Your Farm Wedding Venue
Farm weddings are becoming an increasingly popular option for couples looking to tie the knot in a beautiful rural and rustic setting with a relaxed atmosphere and freedom to create the day of their dreams. Crockwell is one of the original Farm wedding venues, established and hosting weddings in its stunning farm buildings since 2002.
Crockwell Farm: a brief history
The main stone farmhouse dates back to 1720 and with the adjoining fields has been in agricultural use for centuries. The farm has been owned by the Harper family (previously Miller and before that, Tustian) for some time and was tenanted out until the last tenant farmer left in 1960. The farmhouse then lay derelict until 1980 when current owner, Bay, moved into the house and farmed the land in partnership with his brother, Richard, along with their childhood farm at Kings Sutton. He slowly set about restoring the farmhouse to its former glory and was soon to be joined by his fiancé, Hermione. The couple held their wedding reception in a marquee in the garden.
For twenty years, Bay and Hermione along with their young family lived and farmed at Crockwell with a mixture of arable and pasture land for cattle and subsequently, sheep. The current vaulted barn was used as a lambing shed and the honeymoon cottage, Dryden was a stable! Increasing financial pressures on small scale farmers at the turn of the century forced Bay to consider diversification opportunities and he took the unusual decision at the time to convert some of the farm buildings into holiday accommodation and event spaces.
In 2002, Crockwell hosted its first wedding in the old grain barn (which currently houses the Main marquee). It was a rustic affair with a hog roast provided by a local farmer and dancing in the swept but far from immaculate barn! It soon became clear that the farmhouse, cottages and old stone barn were a unique and beautiful place to hold a wedding reception and the venue started to evolve and grow. Bit by bit, Bay took on new projects and conversions; from the Mews which now house more accommodation and reception space through to the bar, main marquee and finally the adjoining starlit dancefloor, converted from grain storage.
Since 2002, we have hosted around 750 weddings. Farm wedding venues are now hugely popular and there are a great number to choose from, but we take pride in the fact that we were one of the first and we think, remain one of the best.
What makes a Farm Wedding Venue so special?
A farm can be the perfect setting for a wedding. For anyone wishing for stunning rural views, tranquillity and beautiful barns a Farm Venue is the obvious choice. At Crockwell, the old stone farm buildings make up the majority of the wedding space. Our current couples have three options if they would like to hold their civil ceremony on site; the vaulted stone barn, the main marquee and, outside, the Orchard Pavilion. Reception drinks and canapes can be enjoyed in the extensive gardens with views across the Northamptonshire countryside and farmland. The wedding breakfast takes place in the main marquee, housed within a former grain store.
Another big attraction of farm wedding venues is flexibility when it comes to decorations and putting your own stamp on your day. Our barns and marquee are very much a blank canvas and three day use gives couples the freedom to spend a whole afternoon (aided by us) creating their vision. A farm wedding venue offers a more relaxed setting than many hotels or stately homes; at Crockwell we pride ourselves on providing the best service with none of the stuffiness. We want our couples to make themselves at home and enjoy all that the farm has to offer. Linked to this are the advantages offered by exclusive use. The majority of Farm Venues will offer couples sole use of the whole venue meaning your wedding and guests will be the one and only priority. At Crockwell we offer exclusive use over three days from the afternoon before the wedding right through to midday the day after.
The British countryside is world famed for its beauty; from meadows and pastures to woodland and fields it is home to a vast array of wildlife, plants and trees. At Crockwell we are lucky to be completely surrounded by such scenes and these create the perfect backdrop for wedding photos at any time of the year. For couples looking for a more natural feel to their day and photographs a farm venue is the ideal solution. Some couples also like to take advantage of the more agricultural back drops such as our tractors, sheep and horses, hay bales and colourful wall of shipping containers.
Crockwell Farm today
Today Crockwell is very much still a working Farm. The wedding venue is run by Bay & Hermione and their daughter, Amy who is working to keep Crockwell at the forefront of rural wedding venues in the UK, continuing to offer the highest quality of service and experience to couples. The farm continues to be the responsibility of Bay who does the vast majority of the agricultural work himself.
