The Bride Diaries ~ Laura’s Venue Hunt

Morning lovelies :-) It’s Thursday already and the lovely Laura has been a real busy bee writing her next installment for us to get our hands on hehe!! Laura has booked her venue, and today she tells us how she decided on her venue and the choices she has made for her food and drink. Take it away Laura….


Hello everyone.  How are your wedding plans coming along?   

We’ve got a bit done now, which is exciting.  The most important thing is that we’ve booked our venue.  Hurrah.  That kind of makes it real and, like, we’re actually getting married and stuff, doesn’t it?  I’m a grown up now…  

So even before Pete proposed I was spending a lot of time reading wedding magazines wedding blogs.  My best friend is getting married soon and I’m also a wedding photographer so I had a good excuse every time Pete caught me looking at something pretty.   

“It’s not for me, it’s research!” 


“No, really!” 

Because of this, I had a fairly good idea of the sort of thing I wanted but it’s not just my wedding, so once the dust had settled after our engagement Pete and I sat down to talk it through some ideas.  

Pete told me he didn’t want anything too formal and stuffy.  Luckily I didn’t want anything too formal and stuffy either.   

We’d talked about the possibility of a London pub wedding in the past.  We’d head off to the registry office then all head over to a good old fashioned London boozer for a good old fashioned London party.  There would, of course, be a piano and the odd chorus of Knees Up Mother Brown (because we were planning to get married in 1938…) and there’d probably be pie and mash.   

And then, one day, I saw a Wedding Festival on one of the wedding blogs.   

We’ve been to the Secret Garden Party festival every year so when I suggested we look at a marquee wedding in a field with camping and camp fires and a bit of a festival flavour Pete was as excited as I was. 

All images (c) Laura Babb Photography

Because we’d decided on the style of wedding we want, we had a good idea of the sort of venue we’d need to find to make it happen.    

We knew we wanted to be surrounded by beautiful countryside, we knew we wanted somewhere we could make a weekend of it, we knew we wanted to be inspired by the Secret Garden Party and, frankly, we knew we wanted something a little bit different.   

I remembered seeing this wedding on Rock N Roll Bride that was held on a campsite with yurts, tipis and bell tents.  I fell in love with the idea and this influenced our search.   In fact we narrowed it down to two possible venues and one of them was Billycan Camping, the same venue that I’d seen on Rock N Roll Bride.  

It was the first place we visited.  We drove up a dirt track and turned a corner into a field with a load of white tipis and bell tents nestled among wild flowers and grasses.  

The site sits right next to the river Arun and is overlooked in the distance by Arundle Castle.   

We can have a huge marquee in the corner of the field.   We could have an outdoor humanist ceremony (not legal, sadly…we’ll have to do that bit separately). 

There’s a big communal safari tent with fur throws, comfy chairs and board games to while away the evening. 

There is a huge bonfire (marshmallow toasting anyone?) and a hotbox for al fresco dining and lots of our friends will be able to camp on site while Pete and I lord it up glamping style in the Grand Tipi. 

It ticked all of the boxes but it did more than that: as soon as I stepped out of the car I was excited.  Really, really excited.  I loved it.  I felt in my gut that this place was the place I’d get married.   

Pete loved it too but he’s a lot less impulsive than I am.  I probably would have booked it then and there but he suggested that we view the second venue.  It was also lovely in a lot of ways but it was spread over a much larger site, including woodlands, and we had visions of our guests wandering off into the night never to be seen again.    

So we have our venue.  Next on the list was food. 

We want to have something that fits the laid back affair we’re aiming for and we initially thought about getting Pieminster in to do the catering.  I still think this is a brilliant idea, especially since that’s exactly what they did at the most recent wedding I photographed, but it was out of our budget sadly. 

We have decided to go with a hogroast (along with some options for vegetarians and non-pork eaters) from The Whole Hog. 

After the ceremony, we’re going to have canapés and drinks and we’re thinking about doing a range of fruit ciders (rather than the lukewarm strongbow you get at real festivals…) in pretty paper cups, to fit in with the festival vibe.

(So on that note, the ‘vibe’… I can’t think of a better word really, which is a shame, as ‘vibe is awful!  I really don’t want to call it a theme because it feels too rigid.  We’re having a wedding that’s influenced by things we like: it’s going to be a bit festival-ish, a bit village fete-ish and a bit of a party)

Instead of desert and in lieu of a wedding cake,  we’re going to have a cake baking competition.  I’ve seen a few weddings where people have done this and it’s a brilliant idea.  You get a range of different yummy home made cakes for people to choose from and it gives your guests a way to get involved in the day.  My lot are already planning to get super competitive and out bake each other, which is brilliant.

On the booze front, we’re also lucky enough to have family in France who know a bit about wine and they’ve kindly offered to source all of the wine for us and bring it over with them.  Frankly this is going to save us a small fortune as decent wine is a lot cheaper in France than it is here.  

So we’ve got a venue and food and drink is sorted…  That’s the basis of any good party, so I’m happy with our progress.    

So, enough of me, where are you getting married and how did you know that your venue was The One? And if you’re having a festival/fete/outdoorsy style wedding I want to hear all about it so that I can pinch your ideas! 

Laura x


More from Louise Baltruschat Hollis

Relaxed & Sentimental Stretch Tent Back Garden Wedding

Utterly blessed: intimate, sun-drenched, informal, sentimental. The sun shone on our outdoor...
Read More


  • Wow Laura this is exactly the type of wedding I’d go for as me and my other half met at a festival. You’re going to have such an amazing day! Can’t wait to see it :)

  • Oooh Laura, a cake competition sounds brilliant! What a great idea, I may have to steal it.

    The Boy and I knew when we saw our venue that it was ‘The One’ too. You just ‘know’ don’t you?

    Your wedding sounds like it is going to be fab-u-lous

  • I love yurts and tipis! Its going to be fabulous! If we weren’t going for the whole urban, london city wedding I’d definitely do the complete opposite and go for festival chic instead! LOVE it!

  • eekkkkss Laura this venue sounds amazing!! And a hog roast?! Yummers ;-) thanks for the comments guys xxx

  • Sounds and looks amazing, I have always wanted to go to the secret garden party and now I do even more! And you really can’t beat a hog roast, the best wedding I went to this year had one and it went down a storm! x

  • Kelly Reds says:

    Laura, this has got to be the most amazing wedding venue ever, starting to feel a bit jel! Your plans so far sound awesome I LOVE a hog roast me! xxx

  • I’m very jealous of your hog roast – I want one but couldn’t (venue issues *again*). The venue looks amazing and even me as a seriously NON camper, could possibly venture to staying in one of those glamp camps :-)

  • thanks for all of your support for the lovely Laura xxx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *