A lot of guests have been caught out by their sat navs on the back lanes of Hampshire. Best to use the A3057 which runs between Romsey and Stockbridge. When approaching via Romsey, don’t take any turning for Michelmersh until you’ve passed the Bear and Ragged Staff. Mesh Road is on the right by the post box a mile after the pub. If you’re coming from Stockbridge, after the hamlet of Brook get ready to turn left into Mesh Road at the end of a long, straight stretch, just after the sign for Test Way parking. At the top of Mesh Road, turn left into Church Road. We’re immediately on the left.
Who are Love's Labours?
Old Michelmersh Farm was a working farm until the late 1970s. Since then, it has been owned by a Trust which was set up to keep these historic barns standing and in good condition so that everyone can enjoy them. Despite many approaches by developers, the Trust has remained true to its aims for over forty years and the barns here are loved by many. Love’s Labours is a company set up to share the Trust’s aims and to run weddings and events. Income from these events, once costs are met and staff paid, helps fund the maintenance of these awesome buildings.
What barns are available at Old Michelmersh Farm?
We have two enormous and beautiful barns which date from the Napoleonic wars for summer use. We’re licensed for ceremonies for 200 guests here and there is plenty of room – but we have also welcomed just six. And, with space like this, who cares if it rains? Adjoining the two barns is the Old Milking Parlour for caterers, and the old Bull Pen, a large, attractive room for the bridal party to use before the wedding and for guest relaxation afterwards. However, if you are staying all day with us, bear in mind that 140 (150 with a bit of squeezing) is the maximum number possible for a sit-down meal in just one barn. If you are happy to seat your guests across both barns for your wedding breakfast, there is plenty of room for 200. By the way, we can now arrange heating for larger winter weddings too.
For winter use, Old Barn is our smallest barn and probably the oldest by about 200 years. It is full of character, warm and cosy – and licensed for up to 65 guests.
When you hold your wedding here, the whole site is only for you. Outside, around our ancient granary, we have a grassed area with sunset views, generally used for receptions after the ceremony or for a place to relax into the evening. Here there is a terrace set in a small wildflower meadow where you can get married or just enjoy a drink. There is also a large field and farmyard for parking and plenty of room inside and out for a confetti line-up. We have recently converted our farmyard stable block into new loos. We thank for their help the EU’s LEADER grant.
Can we actually marry at Old Michelmersh Farm or are you a reception-only venue?
You can marry here, we are an official civil ceremony venue. We deal with all the formalities but by law you must book the registrars yourselves. If you choose to spend the rest of the day elsewhere, we will be pleased to hold a stunning ceremony for you, serve drinks and canapes to your guests while you take lots of photos and then wave goodbye as everyone moves to your next venue. Most people marry here and stay here, but it’s also fine to marry elsewhere and then hold your reception at Old Michelmersh Farm.
What style are your weddings?
Rustic. Real rustic, not fake rustic. We complement the barns’ magnificent structure with sweeping drapes and we bring our big, beautiful trees inside. Where else does a bride walk through a birch forest to reach the aisle? Around the ancient walls we might run roses through ivy. Or create a stunning wildflower meadow. We have a couple of growing arches of willow, ivy and jasmine and our table decorations are simple, natural and stylish. Everywhere we can, we bring the outside in.
Do you manage the weddings?
Yes, weddings are fully planned and managed by us – after a lot of consultation with you, of course. We don’t do a huge number and every wedding is different and very, very special. Our staff know that: they work here because they love weddings. Between us all, we do the set-up and clear-up and everything in between, so that you have no worries and stay fresh as a daisy on your big day. Our management style is very warm and low-key: we get your guests wherever you want them to be at the right time. And, like you, we don’t stop smiling all day.
You say each wedding is different… how different?
There are a lot of choices for you. We have an eclectic selection of antique chairs (dating from 1760 to 1950) and our tables range from marble to inlaid wood. In addition, we hire in the furniture of your choice. We’ll work with you to create your rustic wedding in the style and colours which are right for you. We also have an impressive variety of vintage goods – from picture frames to glassware to old ladders to china – which are at your disposal.
What happens in the evening?
Bands, DJs, nightclub-style seating, outdoor seating areas… while you eat, staff are busy transforming the space elsewhere for you and preparing for your evening entertainment. We also offer teas and coffees in our vintage china which we serve wherever guests choose to sit around the site. We set up for cake cutting, speeches, toasts, evening buffets… however you want it, we can do it.
Will you cater for us?
Certainly. We use a combination of local businesses who really care and offer every style from bargain picnics to four course meals. Or you’re welcome to bring in your own caterers, as long as they are fully professional, certificated and insured.
Can we supply our own alcohol?
Yes. We are happy to refrigerate and serve alcohol supplied by you. Our corkage charge is just £5 per adult head. Alternatively, leave the alcohol to us.
Do you have a bar?
Yes, we have an attractive rustic barrel bar and experienced bar staff. If your guests will expect the wide range of drinks they normally find at the pub, then you may wish to bring in an outside bar. We can recommend some we have worked with and like. If you can restrict your bar menu and are supplying your own alcohol, we will run our bar for you.
So what do you charge?
A stunning wedding ceremony here followed by a drinks and canapes reception and pictures for a couple of hours costs £2000. That fee assumes you then move elsewhere for the rest of your day. It doesn’t include the cost of alcohol or canapes, as this varies with your choices.
If you spend the day here, prices vary a lot according to the style you choose and the number of guests. Here are some approximate prices which include pretty much everything – ceremony, all set-up, furniture, hire, staffing, glassware, decor and flowers except the bridal bouquet. It does not include food or alcohol. Think from about £5,500 for a smaller wedding (starting after 3.30pm with under 40 guests) and from about £8,750 for a larger wedding (more than 120). But it really depends what you want: it could be more. There are discounts available for weddings helds on Mondays to Thursdays.
What time do weddings finish?
Old Michelmersh Farm is at the heart of a community. Most villagers love our weddings – and we give a little love back by always finishing, without fail, at 10.30pm and asking everyone to leave the site by 11pm. There really is no way around this. But we handle our close of day so nicely that all our weddings end as sweetly as they begin.
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