A few short minutes’ drive off the A27 near Hammerpot, I arrived at Decoy Ponds. At first, I thought this couldn’t possibly be the right place. It was so near the main road and I had heard how peaceful and tranquil it was there. Surely I’d have further to drive to find a place like that?
But I knew I was in the right place when I got out of the car and heard birds singing instead of traffic roaring, and was soon greeted by Karen, the lovely owner of this new and beautiful wedding venue.
When I say ‘new’, Decoy Cottage and its woods and pond aren’t at all new actually. In fact, almost a century ago, AA Milne used to come and spend happy family summers at Decoy Cottage. In Christopher Robin’s autobiography, he recalls how there was a swan on Decoy Pond which didn’t come when they called out to it. Christopher Robin, exasperated, had said ‘Pooh!’, and the swan was nicknamed thus by the family. By 1926, this name had been passed on to a rather famous bear, so it could be said that Decoy was where it all started!
But I digress. As I said, Decoy isn’t new in itself. Indeed, Karen and her family have been living there for 25 years. But when her daughters got married in 2014 and 2016 and their guests remarked on just how perfect it was for weddings, Karen and her husband Chris decided to open up their beautiful grounds for other people to share.
With a huge field that leads down to a tree-lined lake (or is it a pond? It’s called Decoy Ponds but the word ‘pond’ suggests smallish to me and this is big. Not like Lake Erie big, but pretty big. Anyway, pond, lake, whatever – check out the photos to get an idea…), woodland, a separate camping field and plenty of parking, this place lends itself to beautiful, relaxed outdoor weddings. Oh and there’s even the cutest summerhouse in the world which you could use as a photobooth, ceremony area or just for chilling out.
Decoy Ponds isn’t licensed but that’s ok – you can have a highly personalised, made to measure ceremony on site – and of course that’s something I would love to help you with (find out more here). You could choose to have your ceremony at the edge of the lake, under the trees, in the middle of the field, in the summerhouse – the choice is yours and there are so many possibilities.
You can see lots of my photos here, and you can see more on the Decoy Ponds website. However, what these photos don’t show is the amazing feeling of calm about the place – it’s quiet and feels so safe, nestled away amongst the trees – there’s a lovely energy to it. Really, Decoy has to be seen to be believed.
To top it off, Karen is friendly, helpful and accommodating. Bookings are very reasonable (but in short supply so get in quick!), include onsite power and use of the venue for the whole weekend. And it will take you at least that long if you want to take advantage of the gazillion photo opportunities that Decoy Ponds offers…
I’m conducting a wedding at Decoy in 2018 and I can’t wait to do more at this stunning venue.
Get in touch with Karen at Decoy Ponds here.
Get in touch with me about your bespoke wedding here.