Small wedding Venue, Big Heart – Small IS beautiful and still reflects GREAT love

Small venue, big heart...

Small IS beautiful and still reflects GREAT love.

The 10-second rule

People often talk about the 10-second rule when buying a house. We’re told you know within those first few moments whether it could be your forever home, just based on a feeling. The same could be said of wedding venues. No matter how much online research you do, driving down a driveway, standing outside an entrance, or stepping into the reception can help you know in your heart if you’re the perfect match.

A wedding party play outdoor games as the sun begins to set
A small wedding party enjoy outdoor games during golden hour

The beautiful simplicity of small wedding venue celebrations

This is all very well, but when your heart is set on a destination wedding and you live hours away, it isn’t always practical or even possible to visit in person. This is one of the reasons we write our blogs, to try and help you ‘feel’ how and why Cote How is so special! In this blog, we explore why there’s a lot to love about more ‘petit’ venues. Small venues may be more diminutive, but they create unforgettable wedding experiences.

Precious family moments
A group of bridesmaids enjoy sharing canapes at a summer wedding
Good friends, good food, good times... creating memories
Guests through confetti over a newly married couple

Small weddings are 'love-ly'

Let’s not beat around the bush. Cote How is a small wedding venue (and we say that with pride). It wasn’t always this way – we used to host large wedding parties with great swathes of guests, and they were always fantastic fun! But when Covid hit, and we could only host small and intimate weddings, it was a light bulb moment. The beautiful simplicity of small celebrations blew us away. We noticed how relaxed the guests and couple were, and how much time they spent together – chatting, sharing, and making memories. The pace slowed, and real-time moments were experienced differently, especially for the wedding couple. The bonding experience, the love, and the connections were palpable. We realised something profound; that our small venue has a BIG heart, and small weddings were literally ‘love-ly.’

Young child watching the ducks at Rydal Water after his parents got married at Cote How
Time to watch the ducks on Rydal Water after the ceremony
Celebrating-post-ceremony-by-the-barn-gazebo
A moment of celebration on the barn terrace

Perfect for smaller wedding parties (who like to party!)

So we decided to focus on intimate weddings with no more than 24 guests. The Lakes is bursting with AMAZING venues that do large-scale weddings brilliantly, but the cosy and elegant rooms at Cote How are perfectly suited to bijoux gatherings. Everyone can be together all the time, in all the spaces. No one else is here, creating a delightful ‘wedding bubble’.  
Cote How is exclusively yours and our couples love how that feels.

When we picture a barn, we often think of huge, lofty spaces. But our lovely old barn is uniquely petite –  a perfect size for smaller wedding parties (who like to party!)

Bride and Grom dancing on the wedding terrace at Cote How after their summer wedding
Bride and Groom dancing on the terrace at Cote How after their summer wedding
Small Wedding Venue with small wedding barn - Jo Greenfield
Small Wedding Barn - Set up ready for a wedding breakfast for up to 24 people

One size doesn't always 'fit All'

Eloping couples don’t feel out of place, as Cote How is a family home… with ticking clocks, a purring cat, and quite often the smell of freshly baked bread! 

Some couples bring only their parents, children, or their best friends. Precious family moments make your heart full and as a venue, it’s special to know all your guests by name and listen to their stories.

A newly married couple sign the register with their young daughter
A beautiful home from home for parents marrying with their children
Elope to the Lake District 10 - By Paula Mottram Photography

Arrive as strangers, leave as friends

Our micro weddings are like family parties you’d have at home – just in the most gorgeous place for the most special occasion! People may arrive as strangers but leave as friends… and that’s a sign of a great wedding.

Wedding Guests enjoying the evening sun in the barn gazebo
Wedding guests enjoying the evening sun in the barn gazebo
Micro-wedding---Small-Wedding-Venue---Jo-Greenfield

A Small wedding venue has a big heart

When it comes to wedding dreams, everyone is different. The world would be a dull place if we were all the same! All wedding days are special, and all styles should be celebrated. But for couples who feel that budget, family, or personal issues mean a more intimate wedding is right for them, we champion your cause. Small IS beautiful and still reflects GREAT love.

Bride and Groom in the meadow behind Cote How after their small wedding
Bride and Groom in the meadow behind Cote How after their small wedding

Thank you to...

Many thanks to all our wonderful couples for allowing us to be part of their special day. Thank you to all our brilliant suppliers for their skill and artistry too. We appreciate our photographers sharing their incredible work with us – thank you! 
Tom McNally, Delicious Photography, Jenna Carpenter, Jo Bradbury, Jo Greenfield, Paula Mottram, Stanbury Photo.

See more of their work on our recommended photographers page

You can find out more about our wedding styles here 

If you would like to find our more about marrying at in the Lakes, contact the Registrar Team here 

If you are a regular wedding supplier here at Cote How and would like to contribute to our wonderful wedding blog, please get in touch.

FURTHER INFORMATION:

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Further Reading:

Small wedding Venue, Big Heart - Small IS beautiful and still reflects GREAT love

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about COTE HOW

IN our magical private LAKELAND PARADISE

about COTE HOW
AN HISTORIC LAKE DISTRICT WEDDING VENUE

SET IN A MAGICAL PRIVATE LAKELAND LANDSCAPE
A unique Wedding Venue

WELCOME TO THE MAGIC THAT IS COTE HOW

Where to begin… Have you ever been house hunting, and when you walk into the ONE, you just know?

That sums up how being at Cote How makes people feel. This wonderful home oozes warmth and charm, and having lived and worked here for over 18 years, I have listened to hundreds of couples who experience the same thing – that “thing” that is so hard to describe, yet feels so real! 
Maybe it’s all part of Cote How’s historic roots. Or maybe as it sits on two converging lay-lines, it has always had a “draw” as a place that gives out good vibes. But this place is special, and both Steve and I feel very honoured to be its current custodians.
We hope you feel the magic when you come to Cote How! 

exclusively Yours...

Surrounded by majestic mountains and breathtaking views, Cote How is a hidden gem of peace and tranquillity, right in the heart of the Lake District. Close enough to benefit from our lake shores of Rydal Water and Rydal Caves to enjoy the stunning surroundings, but totally private in our fully exclusive use wedding venue, where you can unwind, relax, and immerse yourselves in wonder.

We specialise in small intimate weddings, micro weddings, and elopements. Whether it’s just the two of you or sharing the day with close family and friends, we guarantee that you and your chosen wedding party will be the only guests at Cote How during your celebrations.

 Cote How has been here for over 500 years as a dwelling place, a shelter, and now a fantastic place to get married! (you can read all about its history here) our beautiful rustic barn oozes Lake District charm with lots of fairy lights thrown in for good measure, and the historic main house offers tradition, warmth, and elegance. Every room and space has been thoughtfully designed, styled, and decorated with your perfect day in mind.

Cote-How-Lake District Wedding Venue
Creating magical Moments

A Warm Welcome Awaits you...

Owners Caroline and Steve have been running Cote How, a family-run wedding venue, since 2013 and together have found the perfect partnership to make all of your wedding dreams come true. We love creating unique, relaxed, intimate wedding experiences and will be there every step of the way to help guide you and plan your perfect day.

A Warm Welcome Awaits you...

Owners Caroline and Steve have been running Cote How, a family-run wedding venue, since 2013. Rachel joined the team in early 2023 and together have found the perfect partnership to make all of your wedding dreams come true. We love creating unique, relaxed, intimate wedding experiences and will be there every step of the way to help guide you and plan your perfect day.

Meet the team...

CAROLINE
Our founder and MD aptly named the Wedding Angel, Caroline creates amazing weddings and is constantly revamping the venue! She is the vision behind Cote How

STEVE
Our Wedding Venue Director, he is constantly refreshing and improving our wonderful venue and is always on hand behind the scenes - Usually spotted in and around the grounds!

RACHEL
A stickler for detail, Rachel is our wedding coordinator and Assistant Wedding Planner ensuring every detail of your wedding is just perfect and exactly how you want it.!

Your Own Wedding Planning Guru

Caroline

Caroline is the founder and the brains behind Cote How. With over 30 years experience in the wedding industry, she is one of the UK’s most respected wedding gurus and has been guiding and coaching wedding couples at Cote How and beyond. 

As a former wedding dress designer and keen artist, she adores helping couples bring their wedding visions to life. Caroline’s creative flair is evident around Cote How. Her keen eye for interior design and styling makes every room and space at Cote How to feel beautifully elegant but still in keeping with the charm and history of the building. 

Hospitality runs through her blood and Caroline is passionate about going well above and beyond for you and your guests. She loves helping people and sharing her top tips and advice, and there is never a dull moment when she is around! She oozes friendly compassion, humour, and charm… just like Cote How!

Lady with long grey hair - Wedding venue owner at Cote How Lake District Weddings
Ask CAROLINE VIDEOS

Click on the images below to play on YouTube

CAROLINES PODCAST
CAROLINE'S BLOGS

STEVE

Here is “Mr. Cote How”. Steve ensures that everywhere looks ‘top-notch’ for those all-important wedding photos. Steve keeps the grounds beautiful, the lawns perfectly manicured, the terrace full of colourful flowers, and the paintwork looking fresh. Many passers-by mistake Steve for the gardener, which we chuckle about, considering he is a former nuclear engineer with a first-class Engineering Degree. Steve loves being out and about on the fells with our Labradoodle Alfie and also enjoys wildlife photography – he takes some beautiful pictures, so give him a follow on Instagram! Yes, he is the quiet one working hard behind the scenes.

See Steve’s fabulous Instagram pics

Man in black pruning plants in Lake District Wedding Venue

RACHEL

Rachel is our Wedding Planner at Cote How, and the newest member of our team. After a long and happy career in teaching, Rachel will be using her organisational skills to help you plan the most memorable wedding day, supporting you along each step of the way. Rachel is currently planning her own wedding journey and so really understands how important it is to make sure that every detail of your wedding day is perfect and every bit as magical as you hope it will be.

Rachel is passionate about beautiful places and spaces and this simply breath-taking part of the world that we call home. Her kind, warm and welcoming approach will put you at ease and let you enjoy every moment of planning and preparing for your special day together!

Rachel---Wedding-Coordinator-and-Wedding-Planning-Assistant
Caroline and Rachel - The Dream Team Wedding Planning at Cote How

steve's latest blogs

how to BEGIN wedding PLANNING

HOW TO ENQUIRE
Now that you’ve found us, get in touch here by completing your initial enquiry form. We will send you our wedding brochure and pricing information. Once you’ve had all the information, ‘book a chat’ so that we can discuss your wedding requirements in more detail, and provisionally reserve a wedding date in our diary, if you feel Cote How is right for you.

COME AND MEET US
Not everybody needs or can come and meet us in person. Many couples book us from a chat or virtual show round! But if you want to come for a visit we would love to show off our fantastic wedding venue and get the chance to get to know you both a little better. If this is you, book your visit during our initial chat. This way you you can see our stunning venue firsthand, meet the team, and we can create your wedding dreams together.

WELCOME ABOARD!
Now that you’ve booked your wedding, we can begin your wedding planning journey together. We will be on hand at all times to offer help, support, and guidance. We can assist with all the arrangements from giving your “notice to marry“, booking the registrars to officiate on your day, advising on how best to book your photographer from our recommended list, and providing you with our wedding suppliers’ information.

YOUR PERSONALISED WEDDING PLANNING HUB
Our wedding hub is super fun and easy to use. You will have your  LOGIN which will include all of your important documents, emails, and checklists. You can even upload your favourite images, so we can ensure every detail is tailored to your scheme, style, and vision.

Want to Marry at Cote how?

THE HISTORY OF COTE HOW

“Cote How” derives from the word “Cote”, meaning shelter, and “Howe”, meaning small hill. So it is a Shelter on a Hill!
Once a lookout post in Roman times and later a Medieval watchtower, Cote How is built into the foot of Loughrigg Fell and dominates the Rydal Valley, with stunning views towards Grasmere. In 1535 the farmhouse was added, including the original Tudor spinning gallery, arched porch, and round chimneys.

Cote How and its pretty boathouse are featured in many photographs and paintings that showcase our stunning location, surrounded by river, fell and lake.

Did you know...

Cote-How-Spinning-Gallery-Circa-1535
Our Tudor spinning gallery - one of only 4 in the Lakes used for spinning wool when Cote How was a sheep farm.
Cote-How-Circa-1900
Cote How photographed form the front paddock showing the stright terrace lines and steps down into the paddock.
Cote-how-sketch-by-Fred-Yates-Circa-1902
This is a sketch by artist Fred Yates showing Cote How around 1902 with a "lean-to" at the end of the house.

INSPIRATIONAL...

Cote How has seen many famous faces over the years, and these people came here either because they were inspired to do so… or they wanted to inspire others. We feel privileged to be able to walk in their footsteps in some small way.

Ex American President Woodrow Wilson in Academic Robes for Princeton Univeristy
Woodrow Wilson had his portrait painted here in 1906 by a local artist (then tenant), Fred Yates.
William-Wordsworth---romantic-poet-of-Rydal-and-the-Lake-District
William Wordsworth lived in Rydal and drew much of his inspiration from this fantastic and romantic place.
Meryl Streep as the French Lieutenants Woman - filmed in our Boathouse on Rydal Water
Our famous little boathouse features in the film "The French Lieutenant's Woman" starring Meryl Streep!

Historic Lake District Wedding Venue

HISTORY OF COTE HOW

HISTORIC FARMHOUSE  AND BARN – BUILT IN 1535
Cote How is nestled in the heart of the English Lake District on the stunning shores of Rydal Water, located between Ambleside and Grasmere.
Originally built in 1535 as a Lakeland farmhouse, it sits proudly amid 4 acres of private grounds and 7 acres of meadow on the shores of the lake and riverbank. Rydal Woods and Rydal Cave are just a short stroll away, giving endless opportunities for those all-important Lake District wedding photographs. 

A PERFECT WEDDING VENUE
As Cote How is exclusively yours, we have many options for you to choose from when planning your special day. Our rustic 500-year-old barn oozes Lake District charm and offers the perfect space to enjoy your wedding breakfast and reception. The main house features a choice of indoor ceremony spaces and a gorgeous elegantly styled room to welcome your guests and enjoy drinks pre and post-ceremony. Our outdoor areas are simply stunning, and your guests will be wowed, taking in the incredible Lakeland scenery whilst enjoying a glass of fizz on our outdoor terrace.
 

A Very Special Place...

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