Photo by Jenny Rutterford. Decoration by the bride, Lucienne and groom, Peter.
Here’s some handy answers to some of our frequently asked questions. Enjoy!!
WHERE IS THIS SECRET BARN, THEN? The barn is down a quiet country lane, in West Sussex, with views of the downs. It’s close to Steyning.
YES, BUT WHAT’S THE ADDRESS? Ahh, we could tell you, but then we’d have to kill you. The Secret Barn is on private property and we don’t give out the address willy nilly, to stop people popping in unannounced.
DO YOU HAVE ANY AVAILABILITY FOR 2018 / 2019? 2018 is all booked up, we have a couple of 2019 dates still available. We only book in a very limited number of weddings so it tends to get booked up pretty far in advance.
WHAT ABOUT 2020/21? Woah there! Easy tiger, not just yet. When we do we will first announce it on our Facebook page so it is worth keeping your eye on there.
HOW MANY OF MY NEAREST AND DEAREST CAN I CROW BAR IN? The Secret Barn seats up to 90-110(ish) people and stands up to 150. If you would like to have more there is the option of a marquee / tipi.
WE ARE BRINGING LOTS OF CHILDREN… That’s lovely, but please remind parents that it is a working farm and they are responsible for supervising their children, at all times.
HOW LONG DO WE HAVE ACCESS TO THIS RURAL IDYL? Assuming the wedding is on a Saturday you will have access for setting up and decorating from the Thursday, the barn needs to be left as you found it by Monday afternoon.
CAN WE DECIDE WE WANT TO STAY FOREVER, WHEN THE WEDDING IS OVER? No, not really! You can camp on the night of the wedding, everyone needs to go after breakfast unless they are helping clear up. We like everything to have been cleared from the venue by Monday afternoon / evening please.
WE’D LIKE TO MAKE A WEEKEND OF IT AND ALL STAY FROM FRIDAY TO SUNDAY / MONDAY (OR TUESDAY, OR WEDNESDAY…) Although you wouldn’t be able to stay in the ‘wedding camping paddock’ there is a Camping Field that you could all go and stay in for the whole summer if you liked. Please let us know if this would be of interest and we can explain how it works.
CAN I GET MARRIED THERE? The barn is not licensed for the legal part of weddings, but the orchard area is perfect for a humanist ceremony.
CAN WE DECORATE HOWEVER WE LIKE? Within reason, yes, so long as it can all be taken back down again. We ask that you don’t hammer in to the old hardwood beams, etc. wrapping / tying things on works just as well.
I DON’T WANT TO SET UP AND DECORATE, WILL YOU? Yes, please get in touch and tell us what you would like so we can provide a quote.
DO YOU HAVE A LADDER? Yes, we do have a ladder onsite you can use. Please be aware that you will be responsible for your safety when using it and it is entirely at your own risk.
WHAT ABOUT TABLES AND CHAIRS? We have trestle tables and benches which you are welcome to use. If you would like different tables / chairs these would be extra and we can help you with the hire of them. Trestle tables x 16 (20” wide, 88” long, 30” high). Benches x 32 (10.5” wide x 86” long x 18” high). The kitchen has a fridge for food and oven, so you won’t need to worry about getting those in.
IS THERE POWER AT THE BARN? Yes there are 2 double sockets at each end of the barn. This has so far been efficient for lights, music, etc.
ARE THERE LIGHTS IN THE BARN? Yes, but you may want to add festoon / fairy lights to the mix. There are festoon lights outside on the lawn side of the barn which gently lights up the lawn.
ARE THERE LOOS AT THE BARN? Yes, there are portaloos provided with the barn, you can arrange for ‘fancy loo hire’ if you would like to add those.
CAN WE HAVE A LIVE BAND? Yes you can. (If it’s a barn dance you have to let us lot join in though.)
CAN WE HAVE FIREWORKS? Unfortunately fireworks present a whole new world of fire precautions, health and safety requirements and livestock problems so we do not allow fireworks.