The land is split between arable use (eighty percent) and pasture for sheep. Currently we grow at least three crops; usually oil seed rape, wheat, and spring barley. Oil seed rape is instantly recognisable for its bright yellow flowers in Spring. It is used to produce vegetable oil (rapeseed oil) which has many uses from healthy domestic cooking to livestock feeds, pharmaceuticals and biofuels. It is increasingly being used as an alternative to Palm oil, the use of which has caused widespread deforestation particularly in Indonesia, Malaysia and Brazil.
Wheat is one of the most important food crops in the world as the leading source of vegetable protein in human food. It is second only to rice in terms of total global production. At Crockwell we grow wheat most years. It is planted in the Autumn and grows throughout Spring and early Summer as a pretty green crop, before turning slowly golden before harvest in late August. The cut stem of the crop, straw is used for animal bedding in winter.
Spring barley, our third crop has many uses from bread, soups, stews and health products to animal feeds and as a source of malt for alcoholic drinks. It is a beautiful crop particularly in the summer when each stem develops a long wispy head, the whole field seems to move like a wave in the wind.
Crockwell is also home to around one hundred sheep at various times throughout the year although Bay is no longer actively involved in farming them. We recently converted the field in front of the house from arable to grass pasture, relocating twenty young trees to form parkland and planting a strip of wild flowers. Our farming focus has shifted over the past twenty years from planting the crop which is most profitable to using the land in a way which complements the wedding venue, particularly close to the house where photo spots are a priority.
Wild flowers are something which we are likely to see more of in the coming years. Not only do they make a great backdrop for photos but they also provide a fantastic habitat for a great number of species from bees to field mice, small birds and insects. The demise of Britain’s great variety of wildlife due to industrial scale farming has been well documented in recent years and it is something we can combat on smaller farms such as Crockwell by growing a good range of crops, planting wild flower meadows and maintaining hedgerows and grass margins which provide valuable habitats for a great number of plants and animals.
The future of farming at Crockwell
Agriculture will always be present at Crockwell and will continue to work alongside the wedding venue. As we look forward, our focus is constantly evolving as the business moves forward and we undertake new projects. As a new generation grows up at Crockwell (Amy, husband Joe and their two sons, Hamish and Patrick will eventually take responsibility for the Farm as a whole), we are increasingly mindful of our impact on the environment and looking for ways to run the venue and farm in harmony with the countryside around us. With this in mind the agricultural focus will be on continuing to grow a good range of those crops which can be used in green industries such as oil seed rape, maintaining our hedgerows and wild flower meadows to encourage our indigenous species and looking to plant more trees in suitable areas to offset carbon emissions produced by the farm.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the Farm tidy?
Yes. Crockwell today is primarily a wedding venue and the farming comes second so we are very mindful that the venue looks immaculate. The farmyard is separate from the venue so there is little crossover between the two.
Will we be disturbed by noisy machinery or animals?
Because we are a small scale farm with a separate farmyard, there is very little noise produced by the farm machinery and we keep this to an absolute minimum during weddings. The only time you may see the odd tractor coming or going is during harvest (late August and early September) but again, we would never harvest a field adjacent to the venue on a wedding day. The sheep and horses do not pose much of a problem and tend to be a big attraction for guests and children in particular.
Is farm licensed for civil ceremonies?
Yes we are licensed for ceremonies in three locations: the stone vaulted barn, the main marquee and outside in the Orchard Pavillion.
Can we invite children to our wedding?
Yes, we are very happy to accommodate children and the venue has spacious garden which they can enjoy. We do ask that children are supervised at all times; as with any venue with lots of outside space, they do need keeping an eye on.
Can we decorate the venue?
Yes, our three day exclusive use means that you have the time and flexibility to really create your vision for your day.
Can we get married in Church and come to the Farm for a Reception?
Yes, absolutely and our three day use would still apply!