Wedding venues in the Southwest – the BIG list!

Wedding Venues in the Southwest

Following on from my previous blog post, where I put together a list of 10 of my favourite wedding venues, here’s an exhaustive list of every venue I’ve played at down the years! I’ve arranged them by area, and each has it’s own web link so that you can check out what they have to offer…

Wedding venues in Bristol

The Avon Gorge HotelHotel Du VinMercure Bristol North HotelPaintworksNumber 4 CliftonBerwick LodgeThe Bristol Golf Club AlmondsburyClifton Pavilion (Bristol Zoo)The Square ClubColliters Brook FarmGlassboat BristolGoldney Hall (The Orangery)The Bristol Packet (a boat!)The Grain BargeMerchants Hall, Ashton Court Mansion

The Orangery, Goldney Hall, Bristol

Wedding venues in Bath, Somerset & Wiltshire 

Aldwick EstateThe Roman BathsOrchardleigh HousePriston Mill Tythe Barn and WatermillWick Farm BathCoombe LodgeAmerican MuseumBathwick Boatman RestaurantClevedon Hall,  Haberfield HallCadbury HouseRookery ManorThe Gathering BarnCornerhouse HotelNailsea Tithe BarnCharlton HouseBishopstrow House HotelCombe Grove ManorBailbrook HouseKilver CourtAbbey Manor Centre YeovilCourt Farm BanwellThe Old Mill BathMoonraker HotelHuntstile Organic FarmLimpley Stoke HotelHomewood ParkFolly Farm PensfordBatch Country HouseBabington HouseYarlington BarnHare & Hounds (Lansdown, Bath),  Haselbury MillBrympton House, The Battleaxes, Quantock Lakes

The Roman Baths, Bath

Wedding venues in Gloucestershire and The Cotswolds

Kingscote BarnCripps BarnStone BarnBerkeley CastleGreat Tythe Barn TetburyThe Manor House Hotel (Moreton-In-Marsh)Westonbirt ArboretumThe Manor House (Castle Combe)The Matara CentreThornbury CastleThornbury Golf ClubThe Hare & Hounds (Tetbury)Eastwood ParkManor By The Lake CheltenhamHatton CourtRendcomb College, Elmore Court, Egypt Mill

Manor By The Lake, Cheltenham

Wedding venues in Cornwall, Devon & Dorset

Watergate BayTunnels BeachesTrevennaDunster Tithe BarnLusty GlazeThe Green CornwallMill End HotelThe Lynhurst (Lynton)Ever After – A Dartmoor WeddingPolhawn FortSt. Elizabeth’s HouseYeoldon HouseBovey CastleWoolacombe Bay HotelBridwell ParkBranksome Dene, St. Audries Park

Trevenna Barns, Cornwall

Wedding venues in Wales

Canada Lake & LodgeGlen-Yr-Afon HotelWest Usk LighthouseLlancaiach Fawr ManorThe Barn at West FarmFforestOxwich Bay HotelNew House Country HotelCardiff Marriott HotelClearwell CastleManorbier CastleBarn at BrynichBryngarw HouseFlorin, Llechwen Hall

Clearwell Castle

Others

Friars CourtCaswell HouseSpittleborough FarmhouseSulgrave ManorOaks Farm (Surrey)Bordesley ParkBirtsmorton CourtBrockencote HallAldwickbury Park Golf ClubMorden Hall, Little Channels, The Mill Barns

Birtsmorton Court

Wedding Venues in Bristol, Bath and the South-West

Wedding Guitarist Blog – Wedding Venues

As a wedding musician, I get to see a lot of fantastic venues. Based in Bristol, I’m lucky that there is a big, varied choice of amazing places to get married nearby. There’s hidden gems right here in the city, and in the neighbouring counties of Somerset, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire you’ll find everything from country manor estates to tithe barns, boutique hotels to castles. Heading West towards Wales and South to Dorset, Cornwall and Devon you’ll find stunning beachside venues, farms… I’ve even played at a lighthouse once!

