Happily married on the 22nd February 2020, we could not have picked a better venue with more caring hosts than Skylark Farm.
Set in the picturesque Northamptonshire countryside, Staverton and Skylark Farm was not a place we had ever ventured before but it was well signposted and easy to find.
Arriving at Skylark Farm the first thing you will notice are the many chickens milling around amongst the Christmas tree woodland, giving an almost storybook feeling. As you make your way up the access road it opens up to reveal ample parking space and the family’s farmhouse. Immediately behind this are the café and barn areas, which have a modern and tidy appearance leading on to a beautiful countryside backdrop featuring rolling green hills and natural woodlands, ideal for creating those wedding album memories.
Our first meeting was with Sam, who clearly had a lot of experience in wedding planning. She guided us through all of the package options available, providing plenty of opportunity to ask questions however silly we thought they were! We didn’t feel pressured into making any decision there and then but we knew at that point we could see our wedding at Skylark Farm.
Out of all the websites we looked at and places we viewed, Skylark Farm had the most reasonable prices for what was on offer. Although the package we eventually chose catered for fewer guests than we required, we were easily able to add on more guests at a reasonable amount per head without changing the package. This proved very cost effective, especially closer to the date as some guests could no longer make it. Sam was very accommodating in allowing us to remove some guests from the numbers without incurring the additional cost.
We left after the first meeting knowing a date for our wedding and informed of everything we needed to do to get to that point. As we had booked the wedding with 18 months notice there wasn’t much to do straight away but this allowed us to get on with other wedding issues like the guest list, colour themes and most importantly… the dress!
As crucial dates in the wedding planning drew closer Sam kept us well informed and ensured we were able to book ourselves on to one of the food tasting days.
The tasting event was held in the main barn where the reception would be, and interestingly was a joint event with other couples, giving it the feel of how a wedding reception might be. I think this allowed us to get an honest representation of how the food would be when served to a large crowd and see how capable and well organised the catering team were.
The food was presented to the table still hot, in enough of a portion size to fully appreciate it, looking incredible and tasting amazing! We then had a long discussion in the car on the way home and for many days after, unable to pick between the array of fantastic courses.
For us, choosing a menu could have been difficult due to the amount of people attending who had serious food allergies; however right from the beginning Sam had been aware of the need to factor this in. She made sure that all allergies and intolerances were documented and even allowed be-spoke changes for individual’s menu choices where it was not possible to alter the dish’s ingredients. We eventually settled on (and would highly recommend) the twice-cooked collar of pork for the main with chickpea curry and poppadum as a vegetarian option; and for dessert, chocolate brownie and the lemon cheesecake.
Throughout the whole planning experience the only downside were the guests’ experiences with the local hotel. Even though the wedding package included a discounted rate for our guests with the local De Vere Staverton Hotel. Guests found that if they booked directly with hotel and joined the hotel’s free loyalty club they could book other rooms for a lower price. As they hadn’t used our wedding booking code it made it difficult to keep track of who had booked the hotel and subsequently made it tricky to judge transport arrangements. Apart from this the De Vere Hotel linked to the wedding package was clean, pleasant to stay in and very accommodating for large groups of people.
In the last few months leading up to the main event we met again with Sam to go through some the finer details and logistics of the day. Sam again showed her experience in planning these events and was efficient in extracting from us all the finer details that would ensure the day would run like clockwork and without us needing to be involved.
The day before the wedding we were allowed plenty of time to go into the barn to set up the decorations and the ceremony room. Sam and her team had already organised the tables in the layout we had requested and were on hand to offer help with anything we needed to set up. Knowing that the room was set up well in advance and how we had imagined it allowed us a stress free evening before the wedding with time to enjoy the hotel amenities and great our guests as they arrived.
The day itself came and Sam and her team’s amazing efforts on the day didn’t go unnoticed.
They greeted us both as we arrived and guided us each seamlessly through to the whole day. They were well organised and presented, very friendly and accommodating with guests and a pleasure to share our experience with. They even went out of their way to ensure that we both had chance to have a moment to ourselves, with hors d'oeuvres and welcome drinks specially saved for us.
The wedding breakfast food replicated the culinary delights and the level of organisation we had experienced in the tasting session. The kitchen staff were quick and efficient at bringing the food to the table and very careful to deliver the specially prepared plates of food to those guests who had serious food allergies. The food was delicious, hot and filling; and indeed this reflected in the opinions of all our guests.
The excellent DJ skills of Dave (Sam’s husband), the gin-fuelled dancing and the brilliant pizza oven experience completed what was a perfect evening.
Many of the guests went out their way to mention how brilliant they thought the venue had been and how the atmosphere at the wedding was really relaxed and happy, and how the food had been incredible. They too had noticed the attention to detail from Sam’s team and certainly believed that they did a fantastic job.