If you read my post on shortlisting wedding venues where we used a scoring system to determine which venues we really wanted to visit, you’ll know that Cripps Barn was the overall top-scorer.
Cripps barn is based in the Cotswolds and is part of a chain of wedding venues called Cripps Venues. We were drawn to the rustic styling, informal setting and rural surroundings of this barn which is showcased idealistically on the venue’s website. However, when we stepped into Cripps Barn, it almost felt like a different venue.
The ceremony room features flagstone flooring, wooden beams and a large open fireplace – all of which look particularly stunning in the photographs on the website. In contrast, we arrived at Cripps Barn and entered to an overwhelming amount of smoke coming from the lit fireplace, which not only left a grey haze in the air, but also didn’t help the fact that the room already had poor lighting. We found the person we were due to meet and she quickly talked us through a few details and left us to wander around. We felt lost and unsure of how the process worked. She was clearly busy, and if anything we were made to feel a little unwelcome. When we eventually went over to ask her questions, she directed us to the planning section of the website and told us to go away and have a look at it – rather than sit and discuss it there and then. There was no consideration for the fact that we had travelled to visit the venue, and we left rather perplexed.
Driven by a DIY motive, it was disappointing to find that Cripps Barn didn’t seem flexible in terms of being able to make your wedding day your own. Everything seemed to come at a price, whether it was the cost of hiring decorations we could have easily sourced ourselves or the fact that you couldn’t bring your own candles – BIG deal-breaker for me. We would have been restricted on bringing our own ideas, as well as any of our own creations. They have put a price on everything, and the online booking system takes the spark out of making your selections while almost being comparable to the feeling of ordering a takeaway. A level of service and care wouldn’t have gone amiss – it is worth taking a look at my review of Cain Manor to see how it should be done, particularly for a chain of wedding venues. Albeit without much explanation, it became clear that we would only have the option to select decorations which they can provide – bye bye DIY.
The impression we got is that they believed the venue sells itself, and therefore didn’t need to dress it up or make us feel special. From enthusiasm and care to an almost corporate-like atmosphere, we felt like walking pound signs which didn’t need attention.
I believe that you could have a beautiful wedding at Cripps Barn, but the lack of personality and the many costly add-ons meant it just wasn’t for us. I don’t think that our visit was necessarily representative of how Cripps Barn normally operates, but when you see pictures of beautifully laid tables, roaring fires in the courtyard and candles lining the aisle, you do have to wonder, how much did it all come to?
Take a look at my other wedding venue reviews here.