Last year I happened to be editing the wedding of Kelly and Ross when my little sister popped in to borrow some frock or other (NB this usually results in half my wardrobe making a sharp exit out of the front door). Melissa was literally open mouthed at the gorgeousness of the images: “OMGwhereisthatitissoamazingIwanttogetmarriedthere!!” and stayed around for the duration of the post completion so she could have a good old gawp at all of the magical moments.
The venue in question was The Gallivant at Camber Sands near Rye in East Sussex, all white washed wood and easy breezy informality. They do weddings (obviously) but the hotel and restaurant are open at all other times too so if you fancy a weekend “getting away from it all” then you can make a trip down south and soak up the sunshine and salty air.
Team RMW have yet to release Venues on The Love Lust List, it’s a difficult one – even if we receive a zillion recommendations for one particular place we feel we are not really able to make a considered decision unless we’ve seen it, felt it and loved it for ourselves. Your venue is one of (if not THE) most significant expenditure of W-day, the service and ambience of which will have a huge impact on you, your guests and the overall enjoyment of your day.
When Mr O’Shea and I got engaged (way back when in 2008 people – where does the time go?) I had big dreams of saying “I do” near/on a beach. I wanted to be barefoot and donning some kind of floaty chiffon number with fresh flowers scattered randomly in my barnet. I managed only the floral part of that dream but one out of three ain’t bad…. besides, when I was looking for a location that would offer such seaside frivolity there simply wasn’t one. Or at least any I can remember knocking my socks off enough to bother to investigate in any detail.
And now there is – The aforementioned Gallivant.
James and I were invited to stay there a few weeks back to experience well…..the whole experience. And I don’t just mean the specific events of a wedding at the venue, we even paid a visit to the Rye Retreat where brides and their best girls can be pampered and preened on the morning of W-day and even down to Rye harbour where we met Russell who literally makes the “catch of the day” for the Gallivant’s Bistro and Trevor – the Head Chef extraordinaire (he trained with Marco Pierre White don’t you know).
It always makes me really sad when couples rule out their perfect place because of distance. Of course I appreciate there are often various circumstances that dictate a big day has to be close to home but in the main when I hear “I just don’t want to have to ask guests to travel that far” I tell them this: Don’t under estimate your nearest and dearest – what’s a couple of hours in a car to celebrate the forever union of those you love?
Ok so off my soap box now and on with the show. As I was saying…..
The Gallivant is literally right opposite the dunes of Camber Sands, a gorgeous back drop for portraits and (weather depending) after your ceremony the place of choice for your canapés to be served – the staff bring various delicious treats to you and your W-day party in cute wicker picnic hampers so you can eat, relax and make like you’re on a jolly holiday.
The Gallivant is an exclusive use venue – a prerequisite for us when deciding upon where in the UK could possibly cater for all of our requirements. There are 18 pretty bedrooms for your friends and family to stay in including a sexy bridal suite with a bed so big you may actually lose each other.
You can choose to have your civil ceremony in the New England Room or one of the various churches in near by Rye, and if you are after something with an abundance of history and traditional elegance then there is also the Town Hall. We met the town cryer and everything – he can shout LOUD folks.
For your wedding breakfast there is a separate marquee adjacent to the main building, all long benches, blue and white linens and beautiful blooms. I swear – it was like being on the California coast (which would make perfect sense considering one of the owners of The Gallivant spent time living there and it’s where the inspiration for the decor and general atmosphere of the venue came from). You can choose from a more traditional three course breakfast that always includes two choices of starter and main or a barbequeue feast with various sharing plates (a sure way fire of getting all of your favourite people chatting).
Oh and there are cocktails on tap. Yes ON TAP. Naturally I had to try a sea breeze for myself….y’know to make sure it was as delectable as I imagined.
I may have even had two.
In addition to this the Gallivant also offer an after dark BBQ for all of your guests as part of the standard package which is handy, we all know that after a few hours of dancing like a mentalist one may get a distinct case of the midnight munchies….
Imagining myself as a bride (because even though it was over 3 years ago for me I have to get into the “zone” as it were) I was in 7th heaven. Truly. Because as well as all of the above there is also the “sitting room” – a gorgeous relaxing area for you and your bridal party to hang out, get dressed and drink champagne. There is even a garden terrace where you can indulge in some fresh strawberries and finger sandwiches pre-ceremony.
I know – I die.
It’s no secret that I’m not a huge foodie – sweets and cakes yes, everything else….take it or leave it to be honest. But even I had to hand it to the menu at The Gallivant, it’s immense. And James (who certainly is someone that loves their food) said of his Salt Marsh Lamb “This is proper banging”….(for those of you not familiar with this type of lingo what he actually meant was “This is one of the best meals I have ever had”).
I’m not sure I know anyone who has ever said that about a plate that has been served at a wedding before.
It’s unusual for me to write a post about one particular supplier/thing, it only happens if I am really impressed and I was. I want to get married again (same groom obviously) just so I can go experience The Gallivant for real.
The price per head starts from £85, an exclusive use supplement from £1,050. There are no scary hidden extras as far as drinks, food and room hire go – this even includes flip flops for every single guest. Yes really.
However if you do want push the boat out you can always opt for an oyster bar, a shell fish bar, a cheese station or endless ice-cream from just £300 based on 80 people.
I know which one I would choose.
You can contact front of house and special events manager Natalie on firstname.lastname@example.org for enquiries and of course have yourself a butchers at The Gallivant website for further details.
Are you thinking of a W-day by the sea? If so where?
Ever been to a W-day at The Gallivant?
Has distance dictated where you choose to celebrate together foreverness?
As always leave us your thoughts in the comments box below lovelies.
All images by Team O’Shea.
Big Camber Sands Love
P.S A Big thanks to AJ from Sharp Relations organising such a lovely getaway.
P.P.S I do want to secretly believe that actual mermaids live on Mermaid street….