Dartmoor Wedding Venue - Coombe Trenchard

Dartmoor Wedding Venue - Devon - Vintage Country House

A Beginning of Lauren & Matt's Coombe Trenchard Wedding Journey

WeddingsSarah Marsh8 Comments

Hello! My name is Lauren, my partner is Matthew and we are getting married at Coombe Trenchard in September 2018. We have been together over 6 ½ years and engaged since 1st May 2017. We met in our hometown of Teignmouth in Devon, where my parents owned a coffee house and we worked together (our love grew, as did my addiction to skinny lattes). We moved to Bristol 2 years ago and now live together in our first house with our two girls Lula and Eva ... our cats not children!

I’m a little quick of the mark, or as Matt would say impatient. As soon as we got home from St Ives (where Matt proposed) we started looking for venues. Our whole focus was around getting married in a Church, for us this was something we both felt was important. I downloaded the Bridebook app, searched for venues with churches within walking distances and contacted four of them. 

We called Anne at Lewtrenchard, the lady who oversees the local church for Vicar Tim, and after a quick and friendly response from Emily at Coombe Trenchard, booked to go and see our first church and venue (which actually turned out to be our one and only church and venue!)

Obviously it rained, as it always does for us, but we pulled up to the sweetest church and the sun came out from behind the clouds.  It was stunning: the fields close by were full of flowers and the trees loaded with leaves. We walked into the tiny church and were instantly in love: it's small and humble interior with beautiful wood carving and stain glass windows were just how we imagined our Church.

We then made our way to Coombe Trenchard and as we pulled into the grounds the most beautiful peacock was walking in front of our car. We were instantly welcomed by the lovely Sarah and had goosebumps as we were taken on a tour around this stunning venue. Sitting in snuggly chairs with a china cup of tea and homemade biscuits, it was safe to say at that point looking out at Dartmoor with the blossom blowing by and the sun shining we had both already decided that Coombe Trenchard was our choice!

Fiona Walsh Photography

We provisionally booked the date with Sarah there and then, but returned a few weekends later with our parents, who were all in awe of how beautiful Coombe Trenchard is. The six of us where guided round the venue and as our parents took it in for the first time, Matt and I could already start to see our day form ahead of us!

So nearly three months on to being engaged, we are delighted to have Coombe Trenchard for our special day and now have only just over a year until we will be one of the select few couples to get married with Sarah and Emily. The save the dates have already gone out and we are looking forward to our third visit in September to meet Thirst Choice our caterers!

Which I will share with you next time …

Lauren x

Timing Considerations for Your Big Day

WeddingsSarah MarshComment

Here at Coombe Trenchard, we are very fond of a spreadsheet. Wedding days have so much detail, components and contributors that we find it infinitely useful to see the day take shape in clear, concise lines; something we begin compiling from the very first meeting. Most brides want a relaxed day, and the very best way to ensure this is to plan your day in detail, meaning everything has been thought of, decided on and magically taken care of by Coombe Trenchard: total relaxation ensues.

When compiling these wondrous lists of wedding day glory, we often get asked about what time things ‘should’ be done, how long parts of the day generally take and what we would recommend. And, when planning a wedding for the first time, it’s likely you won’t have a clue how to pace and plan the precise timings of your special day. So, combining our experience and pure delight in making things easier for our bride and grooms, we thought we’d write a blog post about it.

Getting Ready

We asked the wonderful Elle Hitchens for her top make-up tips for brides to be, which you can read here, and she estimates that your make-up will take around an hour, with final touches taking place just before the ceremony. Consider when you will need to get up, plan a leisurely breakfast of your favourite foods (Sarah will be happy to discuss!) and ensure plenty of time to get ready without a rush. Your preparation time will depend on your bridal squad numbers and how intricate your bridal look is, but we recommend ensuring at least 3 hours of preening and excitement before even thinking of putting your dress on.


Eclection Photography

Eclection Photography


When deciding on the time of your ceremony, it is worth giving consideration to feeding your guests. If the ceremony is before 2pm, guests may not have had lunch before coming to your wedding, and so you would need to think about food being available after the ceremony (we would highly recommend one of Coombe Trenchard’s famous high teas!). Any time after 2pm, and guests will likely have eaten before arriving, and you can simply think about your wedding breakfast later in the afternoon (possibly with canapé during your drinks reception).

You can find out more about the legalities of getting married here, but if you are having a civil ceremony  at Coombe Trenchard, it will last around 20-25 minutes (depending on readings). A confetti shot under the clock tower takes another ten minutes, and so approximately 35 minutes after the start of your ceremony, you can be planning your drinks reception.



Drinks Reception

The standard time for a drinks reception is 2 hours. This gives time for you to mingle with your guests, sneak away for some photographs within Coombe Trenchard’s incredible grounds and soak up the elation that comes from being pronounced husband and wife. It’s also a great time to make use of Coombe Trenchard’s lawn games, including croquet & Jenga!



