Dartmoor Wedding Venue - Coombe Trenchard

Dartmoor Wedding Venue - Devon - Vintage Country House

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

Holly & Phill - 30th August 2015

Sarah MarshComment

Wedding inspiration can be sought in many places, namely Pinterest, wedding magazines and beautiful blogs, but also within your venue and how it has been styled and enjoyed previously. Having built wonderful relationships with so many of our bridal couples, it is truly moving to re-live their special days at Coombe Trenchard, as we ask them for some invaluable advice and an insight into some spectacular snaps! 

On 30th August 2015, Holly wed Phill in a pastel-toned, tea-filled flurry of floral elegance and vintage prettiness. We asked her to talk us through her inspiration, planning process and top tips for wedding success, as well as share her favourite images from the day with us (courtesy of Fizz Photography).

"From the moment we visited Coombe Trenchard we knew that was the venue for us, so much so that it was our one thing that that could compromise on, selecting the only remaining Summer date for 2015. The house was beautiful and full of charm and character, everywhere we looked there was a different and unique photo opportunity. The best thing about Coombe Trenchard was the amount of options it gave us as a couple, there were numerous licensed areas to the venue which allowed us to have a dry weather and wet weather game plan.

The venue, in the end allowed us to have the most beautiful wedding day journey; starting in the great hall where the mistral gallery leant itself to a natural aisle and showcase of the wedding party, through to afternoon tea on the Italian terrace overlooking our home scenery of Dartmoor, followed by the marquee for the wedding dinner and finally into the courtyard for dancing and partying under the stars, which was a complete surprise for all of our guests! With the band only being revealed upon announcement and the opening of the double barn doors. I cannot tell you how many people have told us that this was the best wedding venue they had ever seen, including many of the suppliers, what a hidden gem! Both Phillip and Sarah opened their home to us and our guests and were accommodating from start to finish. Nothing was too much trouble and their flexibility is a unique trait amongst wedding venues,  allowed us to create a bespoke and tailor-made experience. Sarah even did a fabulous job keeping the guests happy during the 45 minute delay on the ceremony start time!"

"The first consideration of the wedding was the colour scheme - once we had chosen the grey and pink theme we knew that everything else would be delicate pastel and pretty. Flowers are determined by the time of year, my preference would have been peonies, however in August these were not available. We chose to recreate the delicate and pretty feel by selecting peony-like roses, with soft fluted edges, and picking out the grey in the bouquet with sprigs of eucalyptus. We then tied together the colour scheme with our overall wedding theme; being a huge tea drinker and with both Phill and I loving the classic afternoon tea we soon had our theme. Our vision was of a celebratory afternoon tea on the Italian terrace with fizz, music from a string quartet and garden games, the weather was kind and this is exactly what we got! The tea theme then snowballed with the rest of the venue décor. Our canvas marquee was decorated with home made teacup candles for favours, with an abundance of pale pink, grey and lace bunting which was lovingly handmade by my mother. The whole look was pulled together by the birdcage centrepieces and hanging floral arrangements, with laser cut bird and tea party stationary, which carried our theme from the save the dates, through to the thank you cards. Other nice touches included a photo display area, with pictures of us as a couple and original wedding photographs of both Phill's parents and my parents on their wedding days, with a combined total of nearly 90 years of successful marriage behind them!"

"As always, it is hard to pick just one favourite moment of the day, but both Phill and I agree that the best moments were those which allowed the two of us to quietly reflect on each part of the day. For example after the ceremony we both exited through to another beautiful room, whilst our guests relaxed on the Italian terrace. We had a glass of fizz and we shared a quiet moment of excitement and reflection in our first minutes as husband and wife. Later before the dinner we walked the grounds and we were able to look back at the terrace and observe the day in action. Finally, when all was over we sat in the beautiful bridal suite and chatted about the day, opening cards filled with loving sentiment from all our family and friends into the small hours of the morning. I must say though aside from those reflective moments, the band were spectacular, catering to all audiences and our impromptu dance routine to Queens 'Bohemian Rhapsody' encouraged by Phil Rostance & the Marshall band sure made people smile!"

Top Tips from Holly

"Don't let time trick you! We had plenty of time to get ready before the ceremony, however after a leisurely and very pleasant first few hours of the morning, the ceremony soon crept up on us and before I knew it guests had arrived and were seated, and I was still in a dressing gown with no lip colour on!"

