as it is today which is a wonderful place to make your vows.
The first barn wedding we hosted was on Saturday 2nd September 2000 for Amy & Phillip Kershaw. This was before we were licensed to hold civil ceremonies in the barn, so it was a reception after a Church wedding ceremony. We held the reception in the stone barn, and erected a small marquee within the pole barn behind. The couple had a lovely day, but the facilities were not quite as they are today! Cassie and Graham were another local couple who married in the Church in Eydon; they came to us for their reception meal and party. The meal was held in the ceremony barn with shocking pink and orange saris providing brilliant colour as table runners. The after-party was held in the steel framed building, which at that time was still in use as a grain barn. The band set up in one corner, a pile of wheat occupied the back of the barn, and we set up a bar at the front!
Dryden Cottage leads directly from the ceremony barn and forms the honeymoon cottage, it was originally a cattle barn, then a stable for Lily, my much loved thoroughbred mare. Downstairs there is now a kitchen/sitting-room with the original brick floor, which we lifted, installed under-floor heating, and re-laid. A wooden staircase leads up to an en-suite bedroom which is a lovely place to get ready, and spend your wedding night. It is also handy to be able to go back to the cottage mid-celebration to touch up your make-up or just to have a cup of tea and put your feet up for a few minutes!
The bar, along with loos and a ground-floor disabled accessible bedroom have been formed from the old pole barn. We have lined the bar with an internal marquee, and our first bar made from fire doors has been replaced with a purpose built oak bar made by another local craftsman. The original archway has been enclosed to make a warm and welcoming entrance with a stunning shepherd’s crook iron chandelier and enormous oak framed windows giving lovely light and extensive views.
The steel-framed former grain barn makes the main wedding breakfast area. It has been insulated and the front has been glazed with panoramic windows to give guests a fantastic view over the Northamptonshire countryside. In front of the windows we have built a wooden veranda which makes a useful spot for photos in bad weather, a great place to spill out on a lovely day, and the ideal barbeque area. We have lined the barn so that it looks like a marquee, apart from the big windows. You get all the benefit of a marquee wedding, though none of the disadvantages of draughty corners, a soggy floor, and blowing about on a blustery day. It has dimmable chandeliers, the ceiling is lined with fairy lights, and we have up-lighters which are particularly effective at night.
The barn is a very flexible space as far as numbers for a wedding breakfast are concerned. The majority of our weddings are for between 80 and 100 guests, but we can divide up the space to seat 40 with a casual seating area at the front, or we can seat up to a maximum of up to 200.
Leading on from the grain barn, the original workshop barn has been converted into the dance-floor area with a stage for the band or disco. This generally remains curtained off during the day. After the cake cutting we escort the bride and groom to the dance floor through a side door, then open the curtain for the ‘big reveal’ and the first dance. In this space we also have a catering kitchen which is always being developed and improved, along with a walk-in fridge and storage area.
In 2012 we replaced one of the barn roofs with an integrated solar roof which generates enough power to cover the barn wedding venue’s basic energy needs throughout the summer months and also contributing significantly to the requirement in winter.
We also converted one of our storage sheds so it can house a biomass boiler which burns wood ship in order to heat the whole venue, reducing our use of oil.
We are still a working farm, though the farm buildings are now all on the other side of the drive. Weddings are of course the priority on the day, and couples who book generally like the fact that it is a genuine farm with sheep grazing in the paddocks. They often have photos with ripening barley, the wild flower border, or with the horses & sheep as a back-drop.
Is your barn licensed to hold Civil Ceremonies?
Yes, we are licensed with the Northamptonshire Registration Service – www.yourdaynorthants.com
Can we have a religious wedding ceremony in the barn?
You can have a blessing, but cannot have a legal ceremony; this needs to be carried out by the Registrar. You can have a Church wedding in Eydon, and come back to the barn for your reception.
What is the maximum number of guests that the barn can seat for a ceremony?
We can seat up to a maximum of 86 for the ceremony in the Ceremony Barn. We have alternative areas for bigger numbers.
Is the barn draughty or cold?
No, it is well insulated and has under-floor heating.
Is the barn dark and gloomy?
No, it has French windows for the south-facing door along with another high window and narrow windows. It is well lit with wall lights and up-lighters.
Do you allow candles in the barn
Yes, we provide church candles which we put into the window alcoves. You can bring different candles, but it is not practical to have candles on the floor which would be a fire risk.
Do you have a music system in the Barn?
Yes, we have a music system for your ceremony music. Couples generally put their chosen ceremony music on an iPod or phone which can be plugged into our system. Alternatively you can have a harpist or other musicians to play your ceremony music live.
Can we make use of the barn after the ceremony?
Yes, we move the majority of the chairs after the ceremony to free up the space for reception drinks if the weather is not fine enough to have drinks in the garden. We also use the ceremony barn for breakfast on the morning after the wedding. This is a great time to catch up with the immediate family, and have a de-brief of the day before.
If we choose to get married in a Church or the Orchard Pavilion can we make use of the barn at all?
Yes, you can use the area for drinks reception if it is not fine enough to have drinks in the garden. You can also place some sofa sets and chairs in there for guests to use as a quieter area. If you choose to get married in the Orchard Pavilion then you will need to have a back up for inclement weather, usually this is the barn.
Can we decorate the barn?
Yes you can. The chairs are laid out the day before when you arrive to set up, so if you wish to decorate them you can. Pew ends, or sashes are popular. The same chairs are used for your wedding breakfast, we move them after the ceremony so there is no need to decorate two sets of chairs. There are hops in the barn along the beams and candles in the alcoves, as well as wooden hearts hanging from the alcove windows. There is a large alcove behind the registrars table which looks lovely with a flower arrangement or some decorative piece, this can then be moved as decoration on the top table or balustrades for your wedding breakfast. You are welcome to do more decoration, but the barn looks stunning as it is.
We would love to show you around our barn wedding venue and can do this most weekdays before 6pm or a weekend morning. Please book an appointment for a tour.
Crockwell Farm Weddings