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Ambitious wedding venue project helps secure promising future for Doxford Farm

Diversification might be something of buzz word in the North East farming community, but few have embraced the concept as wholeheartedly as Richard Shell.

After spending several years in banking in Scotland, the ambitious 24-year-old has returned to the family farm in Northumberland with big ideas to create what he hopes will be a one-of-a-kind wedding venue that will not only provide a stand-out experience but will - if all goes to plan - support the farming business at Doxford Farm for many years to come.

The concept for Doxford Barn Weddings revolves around the conversion of two barns, which once housed a farm shop, but which have lain vacant for several years.

What is currently a courtyard will become the Great Barn - a oak-beamed facility, retaining many original features, that can house 160 dining guests.

A 18th century stone reception room, The Cart Shed, then, will cater for smaller ceremonies, while The Forge, which will the original bellows and fireplace, will act as further reception.

The development will also contain a bar, while Doxford Lake, the farmhouse gardens and lawn on the 550 acre site will provide a picturesque setting for speeches, drinks reception and photographs.

Crucial to the concept, though, is the idea of providing a wedding ‘experience’ rather than simply a wedding day, the intention being that guests will have exclusive access to the facility for several days, giving the bride and groom time with family and friends in the run-up to and aftermath of their big day.

Richard Shell, the ambitious 24-year-old behind the Doxford Barn Weddings farm diversification project
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It helps, of course, that Doxford Farm already boasts seven self-catering holiday cottages, providing accommodation for up to 40 people less than 20 yards from the wedding venue.

“I believe there’s a need for something like this in the area,” said Richard, who will be managing director of the new venture, taking on around 10-15 part-time employees.

“This kind of project is very popular down south, but not so common up north.

“Northumberland is the tenth most popular county to get married in, and my mindset is that we can fill that niche.

“We’re not here to tell people how they should run their weddings, but what would be impossible elsewhere will be possible here.”

For Doxford Farm, diversification in itself is nothing new, Richard’s family having innovated consistently through the years to support their farming operations.

His mother, Sarah Shell, for example, was among the first to embrace the farm shop concept with Doxford County Store - a business that only became unviable in the aftermath of foot and mouth.

The self-catering holiday cottages, meanwhile, have been there for around 30 years, while the farm started offering bed and breakfast around 40 years ago.

Richard represents the third generation of the family to work there, his brother John and father Tom taking care of the arable and livestock farming elements.

The plan now is that the wedding business will fit seamlessly into the overall enterprise, keeping it strong even through tough economic times.

“I did my university dissertation on how the next generation of farmers can maintain viable businesses,” Richard said.

“To me, the answer is diversification - looking for alternatives to bring additional revenues is crucial in making sure you’re looking after the land in the way you should.”

Richard, however, believes the knock-on benefits could extend much further within the community and is keen to make use of local suppliers where possible.

North East real ales, for example, will feature in the Turnbull Bar - named after Richard’s grandfather Douglas Turnbull - while catering teams from The Plough in Alnwick and The Jolly Fisherman at Craster will ensure quality local food features on the menu.

“I left Northumberland for work reasons and a lot of my friends also left,” Richard said.

“So, my thinking is that if you can keep business in the area, you can keep locals in the area.

“That’s high on my priorities and I’m sure it’s something other people would want to support as well.”

Indeed, Richard has had an enthusiastic response so far.

Not only is the business receiving regular enquires - and even some bookings - but local businesses have been more than happy to jump on board.

“Everybody I have approached about playing a part in this has been immensely welcoming of what we’re offering,” Richard said.

“The feedback has been very, very positive.

“The way I see it is that if we’re using Pilgrims Coffee, from Holy Island, for example, people will enquire about that it will bring benefits for that business too.

“I really hope that a good business-to-business relationship can be built here.”

In all aspects, it’s a huge project that’s required not only considerable sums of money, but - with the need for listing building and change of use consent - a fair amount of work in the planning process alone.

A planning application is now in the hands of Northumberland County Council, with Richard expecting a decision to be taken next month.

By January, then, building work should have begun, the plan being that the venue will open its doors in June or July next year.

“It’s an ambitious project, but I’m more excited than nervous,” Richard said.

“I worked hard in Edinburgh to pay for it, so hopefully that will pay off.

“You’ve got to take risks to do well in life, but I’m confident it will work. I’m determined that it will.”

Doxford Barn Weddings will be holding an open day on November 15, between 11am and 5pm, during which Richard will share his vision with the public.

“There will be a number of suppliers here on that day as well,” he said.

“People can come along and talk about their requirements and make provisional booking if they wish - we’re working on a first come, first served basis.

“It will be great to get the locals in too so they can see what we have to offer.”

