The Gardens at Polehanger…
We are Charlotte and Andrew Foster, owners and operators at The Gardens at Polehanger. Polehanger Farm has been in the Foster family for three generations. Andrew grew up on the farm, and, after working for 15 years in IT, has returned to learn the ropes and take over the running of the farm. Despite a number of years working and living in London, his love of the countryside never left him, and he is once again enjoying working outside, long cycle rides, country walks with the family and, most of all, golf! Charlotte is an ex-lawyer and current keen netball player. After taking time out to raise their 5 year old twins, Charlotte is keen to get back to work, and excited about the prospects that The Gardens at Polehanger holds. We had our reception at the farm back in 2007, so we know what a magical wedding venue it is.
Chloe owns White Button Weddings and runs weddings at the Gardens at Polehanger. Chloe has a wealth of event planning experience, having been working in events for over 15 years, and has turned her attention to weddings over the last six. Chloe is a planner and stylist, as well as a mummy to three gorgeous children.
Tell us about where the magic happens – where’s your HQ?
The Gardens at Polehanger is a stunning Bedfordshire country garden. It is part of a working arable farm yet hidden away in its own little spot and is totally idyllic. We are so excited to see what couples create here and how our little spot of heaven is going to be transformed in so many different ways.
How and why did you start up your business?
Our very long-term hope is to renovate some listed barns at the farm to use as a wedding venue. These plans are huge and will not start for quite some time yet. In the meantime, we realised we have what so many couples are looking for right here in the form of the wonderful gardens and a 2 bedroom cottage for people to use – so ‘The Gardens at Polehanger’ was born. We met with Chloe from White Button Weddings and showed her the space and she agreed that it is perfect! Chloe has a wealth of experience in weddings, so we have teamed up to offer the Gardens at Polehanger as a unique venue, alongside Chloe’s planning and management expertise. We are lucky enough to already have power and water on site and the gardens are in a beautiful condition, so couples have a great starting point for their wedding day.
What do you love most about your job?
We are yet to find out as it is such early days, but so far we are loving putting plans in place for the business, working on ideas for renovating the cottage, and working with White Button Weddings to develop our new venture. Polehanger Farm has changed considerably over the years, and we are excited to see the new direction we can take it in as a bespoke wedding venue. We are looking forward to seeing what couples will create here.
What kind of couples are ‘your couples’?
We are aiming our venue at those who want a ‘venue’ i.e. more than just a field, but with free rein to do as they like. Chloe from White Button Weddings will work with our couples, meet with them to discuss the venue and options, keep in touch to obtain supplier information, and make sure all is on track for the day. The WBW team will then be on-site the day before the wedding to assist with set up and on the day of the wedding itself to ensure everything runs to plan. Having organised our own wedding at Polehanger we really feel like having someone on-site on the day to coordinate suppliers, make sure everything is kept tidy, that the timeline is kept to, drinks are topped up and that any little hiccups are solved if and when they crop up, is essential and this is the reason why we include this as standard. We want all our couples to have the best wedding day experience and we really feel that by including this service we are offering just that. We have power and water on site which is a cost-saving for our couples and a hard-standing car park with lighting. The addition of our two-bedroom cottage included in the price offers the perfect spot for the wedding night and comes complete with a yummy continental breakfast hamper. Apart from that and the beautiful gardens, couples are free to go wild and create just what they want – the bigger the imagination the better.
What would be your advice for couples looking to plan a wedding totally unique to them?
Chloe – I think the main point is to think about what you like rather than focusing on trends. Every season I see a lot of weddings following the same trends and actually the weddings that really stand out are those who haven’t focused on the trends but have gone with just what they like, whether it’s a particular colour palette, theme or style. Try to think of what you enjoy as a couple and incorporate little nods to that throughout the wedding day. If there is a certain type of food you love, have it! A certain drink you enjoy together, serve it! Don’t go with the norm- weddings can be expensive and should be just what you want.
In your opinion, what makes a great wedding?
The Gardens at Polehanger will launch in 2021, so we are yet to experience weddings on site (other than our own!) However, in our opinions and having been to lots of weddings, to us it is all about bringing people together, atmosphere, food, drink and music 😊
What exciting bits are in the pipeline?
The Gardens at Polehanger are launching next year and includes a 2-bedroom cottage as part of the package. We are in the process of designing, renovating, and styling this to a high standard. Late 2021/2022 will see the launch of the farmhouse accommodation as well. The beautiful 17th century farmhouse has been the Foster family home for many years and will be taking on a new lease of life to offer accommodation to wedding guests. This will provide an additional four double bedrooms (extra camp beds/cots can be provided for children). We are starting off small, but the offerings are growing, and we cannot wait to see where this exciting venture takes us.
Website Link: www.Polehanger.co.uk/thegardens