A truly rustic wedding experience with onsite accommodation and flexible party spaces.
Inspired by holding two family weddings at Deepdale Farm, Charlotte Lawson and her husband James were encouraged to offer a similar opportunity to couples seeking a rustic wedding location. With enviable views and the freedom to design the barns and fields as couples desire, Deepdale Farm provides imaginative scope and exclusivity. Photos by Polly’s Dynamic Pictures.
Tell us about your venue
Deepdale Farm is a 12 acre smallholding set on the edge of the North Yorkshire moors, on a hill with views across open countryside. We have been here for six years now. In the main we keep horses, although we do have two token goats! During the winter the whole farm works as a livery yard but from May to September most of the horses are in the fields and we use the farm as a wedding venue. We have three wooden barns: one is used for the horses year round; one is open at both ends and usually used for the ceremonies; the third is enclosed and mostly used for dining, dancing and general celebrations.
What made you decide to cater for weddings?
We wanted our wedding in 2011 on the farm so we erected a marquee in one of the barns. Then a friend of a friend saw the pictures and asked to use the farm as a venue too. After that more and more people became interested so I built a website for Deepdale last summer. This year is our first as an official business.
What facilities do you offer?
We have a bow top caravan for overnight stays plus eight bell tents for the wedding party. They are 5m diameter and can hold four single beds or one big double; it all depends on guests’ requirements. The decor is very country shabby chic. Maybe, in the longer term, we’ll branch out beyond weddings, like holding hen parties. Our middle barn can be adapted for different purposes such as beer pong, a photo booth or chill out area. Couples interested in having a humanist service will hold the service here as it has fantastic views.
How did you research and source your marquee?
For our wedding a local company lined our barn like a marquee at a third of the price of having a full outdoor marquee. We have stuck with that company since. Some guests want the full marquee set-up but more are opting for the rustic look of the barn. There’s definitely a wow factor when you walk into the barn and discover a marquee inside! It’s erected by placing the pole structure within the barn and then adding the lining. The floor is carpeted, the dance floor is black and white squares and the walls and roof are white lining fabric. It can hold 150 seated with the option of an extension marquee to the back of the barn which increases the capacity.
How would you describe your ‘style’?
We offer a blank canvas for guests to ‘paint’ with their own ideas and decorations and do whatever they like. We allow people the freedom of choice; it makes us more appealing. Yes, we have a recommended suppliers list of caterers, florists and the like but guests are not obliged to use it. Certainly, a DIY venue requires more work but guests should be allowed to add their personal touch – it’s their wedding after all. This year will be tough in terms of the workload but I’m going to enjoy the process and what each couple brings to their wedding will provide me with more ideas to suggest to others.
Where does your husband fit into the business?
Well, it is a joint enterprise. James is a self-employed farrier but looks after the everyday maintenance work. He also built a grillkota (a wooden structure designed for cooking grill meals outside the house), with a fire pit in the middle and festoon lighting in the tree line. It’s a great space for evening celebrations: at a recent wedding guests congregated there to play their musical instruments and sing. James is also a keen gardener so all the flower beds and hanging baskets are always perfect for the wedding days. He’s now also offering a bacon butty breakfast service for campers the morning after the wedding.
How do you publicise the venue?
I made the website myself; I’m not particularly technically minded but it was quite easy. The website is linked to our Facebook page. These two seem to have provided sufficient publicity to get bookings. We thought about using Festival Brides, which insisted on taking charge of the booking process and website, but I wanted to stay in control.
What challenges have you faced?
None yet although this year, our first as a proper wedding venue, will likely be a steep learning curve. The pressure of being responsible for couples’ special days will be a challenge: I don’t want to let anyone down. Hopefully my own experience of the space and being wed here will help.
Have you any other hospitality interests?
We hold a charity hog roast called ‘Deepdale Do.’ The first year we attracted some 120 people and raised about £2,000 for the Yorkshire ambulance service and last year we gave to the local riding group. We have music and food and a bar; it’s a fun event.
Any advice for those entering the industry?
Just don’t be greedy. Although this is a business I want to give couples a wedding in a beautiful setting on their own terms. At Deepdale they’re able to have a really spectacular wedding without spending a fortune, although they can if they want to!
Do you enjoy the business?
Every day is different, every wedding is different – what’s not to like?
- MARQUEE: Black Cherry Events – 01924 254738 / 07990 558475 / www.blackcherryevents.co.uk, Will’s Marquees – 07790 221252 / 01423 339915 / www.wills-marquees.co.uk
- FURNITURE: As above and Black’s Furniture Hire – 01347 878838 / www.eventfurniture.com
- BELL TENTS: Good In Tent – 07928 084605 / firstname.lastname@example.org
- LIGHTING: Black Cherry Events – 01924 254738 / 07990 558475 / www.blackcherryevents.co.uk, Fabulously Finished – 01439 788416 / www.fabulouslyfinished.co.uk
- CATERING: Hog and Apple – 07984 319168 / thehogandapple.co.uk
- TOILET HIRE: Loos2ewe – 01723 582346 / www.loos2ewe.co.uk