Gildings Barn Surrey - An absolute GEM of a wedding venue in Dorking! Here’s my ultimate guide to having the most amazing wedding there (and you will)!

First off, if you’ve booked Gildings Barn for your wedding… you’ve made an excellent choice. If you’re thinking about it, hopefully this post will help reassure you that you’ll have an absolutely fabulous wedding there. It’ll take 110 guests for the ceremony… and 130 afterwards.

A wee bit of background.

Gildings Barn actually dates back to the 16th Century and was renovated in the 90s - there’s a pretty cool display just inside the entrance actually. In fact, the main Barn (where most of the ceremonies happen) was created from trees knocked down in the 1987 hurricane… well… no sure if was actually a hurricane… the big wind of 87. Yes. That. You see, good things really do come out of disasters!

Gildings Wedding Surrey

What I love about Gildings Barn.

I love the fact that it’s in the middle of nowhere and you feel totally cut off from civilisation, you have the venue all to yourself and it’s surrounded by epic fields. Then there’s the theme… it’s just about the best form of Rustic I’ve seen. I love the farming tools hanging up in the entrance (yep, you can use them in photos)… there’s just so much character everywhere. The car park is huge, there’s so much space, the staff are amazing and so friendly (family/homely feel), I love the smell of all the oak too. It hits all the senses. In short, it’s unique - that’s what you want, right? I could go on about this place all day… but I’ll get on to the juicy stuff.

Gildings Wedding Surrey

Very DIY friendly.

They have a very capable team, and they can handle everything for you (just like most dedicated wedding venues). However, Gildings Barn Surrey can be a total blank canvas for you to do whatever you want with. If creativity's your thing and you like taking matters into your own hands, you can hire the place with as much... or as little included. You won't hear anything in the way of, "it has to be like this" or "we only do this way round"... you really can make it your own... and you'll be very welcome to drop in before your big day and take measurements/photos - whatever you need to get it just how you want it.

Gildings Wedding Surrey

Where can you get ready?

They do have a dedicated room that you can use… although it might not be ideal if you’ve got loads of bridesmaids. Think of it as a touch-up room where you can store your things and make any adjustments. More larger bridal parties… there’s plenty of local Airbnbs you can rent. The getting ready room also has a massive wood burning stove… so it’ll be lovely and warm in the winter!

Indoor vs Outdoor ceremony, which one is best?

There are two options here, inside the main barn and outside in front of the Granary (a small wooden barn, originally used to store grain), it’s very cute! If you’re getting married in the Summer… go Granary! My tip… don’t actually get married inside the structure (which is what most people do), have it out in front of it. This way, you won’t be a silhouette (trust me) and your photos will be much better with all that lovely light around you. You guests will feel much more part of it and they’ll actually be able to hear you (woo). However, if the weather turns bad or you’re getting married during the colder months… the barn provides a super cozy backdrop. One thing that’s worth adding, there are no windows in the Barn - but it is pretty well lit. Definitely worth mentioning it to your photographer/videographer for a heads up!

Gildings Wedding Surrey

Best locations for group photos at Gildings Barn Surrey.

I’ve managed to get it down to four good options. For a big photo of everyone, there’s a perfect bench for your photographer to stand on round to the side of the main barn… so if you exit through the double doors and turn right, you’ll see it across the lawn. It’s ideal as the sun will always go round the back of your guests, so no one will be squinting. For smaller, family photos - you’ve got the large barn double doors (looks pretty cool if you leave them open, but draw the curtains across) and the Granary - but you might have just had your ceremony there - so go for the barn doors to mix things up. My fourth options requires walking to the main entrance of Gildings Barn… so an idea option for just the bridal party (there’s not so much space & you don’t really want to march everyone there). You get that amazing rustic backdrop and a roof overhead too… so an idea “rain” option too!

Gildings Wedding Surrey

Best places/times for portraits.

This is where Gildings Barn Surrey comes into its own! You’ve got 22 acres of photo bliss to play with. If you’ve got a spare 20-30 minutes during the golden hour (last hour of sunlight)… I’d do a circuit of the grounds. Start with a few easy ones in front of the Granary, then head over to the field just behind the “everyone photo” bench. They usually keep all the grass nice and long and it looks fab when you’re in it (you don’t have to get right in it… just a wee bit - it’s all about the camera angle). Then follow the path around the field until you’re heading toward the car park (there’s a gate)… plenty of great photo moments as you walk! You can re-enter Gildings Barn via the main entrance… where you can get all those lovely courtyard/rustic interior shots.

Gildings Wedding Surrey

You can have a proper party here!

Yep... another awesome thing about having the place all to yourself and being in the middle of nowhere... you can turn it up! There's a raised platform opposite the large barn doors and it's perfect for DJs and bands (although not a 8 piece orchestra)... just make sure they're bringing lights as Gildings Barns doesn't have any windows (not al all a problem)... and the lighting is more about filling the place with light for ceremonies - which you'll want to turn off. Rest assured, every wedding I've done there has ended with a great bash... with a very happy atmosphere!

Gildings Wedding Surrey

How about I shoot your wedding?

Want some cracking photos that tell the story of your day, without any bossy awkwardness or cringe? Well, that's exactly what I do! I'm all about the natural & candid stuff... so if you like that sort of thing - click here to get in touch!

Here's some more photos from Alice & Harry's wedding at Gildings Barn Surrey...