Welcome and bonjour! So we thought it would be an idea to introduce ourselves, the team behind Longton Wood and what Longton Wood is all about in our very first blog post.
Longton Wood is part of our family run farm and has been a place we have grown up in walking the dogs and riding our horses, as well as chasing the odd sheep that has escaped from the field. As a wedding venue it has been running since 2016 when we had our first wedding……ours! When I got engaged and plans started to get discussed I said to dad that we really wanted to get married at home. He was delighted – I know he visualised a marquee in the field outside the house, the sheep would be able to graze the field until about 6 weeks before and the whole thing would be very easy and inexpensive. When I broke it to him that actually a woodland wedding was the vision and that I had seen the perfect spot, I could see the colour drain from his face as he knew this would be considerably more work and ultimately more money!
The fortunate thing about being a family business is that you do have a lot of support from each other and not just immediate family. My cousins were, and still are amazing, when it came to bringing ideas to life, stepping in with equipment and being at the end of the phone in an emergency! Friends over the years have joined in on stick collecting, bramble cutting and tea making during open days to name just a few ways in which they have contributed to the team behind Longton Wood and helped get us to where we are today. I feel very lucky to have all this support.
So who makes up the core team behind Longton Wood?
Ultimately the team behind Longton Wood is me, Jennifer, I am the person who answers emails, shows you around and gets the venue ready for your wedding. I love this place and feel very lucky to have retired from teaching so that Longton Wood can continue to host weddings to other lucky couples. The venue is a passion of mine, I love the natural beauty and aim to manage this, only to the extent that we are not overgrown, and endeavour to have the minimum impact on the wood and its inhabitants! Longton Wood is part of our home and it really is a privilege to own. Whilst I am behind the creation and management of the wedding venue, I do draft in the support of others.
My husband is on hand for computer related issues, thankfully as I am rubbish when it comes to this!
My sister, Elizabeth, does so much, from the big clear up in March ahead of the wedding season where we use the Kubota to drag out fallen trees, scrape up leaves, prune foliage and generally get back to the “tidy” wilderness to chatting away to people at open days and the odd toilet clean or litter pick during the busy wedding period. Basically she can and does turn her hand to anything, everyone needs a sister like her! We also drag my brother in law into certain jobs on occasion, he is also head of security, walking the venue daily in between weddings, so keeps his eyes peeled for anything strange going on.
Then there is of course, my trusted and very loyal hairless Chinese crested…..Louis. If you have been to Longton Wood already you will have definitely met him, he comes everywhere with me and knows the “viewing tour” like the back of his paw! If he could talk you all through it he would know the speal and be able to answer all your questions…..its a shame he can’t lend more of a helpful paw as the jobs would get done a lot quicker, instead he does a lot of sitting in any sun traps or on any coat patiently waiting until its time to go home!
Then there is possibly the most important team behind Longton Wood, the team behind everything really, my parents. They are another massive support, mum regularly joins in on the tidying or fire laying…..she does love a fire. But she is usually babysitting whilst walking laps and laps of the venue, secateurs in hand, snipping brambles religiously. Side note, as you cut one bramble about 5 more appear so it is a relentless job! My dad is the brains and heart of Friningham and will forever be driving around the farm and woodland either in his trusty Kubota or tractor. If I need anything done he is always there…..NEVER on foot always in a vehicle, NEVER slowly but always at break-neck speed. He doesn’t stop for a friendly hello as he is always racing to the next thing. His main job is generator checker to make sure it is fuelled, so at some point, whether it is first thing in the morning or last thing at night, he will be sneaking along the service road to make sure all is ok so you may well bump into him!
The newest member of our little team is Bruno….our little Shetland pony. He has been down to the venue to meet couples after their wedding at checkout on a Sunday, he has a little nibble of the grass and stands while we tidy and clean the toilets. He is in training as we hope to take him into schools and care homes as a companion pony therefore the more crazy things he gets to see the better. We may well progress to him coming to viewings but this maybe all a bit too chaotic, we will see!
And so that is us, in a nutshell, the people behind Longton Wood. Now of course we don’t cook the food for your wedding, arrange the flowers or construct the marquee but in a small way we are involved in bringing your wedding dreams to life and it is just the best thing to be able to do!
We will continue to be blogging about Longton Wood, how the venue started, how it has grown into what it is today, our aspirations, our top tips and anything else to do with weddings……we just love them! We hope that you find our blogs interesting, some may even be helpful and hopefully they might make you smile.
For now it is goodbye but we will be posting blogs every fortnight so stay tuned!