Romantic Intimate Wedding Venue
Updated: Dec 9, 2022
We’ve been working with Paul and Babs, the lovely owners of Frieda and the Moon for over 4 years now. We fell in love with this unique intimate wedding venue that lends itself so well to bringing your own wildest wedding ideas to life, both in terms of the setting, the facilities and the accommodating approach the owners take to each wedding.
We caught up with Paul and Babs hoping to leave with a sprinkling of their fabulous energy, passion and creativity that makes this small wedding venue a firm favourite with couples seeking elopements and intimate weddings.
Here’s what happened.
Every time we speak there seems to be a new aspect of your wedding offering that you are breathing life into. Tell me, where do you get your energy from and what inspires you?
The inspiration comes from the joy of creating a peaceful oasis with magical moments in a humdrum so-so world. The grandest thrill for us is the look of amazement that dawns when our people encounter something authentic and beautiful conjured just for them — the candles and twinkling lights in the Hornbeam Circle at twilight; a sumptuous vintage high tea appearing as if by some enchantment while they just popped out for a few photos; a tawny owl circling The Observatory in the dusk… These are the moments of simple magic that inspired the name — in the exquisite haiku-like poem Full Moon and Little Frieda, Ted Hughes shows us that ephemeral instant: a little girl is just delighted by her first ever sight of the rising harvest moon… We try to set the stage for experiences like these.
You’re right, it does take a lot of energy — we’re both performing musicians, and Paul spent many years working in theatre — we learned from that that a tiny moment of magic can be created only with investment, planning, determined work, and relentless attention to detail and quality. It must appear effortless, and that takes a great deal of effort.
One more example — the creation of the fairytale interior of the Tabernacle called upon all of these ingredients — when they arrive, we send the couple in and count the seconds — almost always there is a shriek of Wow!! or OMG!! There’s the payback, right there.
There’s so much you have done provide an array of magical options for couples to choose from. Tell me about the idea behind the Hornbeam Circle?
So many of our couples want a personalised unique-to-them ceremony outdoors, in addition to the legal marriage earlier in the day. This is where they can really find the meaning of their time together so far, and to come. We have a great relationship with some really committed local celebrants, who work closely with the couple to craft a personalised ceremony. When we went scouting for a place in the woods, which are only a couple of minutes walk away, we discovered that the people who had planted the woods long ago had, for reasons unknown, created a perfect circle of hornbeams, trees associated with all sorts of myth and mystery. So we made a tiny amphitheatre — ringed with white quartz that you find in the ground around here — which with fairy lights and candles flickering, soft ambient music and a drift of incense — makes the perfect tableau in the twilight.
On our very first woodland ceremony, against a backdrop of the tawny owls hooting in the nearby oaks, the cows in the adjacent field quietly came and lined up along the fence, and just stood silently watching. It felt like a deep and ancient sacrament — it made the hair stand up on the back of your neck …
You offer access to an owl and an alpaca ring bearer – where did that concept come from?
Little Man the alpaca lived here for a while. In the early days we had a particularly nervous bride who just loved the alpaca, so on a whim we invited him to the wedding and it worked wonders for her anxiety. Then the concept just grew from that. Now he wears a bow tie to the weddings and knows exactly where to stand and how to look impossibly cute for the photos.
What’s your favourite brief for wedding flowers?
Fortunately, the kind of bride that is entranced by the world of Frieda And The Moon tends to favour the more “boho” end of the spectrum — and quite naturally gives us a brief that favours natural, local, woodland and hedgerow flora, which just happens to be what Babs loves to forage.
We are so lucky to have this slice of Old Cornwall with so many ancient hedges full of indigenous plants — medieval field boundaries are visible on the land, and it has never had chemicals on it — so we tend the field boundaries to create an environment that is friendly to these native species, which gives a real connection to the “sense of place” for our tiny wedding bouquets.
Wedding day feasting is such an important part of many people’s wedding days. What catering services do you offer couples?
As ever, we strive for quality over quantity. Couples love our Champagne Breakfast Hampers — if you can’t have a decadent treat delivered still warm to your door on your wedding morning then…
Our Vintage High Teas for after the wedding are all freshly made — Babs on cakes, Paul on sandwiches. We have become very smooth at whipping it all out in the time it takes for a few outside photos, and we go shamelessly over the top with the jujjing up — fancy antique linens, frou-frou cake stands; mismatched boho crocks, shabby chic candelabras, hedgerow flowers, and a few scented candles….
