“Nothing Beats A Good Wedding”: Looking Back on 2021
by sarah | December 23, 2021 | Blog
by sarah | December 23, 2021 | Blog
Life at Heaton House Farm never stands still. There are always new animals to look after, barn renovations to work on and lots of weddings to prepare for. But it’s safe to say 2021 has been a year like no other.
After basically shutting down our country wedding venue for the majority of 2020, we couldn’t wait to throw open our barn doors and welcome our lovely couples and all their wonderful friends and family back to our home.
“Nothing beats a good wedding,” as owner Sarah Heath says. “2020 was just heartbreaking for everyone here, as wedding after wedding got postponed, plans were thrown up in the air and we all missed the laughter, the love and the long-lasting memories that are made here every day. We were all eager to get celebrating once again in 2021.”
So as soon as restrictions were lifted, our team were right back at it, packing weddings and celebrations into every available day.
We’ve increased our team from around 25 back up to over 80 to meet the demand, and our on-site caterers have been working non-stop.
When we launched Stable Yard Catering in 2019, we’d planned to have around 40 weddings for our first full year. With the lockdown postponements, we ended up going from 10 to over 100 weddings!
But our chefs, waiting staff and everyone else who help make our weddings possible all rose to the challenge – and having a catering company on-site who works so closely with all our events team has made a huge difference.
All our teams – and our suppliers – have been doing everything they could to make those dream weddings come true for our couples.
After over 20 years of weddings at Heaton House Farm, you might think we’ve seen every wedding imaginable, given the creativity of all our couples. But 2021 brought a couple of new firsts for us – both of which were amazing.
Earlier in the year, with restrictions still in place for indoor gatherings, we celebrated our very first wedding with outdoor dining. Our terrace was transformed with tables, all decorated with beautiful displays, and the setting was stunning.
It was an absolutely gorgeous wedding, and we expect there to be many more outdoor weddings to come.
And then a few months ago we also celebrated our first llama wedding, as one lovely couple chose to share their big day with several friendly llamas who were brought in to watch from our field – a totally unique experience.
We also had lots of firsts dealing with the ever-changing rules and restrictions and the quick turnarounds our events team made to make sure those weddings could happen.
It was great to finally celebrate with the couple who had their original wedding date planned for the day after the very first lockdown was imposed in March 2020, when no-one knew what was happening.
They – like us – learnt very quickly how to deal with adversity and change their plans.
The same is true for the couple who had their perfect wedding perfectly arranged when the tier system came into force, and everything changed. But as Sarah says,
“There were no tears over the tiers, we just spoke with couples, discussed all our options and made new plans. We all knew what we needed to do, and we’re all used to thinking differently and flexibly”.
That couple has now celebrated their wonderful day with us too.
With all the changes to weddings over the last two years, we’ve also seen a big change in the perception of weekday weddings.
More couples – and more specifically their family and friends – are much more open to the idea of a mid-week wedding. Thursdays and Fridays, in particular, are very sought after, but both Tuesdays and Wednesdays are also rising in popularity.
With flexible working and many guests eager to take holidays and enjoy breaks in the UK, guests are very happy to plan around those weekday weddings.
That means we’re also seeing lots of couples looking to keep arrangements very flexible and plan a last-minute wedding too.
And because our teams are so used to adapting plans and making quick changes, we’re always happy to be a last-minute wedding venue and create those life-changing moments – regardless of how much time we have to plan.
On top of all those weddings, we’ve also had an incredibly jam-packed festive period, with a record-breaking year in our Christmas Shop and three sensational evenings hosting our annual Christmas Party.
This year the theme was the Roaring 20’s, and we’ll have more on how it all went down early next year.
We have weddings to host right up until Christmas Eve, and then every day in between Christmas and New Year.
But that’s OK. That’s what we love. Because nothing beats a good wedding.
If there’s one thing the last year has taught us, it’s that we can handle anything.
Whatever happens in 2022, whatever rule changes and requirements come into place, whatever we need to adapt or whatever amazing, creative ideas our couples have – we’ll make it happen.
And we’ll enjoy every single moment. It’s just what we do at Heaton House Farm.
Merry Christmas everyone, and here’s to happy, healthy 2022 for us all.
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