I'm West country born and bred and it is definitely my favourite county for a quintessentially English country wedding with a quirky twist.
Now I'm in my 30s, friends nuptials have recently taken me around some truly weird and wonderful venues. I believe as you get older, brides are more intent on getting the 'wow' factor out of their event; due to a little healthy competition with friends and family, perhaps.
Here are five of my favourite places for adventurous English roses to check out for their reception or wedding night.
Foodies will love the new converted thatched cottage at the award-winning Riverbarn Restaurant, just outside of Salisbury. People from all over Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire visit the Fonthill Bishop eatery and its relaxed, yet romantic, interior make it perfect for a post-registry office reception. After dinner, you can retire to The Granary, a beautifully restored thatched barn, for your wedding night and there are three other comfortable guest rooms, rated four stars by the AA, for your wedding party to enjoy.
The Swan at Stoford
Another foodie paradise, The Swan is perfect for weddings big and small as they offer a range of packages from £29.95 - or opt for an on-trend BBQ or Hog Roast to enjoy in the grounds overlooking the river Wyle. The building has been a hostelry since the 18th century and, in March, a team from Paranormal Wiltshire carried out an overnight investigation into rumours of a haunted barn, in which a landlord in the 1700s was burnt to death. They recorded lots of audio and one investigator saw his very first ghostly apparition! If you like TV shows like Most Haunted, book your reception here and enjoy an overnight stay in room 1, which has a gorgeous four-poster bed. Check out my restaurant review here for more information on the pub's stunning homemade dishes and desserts.
Larmer Tree Gardens
Home of the infamous festival, Larmer Tree Gardens offer a Secret Garden package for a maximum of 30 guests; perfect for a chic and simple celebration. The 'wow' factor comes not just from the stunning grounds but also from peacocks and free flying macaws, which complete the enchanting and tranquil atmosphere. Created by General Augustus Pitt Rivers in 1880, the Larmer Tree is recognised by English Heritage as a Garden of National Importance; and what's more important than your wedding day? For catering, choose from a relaxed BBQ, Victorian Tea, or formal dining in the elegant new Pavilion, which can comfortably seat 150 guests.
Wagons & Fire
Fancy spending your wedding night in a handmade wagon? Wagons & Fire offer pop-up accommodation all over the country, not just at their Pewsey Vale site in Wiltshire, that is loved by eco brides as well as festival lovers. The team supervise guests that bring their own tents and provide a fire pit and firewood, a drinking water supply, handcrafted bar structure, kitchen wagon, a recycling and washing up station, an eco-toilet & shower wagon, wooden benches, barrels and more! If you book the Pewsey site, you are there from Thursday to Sunday so you can take your time over the wedding prep.
Church Farm is truly a blank canvas for creative brides. Featuring a seven-acre natural meadow and quaint, converted farmhouses, you can decorate the marquee to your liking and inject personality into your sunny summer nuptials. It's situated in Kington Langley, which is easily accessible from the M4 via Chippenham for your out-of-town guests.