Shropshire wedding venue vows to save Christmas with Covid-safe party cabins

After nearly all her wedding bookings were cancelled this summer, a venue owner in Shrewsbury made it her mission to save Christmas and has organised Covid-safe Christmas parties on site.

Cindy Edwards at Stanford Farm Weddings and Events has vowed to 'save Christmas' by holding Covid-safe parties in log gazebos
Cindy Edwards at Stanford Farm Weddings and Events has vowed to 'save Christmas' by holding Covid-safe parties in log gazebos

Cindy Edwards, of Stanford Farm Weddings and Events, started 2020 with a packed summer in her diary of 20 weddings at her farm venue near Shrewsbury.

The weddings had been booked one to two years in advance and Cindy was set for a good year, until the coronavirus pandemic meant all but one of her weddings had to be postponed.

The one wedding that went ahead, was held in September with 30 guests, following the Covid-19 safety rule and was a great success.

"Being a large rustic, open air, venue, it was quite easy to apply all the safety rules," said Cindy.

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This gave her the idea which could save Christmas – she decided to provide outdoor Christmas parties and imported 20 log gazebos from Lithuania and had a team of elves – i.e. friends and family – to help build them.

"We sat around for the most of the year doing nothing, like a lot of hospitality venues and staff," she said.

"We came to this idea while looking at others' stuff – the farm had just been given planning permission to have weddings out by the lake so we were looking for a gazebo for that. Then I saw these log gazebos and the idea came to me.

"The response we've had has been really good. I think people are just really excited to be able to celebrate Christmas like normal. It is all kind of German market and alpine-themed."

Live bands will be at each event which run from December 11-20, and Cindy said she is happy to be supporting local music.

"It's like I've come alive again these last few weeks," she said.

"I love organising events and this one is especially fun. We have booked local bands and they said they are just so thankful to have gigs booked again. Each night will have a different Shropshire band.

"I've been doing this for five years now and it is a family-owned farm, we've had it for over 100 years."

The 'Christmas cabins' seat six people and provide a two-course meal and mulled wine with each ticket, for £35. Cindy has also been working with local businesses to provide food and drinks at the event.

When tickets went on sale on Sunday and one of the nights sold out in just an hour.

As well as adults' parties, Cindy is looking at putting on some children's events from December 21-23, where they can meet Santa.

She said: "We are hoping to create the festive spirit of a Alpine Christmas market with live music and party atmosphere in a Covid-safe environment. We have prepared risk assessments in line with council requirements and have the industry standard 'we're good to go' award. We also have a full refund policy in place should things not open up as expected in December."

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