The Horn of Plenty Grace and Matt
Grace and Matt did quite a bit of research into venues around Devon and Cornwall and visited several spots before settling on The Horn of Plenty. Their criteria was pretty simple they wanted somewhere that was known for its food, was small enough to feel intimate but big enough to cater for about 80 people, and most important of all, Grace and Matt got on well with the owners and staff which makes a big difference!
They booked to stay at the Horn of Plenty before committing to it as their venue. At that point the owner, Julie, spent valuable time with Grace and Matt chatting through their our options and also got to experience the food which was delicious. The hotel also has stunning views, is very comfortable and the staff are great. After their visit, it was an extremely easy decision to book it for their big day.
"We wanted our day to be really relaxed, but also to have flexibility to add our own touches (for example, our wedding fell on the 3rd day of the football World Cup, and it was incredibly important that the four matches on that day could be shown on TV!), and at every stage through our planning with the venue, they were there to help with anything extra we needed (such as particular drinks being brought in behind the bar), or with suggestions if something wasn’t quite possible (like finding the best space for the mini-golf). Everything was taken care of"
Before getting lost in the depths of wedding planning Grace and Matt looked to family and friends for recommendations and insights. Grace's mum has been making wedding cakes for over 25 years, and a very close family friend is an amazing florist and wedding planner. Although they’re both based in Northern Ireland, they were very excited to get involved with Grace and Matt's Devon wedding.
In her friendship group, there were also many other talented people she was able to lean on – her work colleague’s wife was starting up her own hair and makeup business, Hair and makeup by Rebecca Jordan and after the first trial, Grace knew she was a great fit. Grace even got her brother (a hairdresser) to run a blow dry bar for any of the ladies who wanted it on the day of the wedding It was so relaxing getting ready and so fun with all the people coming and going from the bridal room.
It's also extremely helpful when you have a friend who used to be a wedding planner in Devon, she put Grace in touch with their photographer, magician and Stan Toohey the caricaturist.
"She was spot on with matching Thomas Frost Photography with what we were after we loved Thomas's style and personality. We couldn’t have been happier. It’s worth chatting to anyone who has experience of events, and you never know, one of your friends, or a friend-of-a-friend, could have a secret skill that would be perfect to incorporate on your day."
The dress This was perhaps the trickiest part for Grace, her work and day-to-day dress is usually casual,
"I look a bit ‘out-of-sorts’ dressed up, and my family isn’t based nearby so I was lacking any first hand motherly and sisterly advice."
Grace started the search in Exeter with a close friend, and although this wasn’t successful they had such a lovely day out and it did make it clear to her what she didn’t want!
"Jenny Packham had been recommended to me by a few friends who thought the style would suit me, and as I work quite a bit in London, I took the chance to squeeze in a quick initial appointment in their flagship store in Carlos Place. I spent an hour in the bridal boutique down the stairs in the store and felt amazing after the appointment. I was able to try on about 15 dresses, and just knew my one was in there somewhere! As I was on my own, I wanted to come back quickly with my Mum (who was visiting in a few weeks), and they were able to fit us in no problem. I was so happy with the dress, it mixed together sleek and simple with such intricate beading detail on the top"
Favourite part of the wedding was being around so many close friends and family. Many people had travelled far! Northern Ireland, Australia and New Zealand so they chose to have exclusive use of the venue from the Friday evening until Sunday. The closest people to them were with them the night before the wedding.
"On the day of the wedding, there was no rushing to get somewhere or pack which really set the relaxed tone for the weekend"
What would be your top tip for brides? "Try to have as much fun with the planning as possible. I tried to link in my appointments with meeting friends or nights away (for example, when I picked up my dress Matt and I had a night away in London for a nice meal, and when picking it up I met my close girlfriend for coffee before she came with me for the final fitting). This meant I had a chance to properly debrief and created lots of lovely chances to spend time with friends and family."
"On the day, sit back and take it all in – you will have done all the hard work by then and there will be a lot of people around to help you if you need anything. At the end of the day, no one will remember the small things that went wrong (for us, it was the weather - we had planned everything for an outside ceremony but had to switch to inside quite quickly on the morning of the wedding!), but they will remember the conversations and laughs that you had with them on the day."
What would be your top tip for grooms? "It might be tricky to get involved in the planning, but if your partner is willing, go for it! After our initial search of venues showed up many ‘near but not quite right’ places, I was feeling a bit frustrated and asked Matt to take over that part for a while. He did a bit of extra research on his own and found the Horn of Plenty, booked us in for an evening to meet the owners, have dinner and stay over, all as a surprise for me. I didn’t even know where we were going until we arrived there!"
"Try to communicate what is most important for you on the day too. The first dance was a big no for Matt, so rather than opting into this tradition we opened the dance floor with Justin Timberlake’s Can’t Stop the Feeling, with me in my LED light disco shoes and my friends and family who love to boogie."
Wedding Evening Entertainment: The Blue Lin Band