Yes I know I promised you a book review.... But WEDDING! (Almost over, I promise!)
Anne of Cleves looked so good on paper. It was my favourite from the beginning. I loved the idea of getting married somewhere with such history, and I'd had good reviews from other friends who had got married there themselves, or had attended other weddings in the venue.
This was where the idea of a Christmas themed wedding took flight in my head, since I associated the place with Christmas, after making pomanders on a school trip.
It had the tudor style we liked, the exposed beams, and was reasonably priced.
It was the first place we went to visit, and we were equal parts excited and weirded-out as we walked up the high street - knowing that this was the first step in a very long, very exciting journey.
But then we got there, and it all went downhill from there.
To be fair, it had nothing to do with the venue, as such. But, as we stood in the gift shop, being stared at by an old lady waiting for a taxi, I could feel my heart sinking.
This was not the place I wanted to be married.
We were met by the wedding coordinator - a very nice lady called Hannah - who took us on a tour around the building, explaining all the various points and rooms, and processes, and it was interesting to see the place I'd remembered so fondly.
It truly was a lovely place, but the idea of having a wedding there just didn't fit.
For starters, the ceremony room was just to the right of the main front door. Since the museum would be open to the public for the day of the wedding, they would potentially walk right into the ceremony without even realising, and that was unappealing.
The garden, although lovely, was not practial for a december wedding, so Hannah took us to the 'plan B room' - Anne of Cleve's old Bedroom.
To get to it from the ceremony room, you went through the gift shop (Up a steep set of stairs that would be tricky for older guests - and me, once I'd had a few drinks...) but I thought it was worth it once I saw the room in question.
High ceilings, beautiful wood beams and floors - exactly what I was looking for, and I immediately started decorating in my head, picturing long wooden tables laden with food, a christmas tree, and twinkling lights...
But it was not to be. On explaining my vision to Hannah, we were (kindly) informed that the wedding breakfast would take place downstairs, as there was no food or drink allowed upstairs. The best they could offer for use of this room, was to mill about, out of the weather.
They wouldn't even move the furniture. That great big four-poster bed you see in the picture? It would stay exactly there, smack in the middle of the room. (Now, don't get me wrong, I'm all for the traditions of a period wedding. However, I draw the line at having a bedding ceremony!!)
It was at that point that I looked at Andy, saw my thoughts echoed in his expression, and we made our excuses to leave.
In conclusion? A lovely place to have a look around, but an odd place for a winter wedding. Perhaps if the venue were a little more accommodating regarding furniture placement (!) and decoration, it would work much better, but ultimately, it's a museum - not a wedding venue.
Next up - The Pilgrims Rest. This one looks promising - so keep your fingers crossed!