June – a busy month! Lots of weddings done and, to be honest, I’m glad we’ve now got a little time to take stock, rest, then move the venue forward before we busy up again for the remainder of the summer and autumn.
Around the Venue
As expected, June was a very busy month with weddings each week and many of them on the large side for Cote How. Weather wise it has been a challenging month with lots of uncertainty on wedding days, umbrellas up, umbrellas down, guests inside, guest outside, will it rain, won’t it rain and so on. I am glad to say that our couples have all taken things in their stride, or positively embraced the weather that makes the Lakes what it is.
Rainy Weddings in Rydal Water
June is often about treading water where the venue is concerned. Everything in the garden grows rapidly and so there’s a frequent cycle of cutting grass, weeding and dead heading, all just to maintain the venue in a steady state and wedding ready. Delivering weddings took most of our energy, though we did manage to continue with our gazebo upgrades with the purchase of some comfy guest seating where they can sit and relax, while taking in the wonderful sunsets we get here at Cote How. I will confess that Caroline and I have also indulged with a few evenings sat on the new seating, of course with the odd glass of refreshment in hand. It’s a great place to sit and reflect on the month gone by and to talk over the many ideas we have for the future. I suspect that we’re not quite done with the gazebo yet and I’ll soon be hearing about the next set of purchases or activities. I did notice the other day that ‘courtyard seating and tables’ were casually slipped into conversation…I’m bracing myself!
Barn Gazebo with Vintage Festoon Lights and Comfy Seating
Sunset from Wedding Gazebo
The new sheep fencing seems to be doing the job it was intended for, though un-seasonal winds earlier in the month broke off some large oak branches that came crashing straight through the new fence and dry-stone wall. On the upside, it was another excuse to get out the chainsaw for a bit of boy’s toys fun!
Fallen tree at Cote How
Finalists of the Cumbria Tourism Awards - Best Wedding Venue 2019
Last month I mentioned that we were a finalist for the Wedding Venue of the Year in the Cumbria Tourism Awards 2109. Unfortunately, we didn’t win but did have an excellent evening with good company and a rare opportunity to get the whole team together for a bit of fun. The girls spent the whole day pampering themselves while me and the dogs spent a couple of hours wandering the fells and generally staying out of the way. It was a gloriously warm and sunny day, which added a special touch to the whole experience. I also had the pleasure of being surrounded by a host of beautiful women for the whole day (sorry Rob and Andy!). Once the winner was announced I was a little taken back by how disappointed I was that we didn’t win. During the lead-in to the awards I was very relaxed about the whole thing, which meant I was even more surprised by my reaction. As a small family business, I think we punch well above our weight when competing against large hotel chains that invest many millions on a regular basis. Perhaps I felt that Cumbria Tourism had missed an opportunity to fully support one of the very many small businesses that provide invaluable and unique input into the tourist sector and the local economy? Will we do it again? On reflection, quite probably not. While it was a great experience and we fully enjoyed our evening away from Cote How, I believe that we offer and will continue to offer a wedding experience that is quite unique. Awards or not, that won’t change.
The love and support that we received from our associates, suppliers, staff and our cherished couples has been amazing, and they have all said, “Just keep doing what you are doing”.
We did win the Bridebook UK Barn Venue of the year 2019 in January and this is an amazing countrywide achievement, based on customer feedback and reviews. This perhaps has more significance as we received over 50 five stars reviews in 2018... This from a small family business that hosts just a small number of weddings each year – Amazing feedback.
Take a peek at our reviews here.
Awards Night for Caroline and Steve at Cote How Lake District Weddings
The garden has had a quiet month with the large blooms of azalea and rhododendron finishing for another year and the summer plants a little slow to come into their own. The dominant plant of the month has been the foxglove, which bring a certain wild or cottage garden feel to the grounds. Being largely self-seeded you never quite know what you’re going to get or where they’ll appear. It’s been a good year for white foxgloves in particular.
Foxgloves at Cote How
Cottage Gardens at Cote How Lake District Weddings
The main lawn is still slowly recovering after a major overhaul in the late autumn of last year early and spring. I’ve been a bit disappointed that the improvement hasn’t been as dramatic as I’d like but I guess it is a two-year programme that I’m following and maybe I’m just a little impatient. I’m late with a summer feed so once that’s down I hope it’ll fill in a little more than at present. That said, it’s not looking too shabby.
Cote How Wedding Lawn
Out and About
It’s been a great month on the fells, and I’ve watched the wild orchids and yellow rattle go from nothing into full bloom during the course of the month. It’s a great sight at this time of year and combined with the foxgloves provides a fabulous splash of colour. It’s also been a great month for butterflies and damsel flies. I think I’ve seen 4 species of butterfly that I’ve never seen before. Perhaps I’ve just not looked properly before or maybe it’s just a good year?
Butterfly Speckled Wood
We’ve continued to get lots of low flying planes and helicopters passing over Cote How and every time I try to get a good picture. This is probably the best one, though it really doesn’t show just how big or low they are as they pass over.
Cote How RAF flyby
The dogs are a bit miffed with me at the moment as its been such a busy month they’ve not had their usual daily trips onto the fells. Fortunately, we have some neighbours that have semi adopted the dogs and are always more than willing to take them for long walks over the fells, especially on wedding days.
Alfie Labradoodle on Loughrigg Fell with Foxgloves
Bessie on Guard Duty While Mr Cote How keeps working
I think that’s my duty done for the month. Yes, I’m a little late and yes I did have some gentle pressure applied to get this written.
Time to get rhododendron chopping. I think I have about 100 to prune ☹!!
Rhododendron Trimming in June
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Steve (aka Mr. Cote How) ... The Reluctant Blogger