It’s hard to have favourites when there’s so many brilliant venues around, but here’s a few of my top picks. I must say, it was very hard to narrow it down to just 10 and there are lots more I’d love to include. For a list of ALL the venues I’ve played at in my time as a singer/guitarist for weddings, see my full list of venues here.

Without any further ado then, here’s 10 of the best!

 

Wedding venues – Top 10 picks

1. Aldwick Estate

I’m lucky enough to visit Aldwick quite often – it’s a popular spot to get married and for good reason! It’s in a fantastic location, just half an hour South of Bristol near the beautiful Mendip hills. A perfect blend of countryside chic with a modern twist, it’s a working vineyard so you’ll have the opportunity to test their British wines, and if you get married here there’s some fantastic photo opportunities in the grounds!

There are two adjacent barns, one which holds the wedding ceremony and the larger barn which is set up for the wedding breakfast during the daytime. Later on, there’s plenty of space to hold a wedding band or DJ to keep the party going until late.

There’s a large outdoor space which is absolutely perfect in the Summer if the sun is shining. I have many fond memories of playing live acoustic music out on the terrace as guests mingle and the married couple have photos taken.

Apart from the stunning surroundings, I think my favourite thing about Aldwick is the people – you’re always greeted with a friendly welcome and the staff and catering team are so helpful!

2. Coombe Lodge at Blagdon

Just down the road from Aldwick is the bold, imposing building that is Coombe Lodge. Similarly to Aldwick it’s in an amazing location, just outside the village of Blagdon, adjacent to the Mendip hills. With stunning views of Blagdon Lake, out to the Chew Valley countryside, it really is an amazing spot and on a clear Summer’s day the views are hard to beat.

It’s a country house building with exclusive use of the house and gardens for weddings so you can truly make the place your own. I’ve never been to a wedding at Coombe Lodge that hasn’t been full of fun! I think the staff are a big part of what makes this place special – they always go out of their way to make sure everything runs perfectly and are always friendly and helpful. It’s always a pleasure to play guitar at Coombe Lodge, whether I’m out in the gardens in the Summer sun, or inside in the cosy surroundings in the Winter – it’s one of my favourite places to visit.

3. The Kingscote Barn

Set in the middle of the beautiful Cotswolds countryside, this barn venue is absolutely gorgeous – pay it a visit and you’ll fall in love with it instantly! They’ve won many awards at Kingscote and it’s easy to see why. Apart from the incredible views and the fantastic buildings, the team at Kingscote are just brilliant and always on hand to make sure everything runs smoothly.

I’ve played guitar in various locations at Kingscote Barn – in the main barn for the wedding ceremony, near the bar and in the reception room as guests have drinks and canapés. There’s also an outdoor area, and in the Summer you can get married outside with views of the glorious countryside as you walk down the aisle. I can play acoustic music outside if the weather allows, and the gardens out the back are quite a sun trap when the sun is shining. Drinks, relaxing in the sun and live acoustic music – perfection!

4. Tunnels Beaches, Ilfracombe

On the North-Western Devon coast, Tunnels Beaches is surely one of the most amazing places in the UK to get married. The location is simply jaw-dropping – you even get your own private beach if you’re married here! After walking down the famous tunnels which were hand carved in the 1820’s, you enter the venue, nestled neatly into the rocky coastline. The vibe is stylish and relaxed – seaside chic with a modern twist.

The open plan layout of the venue means that you always feel like you’re outside, even if you’re not – and you have that relaxing sea view at all times. It’s a spectacular place to get married, and I always have a tingle of excitement when someone books me to play their wedding music at Tunnels!

I’ve played here during the daytime, in the evening, inside and outside and each time it’s been an fantastic occasion. A word of warning if you’re interested in getting married here though, it’s highly in demand as you could imagine, so you may have to book well in advance to secure this amazing place as your wedding venue!

5. Wick Farm Bath

Wick Farm Bath is actually a venue I’ve not visited that often, but I wanted to include it on the list because a/ it’s stunning and b/ I got married here! I also think it’s a little under the radar – although it’s certainly very popular as a wedding venue, it seems that not that many people I speak to have heard of it. So a worthy mention for this lovely barn venue. The owners are relaxed, friendly and are happy for you to really make the place your own. They were tremendously helpful when we were planning our wedding, and equally as welcoming when I came back to sing at a wedding a few months later!

