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Wedding Ideas

Setting up the Reception – All about the Mill Barn

The Mill Barn at Gaynes Park in Essex is not just your traditional barn reception space. With its charm and rustic beauty, including stunning oak floors, this Norwegian style saw mill is a beautiful place to celebrate and is all yours for your wedding reception.

If you’re looking for a space that needs little dressing or would like to add your own style, the Mill Barn is perfect for your big day. In this feature we’re sharing our favourite styling ideas that are perfect for a barn wedding and we’ll show you just how amazing the Mill Barn looks, whatever style of wedding reception you’re planning. Our Essex wedding venue is definitely dressed to impress!

Your Essex wedding venue

The Mill Barn really is a special place and it’s the perfect backdrop for your wedding day celebrations. It’s spacious yet intimate, light and bright but always cosy and welcoming and, most importantly, it’s flexible and adaptable so that you can make the space your own.

The Mill Barn is a fabulous blank canvas but it’s also full of character. Check out the exposed brick walls, the wooden floor, the amazing ceiling and the superb mezzanine level – any wedding theme and colour palette works here.

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The Mill Barn at Gaynes Park in Essex is a light and bright wedding reception space
© Fiona Kelly Photography
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Couples can use the mezzanine in the Mill Barn at Gaynes Park for extra space on their wedding day
© Ed Clayton Photography

Styling your wedding reception

The first element of the wedding reception to consider is your wedding breakfast and, with plenty of space for up to 150 guests, there are endless ways to style the Mill Barn and make it your own.

To accentuate the light, spacious feel, why not hang fabric drapes that are suspended from the ceiling or have a luxurious fabric or ribbon backdrop that sits behind the top table? These decorations really have the wow factor and bring an elegant feel to the barn.

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Add a luxurious backdrop to your top table in the Mill Barn at Gaynes Park
© Ilaria Petrucci Photography

Alternatively, strings of fairylights are an excellent addition – they provide soft, almost magical light and always look beautiful.

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The newlyweds hung festoon lights within the Mill Barn for a rustic wedding look
© Ilaria Petrucci Photography
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A bride and groom enjoy their first dance in the Mill Barn beneath strings of fairylights
© Fiona Kelly Photography

Flowers can also have a huge part to play in setting the scene. For a timeless, natural look, fresh whites and greens work really well but we also love seeing lots of colour. Table centres full of bright, seasonal blooms are a wonderful choice.

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A beautiful white and green floral table centrepiece in the Mill Barn at Gaynes Park wedding venue in Essex
© Ilaria Petrucci Photography
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Stunning florals hang above a wedding reception in the Mill Barn at Gaynes Park in Essex
© Motiejus Wedding Photographer
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© Anesta Broad Photography

For your table decorations, don’t be afraid to use an array of heights. Clear tall glass vases with flowers sat on top are perfect for a classic and elegant feel or alternatively apple crates and milk bottles filled with wild flowers are perfect for a rustic or vintage look.

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Tall floral vases were used to decorate the Mill Barn for an elegant wedding breakfast at Gaynes Park
© Anneli Marinovich Photography
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Rustic wedding stationery was used to decorate tables in the Mill Barn at Gaynes Park
© Ilaria Petrucci Photography

We’re also seeing more and more balloons being used in the Mill Barn and we think these are perfect for laidback, relaxed barn weddings. They bring a real sense of fun to your day! Lots of couples also like to use props that work with their theme too – vintage bicycles, old books and even pieces of furniture re-purposed to become table plans!

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The Mill Barn at Gaynes Park is set up for a rustic wedding reception complete with bubble balloons
© Ilaria Petrucci Photography

Finishing touches for your barn wedding

It’s the finishing touches that can really bring your wedding reception to life and they give you the chance to really show off your personality. Here are some of our favourite ideas for fantastic finishing touches that work so well in our Essex wedding venue:

1.Coloured uplighters around the dancefloor totally change the look of the Mill Barn for your evening reception

2.Candle lanterns outside the Mill Barn give a wonderfully warm welcome to any additional evening guests.

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Coloured lights and a glitterball add glamour to this rustic barn wedding venue
© Anneli Marinovich Photography
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Outdoor lanterns add a warm welcome to evening guests entering the Mill Barn at Gaynes Park
© Anneli Marinovich Photography

3. Dress your cake table with flowers, balloons and a backdrop made from cardboard discs in colours to suit your theme

4. Show off your new name in style with a projection above the dance floor! Alternatively, opt for a giant light up letters for a stunning backdrop.

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Three rustic wedding cakes wait to be cut during an evening wedding reception at Gaynes Park
© Ilaria Petrucci Photography
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A couple celebrate with their name in lights during their evening reception at Gaynes Park in Essex
© Ilaria Petrucci Photography

5. Think about your guests in the evening – why not set out a basket of flip flops for tired feet or blankets for chilly evening

6. Get creative with your guest book and ask guests to contribute to something that you can display in your home. A thumbprint ‘tree’ is a great idea and we also love seeing guests tapping out heartfelt messages on vintage typewriters or leaving ideas for ‘date nights’.

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Provide your guests with flip-flops to ensure they can enjoy your wedding at Gaynes Park until the very end
© Justin Bailey Photography
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A fingerprint tree is a great wedding guest book idea for your wedding at Gaynes Park
© Justin Bailey Photography

7. Even if you’ve chosen to hold an online gift list, guests will still bring cards to your wedding so make sure there’s a way of collecting these. Old fashioned post-boxes, vintage suitcases, decorated birdcages or even personalised mail sacks work perfectly.

8. Everyone also loves a photo booth at a wedding. Set out somewhere special for those selfies – think about props, lighting and your all-important wedding hashtag!

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A vintage wedding gift table at Gaynes Park is decorated with a red post-box
© Justin Bailey Photography
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Provide a photobooth for guests to enjoy at your evening reception in the Mill Barn at Gaynes Park
© Justin Bailey Photography

9. Weddings are obviously a time for families to come together. How about gathering up old family wedding photos and framing them for your big day? These displays always become a real talking point.

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Guests party the night away in the Mill Barn at Gaynes Park in Essex
© Fiona Kelly Photography

If you’ve been inspired by the beautiful styling featured within this post get in touch with our amazing recommended venue stylists Mediterranean Occasions.

To find out more about the Mill Barn and to see for yourself just how perfect it is for weddings, why not arrange a time to come and visit us? We’d love to show you around so just get in touch – we look forward to welcoming you to Gaynes Park.

More Wedding Ideas