Have you ever been to Salt Café in Portchester, Hampshire? It’s a destination café, the kind of place you hear about on the grapevine, pay them a visit, become a regular, tell your friends, and so it goes on. It’s not somewhere you pass by, it’s down a remote lane… in the yacht haven of a boat yard. So, what’s so special about it? You can sit out on the jetty watching the marine life, enjoying delicious coffee with your breakfast/brunch/lunch. It’s the little touches that make it so special – the basket of hot water bottles if the day is bright yet chilly, blankets too. Sun hats offered for a hot day, and binoculars to get a closer look at the passing boats. Kids and dogs can happily run on the shore within eye-shot of their family. The interior of the café is shabby and quirky yet somehow luxurious – think rustic dressers, filament bulb lighting, vintage lamps and quirky signage/artwork. They host regular pizza nights in the summer and their monthly ‘dining room’ offers a supper club-style experience.
The café is licenced so you can enjoy a beer or glass of fizz as the sun goes down, and the venue is available for private hire. If you’re heading to one of their evening events and don’t want to drive home, not a problem because they have Airbnb accommodation on site! Could this place get any dreamier? They rent out a beautiful cabin complete with all mod cons and your own private deck, or you can stay on Amble, their beautiful wooden sailing yacht.
If you’re in need of some retail therapy with your cappuccino, they’ve got that covered too. Their onsite shop sells cards, gifts, homewares, jewellery, artwork and the like. You really can make a day, or a weekend, of it at Salt, you can even hire a kayak or paddle board to explore the harbour in peace and solitude.
(Top photo is my cheeky son Rupert, with the cap on, and his mate Jacobi!)
So why am I telling you all this in a wedding magazine? Because… behind the café they have an amazing boat shed and we’re getting it ready for weddings! I’ve been in talks with owners Scott and Imogen, they like Margot’s style (and I very much like theirs) so we’re working together to open a super cool and quirky new wedding venue. Exactly what Hampshire needs, am I right?
The Boat Shed offers a large, industrial-style blank canvas space. We’ll be keeping some of the nautical touches – think buoys and oars, and we can even push a boat in if the space is a little too big for your numbers (decorate it with fairy lights and flowers for a stunning prop). We think trestle tables, wild-look flowers and strings of festoon lighting is the ideal vibe for the space and location, but the décor really is down to your imagination. It’s a DIY venue but I’m on hand with my black book of contacts to offer full or partial planning, or even just on the day management. We’ll be running the bar in-house and I’m working on a preferred supplier list for caterers and other suppliers.
(Above photos: Confetti Coast Photography)
The photos above/below give you a feel for the space and the scenery (we’ll be featuring the full shoot next week but you can view it on pages 14-17 of our current issue). Now the cat’s out the bag, it’s full steam ahead clearing and painting the space, promoting it, building our bar and getting ready to welcome enquiries.
We’re hosting a wedding fair at the boat shed on Sunday March 8th 2020. Free entry. Exhibitor enquiries welcome. Please click here to view Facebook event.
(Above photos Sam Pharoah)
I’m so excited about the project, it feels like all my experience in the industry over the last ten years is coming together. Could boat sheds be the new barns?
Why don’t we meet at Salt café to discuss dates and ideas?!
07795 076 553
P.S. Also check out the bride-to-be feature on pages 18/19 of our current issue. Singer Amy Baker and her fiancé Sam are our first booking at the boat shed! We can’t wait to host their wedding in July 2020.