The inside of the barn is cosy and warm with underfloor heating if the weather isn’t so great, so perfect for Winter weddings. In the Summer sun, guests can mingle outside in the beautiful grounds so it’s a winner in all seasons. I love playing guitar here – the acoustics in the main barn are beautiful for wedding ceremony music, and if the sun is shining you can’t beat a bit of acoustic music out on the terrace!

6. Priston Mill

Priston Mill, not far from Bath, comprises two separate buildings – the Watermill and the Tythe Barn. Both equally stunning in their own right, the Watermill is totally unique and the Tythe Barn is warm and inviting. You can host your wedding in either of the venues – the Tythe Barn has a bigger capacity but the Watermill may be on your list if you’re looking for somewhere a little more quirky.

Both venues are perfect for music, especially if the weather is good. Guests can wonder the gardens and enjoy the beautiful North East Somerset countryside… whilst listening to some live acoustic music in the sun!

7. Clevedon Hall

If you have your heart set on a stunning manor house with beautiful grounds and plenty of amazing photo opportunities, Clevedon Hall may be just the place for you. Located in the sleepy seaside town of Clevedon, the beach is just a stone’s throw away – so as well as getting amazing photographs in the extensive grounds (you may even see some deer if you’re lucky!), you could also pop over the road and get some pictures by the sea, or by Clevedon’s famous pier.

Acoustic music works fantastically at Clevedon Hall – the grand main hall plays host to the wedding ceremony, where I’m often booked to play during the bridal entrance, the signing of the register and as the married couple make their jubilant exit. Afterwards it’s outside for drinks in the sun, weather permitting, where I’ll play some music as people mingle and enjoy their afternoon. Later on, the place is transformed for the evening party and it tends to get pretty lively! I’m often booked to do a kind of ‘warm up’ set before a DJ or live band take over for the rest of the evening.

8. The Great Tythe Barn, Tetbury

There’s a lot of wedding venues in the Cotswolds, but this stands out as one of my favourites. Just outside the picturesque town of Tetbury, it’s main feature is the beautifully restored 16th century barn, and it also has accommodation on site with self-catering cottages which can be used by the wedding party.

Equally beautiful inside and out, it doesn’t matter if it’s raining at the Great Tythe Barn – the grounds are lovely in the sunshine but it’s just as good inside if the British weather isn’t playing ball! Again, at this venue I tend to be booked for the wedding ceremony and drinks reception but I’ve also done a few evening events here which are always good fun!

 

9. Ever After – A Dartmoor Wedding

Now, this venue I think falls into the ‘hidden gem’ category! Not far from Tavistock in the Dartmoor countryside, this venue is truly one of my favourite places to visit. The word ‘magical’ sounds a bit cheesy, but there really is something other-worldly about this place. From the moment you drive through the large wooden gate, you realise this is no ordinary wedding venue. It sits next to a small river, and as you walk around you notice unique personal touches everywhere – the attention to detail makes this spot really stand out from the crowd.

As well as having a beautiful location for the wedding ceremony, there’s also a grand luxury marquee which hosts the wedding breakfast and evening celebrations. Some of my favourite memories are of singing in the sunshine as guests mingle and explore this unique place.

However, I think the thing that really makes Ever After tick is owner Nicola and her team. Nicola works with you to ensure you get your perfect big day – she’s incredibly knowledgeable, helpful and will even style the wedding to make your vision a reality. It’s a truly personal service, and every time I have the privilege of playing a wedding at Ever After, it’s clear how much time and effort has been spent preparing for the big day. Just a really special place, with wonderful people.

10. Stone Barn

Last on my list but most certainly not least, it’s another barn venue (you’re probably realising that I really love converted barns by now!) – and one of the most spectacular ones you’ll find. In the heart of the Cotswolds, you drive down a country track to get there and at first you may wonder where you’re headed! As you drive on, the barn emerges in front of you, almost hidden in a little dip amongst the fields that surround it. The first thing that strikes you is the corrugated iron roofs over the Dutch Barns, which gives it a rustic, traditional feel.