"Regardless of creating a list of must have photographs for our photographers, we came away with so many missed photo opportunities. Your photographers are creative people and sometimes this creativity can take over on the day, with the organisational element being overlooked. We wanted a mix of relaxed observatory photography and some more formal shots. I would definitely recommended that a groomsman or bridesmaid assists the photographers with organising the guests required for the formal photographs. For example we missed out on key photographs such as my husband and I with all of the bridesmaids and best man. These are KEY shots and a must have for the album, given our time again we would have insisted that we took 5 minutes to capture these."

"Always use local where possible - especially for parts of the wedding that get pulled together last minute. The day runs a lot smoother if the cake maker can coordinate with the florist, and the photographers etc."

"Also food related - we got married at 1.30pm, and we chose a celebratory afternoon tea and fizz for after the ceremony, this completely defined us as a couple and gave us fabulous photo opportunities, but most importantly is saw our guests through until the wedding dinner, as most guests would have had an early start, so they were all very complimentary about the afternoon pick me up. Note to all brides to be: if you are having sweet treats or canapés, ask one of the bridesmaids or even the caterers to put aside a small plate for the bride and groom!"

"Try not to stress too much about the weather! In truth, you really cannot influence this and therefore try to focus your energy into the rest of the day. In the end, despite rain right until the last minute, the clouds parted, the sun shone and the day was perfect!"

Holly and Phil-488.jpg

Supplier Credits

* Sassi Holford Taunton - Bridal Gown

* Pirouette Exeter - Bridesmaid Dresses & Bridal Hair accessories

* Flower Scene -  Florists

*  Centrepiece Cake Company - Cake

* Beautiful Tent Company - Canvas Marquee

*  Outsideinn Cuisine - Caterers

* Phil Rostance & The Marshall band 

* Four Seasons String quartet 

* Hummingbird Card Company - Stationery

The Thinking Behind 'Boutique & Beautiful' Weddings

WeddingsSarah MarshComment

Becoming personally invested in every bridal couple that chooses to hold their special day at Coombe Trenchard means that we learn from each unique wedding journey. We take notes, we excitedly converse over tea and biscuits and we feel the ups and downs as they do. Sometimes, we hear that the logistical elements are stressful, sometimes it’s hard to ensure all preferred suppliers are available on the same day, and sometimes it’s simply finding enough hours in the day to organise the myriad of detail that goes into a wedding. So many of our bridal couples are taking advantage of our glorious part of the world, yet do not currently reside nearby and therefore find it difficult to attend trials, tastings and meetings or be on hand to meet with those all-important suppliers. 

Of course, we help as much as possible and offer a level of service that has surprised and delighted many a bride (and industry professionals!); carefully compiling our recommend suppliers list and discussing which would be a best fit for each unique couple, offering limitless visits, emails, chats on the phone and ensuring the biggest day of your life runs like clockwork. Seeing such a growing trend for mid-week celebrations and wanting to utilise our wealth of contacts, knowledge and penchant for organisation, we set about designing a day that was spectacularly stress-free.

With great enthusiasm, we discussed our projects with our favoured suppliers, knowing how much they enjoy working at Coombe Trenchard and happy to be offering a solution to time-scarce bridal couples. This seed of an idea was met with much excitement, and so, ‘Boutique & Beautiful’ was born. 


Here at Coombe Trenchard, we are unable to do things without a luxurious undertone (we blame our opulent yet charming Edwardian surroundings) and so the ideas for what constitutes ‘mind-blowingly special’ came thick and fast.

Possibly our favourite aspect of ‘Boutique & Beautiful’ is the pre-wedding overnight stay at Coombe Trenchard, giving couples the chance to meet with suppliers, decide on one of our 12 licenced locations in which to say ‘I do’ and indulge in some quality time together whilst nestled on the edge of Dartmoor. We can’t think of anything more romantic than wedding planning whilst exploring the gardens, woodland and sumptuous interiors of the charming country home in which you will soon be wed.

Of course, the deluxe treatment continues through to the big day itself, with vintage champagne saucers to sip from on the south facing Italian terrace, mouthwatering delights from exquisite caterers and hand-designed stationery to delight your guests. We’ve even thought of marshmallows for toasting over the fire pits adjacent to our restored Coach House, overlooking Brentor.


It’s been a joy to compile aspects and contributors that we know make a wedding one to remember and we are hugely proud of ‘Boutique & Beautiful’ and the luxuriously laid back new choice it presents to our bridal couples, whose happiness and wedding satisfaction mean so much to us. 

You can download our stunning new 'Boutique & Beautiful' brochure here.

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