After months of preparation, Northumberland’s newest wedding and function venue opened to the public on Saturday.
With five possible places to stage the ceremony, Doxford Barns, Chathill, is one of the most special places to tie the knot in the region.
With bookings already coming in, owner Richard Shell couldn’t have imagined how astonishing the transformation has been from a dilapidated farm courtyard to a fully-functioning wedding venue.
Richard said: “It’s absolutely incredible how it looks now. If you look at some of the differences from back in April, there was absolutely nothing there. Now, in the past five weeks it’s gone from not looking like anything to looking like something so special, it’s incredible.”
The venue swung open its barn doors last weekend, with Una, one of the horses from the farm, chewing through a ‘24-carat ribbon’ (made from haylage and 24 carrots). It had been hoped that Rodney, who will be attending his owner Alice Jennings’ wedding next year, would be the VIP guest to perform the ribbon-cutting ceremony but, unfortunately, he couldn’t make the trip from South Shields.
Richard said he thought Doxford Barns was one of the biggest venues, capacity-wise, in which to hold a wedding in Northumberland.
“We’re saying 160 people but I think we can easily seat 200 people for a wedding breakfast, possibly more,” he said.
The whole farm area was subject to a complete face-lift but since the barn areas are listed buildings, they were subject to very careful planning and architectural transformations.
Tim Brook, the architect from Alnwick who designed the work, said it was exciting to see the changes.
“Everything here is Grade II listed so what you’ve got to do is something that’s taking a redundant agricultural building and trying to find a new use so we’ve really just recreated a barn here, and put the old buildings into new use.
“The whole thing takes vision. Richard knew exactly what he wanted, he had a very clear idea so from our point-of-view he’s the perfect client.
“I remember six months ago this was just a muddy mess and here we are with a venue for almost 200 people and some very favourable comments.”
The team sourced all the workmen from companies across north Northumberland, including R Telfer Electrical Ltd; Alnwick Paint & Glass; MG Courty Timber Ltd; MKM Building Supplies; Doves Alnwick; Darren Turnbull Paintimg; LC Screeding; Dave Curry Groundworks; Tim Brook Architect; Barry Forster Plumbing; Kevin and John Temple of Brickblock Construction; joiner David (Sneck) Robinson; and Trevor Harding Plastering.
It prides itself on a new outlook to the wedding experience. The venue will be offered to the wedding party for three days rather than just one. It also includes accommodation.
Related story: Sneak preview inside Northumberland’s newest wedding venue