Owners Sarah and Philip Marsh confirm their exciting new plans for country house weddings and events at exclusive hire Coombe Trenchard estate, in the West of Devon.
We enjoyed a wonderful meeting with Ian from Jaded Palates not too long ago, and feel so happy to be able to recommend his company to our bridal couples. Ian's passion and knowledge are truly impressive and we felt a further chat would be the best way to spread the word about the wonderful things Jaded Palates are doing:
How would you describe your business?
Jaded Palates is all about having fun with fun. Whilst we do have two shops and an online store, we like to think we are more a service business than retail. We hold a lot of events, tastings, food and wine pairings, educational talks to encourage people to see wine as fun and enjoyable, and not intimidating. We get so excited when a customer says to us "oh wow, I never would have thought that. You've really opened our eyes to this whole subject!". That gives us goosebumps!
What is your favourite thing about being involved in the wedding industry?
Being a part of a couples' special day is very exciting. Let's face it, wine is one of the fun parts of any wedding. Whether that's just an easy-drinking sipper bottle of something simple with your meal, or a carefully matched series of wines for each course your caterer/chef have prepared for you, we think wine should be one of the enjoyable things you should be planning, not worrying about it.
What advise would you give to bridal couples when thinking about their wedding wine/drinks?
Make sure you try it before you buy it! And don't be afraid to consider more unusual things - I've provided off-dry white wines for a couple who wanted mostly reds with their spicy Mexican buffet they were planning. They were amazed at how much better they went once we put it to the test!
How do you feel Jaded Palates can assist bridal couples in a unique way?
Quite often wine is one of the last things people think about when planning a wedding - it's often simply left down to a relative to dash down to the supermarket or Majestic to pick something up. We can actually make that part of the process fun - we'll sit down with you and your caterer to come up with something that everyone is happy with, or even send you samples to try if you're not able to be nearby. Our pricing is very reasonable of course (our house wines start at just £5.50), and we offer full sale-or-return for anything that isn't opened on the day, but that should be standard these days. We're all about helping you and providing that personal touch which you can't get anywhere else.
What do you feel is imperative for a wedding wine?
There should be something for everyone, firstly. Quite often people will stick to offering one white and one red because that's simplest. But not everyone likes NZ Sauvignon Blanc or Argentinian Malbec. Getting a couple of options needn't be more confusing or expensive. But more importantly, it should just be good! It sounds simple, and everyone's palate is different, but a well-made wine is not always that common.
How do you advise couples keep guests happy with their drinks selection?
As above really - offer a little variety (as well as perhaps a little information on each wine if they aren't sure - we can help with this, of course!), and enough of it! You're better off getting too much than too little: you can always return it and you'll only pay for what was opened.
How much wine to you allow per guest when totalling up how much is needed?
Every wedding is different of course, and it depends on the size: larger weddings are perhaps counter-intuitively a bit easier to cater for, because things average out more evenly. But on the whole, you plan for roughly 1/2 to 3/4 a bottle of wine per person in total. Some won't drink much if anything, others much more. But it usually averages out at around that.
Tell us about your shops and what you offer for visitors to them.
We're based in small-ish towns in Dartmoor, and very much part of the local communities we serve. We keep our selection purposefully quite small - choice is often far too intimidating when it comes to wine in my view. Why have 25 wines from the same region and leave the choice to the customer? I see our job as partly being to pick the best and put them on display, so that no matter which bottle is picked up and taken home, it will be really good. We do a lot of tasting events in store, and in Ashburton, we have a tasting room with 16 wines in dispensers permanently for people to try. It's often a great starting point for a hen or stag night too...!
Finally, what excites you most about your job?
Seriously?! I get to talk about wine all day every day. What is not to like..?!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Luxury of a Mid-Week Wedding
Here at Coombe Trenchard, we don’t like to see things go to waste. We have worked hard to restore our beautiful 'Arts & Crafts' country home back to its former Edwardian glory, we make use of our glorious grounds by growing seasonal blooms for blushing Brides and love to put our home-grown fruits to good use in jams for Devonshire Cream Teas. When we see our terrace bathed in sunshine on a Thursday afternoon we can’t help but wonder if this is a wasted opportunity.
So we’ve decided to offer Mid-Week weddings, a flexible and exciting new option for your Big Day. Whilst there are the obvious financial benefits from choosing a mid-week wedding (please download our beautiful digital brochure or get in contact for pricing structures), the perks don’t stop there....
Every Bride and Groom is aware of just how difficult it can be to find preferred suppliers that all have availability on the same day. This is especially true when trying to plan your nuptials in a shorter time frame than an average engagement of 13-18 months. If you feel you want to become Mr & Mrs as soon as possible but are concerned about rushed plans, fully booked suppliers and time to save: a mid-week wedding may be the way forward. At Coombe Trenchard we offer in-house assistance with planning and liaise with suppliers to make your wedding experience as stress free as possible. Discounts and savings offered by suppliers and Coombe Trenchard can ensure you may not need as long as you think to be financially ready to tie the knot.
Mid-week weddings are on the rise, with a total of 21,700 couples getting married on a Thursday in the last year alone. Couples are enjoying more time to decorate their venue in a relaxed manner, more time to spend with friends and family, and the benefit of a weekend after the wedding to bask in its glow and re-live the Big Day. This can mean better deals on honeymoon flights and packages, as well as the luxury of time to enjoy a weeklong celebration! Those working within the Education system may also take advantage of Half Term and School Holiday weekdays without the concern of being at work directly before or after saying ‘I Do’.
Couples seeking a quieter day will already be spoilt for choice with 12 different licensed locations of various sizes dotted around our home and grounds. Nestled in the Devonshire countryside with far reaching views of Dartmoor, we offer accommodation in our fully restored and luxurious bedrooms for up to 8 guests and can provide both in house catering and cut flowers fresh from the garden. Cosy log fires and original Edwardian features will ensure a spectacularly stately festive celebration, or soak up the spring sunshine and tie the knot underneath the Clock Tower overlooking our bubbling stream. A mid-week wedding at Coombe Trenchard may be just the ticket for a relaxed, intimate and truly memorable day.
We genuinely believe no two weddings should be the same and it’s important to us to provide a personal service to the couples who choose our beautiful home for their special day. We still have some mid-week availability for 2016 and we would love to hear from you to discuss your plans.