Kim Stewart from Sussex wedding venue, Great Betley Farmhouse, has been quite a journey over the last couple of years. We caught up with her to find out more, and to see what 2020 and beyond has in store.
Q. Hi Kim! Can you tell us about Great Betley Farmhouse, how long you’ve been there etc…
A. I have been living at the family-owned Great Betley Farmhouse since November 2007 but have known the farm since the early 1990’s when my husband and I farmed it. The farmhouse itself is a beautiful Tudor house and is set in 200 acres of farmland close to the village of Henfield in Sussex.
Q. What’s your vision with Great Betley Farmhouse?
A. I started doing B&B in December 2017, but I wanted to expand the business. I am so lucky to live here and am so passionate about the house…. I love sharing it with others. The countryside in West Sussex is so beautiful and the views make the perfect backdrop for celebrations. My vision is to host gorgeous, rustic and sustainable weddings. Being in the heart of the West Sussex farming community, it’s important to me to be environmentally friendly, less consumption-oriented and more meaningful.
Every wedding should be unique to the couple getting married, it’s their story to tell – no cookie cutter weddings here!
Q. What’s included in a wedding package?
A. The wedding package here includes exclusive use of approximately five acres spread over two connecting fields, with a stunning view of the South Downs and Chanctonbury Ring, as well as the lawn by the pond, and four double bedrooms on a B&B basis within the beautiful 16th century farmhouse. On the day co-ordination is also included.
Above photos: Photography by Bond
Q. We know you held a launch wedding fair in May with some fantastic local suppliers. Do you have plans to hold more fairs/open days?
A. I am hoping to have an open day every year, not only to show the venue off, but also to help promote my local suppliers.
Q. Why weddings?
A. I love weddings! They’re such happy, joyful and hopeful occasions. As I have access to some of the land on the farm, it made sense to start hosting weddings….
Q. What kind of weddings are most suited to Great Betley farmhouse?
A. Rustic and laid back weddings are perfect. I don’t envision it ever being manicured to within an inch of its life, it has a rural charm.
Above photos: Photography by Bond
Q. What’s your background/experience?
A. 10 years ago I started my wedding stationery business and have been building contacts within the wedding industry. I also now hold a Wedding Planning Diploma so will be handling the on-the-day co-ordination for couples, liaising with their suppliers to make sure that their day goes smoothly.
Q. We know you host hen parties too. Tell us about a potential hen package at Great Betley
A. We offer small hen parties with a choice of activities. Take the four double bedrooms for a couple of nights and choose from our suggestions such as: Homemade afternoon tea with Prosecco; Cocktail Making Masterclass; Truffle Making Workshop; Floral Workshop; Vintage Makeover with photos; Craft/Stationery Making Session.
Indulge in some complementary therapies such as reflexology, Swedish massage, facials, hot stone massage, etc.
In the evening have a two or three course dinner with wine or perhaps a murder mystery evening?.. Or tell us what you would like to do and we’ll do our very best to arrange it for you!
(First photo above: Jessica Milberg)
Q. What does 2020 have in store?
A. 2020 is going to be another year of making improvements to the grounds and working to help couples to achieve the wedding of their dreams.
Q. Do you have any upcoming workshops you’d like to mention?
A. We are also able to host workshops here. My studio/office is the perfect space for a small group of people to learn a new skill in a relaxed and fun environment. This year I have hosted a few Christmas Wreath Making workshops which have been very successful, and already next year I have planned:
❖ Saturday 8th February 2020, 10.30-12.30 Truffle Making with The Truffle Witch – learn how to make your own delicious chocolate truffles. Perfect for the upcoming Valentine’s Day or as wedding favours.
❖ Sunday 22nd November 2020, 10.30 onwards Stir Up Sunday and Wreath Making – I will be guiding the Christmas Pudding mixing in the morning and in the afternoon there will be Wreath Making with Amanda Jane Flowers to really start getting into the festive spirit.
If you’d like to find out more about Kim’s story, I’d recommend you click here and read her latest blog post.
A woman is like a teabag – you can’t tell how strong she is till you put her in hot water – Eleanor Roosevelt