Follow Your Seaside Dreams.

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.

It was.

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 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

Charlotte xxx

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….

23 thoughts on “Follow Your Seaside Dreams.

  1. Looks like you had a nice little break 🙂

    We were meant to be going to the beach tomorrow evening for dinner with Al’s parents so we could watch all 7 P&O cruise ships doing their special thing with the Red Arrows…but our atrocious July weather has put an end to that plan!

  2. What a beaut! We’ve booked a beautiful beach side wedding venue in Cornwall…being from the North West we’re obviously having to ask our family and friends to travel. Over a year to go and family members are already moaning that we’re being selfish …but after a few wobbles I’m sticking to my guns! If they don’t want to join in our beachy dream then they can bugger off….I won’t miss them on the day….I’ll be too busy eating ice cream and getting sand in between my toes with my brand new hubby *sigh* The only thing that tugs on the heart strings is the fact that my elderly grandparents probably won’t make it xxxxxx

  3. Kinda wish I was getting married here…and seen as I’m getting married in 8 weeks in the south of france that’s saying something! Totally amazing, I will be sending this to every newly engaged person I come across! x

  4. I have been to camber sands and it is absolutely beautiful – I hope to see a wedding from this very location gracing these blue polka dot pages soon….do you hear that brides-to-be?! 🙂 xx

  5. Well what do you know – The Gallivant was the setting for Mr. P and my first proper grown-up weekend away just after we’d first got it together. It was called The Place back then and I remember the romantic breeziness of it like it was yesterday – when in fact it’ll have been 10 years this year! I have a sketch of the dunes at Camber Sands framed in my living room that we bought there. It always reminds me of that magical time.

    Thank you so much for bringing these memories back for me! As for a seaside wedding, well, that would be lovely but living in landlocked Leicestershire, we’re going to have to settle for a heart-of-the-country feel instead!

  6. @Hayley C – your wedding sounds amazing… Can I come?!

    @Helene – and yours!!! France is my favourite place in Europe 🙂


  7. So lovely, and actually pretty close to where my family are from. However I’m getting married on Friday so a bit late to change venues!

    Charlotte, slightly random question, but what type of camera are these photos taken with? I’m looking for something for the honeymoon as my camera broke the day before my hen do…

    Thanks! X

  8. Camber sands and the Gallivant look lovely – even on a not so sunny day 🙂 Weekend away sometime methinks!

    @ Hayley C, where abouts in Cornwall? Suggest to those dissenters a) they could have a weeks holiday with your wedding and include your wedding in it, or b) that those who can’t/won’t come will have to arrange a party to celebrate when you two return to the North-west! That should shut them up… :-p

    We’re getting married in Cornwall where 90% of both our families live, so our young twenty-something friends from Kent (where we now live) can do all the travelling instead. Don’t know how they feel about that yet, but if they can’t make it we’ll have a mini-do up here for those unable/unwilling to make it.

    Our church and venue are in the countryside, but I’m definitely thinking of asking my brother (a budding photographer) to do a cherish the dress seaside shoot though…

  9. @ Amy – We’re having the whole thing at a lovely little hotel called the Glendorgal in Porth near Newquay…it has access down to the beach and a view from the ceremony room to die for! That was my reasoning…we’re giving everyone an excuse for a holiday…people should be grateful! Ha I like that…I shall throw that idea in the pot and watch them squirm! Everywhere in Cornwall is bloomin lovely whether be on the beach or in a field so no doubt you’ll have a gorgeous day!

    @Charlotte – Done! You can replace all the grumpy family members! Bring your flip flops….

  10. So this is where you went when you said you were off to the seaside!!! Totes jel!

    Now off to persuade the Boy that we need a weekend at the Galivant! Because even though we’re having some rustic, barn, outside, American South type wedding, a girl can dream…right! xxx

  11. Miss O’Shea what are you doing to me….now I want to go on a beach holidaym like NOW!! ha ha
    Gorgeous pictures 🙂 xx

  12. @Charlotte – I shall but its not until next July. Think hessian, hydrangeas, twine, long tables, lawn games… xxx

  13. It’s to pwetty! I remember the wedding here, it was beautiful! Someone take me to the beach now please xxx

  14. Thank you Charlotte for really highlighting the fact that people WILL travel to be with you on your wedding day. We live in sheffield but chose to get married In Brighton-we wanted everyone to have an amazing weekend away in one of our all time favourite places and boy they did!!! we were so anxious about asking people to make the 4hr drive down as we knew it was an enormouus effort for all involved. Knowing that people wanted to be with us for our seaside celebration was the best feeling in the world and i love them all for wanting to show us how much they cared 🙂 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  15. Aww man – I get a migraine and end up missing this little beauty!!

    /cancels ALL wedding plans and re-books at the Gallivant/

    gorgeous beaching times xx

  16. I came across The Gallivant a few months ago and fell in love, to the extent where I totally plan on getting married here before any wedding plans even exist for me. My major concern is the distance my family and friends would have to travel given we live in Yorkshire so thanks for this article, totally apt. As I only want a intimate wedding I’m hoping the distance just means it’ll keep it to those I’m closest too.

  17. We’re getting married away from home – it’s a few hours for most people. It’s in the place I lived when we met and it’s where we found our dream venues. People have been fine with travelling and staying over – I feel bad that people are having to pay for hotels etc but a lot of people are making a proper weekend of it.

  18. Oh my god I can’t contain my excitement any more – We’re getting hitched here we’re getting hitch here!!!! We have just put the deposit down (literally today) to get married here in 2014!!! Charlotte, thank you for this post as it pretty much sealed the deal for us. For someone like you to say how good it is just says it all! And guess what…. We haven’t even seen it in real life yet!!! We live in Australia (I am originally from Kent and my Fiancé is an Ozzie) but wanted to get married in England. My mum actually stumbled across the Gallivant and has done all the viewing for us – thank you mummy! We can’t believe how perfect it is for us!!! It’s a big ask for half our W party to make the trip across the other side of the world but they have embraced the opportunity and can’t wait for a holiday of a life time! As long as our nearest and dearest are there, that’s all that matters to us! Life’s a beach!!!

  19. I love your article about the Gallivant, it’s awesome. I am getting married there on 2nd Feb 2013 & we are so excited we found this place. It’s perfect & so much more chilled out. The plans are coming together. I don’t think we will be doing canapes on the beach but as long as it is not raining we are hoping to get some romantic photos on the beach.
    We have asked our friends to travel but since we live in Brighton but have a lot of friends & family in Essex & Bucks whether they travel to Brighton or Camber does not make a lot of difference.
    I have travelled all over the UK for friends weddings & although it can be expensive you will be amazed at how resourceful people get with ideas 🙂
    I am sooooo excited about the venue you would not believe – 9 weeks tomorrow 🙂

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