Tom & Stephanie's Wonderful, Wonderful Wedding

When I first met Tom & Stephanie more than a year ago I knew they would have a fantastic wedding at Clavelshay Barn – sometimes you just get that feeling – and I was right!

I woke at 6am to rain beating on the window but that old country saying “rain before seven, fine before eleven ” is usually true and the rain stopped mid-morning. The bride and her girlfriends arrived early in the morning and my house was filled with the sounds of champagne corks popping, glasses clinking, hairdryers and chatter…

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Meanwhile the marquee was ready and being filled with beautiful flowers – peonies, roses and lovely scented stocks. Guy and I were busy in the kitchen preparing the canapés for the afternoon – sandwiches, smoked salmon blinis, cheese scones, scones with jam & clotted cream, chocolate eclairs ... Bob had the hog cooking on the spit ready for the wedding breakfast – all systems go ...

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We all helped put out the chairs on the lawn for the ceremony and it looked beautiful, just waiting for the guests to arrive.

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The sun almost started to come out from the behind the clouds just as the guests arrived and the wind died down. The jazz band played as Tom waited nervously for the arrival of his bride. Stephanie looked absolutely stunning in her beautiful dress and as she walked across the lawn on the arm of her brother Courtney to Tom, the clouds parted and the sun shone brilliantly. There was not a dry eye in the place! As Stephanie reached Tom, the only sounds to be heard were birds singing and a woodpecker drumming – an unforgettable moment. A moving ceremony and then natural confetti throwing and then ... Time for Pimms and canapés, photographs and more Pimms.

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Guests made their way to the marquee where the order of the day was the speeches first and then the wedding breakfast. The hog was cooked to perfection by Bob, expertly carved by Guy and Bob and enjoyed by all.

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After the meal, it was eventually time for the first dance – an important moment on any wedding day but especially so on this day. Stephanie’s father, George Williams who sadly died 8 years ago was lead singer with a motown/soul group called The Tymes. So Tom & Stef’s poignant choice of song for their first dance was one of his songs – famous in the 60’s and called “Wonderful, Wonderful ”.

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Then time for live music with local band “Snappa” (snappa.co.uk) who were brilliant and had everyone dancing all night – especially Stef’s Grandad, who at 89 was keen to dance with all the pretty girls! There was even a fantastic dance off between the woman and men in the wedding party, Steph's brother Courtney showed them how it was all done when he busted out a few Michael Jackson moves. No-one wanted the party to end including us!

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Thank you Tom & Stephanie for choosing Clavelshay Barn and for letting us share this very special day with you – it was an absolute pleasure and we wish you every happiness in your life together.

Sue and the Clavelshay Barn team x

Highlights of 2012

What a year!   So many great moments  - it’s difficult to remember them all but here’s a selection

 Awards

We are delighted to have received the following awards in 2012:

Taste of the West - Silver Award for the 4th year running in recognition of our commitment to local food.

Somerset Life Restaurant of the Year  - in the final 3 for the 2nd year running

Somerset Life Chef of the Year – Guy was in the final 3

Sustainable Restaurant  Association- awarded 3 stars as a Sustainability Champion (the only one in Somerset to receive this award)

Sedgemoor District council – 5 star hygiene rating

Weston College Hospitality & Catering Learner of the Year & Weston College Overall Learner of the Year  - both won by our apprentice chef Brad Edrich.

Countryside Alliance Awards 2012 – Enterprise category.  In the South West Regional Finals -the judges are visiting us in early January so fingers crossed!  It’s time Clavelshay Barn won a major award  and 2013 could be the year!

We are so lucky to have a great team, led by Guy Horley in the kitchen and Alex Ballinger in the restaurant. We work hard but also have fun!  A fabulous new member of the team – Nadine from Africa/Australia/Italy –  a will o’ the wisp with the stamina of an ox. She has re-vamped the website and organises events/marketing for us, and she gives me a hug when she thinks I need it. The girls are great and an asset to the business – customers often ask where we get such lovely smiley girls – “E-bay” I tell them.

Weddings

A fantastic year for weddings, despite the weather. We only had one which was rained off but the party more than made up for it – topping my leader board of bottles of wine drunk per head! We also certainly remember the wedding with the Irish guests enjoying the” craic “-  singing until 4am, I seem to recall!

A snapshot of memories for you:

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Magical outdoor blessings on the lawn with the natural backdrop of the valley – simple yet moving beyond the brides’ wildest dreams and always had me in tears along with all the families.

"The location, of course, is a dream and I haven’t seen so many happy, smiling faces for a very long time"

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Beautiful marquees decorated to each couples’ wishes – every one different and very personal. Stunning brides and nervous grooms, lively children, anxious Mums, - all have played a major part in our year. Bride and groom arriving by vintage tractor, vintage bus, outdoor skittles, coconut shy, outdoor games of every description – we love them all.

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Music – who can forget Ollie & Estelles’s magical festival style wedding? – music all the way – rounding off the day with the Afro beat band from London which made our valley rock. Or the fab Beatles tribute band who were amazing. Or Alex who performed in two bands at his own wedding and was fantastic. Then there was the ceilidh band which got all ages dancing – from 3 year olds to grannies. Sitting around the fire pit, watching the stars after all the guests had gone (bar the ones staying with me) singing songs with Leo on the ukulele.

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Our amazing girls – Rosie who sings, plays the keyboard and writes her own songs – a talent to watch for the future and Camilla who has a voice which raises the rafters of our 17th C barn.  We are hoping to hold some music nights next year featuring them both.

The wedding where we had 6ins of water on the floor of the ladies toilet the night before the wedding and we managed to fix it and clean up that morning so that no-one knew. The band who blew all the power in the marquee and had Alex & I running around the farm in the dark finding new cables – still have the nettle rash! Power was restored thanks to Bill’s ingenious use of extension cables from the farm.

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Parties – lots of them and all a pleasure. The Squirrels come to mind – can’t think why!  A group of ladies who have one aim – to enjoy themselves and so they did. So much the first time that they came back again and brought their menfolk with them and had a great night. They met up with another group and are now planning a joint party with us in the New Year.

Which brings me to the New Year –  with lots to look forward to. We are running a series of good food workshops, after the success of the cheese making and sausage making this year. As well as food, we are holding some art workshops, such as photography, printmaking and watercolour painting. Have a look at our website for details.

Thank you all for your support in 2012 – we look forward to seeing you in 2013.

We wish you all a Happy & healthy New Year

Sue x