Third in my series North Norfolk Gems – featuring the best wedding venues and wedding suppliers in North Norfolk is Chaucer Barn in Gresham, just inland from Sheringham.
Just three miles south of my office Chaucer Barn is the closest venue featured in this series and what a beauty it is! The barn is set in the 80 acre farm, run by the Mermagin family for three generations (and counting). I met with James Mermagin and manager Laura this week to chat about the barn and in particular why weddings at Chaucer Barn are so special.
I asked Laura & James (pictured below) why people choose Chaucer Barn for their wedding, they told me that their ethos is that the barn should be like a ‘home from home’ for your wedding. They pride themselves on their flexibility and work with their couples to plan the wedding. Clients may decorate the house and gardens how they like, Laura told me that they like to encourage people to treat the property as a blank canvas and because they are completely independent of any other businesses guests can select their own caterers, bar hire, florists, etc although they are happy to recommend suppliers if people would like advice.
With the coast at Weybourne and Sheringham only 3 miles away and the many local National Trust parks nearby there are plenty of beautiful areas for walking & day trips. Within the grounds of the farm is Gresham Castle, made famous by the historically significant Paston letters.
The barn has a really homely, warm feel to it, loads of wooden beams and open brick and flint work.
In the kitchen is a gorgeous old Aga, all brightened up by the fantastic tiles running around the worktop. I mentioned how much I liked the tiles and James told me that they happened by accident almost – one day he came back from a tile supplier with various samples with a view to having the wall re-tiled. He had some friends around at the time and was asking which ones they liked best when it was suggested that he have all different tiles on the wall provided by people as they came to stay. So became a beautiful wall of multi-coloured tiles provided by James’s friends as they returned from various trips around the UK and abroad.
Chaucer Barn offers self catering accommodation for up to 18 guests in the 9 gorgeous bedrooms, there are 7 bathrooms, 4 reception rooms, a games room and an 18 seater dining table. The barn is in 20 acres of gardens and parkland and weddings can be held anywhere within the grounds.
Many well-known people have stayed at the barn in recent years, these include the fantastically talented comedian Tim Minchin and stickler for detail Mr Michael Winner.
The downstairs games room is just what every house should have, huge, brightly coloured sofas, fireplaces for big open log fires, a piano (as played by Tim Minchin!) and a table tennis table. I want one!
The main hall features a huge wooden banquet table (which can be moved for indoor wedding ceremonies) and a superb metal hanging chandellier candelabra (should that be chandelabra?) plus a stunning mezzanine lounge area with another lovely big open fire place – logs and firelighters provided!
Each of the bedrooms is themed differently, I love these ones below with the huge floor to ceiling windows overlooking the grounds.
Wedding prices at Chaucer Barn start at around £1,890 for low season midweek weddings which include having the barn & accommodation for two nights & goes up to £8,500 in high season including three nights (prices accurate at time of this blog post being published (Feb 2014)).
The barn is licensed for 80 people for an indoor ceremony although this can stretch to 150 if the grounds are utilised with a marquee. As James told me “here the couples become the hosts” which is a refreshing change from many wedding venues where the couples arrive only an hour or two before the guests and then leave before the guests!
At Chaucer Barn couples are encouraged to arrive the day before to settle in, make use of the 18-seater banquet table for an evening meal (or even barbeque) the night before and really get a feel for the place before the big day itself.
For more information about wedding photography at Chaucer Barn please drop me a line, Laura is kind enough to recommend me to couples booking the barn which is always greatly appreciated as it’s a stunning place to work!
For any more information about Chaucer Barn please have a look at their website or contact Laura and go & see for yourselves why this fantastic venue made it to be one of my North Norfolk Gems.