Dartmoor Wedding Venue - Coombe Trenchard

Dartmoor Wedding Venue - Devon - Vintage Country House

January blog from Nikki our 'Real Bride Blogger'

WeddingsSarah MarshComment

Oh my goodness its 2017! I can now officially say we get married this year! To be honest this fills me with a lot of mixed feelings. I’m obviously massively excited … I can’t wait to get married and also get together with all our family and friends and have bloody good knees up! I’m also incredibly nervous though … I’m an over-planner and over-thinker at the best of times so I’m trying very hard to not let the nerves get the better of me but also make sure everything is as planned as possible so on the day I can just hand everything over to Sarah and Emily and relax.

Since my last post we have sent our invitations out. Designing my own invitations, as a wedding stationer, was daunting but also incredibly exciting and I think we managed to strike the right balance between them being pretty but also fun and a little bit geeky. Elements of the invitations were inspired by Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and Star Wars … but hopefully in a really subtle way! Our colour scheme is Navy, blush, dark pink, ivory and lots of green ferns and foliage and a bit of brown tweed. I love layering colours when I create colour schemes for stationery so this is definitely what I’ve done for our wedding. I think many people make the mistake of picking just one or two colours for their wedding and it ends up looking a little bit ‘flat’ as there is no layering or substance. My advice for any other couples who are getting married would be always to pick some neutrals as a base and then 2 or 3 ‘accent colours’ on top of that. It looks a lot more natural.

Our rsvp date is looming and we’ve had most of our guests reply but there is always an inevitable bit of chasing up. I’m looking forward to having final numbers though as then we can get all the last few bits finalised and start paying off all those deposits we put down last year!

We had a lovely visit with Sarah & Emily in November which included a very exciting discussion about food and what sandwiches and cakes we were going to have for our afternoon tea.

We also had a lovely visit to see Jennifer at Edible Essence for a taster for our wedding cake. Honestly possibly the best experience so far … me and Ant love our cake so meeting up with Jen was just heaven and we picked 3 flavours for our naked cake, plus a fourth flavour that Ant just couldn’t resist.. so we’ve ended up having a bit of a ‘groom’s cake’ on the side!

I’m beginning to get a little bit worried that with all the food we have planned our guests are going to be on a serious sugar rush for the entire day!

We have another visit to Coombe Trenchard planned for the end of January and I’ll be showing my family round for the first time which will be super exciting. It’s actually quite a bit of a wedding weekend as I’m also having my hair and make-up trial with the lovely Giselle from the Event Studios team which I’m really looking forward to!

Nikki x


Coombe Trenchard's Top Tips for Wedding Planning Joy

WeddingsSarah MarshComment

The New Year heralds a fresh wave of excitement for our 2017 brides, this is *the* year and with it the to-do list grows longer and thoughts turn increasingly to time frames and making sure all wedmin tasks are completed in time for the Big Day.

Ensuring optimum enjoyment throughout this process should be the goal, it is a completely unique time in your life and story as a couple and something you will look back on fondly in years to come. It is also a time that can feel pressurised and stressful, so we thought we’d give you all a New Year reminder on how to manage that wedding task list, and more importantly have fun doing it!

1. Involve those you love

This is such a huge one. Plan ‘wedding dates’ with your fiancé and sit down to make decisions at your favourite restaurant, or construct wedding signage whilst listening to your favourite album together. Look upon the whole process as memory-making gold, not just the wedding day itself. Take your parents to meetings and involve them, ask siblings to help you shop for last minute decorations or get the whole family round to become a production line for your favours. Those close to you will be incredibly excited for your nuptials and letting them be involved benefits everyone. Delegation is key; make the most of the people in your life and enjoy having an excuse to spend more time together.

2. Write it down

Sometimes all of those light bulb moments, forgotten emails and vague ideas of bouquets can make your head a frantic place to be. Invest in some lovely new stationery and ensure you keep a track of your thoughts and tasks to complete in an organised and clear way. Set aside an evening to go through your emails and to-do lists and streamline them into something legible and straightforward, you’ll feel happier seeing everything written down and ready to get ticked off. Pop a notepad in your bag and jot down thoughts or ideas as you have them, its best to get pen to paper for ultimate calmness.


