Gants Mill Weddings - 10 years of happy memories
The summer of 2017 was the 10th year that we have operated our home, Gants Mill, as a wedding venue
Gants Mill, as a wedding venue. To celebrate this milestone and over 200 wonderful weddings, we held an anniversary tea party at the venue on the aftenoon of Saturday 8th July 2017.
150 brides, grooms, and their children came and had a fantastic time, enjoying the marquee and gardens once more in typically sunny Gants Mill conditions. We were thrilled to welcome back many couples from our first season. We are particularly grateful to them, as when they booked back in 2007, they had to take our vision on trust as this was before we had held any events, or even acquired a marquee.
The guests enjoyed a traditional cream tea (Greg hand made over 300 scones!) in the marquee, and ice cream in the garden supplied the excellent Cafe Bon Bon.
Collecting buckets for charity were generously filled by the guests and over £300 was raised for the Alzheimer’s Society and the Mariposa Trust. These charities were chosen in advance by our couples.
At each wedding, Greg takes the guests on a tour of the historic mill, but usually the bride and groom don’t get to join in as they often use this time for some more photographs. This is why at the garden party the couples insisted on Greg doing a Mill Tour - and they finally got to hear his (well-rehearsed) jokes.
We are blessed to have become friends with our brides and grooms, but we did ask everyone to wear a name tag with the year and month of their wedding. We told them it was for their convenience in talking to other couples, but thought it was a good insurance policy for us. We shouldn’t have worried however, for as each couple (or family by now) arrived, the memories came flooding back.
In the last 10 years a few things have changed. The most obvious one is now we are all now virtually paperless and online. Social media is huge: when we started both Facebook and Twitter were still very new, and most people were not on them. Now they are vital.
We have remained in contact with most of our couples, and they often come back to visit us at Gants Mill. Facebook has been very helpful in this. In 2009 some of our brides set up a private closed group for people getting married here, to share ideas. This group is now a wonderful and thriving online community. When a couple book, they are invited to join (grooms as well!), and they can access advice and recommendations as well as photographs and videos from other couples. It is lovely that so many brides stay active on this group for years after their wedding, helping the new arrivals.
At the garden party it was wonderful to see brides meeting other brides who had really helped them out and provided reassurance in the nervous months, weeks and days before their wedding.
Through the group couples have swapped, shared and sold all sorts of things such as bunting, decorations, games, sweet trolleys, flower jugs and even high chairs.
Over the years we have seen trends come and go, such as chocolate fountains. Photo booths and sweet shop tables have proved more durable, though the trend now is definitely to go DIY on these rather than buy in a service.
Live musicians are just as popular at many weddings. While we still see some great DJs, there are fewer of these nowadays, as brides and grooms opt more for providing their own music on playlists using iTunes, Spotify etc.
When we started, meals were either served to table or on a buffet. A welcome trend in recent years has been the increasing popularity of mezze style sharing platters: this gets the food out quickly, but encourages informality and conversation among the guests.
Finally, while the tradition of the First Dance remains very popular, we have seen some variations over the years, including a number of First Songs: often where one of the couple surprises the other by grabbing a microphone and singing to their new spouse. On one very memorable occasion both the bride and groom separately planned to do this and enlisted Greg to accompany them on the guitar: Greg had to keep that secret from each of them for months before the big day.