Popular DIY Devon Wedding Venue Sees First Post Lockdown Wedding

Saturday, July 4th saw the first post lockdown wedding at North Devon’s Ash Barton Estate in over three months.

The happy couple, Emily Smith and Ben Watts from Topsham, plus a couple of dozen of their closest friends and family, enjoyed a socially distanced wedding on the grounds of Ash Barton. With a romantic wedding ceremony beside the lake, followed by a picnic and drinks in the old chapel.  

They’ve Got Their Love on Lockdown

In fact, July 4th was Emily and Ben’s original wedding day, before pushing the date back to June 2021 as the country went into lockdown. But with Devon registrars offering their services again from last Saturday, the couple opted to have their wedding ceremony anyway. Albeit with just a handful of people, followed by a big party at Ash Barton in June next year.

“Having flexibility is what Ash Barton is all about,”

says Simon Daukes, owner of the family-run business. “At the beginning of lockdown, I called all the brides and grooms and said ‘listen, let’s get you booked in for next year wherever possible. But, if things start to open up and you want to have some kind of ceremony or celebration on your original day, you can. The choice is yours.’ For me, that’s what a good wedding venue is all about. Giving couples plenty of flexibility and letting them make their own decisions. Whatever they choose to do, we’re here to support them.”

“We originally planned to have a big wedding at The Ash Barton Estate over several days,” says Emily. “It was meant to be a big weekend celebration with lots of friends and family. Ben has family from Thailand and the USA who were going to travel to attend our wedding. So when we found out about the Government COVID-19 restrictions, we had to rethink our original wedding plans drastically.

“When Simon said we could have an intimate wedding with a few guests, we just felt sheer joy. Knowing that our original date could happen, and we could make that commitment to one another was an amazing feeling. 

The Joy of Post Lockdown Weddings

“We were only allowed 30 guests, so it was our immediate family attending plus 1-2 guests on either side.  As we were confined to our homes for so long, it was extra special to see our closest friends and family again. I think being in lockdown has made us really appreciate them.”

The team at Ash Barton worked hard to prepare the venue for Saturday and ensured the converted luxury stable block, with its posh loos and getting-ready-room, was completely sanitised and for the sole use of the wedding party.

To date, over 60 events booked between March and October have been successfully rearranged for 2021 or later in the year.


Simon Daukes of Ash Barton Estate

M: 07785 386622

E: [email protected]

About The Ash Barton Estate

Set in the beautiful North Devon countryside, Ash Barton is a Grade II* listed building with parts dating back to 1665. It’s also the UK’s most popular DIY curfew-free, no corkage wedding venue, where couples can marry at any number of locations on the estate, including a wildflower meadow, an old chapel and a courtyard, and are free to organize their own food, drink, decorations, theme, and music.


Going forward with your original date? These articles will be super helpful while planning your post lockdown wedding:

Downsize your ceremony – https://bridalfantasy.com/wedding-trends-the-rise-of-the-minimony/

Formal face masks so you can look amazing, while keeping the people you love safe – https://bridalfantasy.com/wedding-worthy-face-masks-we-love/

Go virtual – https://bridalfantasy.com/virtual-engagement-sessions-are-here/https://bridalfantasy.com/go-virtual-with-these-4-pre-wedding-events/https://bridalfantasy.com/planning-a-virtual-wedding/

Honeymoon at home – https://bridalfantasy.com/planning-a-homeymoon/