3. Approach Things Logically and Realistically

From these lists you can work methodically and logically through the wedmin. Be realistic about what you can achieve and when, if you won’t have time then put it to one side or re-arrange other tasks. Over-stretching yourself will not lead to bridal bliss or a relaxed wedding day. There are an infinite amount of components to a wedding, so it’s best to prioritise which key elements are important to you and your partner. Set yourself goals and break down the large amount of things to sort out into manageable chunks, tackling one at a time until it is ticked off.


4. Enjoy The Freedom and Have Fun With It

Instead of feeling pressure to conform to certain aspects of a wedding, energise and inspire yourself with the knowledge that your day can be whatever you want it to be. Think back over your relationship and tie in special memories and places, project your personalities and have fun with the details that will make your wedding unique to you and your fiancé.


5.Ask for Help if You Need It

Realise when you need some advice or help and don’t be shy to ask for it! Here at Coombe Trenchard, we love to be involved every step of your planning journey and can advise on suppliers, use of our space and most things to do with wedding preparation (we have been involved in quite a few after all!). Reach out and be rewarded with peace of mind, whether from ourselves, suppliers, friends and family or your fiancé, you don’t have to do this alone.


Lucy Wallace Photography

6.Switch Off

As exciting as planning a wedding is, you also need to ensure you switch of from it once in a while! Holding onto your sanity, your life balance and making sure that your wedding doesn’t become a chore relies on taking time to think about other plans and switching your bridal brain off. If you’re finding it hard to take a break, pamper yourself, book a massage or simply have a long bath and read a book, headspace and perspective is so important.

7.Remember Why You Getting Married

Don’t let your wedding day consume you: remember that you are making a commitment to someone to build a happy marriage together and professing your love in front of the people that adore you. Your guests won’t care about the details, or your exact heel height, they will only feel your happiness, so stay calm and enjoy such a joyous time in your life.


Wishing you all happy planning and relaxing switched-off moments for 2017 (and don’t forget that we are here to help!).

A Burst of Green Goodness

Sarah MarshComment

As the last of the leaves floats down to earth and winter's chill permeates the air, we felt the urge to enjoy an injection of glorious green and relive our Spring themed shoot from earlier in the year. Making full use of the beautiful backdrop of the Coach House and with Icicle the peacock revelling in his debut, the wonderful Blue Fizz organised an array of stand out suppliers to descend on Coombe Trenchard, the results of which were then featured in Wed Magazine (issue 28).

McKenzie Brown


Bursts of vibrant, jubilant blooms were arranged by Vanessa at The Flower Mill Cornwall and the abundant foliage truly conveyed the sprightly, fresh energy of the season. Of course, daffodils had to show their smiley faces in this homage to botanical beauty and we adored their starring role in the statement headpiece, complete with twisted green twigs.


With a nod to A Midsummer Night's Dream, hair and make up by The Event Studios was kept softly romantic with highlights of green and pink. Christine Trewinnard designed the elegant gowns worn and we delighted in both the silky ruffles and the muted moss tones.


Bold, springtime colours were reflected within Knots & Kisses consistently gorgeous stationery and they looked perfect set outside for our gloriously green wedding breakfast on Coombe Trenchard's celebrated lawns.    


McKenzie Brown danced, laughed and snapped away and Samuel Daw & Co provided this sky blue blazer that popped against the rolling green hills seen from the Italian Terrace.

McKenzie Brown

Sugar Mama's Cakery created a total showstopper of a cake to celebrate the botanical goodness, handcrafting intricate sugar flowers, leaves and vines that wowed every single person on the shoot!


It was a pleasure to host such a lovely group of talented people at Coombe Trenchard and we can't wait to work on some more shoots in the coming months.

All images gratefully received from McKenzie Brown Photography

The Legal Bit!

WeddingsSarah MarshComment


The Legal Bit – A Helpful Guide for Booking Your Ceremony


The concept of getting married means different things to different people. It could conjure images of a traditional white wedding, a hand fasting, or a quiet elopement. The beauty of the wedding industry at the moment is that being individual and personal within your celebration is encouraged; your day can fit the nature of your relationship in all of its unique glory. At the heart of these exciting choices and decisions lies the important part: the legal bit. We feel it’s of utmost importance to advise happy couples exactly what they need to do to ensure smooth sailing into wedded bliss, and thought an update on the blog (to be enjoyed with a cup of tea) could be just the ticket. 

