On a very sunny May bank holiday, James and I went to see the venues we’d picked out online.
We had to make two trips but because we’d never actually seen Lewes before, it was gorgeous just getting down there and having a look around.
First up on the Saturday morning was the registry office. We were snuck in the back door for a “whiz” around because there was a wedding coming in shortly after, but the registrar (Liz) that showed us round took her time and answered our questions and made sure we’d seen everything we needed to to get the measure of the lovely old building.
Funny story – while we were waiting for Liz to arrive and let us in James was chatting to me about the fact Rag ‘n’ Bone Man had got married the previous week in a ceremony in which everyone, bride and groom included, wore tracksuits.
One of the first things Liz says as we’re looking round the building is “You’ll never guess who got married here last week”. How weird is that. So we’re sharing a venue with Rag ‘n’ Bone man. We will not be wearing tracksuits. James was very excited by this turn of events and gathered up some confetti that photo evidence shows was in fact from Rag ‘n’ Bone Man’s wedding.
It was gorgeous looking round the room we’re planning to get married in. It’s very duck egg blue which I am a big fan of. The entrance is beautiful and wooden and the whole place is a gorgeous combination of old and new and it feels like a brilliant find.
I still have some concerns about the churning in and out nature of the registry office ceremonies in the summer – we have an hour slot to get in married and out again, and I’m nervous that there’s going to be a bride and groom having their photos done outside the room while we have our ceremony. James has pointed out that if there are it really doesn’t matter and it’s still our day but I do think it would be a bummer to share with another bride. Especially if she’s hotter than me.
But it’s beautiful and it will serve the purpose, and the 20-minute ceremony will be no nonsense but with time for a reading and some music so I think it will be lovely.
After looking round the registry office we had a mooch around Lewes – gosh what a beautiful, hilly town it is. The top end of the town centre is just crammed with little independent stores selling jewellery and old fancy books, interspersed with artisan bakeries. You could literally smell the wholesome.
There was a food market on on the high street and I sampled some excellent cheese (twice, just to make sure) and we had lunch in Bill’s. James had to use the word avo to order his burger which, along with my delectable mac and cheese, was just the icing on the cake for the day really.
On the bank holiday Monday we drove back down to take a look at The Party Field, where most of the magic will be happening. I wasn’t convinced that we needed to make the hour trip to look at an empty field but James was completely right to want to go. It was fantastic to meet Lucy, one of the two women that runs the field, and have a chat about what we could do with the space and how it all works.
The field itself is surrounded by countryside, it’s completely idyllic. Lucy told us that most people have their tents/tipis/marquees in the top right hand corner of the field so it faces the hills, which the sun sets over in the evenings.
She was very patient as I worked through the pages of questions I’d written down and was full of great ideas. One couple, she told us, once hired an actual ferris wheel and got all the guests onto it as the sun went down. Cue me googling hireable fairground rides (steam-powered carousel anyone?) but James vetoed. We’ll see.
One of the things I love the most about The Party Field is that our booking gives us the site from first thing Friday morning to the Sunday night, and it’s ours to do with what we will in that time.
Therefore, we have decided to make a weekend of it. We’re going to invite guests to come and camp from the Friday evening, where we will have a very chilled DIY BBQ. I fully intend to be there but will take off to sleep somewhere else and do the whole getting ready thing the next morning.
Then we’ll have a day of celebrations and sunshine (please please please don’t fail me UK) and music and food and end the main day around the field’s built in campfire. It has thrones, I’m so there.
And then on the Sunday morning we’ll do a big fry up brunch with everyone to round the weekend off.
This does mean we’ll have to pay for a shower and toilets for the whole weekend, but it also means we get many days of having our best people around us and I am just in love with the idea. I want it now!
The date is set. This is real people!