Its sooo nearly Christmas… We’ve closed NYA HQ and I’m posting this from the luxury of my sofa, sat in front of the open fire watching Love Actually – I don’t believe there is anything more Christmassy than 10 love stories and Hugh Grant singing Christmas Carols.

Last week we told you what our favourite winter foliage and flowers are. This week, we’re going back to the start of wedding planning and thinking about the best wedding venues for your Winter Wedding. We’re focusing on our local counties of Sussex and Hampshire; but read on if you’re from further afield, as we hope it will give you some good advice for when choosing your ideal winter wedding venue, wherever that may be.

Chafford Park, East Sussex

First up is the breath-taking Chafford Park, a charming private country estate in Tunbridge Wells, East Sussex. With 300 acres of private ground including two beautifully converted barns, a stunning manor house, an enchanting woodland where you can hold a non-legal ceremony in the woods (if the weather holds), lakes, manicured lawns and cornfields making this the perfect space for a picturesque wedding in the country.

Wedding breakfast set up in The Granary Barn – Photography by Parkershots Photography 

What makes Chafford Park ideal for a winter wedding?

Chafford Park consists of two modern barns situated next to one another allowing you to hold your ceremony, your wedding breakfast and your evening reception all onsite. There is no need to move between venues or turnaround your barn meaning that guests won’t have to stand outside (unless they want to!) and you can relax knowing your guests will be happy regardless of the weather.

The Hop Barn is licensed for wedding ceremonies which is great if you’re looking to have a legal wedding onsite. It looks out onto the stunning Picking Field making it the perfect setting for your ceremony.

The Hop Barn – Photography by Parkershots Photography

The Granary barn is ideal for hosting both your wedding breakfast and evening reception. The barn is large enough to hold your tables, a bar, dance floor and a band so you won’t have to move while the venue is turned around. We absolutely love decorating this stunning venue! Due to the height of the barn, we bring along our Scaffold Tower and transform this blank canvas into a gorgeous wedding venue. In winter we love creating cosy looks with soft or modern draping and lots of magical lighting to give this large wedding venue that personal, intimate feel.

The Granary Barn set up with a dance floor – Photography by Parkershots Photography

Chafford Park provide rustic firepits for your guests to huddle around to keep them warm while they sip on hot mulled tipples, toast marshmallows and wrap themselves in cosy blankets.

Firepits– Photography by Parkershots Photography

The Estate also hosts a stunning Manor House offering elegant accommodation for guests and/or your bridal party. It’s also a sophisticated, warm and cosy space to enjoy your first night of married life!

The Manor House – Photography by Parkershots Photography 

An additional bonus is that their large car park is only a short walk from both barns meaning your guests wedding outfits won’t get wet or muddy; so they will be looking fresh for your professional photos!

Look out for an extremely exciting collaboration with Chafford Park which will be announced on our Social Media channels shortly…! If you’ve not yet booked your wedding venue, you will NOT want to miss out on this!

Penton Park, Hampshire

Penton Park is a historic country house, a warm and welcoming family home to three generations, which is also a unique venue for your wedding. Recommended by the London Evening Standard as one of the Top 30 venues in the UK to marry in 2018, they describe it as a “truly hidden gem” and we whole-heartedly agree! It is first and foremost a family home and this warmth can be felt as soon as you arrive through their splendid entrance.


Penton Park – Photography by Emma Moore Photography

What makes Penton Park ideal for a winter wedding?

 The true beauty of Penton Park is that you can enjoy your entire day in one place. The bride can spend the morning getting ready in the Bridal Preparation Room with her bridal party; once dressed in her bridal gown she can then sweep her way down the grand staircase before entering the ceremony room. Celebrate with reception drinks in the sitting room followed by your wedding breakfast in their Grand Ballroom. Enjoy further drinks by the cosy fires in the sitting room while the team turn the Ballroom around for your evening dancing. Not needing to leave the building makes this the perfect choice for your winter wedding – saving you cold feet… head, shoulders, knees or toes.

If you want to make an entrance, the grand sweeping staircase is perfect for a breath-taking first glimpse of you and your dress as you descend. With a gold banister and green carpet; colours synonymous with Christmas; just add staircase florals with deep red palettes (including poinsettias, anemones or holly), and your winter wedding will be complete.

The Grand Staircase

Their cosy sitting rooms feature comfy sofas and roaring log fires making it the perfect mingling space for your guests, no matter the season. Here at Not Your Average, we love decorating fireplaces; opting for winter foliage and gold candlesticks to add an element of opulence.

