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  • Writer's picturePetite Weddings

Back Story: Intimate Wedding Venue, Cosawes Barton

Updated: Nov 18, 2022

With Corona Virus is still impacting on so many of our couples, suppliers and intimate wedding venues, we’re continuing our series of "virtual coffee and cake" chats with some of our wonderful venue owners and wedding day service suppliers for a dive into the story behind their businesses and passion for small weddings.

In life it's not just what you do, it's the way that you do it, and this is the thread that pulls all our different venue partners and wedding day suppliers together. It's their passion to make wonderful intimate wedding ideas come to life in a way that's great for the couples whose weddings they host. You'll find this ethos extends into every aspect of the weddings held in the gorgeous venues we work with. This is never more true than at Cosawes Barton, one of our first venue partners with whom we celebrated three years of working together this March!

We caught up with lovely Louise, co-owner at Cosawes Barton with her husband Andy, to find out a bit more about the story behind this idyllic countryside wedding venue.

How did you and Andy meet?

Andy and I met way back in 1987 at Oxford. He was studying Maths and I was studying Law. We only started dating when we met a few years later at a friend’s birthday celebration in London. It was 10 years before we got engaged! We had ten people at our wedding in 2001 and had the most wonderful day. So, we completely understand why small weddings are fabulous!

Image by Griffin Photography

Tell me a bit about life before Cosawes Barton?

Before Cosawes Barton, life was very different. Having worked in the City, I had moved to become a partner in Employment Law at a law firm in West Sussex. Andy was IT director for a large multinational and we were living near Epsom in Surrey with our two young children Sophia and Sam.

What led you and Andy to uproots and settle in Cornwall?

We used to spend holidays in Cornwall with the children every summer, and just loved it. Every year we wanted to stay here more and more. We began to dream of eventually retiring here. Then one summer we just thought, why wait? Life is too short! It was a very quick decision in the end.

Cosawes Barton is idyllic. How did you find it?

We were on holiday when we decided to “just pop in” to the estate agents in Truro to see if the type of property that we were looking for existed or would ever be likely to come onto the market. We were thinking it might take years to find the right property. To our surprise and delight, the agent said that he had in fact seen a property that morning that he’d been asked to value. As we were due to go home shortly, we arranged to see it that day. We couldn’t believe that we had found somewhere so beautiful. It was like something out of a Jane Austen novel! We knew that we would never find anywhere like it again and made an offer there and then. We had no real plan, no experience, no planning permission and a house in Surrey to sell. Madness really!

But it sounds like it was meant to be. What was your vision for Cosawes Barton, and how has that changed overtime?

When we bought Cosawes Barton, we planned to set it up as a holiday cottages, and having renovated the three barns and courtyard, we started welcoming guests in 2012. We set up the cottages to reflect what our ideal holiday cottage would have in terms of facilities, comfort and styling. Luckily our guests love them! Weddings came later. Today, about 50% of our bookings are still holiday bookings. We love the variety, and this means that the weddings that we host are always fresh and exciting and we can put lots of energy into them.

What changes did you need to make to the property and land you bought to make it into the wonderful intimate wedding venue we see today?

When we bought Cosawes Barton, the courtyard and barns were derelict. They had walls and roofs but that was all. However, you could see how beautiful they could be. We worked for a year with a brilliant local builder and tradesmen to bring them back to life, finishing the cottages the day before our first guests arrived.

Image used with kind permission of Cosawes Barton

When we thought about the potential to host weddings, we realised that we had a beautiful 90 metre natural aisle just waiting for brides, so designed and built a wedding arbour set in woodland at the end of the aisle to create a really magical setting for outdoor weddings.

Image by Griffin Photography

What made you feel Cosawes Barton was right for weddings?

It was actually holiday guests who first suggested to us that they would like to get married here. They planted to seed!

We worked with leading wedding consultants Jenny Wren and Hazel Parsons to establish if Cosawes Barton could become a stand out Cornish wedding venue. Their enthusiasm encouraged us to follow this path and set up a wedding business that provides couples with the wedding days of their dreams. It is private and intimate – it is such a happy place with an amazing vibe.

Image by Griffin Photography, featuring Indulgence Catering at work

What are the best aspects of running Cosawes Barton?

Where to start? Being self-employed is hard work but never dull. We have an awesome team who we are privileged to call our friends now and we see them most days. Our guests are wonderful and the couples that choose us for weddings are just brilliant. And just wandering our 17- acre gardens when the sun is rising on a wedding day – it’s amazing!! A total privilege.

What do you enjoy when you are not working?

I’m not sure that “enjoy” is the right word but Andy and I both run in our spare time. I am more of a road runner and have taken part in the London Marathon (and I hope to again in 2021). Andy is more a trail runner and loves the coast path, taking on a few Cornish Ultras. A little bit mad really, but when you are surrounded by such lovely scenery the draw to be outside is strong!

What would your advice be to couples who are currently thinking about booking an intimate wedding for 2020/2021?

Do not question yourselves for wanting a smaller wedding, they are epic days and can mean even more than large events as you are truly surrounded by those you want to be there!

Begin planning by choosing the food that you would like as this sets the style for the day and having a smaller wedding means that the food can be totally bespoke and from our experience it’s wonderful!

Finally, we would highly recommend letting Jane from Petite Weddings organise your supplier team. Jane’s suppliers are all magnificent and a great bunch of people to have around you on your special day.

That’s kind of you to say. We love helping couples arranging their supplier teams and wedding ideas at Cosawes Barton, it’s a real pleasure. Thank you so much for taking time out to talk to us share your story.

To find out more about weddings at Cosawes Barton, or for some intimate wedding take a look here.

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