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03:42 Publié dans wedding | Tags : wedding | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)


Desiree Hartsock Wedding To Chris Siegfried: ‘The Bachelorette’ Nuptial Scoop Revealed

The Bachelorette stars Desiree Hartsock and Chris Siegfried will be getting married soon and they are starting to reveal some key details for fans. Desiree and Chris recently shared that they had chosen a January 2015 date for their nuptials and now a few additional tidbits have come out. What’s the scoop on Desiree Hartsock’s wedding?

According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, Desiree and Chris’ wedding is slated for the middle of January. They haven’t publicly shared the exact date yet and Siegfried said that is because for now they are trying to keep it private with friends and family for as long as they can.

'The Bachelorette' stars Desiree Hartsock, Chris Siegfried
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Siegfried adds that “save the date” cards went out a while ago, and the actual invitations will be on the way to guests shortly. They expect to have about 150 people in attendance. Desiree had previously indicated that she wanted to have the wedding in California but The Bachelorette couple hasn’t confirmed if that is how their final plans came together.

Chris has seen a lot of wedding dresses over the past few months, as Desiree has designed not only her own gown, but a line of wedding dresses with Maggie Sottero Designs. Hartsock says her own gown is all put together and it’s at the home she shares with Chris, but it is hidden away so he won’t see it. She actually designed two gowns for herself: one for the ceremony as well as an evening dress. Desiree and Chris add that Siegfried will wear a dark gray suit while Hartsock’s bridesmaids will be wearing a berry color.

Until now, Chris and Desiree haven’t fully addressed the rumors that their The Bachelorette wedding wouldn’t be televised. Reality Steve had been saying for months that ABC was taking a pass and now Chris says that indeed it doesn’t seem to be happening. He shares that the couple was open to it as they knew fans wanted to see it, but it seems the network doesn’t feel it’s cost effective to do. He adds that the couple is still interested but it doesn’t look like it will come together.

What about their plans for the future? It seems that Desiree and Chris are aiming for the wedding first and then a dog. In an interview with The Nest, Desiree talked about wanting children at some point as well, but it doesn’t sound as if they’ll rush into it. They both are doing well with their careers now and seem to just enjoy being together as a couple.

Even if Desiree Hartsock’s wedding to Chris Siegfried isn’t televised, The Bachelorette fans can surely look forward to seeing some updates after the fact. Many fans would say that the odds were definitely stacked against them at the time their finale aired, but Desiree and Chris have shown that they really did fall head-over-heels in love.

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Aurora Shooting Victim’s Wedding Proposal Will Make You Believe Love Can Conquer All

Two years after being shot and injured in a midnight movie theater massacre that shattered hearts in Colorado, 21-year-old Bonnie Kate Zoghbi found herself back in a movie theater for one of the best nights of her life.

Unbeknownst to Bonnie Kate, her filmmaker boyfriend Max Zoghbi, had been working for months on a short film that told the story of how the couple fell in love, and arranged for a screening of the trailer in a theater — while being secretly recorded.

Bonnie Kate was one of 70 people injured when suspected gunman James Holmes opened fire inside an Aurora, Colorado, theater, killing 12. It took her weeks to recover, and she says she still lives with constant pain from the shootings.

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“The movie theater – all that trauma – that’s not the end of my story,” Bonnie Kate told the Daily Mail. “It’s the beginning.”

Max, 26, wanted to include a movie theater in his proposal to make sure a movie theater was part of the best day of her life — instead of the worst.

Max took Bonnie Kate to the movies on Jan. 10 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he had arranged for the film trailer he directed to play, completely taking her by surprise.

“I was so excited it felt like my heart was about to pop with joy,” Bonnie Kate told ABC News. “I was hoping for it, let’s just get married let’s just get engaged, I can’t even put it into words.”

And Max had more in store for their “epic date.” He led Bonnie Kate outside the theater, where a group of friends and family members waited to cheer them on, and arranged for a chauffeur to drive the couple to their favorite restaurant.After dinner, they went to her grandparents’ barn, where he proposed. It was the same spot where her grandfather proposed to her grandmother decades earlier.

“I wrote the script in early December (2013), assembled the cast and crew and shot the thing in January,” Max told ABC about the short film. “Getting the movie theater on board, getting my brothers to learn the song, a lot these things flowing around. It was a group effort, everything fell into place so it was very special.”

The couple married on May 24.

Max filmed the entire proposal night and put it together into a short film he calledWildflower, which tells the couple’s entire love story. He hoped to share the movie with their children one day.

He said he posted the video on YouTube on Sept. 18, hoping to share how God can take “something as evil as a movie theater massacre” and use it for good.

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03:47 Publié dans wedding | Tags : wedding | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)