Have you ever just walked into a place and known, instantly, that it was going to be something special? I don't mean special as in impressive or unusual or remarkable. I'm talking about a feeling of rightness. Of knowing that a place will be part of your future, and will mean something to you for the rest of your life.
That was what I felt as Andy and I walked through the door of the Pilgrims Rest in Battle.
I knew it was going to be good. The website and the photos we'd seen had done a good job of convincing us it was one of the better options we were considering, but we'd been burned before (Missed that post? Find it here!) and I held my breath as I walked through the door....
... and then let it out in a rush.
It was perfect. Magical. Every high-ceilinged, wooden-floored inch of it - and, after a moment of stunned (and relieved!) gazing about, I looked to Andy, and could see he felt the same way.
Let me talk you through it.
All photos shamelessly stolen from
The Pilgrims Rest website
or a basic image search on the interwebs.
I own nothing!
This photo was taken when the 600 year old building was a restaurant (It's now exclusively a wedding venue) but it's not changed.
Just take a look at the front door...
I love doors (I have a pinterest board devoted to them!) and I'm completely thrilled with this one. Imagine it on a dim December evening with a beautiful wreath hung from the middle, and maybe some twinkling lights to guide our guests on their way...
Once inside the entry, you step through another pretty wooden door into the Great Hall. This is where the ceremony will take place.
And what a Great Hall it is! ( honestly? The photos don't do it justice.)
Incredibly high ceilings, that beautifully aged wood, those hanging chandeliers - and look at those windows! (Andy LOVES the windows!)
There's a beautiful staircase on the opposite wall (that leads to a storeroom, so isn't usable, but it will look so pretty once decorated!) and did you check out that inglenook fireplace???
On a practical note (probably the only one you'll read here!) we'd been having trouble finding smaller venues, and the Pilgrims Rest is a really good size for us. It's capacity is only sixty guests, which is perfect since we plan on having a grand total of seventeen guests to our ceremony (as few as I could get away with given my general social awkwardness (Yes I know they are my family and they won't care if I nervous-laugh my way through the vows. I care and it's MY DAY!!!)
OUR day. It's OUR day.
ANYWAY, back to the tour....
There are three door leading out from the Great Hall. One leads to the courtyard garden, which I've not really paid attention to (since winter weddings and the great outdoors don't often play well together) Another leads to the dining Hall, the other to the Bar.
The dining hall is my favourite.
Those tables. Those benches. Those beams. That fireplace. It's exactly what we were looking for.
Its small, but cosy, not crowded, and the perfect place to provide an amazing Wedding Breakfast to our forty-five evening guests. (More of that in a future blog!!) This room also has two other doors in it. One that leads to the toilets (clean and nicely decorated) and one that leads to the upstairs level.
I couldn't find any pictures of the little bar room (they call it the Webster Room on the website), except for the fireplace - which, of course, is gorgeous too - but there is a bar counter (perfect for our cocktail bar! More on that in a future blog too!) and a couple of stools, along with a few small tables and chairs for guests to sit and chat together.
Then, as if ALL THAT wasn't enough, there is a private space upstairs for the bride and her party to get ready first thing. It has a bathroom, a little kitchen, a gorgeous dressing room with a vanity table and a huge, vintage mirror, and a beautiful little room with (yet another!) fireplace in it, perfect for those Bride-only shots before the Ceremony. (There are photos of these rooms, but since they all have brides in them, it feels a bit weird to use them. If you want to take a peek, you can via the Gallery on the website.)
Now tell me - don't you just love it? Isn't it the BEST WEDDING VENUE EVER CREATED?
Now, we really tried to play it cool when speaking to the (lovely and friendly) venue manager, Amy. We really did. But I'm pretty sure she knew we were sold.
We asked her to hold our preferred date just in case, and said we'd get back to her after we'd visited the four other venues we had booked in to visit...
...and then we left. Oddly quiet. Both excited, but unable to really voice how we felt.
It was only in the car on the way home that we finally admitted it. We didn't want to look at other venues. We didn't want to pretend to consider different options just because we felt we should.
We got home and immediately cancelled all the other viewings, and I emailed Amy to confirm our interest.
24 hours and a 50% deposit later, and the Pilgrims Rest was ours....!
Stay tuned for more wedding stuffs, coming soon! (I might manage to squeeze in some non-wedding related posts somewhere too!!)