When you walk in, it really takes your breath away. It’s a big space which can accommodate up to 250 guests if required, and is tastefully decorated with draped lighting and a stunning open plan layout. The other thing you’ll notice is the smell of food being freshly prepared in the open plan kitchen, as the chefs flame grill delicious offerings right in front of your eyes. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

The ceremony room is equally as stunning with it’s stone walls, high ceilings and traditional styling. Outdoors you’ll find a relaxed area where guests can enjoy drinks and canapés, and later on the fire pits are lit to create a warm, cosy atmosphere. It’s an absolutely amazing place to play live acoustic music and I just love visiting this gem in the Cotswolds.

 

So there you have it. 10 of the best wedding venues in the Southwest – but there’s plenty more to choose from! If you want to see a full list of venues that I’ve played at, arranged by area, click the link below.

Wedding Venues Southwest – the Big List!

I hope this blog was informative – if you’re planning your wedding and found this article useful, let me know! Or if you have some feedback about wedding venues I’d love to hear from you… drop me a line at info@guitaristforweddings.co.uk or via the Contact Page.

 


Pat McIntyre is a singer and acoustic guitarist from Bristol, UK. An experienced live performer and music aficionado, Pat is available to book for weddings and other events.

For more information about booking Pat for your wedding, click here – or get in touch here.

The Wedding Industry Awards 2017

wedawardsselfie

The red carpet shot!

The Wedding Industry Awards – Regional Finals awards presentation

This year I was nominated for an award at the prestigious Wedding Industry awards. I attended the regional finals last Wednesday at Old Down Estate, Bristol. Did I win? Well, more on that in a moment, but first – why I entered, and some background.

Taking the plunge…

Well, I must say it’s been an absolutely amazing year for me and my little wedding guitar business. It’s my second full year of being a full time musician, specialising in live music tailored specifically for weddings. I’ve been a working musician for over 10 years now, but in the past I’ve always fitted it around other jobs. Last January I took the plunge and made the business my 100% focus.

It was a little scary at the start, as I’m sure anyone who’s dived headfirst into self-employment can relate. I spent the whole of January promoting my business, redesigning my website, filming new promotional videos, arranging performances at wedding fairs and doing all I could to move things forward. Slowly but surely, my little snowball got bigger and bigger. At the turn of the year, before I took the plunge, I think I had six bookings in the diary. I ended up playing at 40 weddings in 2015 and 55 in 2016. Add to that private parties and gigs at my regular venues in Bristol; all-in-all it’s been a very busy year!

I’m now at a point where, unfortunately I seem to be turning down more bookings than I can take on – obviously great news for me business-wise, but also such a shame! I hate having to send that “sorry, I’m already booked” email.

regionalfinalist_3_hi

Entering the Awards

Anyone who’s planned a wedding, or worked in the wedding industry will most-likely have seen the above logo – it’s the Wedding Industry Awards symbol, a body that recognises the very best suppliers in the business. I’ve thought about entering a few times, and this year I was nominated on more than one occasion so thought the time was right to put myself forward.

I contacted my wedding clients, and was thrilled to received such support, positivity and enthusiasm from everyone! The comments I received were absolutely incredible – you can read all my feedback from voters here, it really blew me away.

voterscores

Scores from voters – almost perfect 10s across the board!

When I received notification that I was a Regional Finalist, I was over the moon! In my first year of entering I’d made it all the way through to the finals, and was in with a chance of winning an award.

And the award goes to…

Well, sadly it was not meant to be this year! The award was picked up by the very talented Evertide – worthy winners for sure. Naturally I was a little disappointed to miss out – despite assuming that I probably wasn’t going to win, when it came to the point where the award was being announced I couldn’t help but get my hopes up! Never mind, there’s always next year – and I’ll be looking to up my game in every area to see if I can secure an award next year!

Despite not actually winning the award, the feedback I received was just incredible. It’s so satisfying to know that you’ve done a good job, and contributed to someone’s perfect day. I was really moved reading some of the comments received.