OHHHHH, WHAT ABOUT CHINESE LANTERNS? Nope – though they look lovely when you send them off but they cause too many problems for the local wildlife and livestock, sorry!
WHY DO I NEED WEDDING INSURANCE? Getting Wedding Insurance is part of our T&Cs. If, for any reason, you need to cancel your wedding, you will need to go to your wedding insurance to claim back any deposits you have paid out to any suppliers, it should also cover the barn. We will need your policy name and number, public liability of £2000000. We aren’t affiliated with any insurance company but many people seem choose John Lewis and Debenhams, please have a look around and decide which policy suits your needs. This is needed within two weeks of taking your booking.
WHAT ISN’T THERE? Horrible chair covers (!). Table linen. Glassware. Round tables. Chairs.
WHAT EQUIPMENT MIGHT I NEED? We have two normal sized fridges you can use for bottled drinks only – you may decide you want extra refrigeration. Glassware – we can help you with this.
WHAT ABOUT HEATING? The barn is not heated, so far nobody has found this a problem and everyone has relied on the warmth from 90 ish friends and family. You are welcome to hire in heating if you want providing all Health & Safety / Fire precautions are observed.
WE’D LIKE SOME HAY BALES, IS THAT OK? You can have up to 10 hay bales for the grass area outside the barn, you will be responsible for clearing up any hay afterwards though!
WE LIKE THE IDEA OF HAVING HAYBALES INSTEAD OF CHAIRS, CAN WE HAVE THEM IN THE BARN? Nope – hay bales and 150 year old timber building are not a great mix for fire, hay bales must be kept out of / away from the barn.
WE’D LIKE TO PUT UP A MARQUEE – IS THAT POSSIBLE? Yes! we have just the place for it. Please ask us to show it to you when we show you round.
WE’D LIKE A BOUNCY CASTLE, IS THERE ANYWHERE WE CAN PUT IT? Yes! The paddock has loads of room and it would be fine for a bouncy castle.
BOOZE & DRINKING? CAN WE BRING OUR OWN DRINKS? You are welcome to B.Y.O. We do not charge corkage at The Secret Barn and can staff a free bar for you. We are now licensed so can also run a pay bar.
WHAT’S THE LOW DOWN ON CAMPERS AND CAMPING? We have set the limit at 40 campers at The Secret Barn to avoid a situation where we are policing Glastonbury!
MY FRIENDS SCREAM, SHOUT, SWEAR AND PLAY MUSIC FROM THEIR CARS ALL NIGHT – IS THAT OK? No, it’s not! Your guests are YOUR responsibility. If they won’t stop screaming / shouting / playing banging tunes they will be required to leave, and you will be required to facilitate this. Abusive behaviour is also not on.
WHEN CAN WE SET UP CAMPERS TENTS? People can come and set up tent’s on Friday or Saturday. You could also get in touch with Katrina from Beautiful Belles who can come and put up Bell Tents for you and as many of your guests as you like. There is a ‘Wedding Bell Tent’ option as well as a tents for your guests, etc.
CAN WE HAVE A CAMP FIRE? Yes, we have a large fire pit you can use and smaller ones for the campers.
DO YOU SUPPLY WOOD? We can supply the wood for the – you would pay the farmer directly for what you use, alternatively you can bring along your own.
IS THERE ANY PARKING? Yes, there is a parking field. Bare in mind that parking on the lawn out side the barn / grass verges will result in a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth, and nobody wants that.
IS THERE ANY ACCOMMODATION NEAR BY? There are various B&Bs around and a few small hotels, there are also lots of holiday homes in the area for more flexible accommodation. There is of course the option Glamping option with Beautiful Bells, giving your guest a nicely priced, on site, fun stay over option, if they prefer to bring their own tent that’s fine too.
WHAT IF IT RAINS? Well we actually have another barn available to hire, on site, just in case for your ceremony. Take that, weather!