Today is a very exciting day as I get to chat to someone I haven’t seen for a rather long time. A few years ago I performed at a lovely wedding in Derbyshire. The photographer on the day was someone I had not previously worked with. He captured some absolutely fantastic reaction shots from my performance, some of which appear throughout the site.
As time has gone on, he left behind the world of the wedding photographer and began a rather special project. Todays blog discusses this journey. I give you 5 questions with Hanbury Barn.
Please tell us who you are and how Hanbury Barn came to be?
The story of Hanbury Wedding barn is quite a long one, but I will try and give you the edited highlights!
I was a wedding photographer for around 9 years and the idea of opening our own venue probably popped in my head in the summer of 2016. It seemed like a logical next step from wedding photography to distil my experiences at hundreds of venues in to one we could craft ourselves. After discussions with the rest of the family we felt that we were in a position to start looking. The initial search took nearly a year to find the perfect place. We started close to home but rapidly expanded our search beyond Cheshire as it quickly became apparent that every farm there had already been renovated and had a footballer living in it. We were warned off the Peak District by our planning consultant, so we were mainly looking east of Sheffield and south of Ashbourne.
The criteria we were looking to meet was quite long. From a purely logistical perspective the farm had to have good access and no immediate neighbours who, quite rightly, would be upset by music and other merriment from the barns. Beyond that we wanted somewhere that needed renovation, had ample space, ideally open water, and tons of character.
The Search Continued…
After nearly a year of looking, in the late summer of 2017 we found Parson’s Brake Farm which ticked all the boxes. It had been empty for about 4 years when we first visited and nature had well and truly taken over. The barns were a good size and had a mix of classic Staffordshire red brick and more modern steel portal barns, however, the farm was going up for auction in September, so we had to move fast to secure it. After that, the next challenge was obtaining planning permission which took a little over a year to arrange and we finally got the go ahead to start work in November 2018.
The build was challenging but we had great support from our family and friends. We managed the construction ourselves using my father in law Mike’s experience and my wife Kirsty’s brother and wife even moved back from Australia for a year to help out lending invaluable IT and hospitality expertise.
Our first wedding was June 2019 and we held 5 celebrations in the first six months which really helped us bed in. 2020 should have been our first big year with 60 weddings booked but, well, we all know what happened there!
Are you a venue only supplier or do you offer full event planning?
We are a venue only supplier, although we are always here to help with the planning. We offer a choice of approved caterers so there is a huge range of food available and the barns are laid out to be welcoming and inclusive. Each part of the day has its own space so there is no waiting for room changes, and this lends a natural flow to proceedings.
What makes Hanbury Barn different to other venues in the region?
There are a number of things that set us apart, I think the main one being we are family run. I think this makes an enormous difference to our couples.
Our couples often mention how nice it is to deal with real people rather than some faceless corporate entity. Also, the barns we have a unique, relaxed and welcoming feel. We very much appeal to couples whose focus is having a great celebration with their family and friends.
Share with us one of your favourite memories of the barn to date
During the construction I will never forget the moment the wall came down where the bifold doors now stand and we saw the view across the lake for the first time. Really that was the moment when it all started to come together, and all our hard work was starting to pay off.
As for our hosted weddings, it has to be our first one. It will always stick with me as such a joyous occasion, for both us and our lovely couple. It was a day full of fun and celebration, but was also such a huge learning curve!
What are your top 3 tips for a successful wedding day?
I would recommend having someone you can trust available who can delegate on the day. That way you can relax and not have to stress about the schedule, Go with the flow!
Its also very important to try and take some time just for you and your partner to enjoy the celebration. The day will go by really quickly, so take some time to just stop and take in the ambience. Finally, and this is an important tip, is when it comes to the drink, weddings are marathons, not sprints! I am sure you can read into that clearly. Over the years I have seen it all!
Hanbury Barn is a wonderfully unique wedding venue that has really charm. Adrian and his team have injected an old derelict building and transformed into into a place full of warmth and love. It is a venue that I thoroughly enjoy performing at, and it comes highly recommended if you are looking to get married in the Staffordshire / Derbyshire region. For more information please visit the Hanbury Barn Wedding website.