Because we specialise in only tiny weddings, and it’s just the two of us, we have no limit on the flexibility of the catering — on a banquet for a small group it’s not unusual for us to make vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, dairy free and all permutations, including what we wickedly call “normal”.
We have worked with a couple of amazing private chefs. This is proper money, but what an unforgettable experience — six fine dining courses served by candlelight in The Studio. The couples who have splashed out for this are unanimously so delighted that they did!!
And, I'm intrigued to find out more about Stargazy Pie Café, what can people expect from this new service?
We are so excited about this, we found the old horse box in a field, and Paul spent a year fitting it out, and painting it electric blue… We realised that there was a gap in the flow of experiences on the day, you’ve had your afternoon tea, but what do you eat in the evening? Couples want something flamboyant and a bit theatrical, with lovely food and a fun experience — this festival- style food truck fits the bill.
There are a ranged of themed menus, where the booze complements the food, for example: Shepherds Pie and Champagne; Tapas and Gin Cocktails; South Indian Curry and Tiger Beer — there are more options to see on the website.
You offer proposal stays, what exactly does this entail?
It’s that theatrical box of delights again! You can see by now how we love that — but in this case there is a big surprise included. One partner is in on the secret, and we set the scene in secret so they can deliver their big surprise. The set up is often an innocent evening stroll — and at some point along the way comes the big reveal — they may come upon the glowing lights and candles in the Hornbeam Circle down in the woods, or a candlelit bower in the studio. Their special music will be playing softly, a bottle of Champagne is on ice. Later we appear with a grazing platter, and take a few photos if they want.
One time we provided a metal detector and Ben and Sophie “discovered” a wedding ring buried in a glade down by the stream… She had no idea. Ben reported that priceless look of amazement — result!
You guys are amazing. Have you ever had a request from a couple that you’ve not been able to find a creative way of delivering?
We had a couple request arrival by helicopter. It didn’t happen in the end, but you can still see the trace of the huge “H” that Paul mowed in the field. A bride wanted a bird of prey, and we couldn’t find a local falconer, so that was the first gig for Figgy The Owl, who has turned out to be a popular ring bearer on numerous weddings.
Paul was fifteen years with the Royal Shakespeare Company, which is a world where, without exception, ever, the show must go on. So you learn to be creative with making things happen no matter what — maybe not now the mixing desk that burst into flames, but certainly The Groom Who Forgot His Trousers.
Goodness, that sounds quite a story, but let's preserve the groom's modesty... Do you have any other plans that you can tell us about here that you are developing?
We’ve just got our alcohol licence, so we are pursuing a long term plan to work closely with local suppliers that we know, such as Cornish Gouda and Fowey Valley Cider, to provide a range of food and drink that is authentically artisanal Cornish, both for the weddings, and couples’ self catering.
We have been playing and singing together for a long time — and finally we have got round to polishing up a set of romantic songs for a “camp fire cabaret’ that wedding parties can have as part of the Stargazy Pie Cafe experience.
Oh, and there might be a sauna in a treehouse…
Oh wow, that all sounds amazing. If you two ever get any downtime, what would we find you enjoying?
We are concentrating on the music, as we know we will really enjoy offering live shows as part of the mix. We have our own duo Suz La Ruz, and we are also part of local country band Call The Sheriff, so we have couple-only and also larger gatherings covered.
We started on the Studio extension this year (Paul lost his workspace when the weddings took off) so The Gallery will be opening in late March - so he’d better get cracking on producing some new paintings…
I had no idea you guys were so talented, what a fabulous addition your music will be to your intimate weddings and elopement options for couples. I'm guessing you have a busy year ahead, do you have any availability for couples looking for 2022 dates?
Yes, we are about 70% booked for the year. Of course it gets harder to fit to couples dates as the availability diminishes, so we are offering a free Champagne Breakfast Hamper to any couples booking one of the remaining slots for 2022. There is an interactive calendar on the website showing ceremony and accommodation availability.
Thank you so much for talking to us today. We wish you and all the wonderful couples who have their weddings booked with you this year, (and those still to book) a joy-filled 2022.
Offering complete privacy in its 13 acres, Frieda and the Moon continues to work its magic. With every year that passes, owners Paul and Babs are creating new “twists” and “cherries on top”, seemingly endlessly. Their creativity is just one of the reasons that this unique intimate wedding venue continues to attract so many like-minded couples who are seeking something extra-special and specifically designed for them. To find out more visit friedaandthemoon.co.uk, or email email@example.com.