Freckle Photography

In the UK, you need to adhere to the following criteria to get hitched:

  • Be over 16 years of age (permission from parents or guardians needed if under 18)
  • Free to marry or form a civil partnership (single, divorced, widowed)
  • Not closely related

Those boxes ticked, you then need to decide where it is you wish to do the deed. Choose a civil service in a licensed location or if wanting a religious aspect, a church wedding. Both involve giving notice, and require thought as to how you would like your union to be celebrated. Coombe Trenchard offers the best of both worlds; we have 12 separate licenced areas in which you can choose a registrar to legally marry you, but we are also within walking distance of the beautiful Church of St Peter on the neighbouring Lewtrenchard estate. For further information on marrying within a church, see this page on religious ceremonies

Freckle Photography

Most of our couples choose to marry within our home and grounds and we have to stress that the venue cannot be involved with organising the registrar’s attendance or its associated legalities. We strongly advise that once you have booked your date with ourselves, that you contact Devon Registrars to make a provisional booking and pay a £50.00 deposit. This can save disappointment and timeline concerns as the ceremony slots are allocated on a first come, first serve basis and we have known disappointed couples who have had to hold their ceremony much earlier or later that they had planned. You can find out more about the cost involved here.

Once this has been booked with Devon Registrars, you will need to book an appointment to give notice at your local registry office at least 28 days before you intend to tie the knot. Once the year countdown mark has passed, you can attend an appointment and its best to do this as soon as you can. You will need to take proof of your name, age and nationality (your best bet is a passport or birth certificate) and proof of address (driving licence, council tax or recent utility bill). You will each need to pay a £35.00 registry fee to give notice.  If you have been divorced or widowed you will also need to take a decree absolute or a death certificate to prove your freedom to marry once more. The appointment is fairly straightforward and your notice to marry will be publicly displayed for 28 days, after which time the marriage may take place. 

You will need to pay the final balance of your registrar fees at least 12 weeks before your ceremony and then get to excitedly fill out a preference form, giving information about your readings, music choices, witnesses (you will need to select two) and personalised vows if applicable. (Top Tip: Order a few marriage certificates; you’ll need them for name changes etc.). There can be no religious connotations to a service conducted by a registrar, either within the readings or song choices. 

Then, when the Big Day arrives two registrars will attend Coombe Trenchard. In the half hour before your ceremony they will conduct separate interviews with each of you to confirm you are who you say you are and go over what is about to happen. These lovely people will then have the pleasure of conducting your ceremony, pronouncing you legally wed and handing over your marriage certificates. What a feeling!

Freckle Photography

Freckle Photography

If the restrictions of a ceremony conducted by a registrar don’t feel suited to the celebration you are planning, we highly recommend the use of Cornish Celebrants to create a bespoke and unique service for you. The legal service can take place at a Registry office on the same or a different day, and you are then free to celebrate within any area of Coombe Trenchard, using your own meaningful words and traditions. 

You can find our more by contacting the Devon Registration Service, browsing the government requirements and printing this handy guide.  

Happy Planning!

Tales from the other side -

WeddingsSarah Marsh2 Comments

 A Coombe Trenchard Bride’s Top Ten Tips:

Am I basking in the glow, or still completely exhausted? This is the question I am still asking myself one month into married life. It feels the same but different; marriage is comforting presence in an otherwise familiar sea of work, Sunday food shopping and Netflix decisions. Relief is palpable; the18 months of my life spent considering, communicating, dreaming and pinterest-ing were utterly and totally worth it. Possessed of a certain surreal, dreamlike quality, our wedding day went exceptionally well; sunshine, happy smiles and our favourite people investing and involving themselves in a day that meant so much to so many.  With such a momentous build up, it is a strange sensation when the day is actually happening, but also when it has happened.  That constant stream of wedding thoughts in your head cease and allow contemplation and fresh ideas to burst in, the future suddenly opens up like the first green buds in Spring. 

In my new capacity as Wedding Co-ordinator at Coombe Trenchard, I have the honour of assisting and supporting our 2017 Brides and Grooms as they take this same journey. Wonderfully, our venue is incapable of holding the same celebration twice; it is possessed with too many unique spaces, has too much room for interpretation and allows its beauty to be channelled in so many glorious ways.  My excitement at being involved as others create their ‘Best Day Ever’ is huge, my passion and true love of everything that weddings represent ensures that this responsibility feels safe and well placed amongst my positivity and enthusiasm.  

Images by the phenomenally lovely ray of sunshine Emma @ Freckle Photography. 

