Physiotherapists Andy and Emma Van Blommestein got married at Cain Manor on 29th September 2014.
Andy is Catholic and wanted a church wedding, however I wanted a civil ceremony as I’m not religious so we initially based our search around looking for a venue which had ecclesiastical qualities. We also love the countryside and the South Downs, so we ideally wanted somewhere with great views. We live in south-west London, and love the South of England, particularly the downs, so we centred our search through Sussex, Kent, Surrey and Hampshire. We started by looking on wedding websites but I also looked at the council websites for registered venues in each area and checked them all out online, and made a short list of venues to visit from there. Cain Manor was the first venue we visited. We both had a great feeling about the place when we walked in –it wasn’t just because we were handed a glass of prosecco. The venue itself had everything we wanted –an amazing ceremony room with vaulted ceilings –barn-style, but also a little church-like to suit Andy’s needs. We did go to see another 5 or so other venues after that, but nothing quite matched up to the stunning Cain Manor.
The Planning Process:
Andy and I did the planning together. As much as Andy was not hugely enthusiastic about it all, he really wanted to be involved all the way. So when we came back for the wedding planning Wednesday, we found it amusing that we were the only couple there –all the others were brides to be and their mothers or friends. We didn’t really have too much help in the planning, though Mum helped choose the dress, our friend Claire helped with the music, and Emma Cheng helped with the stationery. Plus of course we had a lot of emotional support from friends throughout, and our Bijou wedding planner (Rosalind) was a great source of information and assistance.
The place names were all comical photos of our guests mounted in corks and the table names were all vineyards – three South African as a nod to Andy’s roots, and three English, as a nod to mine. We found choosing our menu quite hard. We were constrained by cost, so that narrowed our selection down but because we could only taste one dish from each course and couldn’t pick which canapés to try, it was difficult to know if/what would actually be good as we couldn’t compare. Everyone commented on how great the canapés and the food were.