Fireplace décor

If you’re lucky enough to have a crisp but dry day for your winter wedding, make sure you brave the cold and head outside into Penton Park’s stunning grounds. Catch the last falling sun for some unforgettable photographs with your besties.

Bridal Party – Photography by The Springles

As you and your groom depart for your first night as a married couple, provide your guests with sparklers for a glistening walkway send-off in front of the opulent columned entrance.

Sparkling send off – Photography by Graham Warrellow Photography

We’re excited to be working closely with Penton Park in 2019 and look forward to sharing more of our styling ideas for their stunning venue in the coming year.

Pilgrims Rest, Sussex

Pilgrims Rest is a unique and historic Grade 2 listed, 600-year-old wedding venue in the heart of East Sussex. If you are looking for a venue steeped in history then this is the perfect venue for you. Having hosted Medieval banquets, Georgian balls, Victorian luncheons and Edwardian tea dances; this venues purpose in life seems to be to provide a cosy base for your winter celebrations.

Vaulted Great Hall – Photography by Jessica Bevan Photography 

What makes Pilgrims Rest an ideal winter wedding venue?

 The Vaulted Great Hall (pictured above) is ideal for your wedding ceremony. Despite the vaulted ceilings, the charming internal architectural features give the room an intimate feel for you to say ‘I Do’. The venue provides you with rustic benches topped with faux fur throws to keep your guests comfortable throughout your ceremony.

The opportunities for decoration in this stunning room are endless. The ancient beams and inglenook fireplace are ideal for highlighting with twinkly fairy lights or foliage. If you wish to add a touch of your own style, as one of their preferred suppliers, we’d be delighted to assist you in bringing their venue to life.

The Dining Room seats up to 60 guests in an intimate setting. This 600-year-old venue has hosted: flagons of ales, goblets of wine and flutes of champagne. Whatever tipple container you opt for to best match your wedding style, be rest assured that it will look right at home in this charming room.

Dining Room – Photography by Jessica Bevan Photography

Pilgrims Rest has no shortage of fireplaces throughout its walls. You will find them in the Bryant Preparation Suite, the Great Hall and the Dining Room so you know that your winter wedding is going to have that snug and homely feel whichever room you’re in.

Fireplace in the Dining Room – Photography by Jessica Bevan Photography

Many venues, due to insurance restrictions, do not allow you to have real fires or candles, which unfortunately isn’t very Pinterest-worthy! Pilgrims Rest do allow open fires and candles, so stoke up the fires, light the candles and watch as this wonderful old building sparkles into life.

Staircase decoration – Photography by Georgina Piper Photography 

One of the most important pieces of advice we give to our couples is to remember to take a moment to yourselves. Come rain or shine, try and get outside, and reminisce on this special day while capturing a snapshot of a one-of-a-kind moment. And remember, in some cultures, rain on your wedding day is good luck – so embrace it!

Couples Embrace – Photography by Sarah Williams Photography

Beautiful World Tents, covering all of the South

Just because it’s winter, doesn’t mean your venue has to be ‘inside’. We truly believe Tipi Weddings are one of the cosiest ways to enjoy your Winter Wedding!

Three Giant Hat Tipi Wedding at Duncton Mill – Photography by Candid and Frank

Beautiful World Tents are a local family run business who have created almost 1000 weddings over 13 seasons upon unique sites across the UK. They have a selection of Giant Hat Tipis which will WOW your guests; and because you’re starting with a completely blank canvas, your Tipi wedding will be utterly unique to you and your partner.

What makes Beautiful World Tent Tipi’s ideal for a winter wedding?

 Their stunning Tipis provide the basis for a magical winter wonderland wedding. There is little more romantic than roaring fires for your guests to toast marshmallows, set off by the warming and intimate glow of fairy lights and candle light.

Bride, Ashley, toasting marshmallows over the firepit – Photography by Candid and Frank

There is something particularly special about having a space where all your loved ones can be together in one place and Tipi’s certainly provide a cosy environment for this.

Lanterns in Tipi – Photography by Jackson & Co Photography 

If you love the idea of sparklers and fireworks at your winter wedding than a tipi venue will make the perfect backdrop for those all-important photographs.

Sparkling Send Off – Photography by Frances Sales Photography

Here at Not Your Average I Do, we LOVE a winter wedding. There is something magical about getting married on a cold, crisp day, with beautiful sunshine, in a gorgeous venue and surrounded by candle light and open fires. We hope we have inspired you. A wedding day can be spectacular in any season!