Donnington farm getting ready for big day

A couple from Donnington are getting ready for their big day next month – but Will and Mariella Fleming won’t be getting hitched, instead they will be celebrating the launch of their picturesque farm as a high-end eco-wedding venue.

Over the years they have hosted many events at South End Farm. Realising the business potential o

f an old barn, the couple decided it was a marriage made in heaven, and set about converting the structure last year after selling their lettuce operation.

Just a few finishing touches are required before the launch on May 25. The Flemings have already booked their first wedding for July and have received around 60 viewings from potential clients.

The 200-year-old barn has been transformed from a dreary storage area into a beautiful, light and airy space. And like all traditional weddings, it certainly incorporates the ideals of the motto ‘something old, something new...’ with the restoration using sustainable materials such as hemp and green oak and materials found on site.

Chichester artist Kate Viner was commissioned to create some metal artwork and chandeliers, and contractors have used old techniques such as lime render while Cornish slate has been sourced for the patio. The venue has been designed to use very little energy. It has low-voltage, wireless lighting and is powered by a biomass boiler.

All food is sourced from around the area thanks to a partnership with renowned Chichester-based Field and Fork and couples can have the carbon footprint of their wedding calculated, and offset it by having trees planted on the farm.

“A greener way of living is something everyone should be striving for,” said Mariella. “We want it in our cars, our houses, our clothing, so it seems the right way to go that the biggest day of your life should also be green.”

“It’s been a long process but we are nearly there. People seem to like the combination of the new with old and they like the idea it will be really for the couple and how they want it. People particularly like being on the plain with the big skies and the landscape.”