Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Cooling Castle Barn, Kent - Our Wedding Day - Part One

My husband and I got married last year at Cooling Castle Barn, which is located in a little village called Cooling in Rochester, Kent. Cooling Castle was an incredible wedding venue and I would recommend any newly engaged couples in the area to go and have a look. The venue books up around two years in advance even for week day weddings so you will have to be very organised if this is where you choose to get married!

They will ask for a £500 deposit to secure the date and it costs £50 to make date changes dependent on availability and how far in advance the changes are made. Saturday weddings start from £8,750 for eighty day guests and an extra seventy evening guests. The package is quite comprehensive but if you want to add luxury touches everything is priced on their online planner, which is unique to each bride and groom

You can get married in a civil ceremony at Cooling Castle Barn either inside or in their lovely gardens subject to weather from March to October. If I can remember correctly the price of a civil wedding is £500 and will start at 2pm. You are also free to marry in your parish church and travel to Cooling post the ceremony. If you are looking for a church local to Cooling Castle Barn look no further than St Helen's Church in the little village of Cliffe, which is ideally situated to the wedding venue. The church members are so lovely and welcoming here and will ensure your ceremony is perfect.

To marry in this church you will need to attend once a month for six months and sign a register. You will need your banns to be read at your local Parish church and also St Helen's on three consecutive Sunday's prior to the wedding. You will also need to attend two sets of "marriage lessons", which are discussions with all of the couples marrying that year to discuss communication and decision making in your relationship. There will then be a private meeting with the vicar to run through the order of service and get to know you better as a couple and also a wedding rehearsal to ensure everything runs smoothly.

The church cost us a total of £671, which included both sets of banns readings as well as the ceremony, bell ringers, an organist and a choir, which we felt were necessary to add to the atmosphere. We also had a local lady who usually does the Sunday service flowers build an archway of flowers at the entrance and flowers along the pews for £140.

Here are some photo's of the lovely church:

As you can see the church is gorgeous and perfect for wedding photographs. Photographers are OK to take pictures during the ceremony but if you want a videographer they will need to apply for a licence to film. We chose two readings and three hymns for our wedding ceremony and it all lasted about 40 minutes. The vicar can help you with your choices if you need some guidance. 

The church is also situated next door to a little pub, which is ideal if the groom wants to meet guests early for a pre wedding tipple to calm the nerves. It also has two toilets in the church house next door as well as ample parking for guests that have driven to your ceremony.