My philosophy has always been to create a rapport with my wedding couples – that’s why I’ll never work for an agency. The personal interaction is what makes it special. I’d like to take a moment just to thank every single bride and groom who have booked me to play at their special day. Every occasion has been unique, memorable and an absolute pleasure to be at.

People who know me will have heard me say this on a regular basis:

I HAVE THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD!

Here’s to 2017 🙂

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At the awards with Lauradana of Wedding Creations UK and make up artist Charlotte Tillyer

Jenny & Shaun’s wedding at Ever After nr Tavistock, Devon

Pat McIntyre - www.guitaristforweddings.co.uk

July 18th, 2015 saw a journey down to Ever After at Lower Grenofen (near Tavistock, Devon) for Jenny and Shaun’s big day. Lots of organisation went into this amazing wedding day, with the bride and groom arranging everything from their home in New Zealand!

Jenny & Shaun booked my all-day package – so that included welcome music as guests arrived, live songs during the wedding ceremony, the afternoon drinks reception and the evening party. Lots and lots of live acoustic tunes!

After an hour or so of music out on the green as guests arrived, we made our way over to the Orchard for the wedding ceremony.

image: the ceremony

Beatles - Here Comes The Sun 
Ben Howard - Only Love 
Bill Withers - Ain’t No Sunshine 
George Ezra - Listen To The Man 
Jack Johnson - Banana Pancakes 
Coldplay - Yellow 
David Gray - This Years Love 
Ed Sheeran - Lego House 
Frank Sinatra - Fly Me To The Moon 
The Kooks - She Moves In Her Own Way

Bridal Entrance: Foo Fighters - Everlong
Recessional: Etta James - At Last

With my PA system already set up on the decking area near the main marquee, I moved down to play some songs during the afternoon drinks reception.

  Ever Afteracoustic guitarist Devon

Jack Johnson - Better Together 
Bob Marley - Three Little Birds 
Bruno Mars - The Lazy Song 
Ed Sheeran - The A-Team 
Jack Johnson - Good People 
Eric Clapton - Layla 
Passenger - Let Her Go 
Jason Mraz - I’m Yours 
KT Tunstall - Black Horse & The Cherry Tree 
Jack Johnson - Sitting Waiting Wishing 
Paul Weller - You Do Something To Me 
Counting Crows - Accidentally In Love

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Time for a rest ready for the evening! I had a chill out on the giant deck chair (pictured!) and Jenny and Shaun were kind enough to provide me with some food – so I refuelled, before moving my PA into the marquee ready for the evening celebrations.

I love playing songs I’ve never heard before for a first dance – and Jenny and Shaun chose “My Baby” by Plush, which worked perfectly with the guitar!

 

First dance: Plush - My Baby
Jackie Wilson - Higher & Higher 
George Ezra - Budapest 
Eagle Eye Cherry - Save Tonight 
Marvin Gaye - Heard It Through The Grapevine 
Lumineers - Ho Hey 
Blackstreet - No Diggity 
Ed Sheeran/Macklemore - You Need Me/Thrift Shop 
James - Sit Down 
Green Day - Time Of Your Life 
Bruno Mars - Uptown Funk

- break -

Pharrell - Happy 
Stevie Wonder - Superstition 
Daft Punk - Get Lucky 
Deep Blue Something - Breakfast At Tiffany’s 
George Ezra - Blame It On Me 
The Killers - Mr. Brightside 
Kings Of Leon - Sex On Fire 
Ed Sheeran - Sing 
Tenacious D - Tribute 
Bryan Adams - Summer of ‘69 
Van Morrisson - Brown Eyed Girl 
Ben E King - Stand By Me
Tracy Chapman - Fast Car

An absolutely amazing day all round – huge congratulations to the happy couple, and I loved discovering this gem of a wedding venue. A really magical little spot, and I’m excited to head back to Ever After next year for Cherie & David’s big day!

