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We believe we have a great story to tell and who better to tell it than the founder Celia Gaze.
“I suffered from work related stress after having a baby and working in the NHS - I don’t know if you can call it a mid-life crisis at age 40, but I suddenly thought – is this my life? I vowed never again to have regrets and to make the most of my life. I subtly asked my partner Stephen Whitehead if I could transform his farm (which was a bit neglected) into something special.
I started doing research and ended up travelling around the country (with baby in tow) personally visiting 195 venues to get the inspiration for The Wellbeing Farm.
Many of the features within the farm were sourced from spending hours on EBay and scavenging around reclamation yards and auctions to provide the authentic characteristics which I hope you experience.
I know this sounds a bit of a cliché, but I genuinely wanted to make the ordinary extraordinary and I have put a lot of care and thought into transforming the farm from neglect to what you hopefully experience when you visit.
The farm took just over two years to be developed by a local builder and Stephen and I launched during British Butcher’s Week in 2013. This meant that everyone wanted to know about provenance of food, and with us having a cookery school on site, and a butchers shop with a 128 year trading history in the family, our focus on food grew and grew. Nothing makes you feel better, or helps your wellbeing, than something nice to eat.
I’ve got to admit that although having worked in the NHS on large-scale transformation projects, I didn’t have direct experience of both setting up and then growing a small business and at times our story has been challenging – a roller-coaster doesn’t even come near to describing our journey.
To gain credibility, recognition, and grow The Wellbeing Farm’s reputation I entered local and national awards, and we’ve done quite well. Within a year the farm became a multi-award winning business!
I really don’t know what’s wrong with me as you’d have thought that running a Cookery School, Café, Butchery Courses, Llama trekking, Corporate events would have been enough, but no….. In spring 2014, I was approached by Polly and Ryan who asked if they could get married at the farm – I had nowhere to put them and then I had a crazy idea– why don’t I transform the indoor livery school into a Wedding Barn!!!!
Would it work? Well nobody would ever accuse me of procrastination – the exact opposite in fact and without really thinking about it, the next thing our former horse arena had been transformed into a Wedding Barn!
At this point, I really must pay tribute to my brother Harry Gaze who not only designed the Barn, but also physically did all the work himself – he is amazingly talented.
Polly and Ryan’s wedding was held on the 5 July 2014 and we loved it and so did everyone else… I was then approached by Nina who lived in Edgworth who asked me if we could organise her wedding in two months – never one to turn down a challenge, Nina worked her magic on the Barn (through her amazing skills and styling experience) and her wedding was held in October 2014. I’ve got to admit Nina’s wedding put The Wellbeing Farm Weddings on the map. Love My Dress review of Nina’s wedding.
I had at last found what I was always meant to do with The Wellbeing Farm – Weddings….
In 2015 we doubled our size creating bespoke wedding facilities which included converting a former horse arena and stables in a new bar area, toilet facilities and an additional kitchen – at last we had a proper Wedding Barn which could cater for up to 260 guests. Thanks to Harry’s amazing vision, he helped me make it happen and I’ve got to say that every day when I open our blue steel barn doors (obtained from a Bolton steel factory) I am so proud!
Talk about a take-off - wedding bookings on the farm have grown from two weddings in 2014, to 15 weddings in 2015, 48 weddings in 2016 and we already have 60 weddings booked for 2017 with bookings up to 2020!
I love the fact that as well as employing around 30 young local people, the great news is that local accommodation providers in Edgworth are also benefiting from the demand for weddings at the farm, so the new attraction is great for the local community.
In January 2016 we were granted our wedding licence from Blackburn with Darwen Council and our journey gets even more exciting when we won Wedding Venue of the Year by the Lancashire Tourist Board.
So in summary, we transformed this neglected, run-down farm and have put such thought and care into what we have done – I hope you have enjoyed reading about our transformational story. We try not to be ‘just another venue’, we deliberately set out to be special and to “make the ordinary extraordinary” and we strive to be unique and I do hope that this makes us stand out amongst other wedding venues – our aim is to create an amazing wedding experience.
So to this end, we want our weddings to have the wow factor – a magical experience where our weddings are caring, enthusiastic, beautiful and emotional - WE CARE”