It seems fitting as I transition from Bride to Wedding Co-ordinator to reflect on my own experience and attempt to support those within the whirlwind and joy of planning their Big Day. So, here are the top ten tips from the new Mrs Colwill:

  • Invest emotionally in Coombe Trenchard. This may seem obvious, but I almost see Coombe Trenchard as a being. Arranging meetings with Sarah, visits with Parents and seeing Facebook and Twitter posts gave me such warm feelings. I do believe this magnificent home is imbedded with its own character and arriving the night before the wedding felt like greeting an old friend. I highly recommended booking tastings, trials and cups of tea in the lead up to your big day; it feels like you are sharing your loved ones and memories with a place that holds a very special place in your heart. 
  • Use your time wisely. I remember the see-saw effect of wedding planning well. You go through hugely productive flurries, before focusing on normal life for a short time. Do try to book in a weekend a month or an evening a week to keep up to date though. I felt very organised but still found the fortnight beforehand hugely stressful. You do not want to be handcrafting signage or frantically buying bridesmaid’s presents in grand build up. Make lists, involve friends and family and enjoy the time spent on your day in a measured and thought out way. Discuss the day in detail with Sarah and myself and give due thought to exactly how you want the day to flow and feel from the outset. 
  • Know when to stop. This goes for the immediate lead up and the overall planning. We all know that there is no limit to how much money, time and obsessive pinteresting can be spent on your wedding, but you do have to attempt to keep a level of perspective. Make it your dream day, go for what feels right and works for the two of you, but not at a cost to your happiness, stress levels or future financial prospects. I can hold my hands up and say there are a few projects that I didn’t have the strength to complete as the wedding loomed closer and they did not have any bearing on just how incredible the day was. As I ate chocolate with my Bridesmaids the night before, feeling a mixture of excitement and pinch-me nervous bubbles, I let go of the mental to-do list and concerns over stopwatches (!). Keep the balance between creating a magical day and holding onto your sanity!
  • Feel present with no pressure. There are no rules as to how you should feel on your wedding day. It is hugely overwhelming, all kinds of wonderful and every person processes and deals with that differently. In the morning I attempted a few calm moments of breathing, then put on some music and danced around the Bridal Suite in a haze of pure, unfiltered excitement. During the speeches though, I became completely overwhelmed and unable to cry, think or form words. Dreams coming true can do that to a person. Ten minutes of walking the grounds with my new husband remedied that and I could continue enjoying every second of a day that whizzes past in smiling faces and squeezy hugs. Vow to stay present, feel the moments and the love coming your way and let the day take you with it. 
  • Go on honeymoon straight away. I’m a planner, someone who copes with stress and pressure well and was lucky enough to have a wedding day that exceeded my own expectations, but I was not prepared for the wave of exhaustion that the aftermath brings. It’s happy, elated tiredness that requires you to fall asleep whilst looking at your friends pictures from the day for the thousandth time, but its best done on a beach in a bubble of joy with your new husband. 
  • Use Coombe Trenchard’s Spaces to their full potential. So much wow-factor is contained within this magnificent venue. Sarah is incredible at seeing ways to use a space she knows and cares for. We used the minstrel’s gallery for speeches, it was fantastic. These spaces are yours to optimise, celebrate and fill with love: talk to us about how best to use them.
  • Stick to your guns and be brave. Others input and expectations can cause issues as you plan a day that carries a lot of weight to it. The road was not without bumps, differences of opinion and lacklustre comments but I’m extraordinarily glad we stuck to our guns and did it our way. Choosing to celebrate your love on your own terms and deciding how much tradition to include is personal and decisions that should be made me you and your partner alone.  
  • Understand how much the day means to your family and friends.  I found that our family and friends respected and revelled in our unique take on wedding celebrations. On that day your union and happiness takes precedent in your wonderful loved ones lives. It’s an incredibly special and moving feeling to feel that positivity and unbridled joy being aimed at you and your day. Remember it, treasure it and make time to talk to everyone after the wedding, you’ll be surprised at how much your family will want to discuss such a momentous occasion. 
  • Bask in the Bridal Suite of dreams! That bed, that bathroom. A cocoon of grandeur and peace, I still feel emotional just thinking about the time spent within that beautiful part of Coombe Trenchard. 
  • Use this new found brain space to plan wonderful things to look forward to once you are wife; after all, this is just the beginning of happy ever after. 

            Emily xx