The best wedding venue in the Cotswolds you’ve never heard of
In the wedding world, the arrival of a beautiful new wedding venue is a rare and exciting thing. Especially when that venue happens to be a paradise of style in the heart of the Cotswolds! So when Gill and Josh asked me to shoot their intimate wedding in Anthology Farm (Whalley Farm), I was positively bursting with excitement.
Anthology Farm opened its lovingly restored barn doors in the Spring of 2022. And if I’m honest, until Gill and Josh got in touch I’d never even heard of the place! But let me tell you, by this time next year, every wedding photographer will have ‘wedding in Anthology Farm’ on their bucket list. It’s a truly incredible place to say your vows.
But Josh and Gill’s wedding wasn’t just special because of the remarkable venue. It was a whole weekend filled with romance, love and intimacy. Styled to absolute perfection by the couples themselves, and showcasing easily some of the most spectacular florals I’ve ever seen.
As one of the first ever weddings in Anthology Farm, these guys set the bar pretty high. But the good news is, you’re about to get all the styling inspiration you could ever need!
Introducing: the best wedding venue in the Cotswolds for small weddings
Before we go any further, I thought I’d better give you a quick Anthology Farm lowdown. Here are the headline stats: 500 acres of private farmland, 9 boutique bedrooms, and two lovingly-restored 18th Century barns. And it’s even got an indoor pool. Did I miss anything? Oh, and there’s a cinema room (just in case).
But the on-paper stats simply don’t do justice to this incredible venue. Both of the listed barns have been stylishly restored, with a wonderful blend of rustic farmhouse charm and modern Scandi luxury. In one room you’ll have contemporary floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Cotswolds countryside. In another, you’ll have terracotta floors, exposed brick walls and a clawfoot bath.
It somehow manages to be cosy, sophisticated, relaxed and romantic all in one. And once the secret’s out, I’m certain Anthology Farm will quickly become one of the most popular wedding venues in the Cotswolds.
The perfect start to your Anthology Farm wedding weekend
You walk hand-in-hand through your beautiful Cotswolds wedding venue, the two of you together, taking it all in. As you go outside into the stillness of the evening, you pick up a bottle of champagne from the ice bucket by the door. You pop the cork and share a glass or two together, watching the golden sun setting slowly behind the Cotswolds hills.
A little while later, your guests arrive. You have champagne and cocktails on the patio as dusk settles. And as night falls, you all head inside to share some amazing food, mix a few cocktails and listen to some live music.
And you’re not meeting any plus-ones for the first time, or making small talk with distant relatives. You’re spending some quality time with all your favourite people, and sharing the eve of your wedding together. It’s the kind of escapism, romance and intimacy usually reserved for destination weddings. Sounds pretty perfect, right? Well that’s what an Anthology Farm wedding is all about.
Modern-luxe bridal styling with Grace Loves Lace
As the sun rose the next day, I padded about the blissfully quiet venue to get a sneak-peek of the styling. And as a wedding photographer, this is always such a guilty pleasure for me! Seeing everything all immaculately set out, waiting patiently for the day ahead.
When I heard the rest of the barns stirring into life, I headed over to Anthology Farm’s luxurious bridal suite where Gill was getting ready. And oh my, did she look amazing?! Gill wore a full-length veil, paired with the exquisitely femanine Mila by Grace Loves Lace. Made of soft stretch crepe, the off-the-shoulder mermaid dress has an understated elegance to it. She completed the relaxed, modern look with gorgeous earrings, natural makeup, and Hollywood waves in her hair.
But the star of Gill’s bridal look has got to be her show-stopping bouquet. Overflowing with reflexed white roses, orchids, and toffee dahlias, and all held together with a caramel ribbon. And I loved how the toffee accents in the bouquet tied her whole bridal look in perfectly with the rest of the styling.
Looking flawless and bursting with excitement, Gill gave us all the widest of smiles, picked up her bouquet, and headed out into the sunshine to marry the love of her life.
An outdoor wedding in Anthology Farm
There’s no other way to say it, Gill and Josh’s ceremony was idyllic. Style it right, and your Anthology Farm wedding will feel like an elopement in Tuscany.
Lines of rustic chairs sat in the sundrenched courtyard, backdropped by the rolling hills and tree-freckled fields of the Cotswolds. Pampas grass and roses lined the aisle. And at the altar sat a spectacular floral urn, spilling over with orchids, roses, and towering pampas grass swaying gently in the breeze.
Gill and Josh had sorted out all the legal stuff beforehand. So they were free to have the ceremony they wanted. Their friend, Matt, had seen their love blossom when they were all working together in Australia. And as someone who’d been part of their love story from the very start, they’d asked him to do the honour of leading their ceremony.
And it made their wedding all the more special. Nothing was formal, generic, or too ceremonial. From the personal stories and sentiments Matt shared, to Gill and Josh’s personally-written vows, the whole ceremony was focused entirely on their love. And when the ceremony was over, confetti filled the courtyard, and a huge cheer carried out across the Cotswolds hills.
Reception styling inspiration for your Anthology Farm wedding
The reception styling was out of this world flawless. I loved the stylish monochrome stationery, with accents of toffee and gold. The knotted napkins and small flower vases on the tables. All in that same caramel brown as the ribbon and the dahlias in Gill’s bouquet. Flowers filled the room, and sunlight streamed through every window.
And the cake was an absolute knockout. Two tiers of pure white acetate-stencilled icing, wreathed in flowers. And topped with a final tier of clear perspex, filled with the same flowers as Gill’s bouquet. Every detail was considered, cohesive, and effortlessly stylish. And considering Gill and Josh styled it all themselves, the whole reception (the whole day!) was insanely impressive!
We feasted on an awesome BBQ, with chicken, tomahawk steaks and lobster. Wine flowed, cocktails were mixed, and the familiar chatter of friends and family filled the room.
A few moments of blissful quiet
While all the guests were nibbling on the last chunks of steak and lobster, I took a stroll with Gill and Josh around the Anthology Farm grounds.
I always love to give my couples these little pockets of intimacy together throughout the day whenever we get the chance. And sometimes it might only be for a few minutes. But your wedding day will go by in a flash. And I think it’s so important to take 10 minutes every now and then for just the two of you. So you can take a breath together, take it all in, and just focus on each other for a while.
With the sky turning a gentle pink from the setting sun, we walked across the fields, and listened to the birds singing their goodnight songs. It was blissfully still, and in the middle of hundreds of acres of farmland, it felt like we had the world to ourselves.
Cocktails, dancing and sparklers to finish the day
For such a chilled-out day, Gill and Josh’s Anthology Farm wedding really ended with a bang! With margaritas on tap and an awesome live band, it went from a relaxed family get-together to a pretty wild family party! And with everyone staying within stumbling distance, there was nothing holding us back!
When night had fallen, we all headed outside for Josh and Gill’s sparkler exit. Everyone was clapping and cheering in the cold night air. And as always, Gill and Josh never once stopped smiling. It really was the perfect end to the perfect day. Let’s hope every wedding in Anthology Farm is going to be as amazing as this one!
If you’re looking for an Anthology Farm wedding photographer and you think I might be the perfect person to tell your story, I’d love to hear from you. Get in touch today and let’s have a chat and get to know each other.