Speeches can be short, or last for a very long time! It can be worth giving speakers a guide, perhaps allocating approximately 10 minutes per speech so that you know how much time to plan for this part of your day. Speeches no longer need to happen in a strict order during/after dinner. We have bridal couples using the Main Hall’s Minstrels’ Gallery to enjoy afternoon speeches (groom’s do like to get this part out of the way!) or couples deciding to spread the speeches out over the course of the day. The choice is yours and we are happy to discuss ways in which to make your speeches less nerve-wracking as well as utilising our beautiful spaces.


Wedding Breakfast

Your wedding breakfast will take longer than you think. Of course, a three-course meal will take longer than say a picnic, or hogroast to be served, but it’s worth allowing extra time to savour, chatter and, of course, enjoy coffee afterwards! Depending on whether you have provided food after the ceremony, and the timing of your Mr & Mrs moment, your wedding breakfast can be served anywhere between 4pm-7pm. Discuss timings with your caterer in more detail, and we will liaise with them to ensure guests are where they need to be, and food is served promptly.





Evening Food

Most couples like to serve evening food at around 9pm, depending on when your wedding breakfast finished. This can be anything from a Coombe Trenchard Treat Table to pizzas or cheeseboards. Ensure food is available for a decent length of time, guests will be enjoying themselves so much it may take some time for everyone to snack sufficiently.

Lucy Wallace Photography

Lucy Wallace Photography

Whilst this general guide is intended as a starting point when approaching your wedding day timeline, we work closely with all of our bridal couples to create a bespoke and enjoyable timeline for their day: all part of the renowned Coombe Trenchard service.  

Happy Planning!

Post-Wedding Thoughts from Real Bride Nikki

WeddingsSarah MarshComment

So we got married! I can’t believe that we are now Mr & Mrs Sherriff, but a month ago Coombe Trenchard hosted us for what I can honestly say was the best day of my life! I know people say that all the time and I’ve always thought they were exaggerating and it couldn’t possibly top all other days you ever had ever, but honestly it was amazing! The sun came out, we exchanged our vows in front of the people who really mattered to us and then we had the most relaxed perfect party in just the best surroundings!

I always knew Coombe Trenchard would be the perfect venue for us as it just had the most relaxed homely feeling and Sarah gave us so much flexibility from the start to make the venue and the day really feel ‘us’.

I hadn’t realised quite how emotional walking down the beautiful staircase at Coombe Trenchard would be to meet Ant and get married but I’m so glad that we had that first look and walked in together. I think I must have been squeezing Ant’s hand so hard he should have had bruises!

The ceremony room looked so elegant with the most epic floral display over the fireplace by our amazing florist Emma from Brompton Buds. Her floral displays throughout the day just blew us away … the flowers really made the perfect finishing touch for me.

Clare Kinchin Photography

Clare Kinchin Photography

Amazingly the sun came out at the last minute and our guests were treated to the full glorious impact of Coombe Trenchard’s gardens with lots of garden games, a popcorn bar and an icecream cart for them to enjoy, plus some amazing live singing from the Swing Kings.

Sarah and the team served a beautiful afternoon tea which everyone loved, our gluten free guests were especially impressed to be so well catered for!

Everyone was so surprised as well to find that there was a ‘second terrace’ for the evening reception! It was only the best moment to reveal the Coach House and Italian Terrace to them and for them to explore and find our photo booth area, chill out zone and the dessert cart and pizza van!

We rounded the evening up with an amazing band who blew everyone away … we pretty much didn’t stop dancing from the moment they started

I can’t thank Sarah & Emily & the team at Coombe Trenchard enough for everything they did for us in the planning of our wedding and on the day.  My advice to any couples planning on getting married at Coombe Trenchard is to really utilise the time and experience which they are happy to offer … and if they ask you for a spreadsheet of timings for your day please do it! Having a really detailed plan for the day and going over everything in minute detail might seem such a ‘faff’ and unnecessary when you’re in the stress of planning but honestly you won’t regret it. Because we were so organised before the day we were able to totally relax on the day itself knowing that everything was being taking care of for us.

I can’t believe I won’t be back to discuss my wedding plans with Sarah & Emily any more, I’ll definitely miss our chats and cups of tea. Thank you for following our wedding journey on the blog.

Nikki x

Unique & Proud - The Coombe Trenchard Way

WeddingsSarah MarshComment

Unique and Proud – The Coombe Trenchard Way    

Weddings have evolved. No longer a vehicle for sugared almond sales and varied only in pastel tones or train length, weddings are now truly a celebration of the couple themselves and personality is positively encouraged. Coombe Trenchard couldn’t be happier about this progression and welcome fresh ideas from every bridal couple we meet, all envisioning our interesting spaces in nuanced thought bubbles of wedding joy.