The acoustic First Dance

Image courtesy of https://www.grwphotography.co.uk/ – view more of Jenny & Shaun’s photographs at https://lowergrenofen.co.uk/real-weddings/jenny-shaun/

 

 

Live acoustic music at the Lynhurst, Devon: Sarah & Kevin’s afternoon wedding reception

Pat McIntyre - www.guitaristforweddings.co.uk

image: The Lynhurst, Lynton, North Devon

Saturday 11th July saw a trip down to the beautiful surroundings of Lynton in North Devon. Sarah and Kevin were married in the afternoon at the local church, and booked out The Lynhurst for their afternoon/evening celebrations. They booked me to play a couple of acoustic sets during drinks and cream teas, with speeches during my break.

Following an unsuccessful fight with my sat-nav, I eventually located the venue thanks to some help from the locals. GPS/3G hasn’t quite reached Lynton yet! I walked up the pathway to the Lynhurst and was greeted by fantastic views with the sea twinkling in the distance.

Lynton Devon - image

I set up my PA system, while the caterers carefully prepared cream teas, and we awaited the entrance of the newlyweds and their bridal party.

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Shortly after 3pm, the church bells rang out and I began my first live set:

Jack Johnson - Better Together 
Beatles - Here Comes The Sun 
Jason Mraz - I’m Yours 
Newton Faulkener - Dream Catch Me 
Lumineers - Ho Hey 
Mumford & Sons - The Cave 
Avicii - Wake Me Up 
Biffy Clyro - Many of Horror 
McFly - It’s All About You 
Bon Jovi - Livin’ on a Prayer 
Green Day - Time of Your Life 
The Calling - Wherever You Will Go 
Ed Sheeran - Thinking Out Loud

playing

 

We then had a little break, during which the wedding speeches took place. At 5pm-ish I began my second set, which started with the happy couple’s first dance:

First Dance: Jason Mraz - You & I Both 
Justin Timberlake - Not A Bad Thing 
Eagle Eye Cherry - Save Tonight 
George Ezra - Budapest 
Jackie Wilson - Higher & Higher 
Michael Jackson - Man In The Mirror 
Bruno Mars - Marry You 
Jessie J - Price Tag 
Amy Winehouse - Valerie 
Rihanna - Umbrella 
The Killers - Mr Brightside 
Kings of Leon - Sex on Fire 
Bryan Adams - Summer of ‘69
Van Morrisson - Brown Eyed Girl
Ben E King - Stand By Me

playing2

A fantastic late afternoon/early evening with lots of dancing and singing along! Looks like the celebrations were set to continue long into the night, as a band were setting up as I was leaving 🙂

Huge congratulations to the happy couple – once again, thanks for choosing to have me play at your wedding – hope you enjoyed the tunes, and that you had an amazing evening after I left!

Saturday 27th June – The Mill End Hotel, Chagford, Devon: Wedding drinks reception live music

Pat McIntyre - www.guitaristforweddings.co.uk

Saturday 27th saw a trip down to Devon and the beautiful Mill End Hotel for Claire and Matt’s post-wedding ceremony drinks reception. They booked me to play some acoustic songs as guests arrived to the reception venue, and we had a lovely warm day for the occasion.

image: Mill End Hotel live wedding music image: Mill End Hotel wedding music
I set up just outside the main marquee where the wedding breakfast was due to take place and played two acoustic sets in the sunshine.

image: Mill End Hotel wedding marquee image: live acoustic music Devon
Here was the playlist from the day:

Set 1
Pharrell - Happy 
Damien Rice - Canonball 
Bill Withers - Ain't No Sunshine 
Coldplay - Magic 
Paul Weller - You Do Something To Me 
Ellie Goulding - Love Me Like You Do 
McFly - It’s All About You 
The Verve - Bittersweet Symphony 
Elbow - One Day like this
Set 2 
Bruno Mars - Uptown Funk 
Daft Punk - Get Lucky 
Ben Haenow - Something I Need 
Kodaline - The One
Bruno Mars - Locked Out Of Heaven 
The Jam - A Town Called Malice 
The Beatles - Let It Be 
John Legend - All of Me 
Ben E King - Stand By Me

image: Devon wedding guitarist