Get Hitched at the Historic Barnsley House in the Cotswolds in England
Get married at 17th-century Barnsley House and you won't have to stop and smell the flowers -- you'll be surrounded by them. This quaint inn (in the same country-chic 'hood where Kate Moss married rocker Jamie Hince) has several gorgeous spots across its 11 acres of manicured gardens for an alfresco celebration, plus an elegant indoor option, too. And if your guests stay on-site, they'll delight in the rooms' stone fireplaces, soaking tubs, and downy, soft beds. Sound like your kind of place? Then read on for more details about how to fill out your wedding weekend.
Once everyone's made their way across the pond, gather them up at the classic Village Pub for some grub and good times. And don't let the name fool you -- this isn't a dive with an ancient barmaid, fraying wallpaper, and smoke-stained walls, but a cozy, nicely styled eatery that serves fantastic food. It's also a stone's throw from Barnsley House, so after stuffing themselves with meat pies and pints of Butcombe Original, the local ale, your guests won't have very far to stumble back.
Great Group Activity
If it's good enough for Will and Harry, it's good enough for your guests. Trot them off to spend an afternoon at the nearby Cirencester Park Polo Club where the royal brothers have played many a match. And to be the consummate host, bring picnic goodies along -- polo spectators are serious tailgaters, producing gourmet meals from the trunk -- er, boot (as it's called there) -- of their cars, and you don't want your entourage to feel left out.
Sneak away with your honey and your photographer for a few hours before the wedding to score an absolutely unbeatable set of pictures: the two of you hot-air ballooning with the rolling green carpet of countryside stretching out behind you. Wear your dress and these images will be vaulted into epic, magazine-cover territory. Or, if you want to extend the offer to your bridesmaids and groomsmen, Ballooning in the Cotswolds can fit up to 12 in one balloon.
Intimate "I do" Site
Finally, it's time for the main event: the vow exchange. If you have a small guest list (40 or fewer) they can watch you speak those two magic words in the "Temple" set in the gardens of Barnsley House.
Spacious Ceremony Spot
Or, if tons of your friends and family made the trip, hold your nuptials in front of Barnsley's Gothic Summerhouse. The sizeable lawn can accommodate up to 100 people, and you and your fiance can stand on the steps of the building, framed by its stone archway.
When you're taking a few more photos with your bridal party and reveling in your newlywedness, let loved ones mix and mingle during cocktail hour, Pimm's Cups in hand. These ever-so-British beverages are a fruity, refreshing way to get the party started. The hotel's bartenders can whip up a killer version, but if you want to taste them before your big day, check out our delicious recipe.
When it comes to your celebration, the question is outdoors on the property's lush grounds or inside its elegant, light-filled Potager Restaurant. Either way, the food -- Cornish crab frittatas, twice-baked cheddar souffle, and slow-roasted Tamworth pork -- will be delicious. (You might have noticed the chefs picking fresh vegetables from the gardens.)