Freckle Photography

Freckle Photography

You see, Coombe Trenchard’s history is embedded with more than its fair share of characters and individuality, not to mention the Arts & Crafts movement that applauded and sought one-off craftsmanship and stylised interest at every turn. Of course, we are also home to the country’s only disappearing wall, a true feat of design, engineering and radical genius. You can see the disappearing wall in action on this video, and be rest assured its unique magic permeates every part of the house. After much research and discussion with historians, we have concluded it was built purely because they could, a wanton use of talent and manpower that shouted extraordinary from the rooftops. And so, since 1906 when the house was built, those with a penchant for the unique have been drawn to Coombe Trenchard’s special kind of mysterious charm. We’re still hunting for the wine cellar, you’ll have to visit to discover what the Billiard Room walls are clad in (not something you would find in John Lewis!) and we continue to baffle visitors and historians alike whilst trying to piece together the story of this exquisite Edwardian home.

This, of course, makes us a wedding venue with a difference, a grand home with a big heart that has a soft spot for things being done a bit differently; yet still achingly beautiful and timelessly stylish. Wedding suppliers, guests and visitors alike are filled with curiosity at the exquisite detailing and distinctive feel of the house and one of our 2016 weddings graced the cover of Mr & Mrs Unique magazine, something we feel wonderfully fitting for our deliciously different corner of Devon. Balanced with a hearty helping of vintage objects d’art and spectacularly atmospheric woodland, we can’t think of anywhere more wonder-filled that Coombe Trenchard for a day that is truly unique. 

Find our more by downloading our brochure here.

A Chat with Elle Hitchens on Bridal Beauty

WeddingsSarah MarshComment

Elle Hitchens is a Bristol-based MUA who has worked on fashion shows, beauty shoots and even with celebrity clients. She possesses a zen-like calm that is a much needed tonic to wedding morning head-spins, but also gets excitedly animated when discussing make-up looks. Her clients get to feel like wondrous versions of their former selves, with added Beyonce-level confidence. 

As we receieve so many bridal queries about make-up artists here at Coombe Trenchard, we thought it best to sit down with an expert and get a professional opinion on the glamorous world of wedding day make-up (and find out how how to prepare!) 

Tell us a bit about yourself

"I've been working as a makeup artist for over 10 years and in that time have done over 700 weddings! It's such a total pleasure to help get brides ready on their big day. I've met some wonderful women and their families - I get a bit emotional just thinking about it!!"

"I worked for MAC for a few years whilst building up my freelance work and then eventually went completely self employed and haven't looked back. I love my job and i'm so grateful that I love what I do!"

What would be your top tips for brides looking to book a make-up artist?

"Ask around - a first hand recommendation from someone is a great tool. Do your research, look for a comprehensive website with real wedding images and testimonials from previous clients. You get what you pay for, make sure your artist uses high quality products and is fully trained and insured. Sometimes cheap is not best!"

"Don't leave it too late - the best artists sometimes get booked a year or two in advance - especially for Saturdays!"

What happens at a make-up trial?

"At a makeup trial you will work out your look for the day, you will talk about all aspects of the day including your dress, hairstyle, accessories, flowers, the colours or theme of the wedding etc. Be prepared by having a think about what style of makeup you like and also it's important to think about what you don't like. Images of makeup you like can be helpful too. I love a Pinterest board!"

How long does it normally take to complete a bride’s make up on the morning of the wedding?

"It can depend on the look but normally I advise an hour to complete the brides makeup and then there may be finishing touches later if necessary."

What is your favourite part of being involved in wedding preparation?

"It's a truly special thing to be involved in the preparations - I love the atmosphere on wedding mornings, there's usually a lot of love and laughter!"

What are the current trends for bridal beauty?

"Glowing, fresh skin is always popular. More and more people are using lashes and aren't afraid of being a bit more daring with their makeup - but you can't beat a classic natural bridal look. Most people want to look like themselves - but the best version. "

What would you recommend as a beauty regime in the lead up to the big day?

"A simple start is to drink plenty of water, keep your skin hydrated and if you don't have a skincare routine then start one. It can be a simple as remembering to moisturise or switching from wipes (which can strip your skin) to a nourishing cleanser. Or introducing a serum/face mask/exfoliator into your current routine. And remember a moisturiser with SPF is essential."

Freckle Photography at Coombe Trenchard

Freckle Photography at Coombe Trenchard

What beauty product could you not live without?

"Such a hard question as really theres a few, but it has to be mascara! Probably like most women out there I feel like I can take on the world as long as I have a bit of mascara on. My lashes are very short and fair compared to my hair colour so it makes a big difference when I emphasise them a bit!"



Thank you for chatting with us Elle! 

You can find out more about Elle and her work on her website