Phone: 01787 210 007 |  CONTACT US

New For 2022. Al-fresco Weddings - either indoors or outside!

Celebrant-led Wedding Ceremonies at Dove Barn

From February 2022 Dove Barn is changing from being a venue that offers civil ceremonies to one that only offers ‘Celebrant-led wedding ceremonies’ and Receptions and Wedding Receptions following a Church Wedding. It will no longer be able to conduct the legally binding civil ceremony that is administered by a Council Registrar.


What does this mean for couples?


Currently most couples choose to be married either in a civil or religious ceremony. These ceremonies are sanctioned by the state and therefore a couple is ‘legally married’ after the ceremony. However, there is an alternative way to get married that offers couples:

• Greater flexibility
• A more personal wedding service, including choice of vows and readings
• Potential cost savings over a Civil Ceremony at a Licensed premises

But, it is a slightly more long-winded process!


What’s the hitch?


A celebrant-led wedding ceremony is not legally binding! This means that after the much more ‘personal’ ceremony, in which you can write your own vows and choose any readings you won’t be legally married. You will have to go to a Registry Office separately and have a ‘quickie’ civil ceremony to make it legal. In reality, most couples do the 'legal; bit' at a Registry Office a few days before their wedding day celebrations.


Why would I want to do that?


If you choose the more al fresco style celebrant-led wedding you can design the ceremony to reflect your values, thoughts and principles. You are in-charge. You can either use a professional ‘celebrant’ who will write and conduct the ceremony after taking time to get to know you personally or you can ask a friend to conduct the ceremony.

If you want to choose a reading or music from a particular religion you can. That is not allowed at a ‘non-secular’ civil ceremony!

Commenting on the reasons for this change in policy at Dove Barn, owner Adam Dixon-Smith said:

‘Having been to five ‘Celebrant-led’ weddings in 2019 I have been struck by how much more personal, meaningful and emotionally involving these ceremonies are for both the happy couple and their guests. If I was getting married today I would definitely choose this way.’

What’s more, at Dove Barn this means you can now choose an outdoor ceremony in the wedding meadow or an indoor ceremony in the barn.

Anna Dixon-Smith added ‘We are really excited by this change. As well as offering couples a more personal service it is often a cheaper way to get married. Having a registrar conduct your ceremony at a licensed premises like Dove Barn now costs around £500.00. A celebrant might charge £350 for their services and a small registry office ceremony might be as little as £50.

If you would like to discuss the new ‘celebrant-led’ ceremonies at Dove Barn please call us on 01787 210007 or email

Houchins, our sister venue, just 30 minutes from Dove Barn.


Houchins, situated just outside Coggeshall in Essex is now the focus of our wedding & hospitality business. Slightly bigger than Dove Barn, Houchins is licensed for civil ceremonies both inside and outside for up to 120 people. Its dining area, in the old grainstore seats 150 in comfort. In addition to the venue, tastefully converted from an old barn, Houchins offers luxurious accommodation for up to 16 guests in the historic listed grade 2* farmhouse and additional accommodation for the bridal couple in the adjacent, Honeymoon cart lodge .



“When we visited Dove Barn two years ago we fell in love was the perfect setting for our small, relaxed, close family and friends wedding. Adam and Jayson were lovely and couldn't be more helpful. - The Grocotts”

- The Grocotts -