Frequently Asked Questions

We love the fact that couples regularly come to us, bursting with their own ideas - and questions too. We've come up with a few answers, to help with some queries. They're based on our understanding of our historic venue, on our experience in organising weddings here for over 20 years and they reflect values which are most dear to us. At Bateman's Barn, we aim to be open, friendly, flexible and accommodating.
So please - do just pick up the phone and ask.

For information regarding precautions we continue to have in place or can adopt at your request relating to COVID-19, please see our dedicated COVID FAQs » 

Need to know »  I  On-site preparations »  I Celebrations & Catering » I  After dark » I After the day »

Need to know…

How many guests can I invite to my wedding?

Ceremonies: Medieval Bateman's Barn can accommodate 120 people for a wedding ceremony (seated theatre-style) and our outdoor space 'Grace' and other other outdoor spaces can generally be flexible concerning numbers.

Celebrations: As the barn is licensed for wedding ceremonies, the reception or wedding breakfast is usually held in our adjacent covered courtyard. This can comfortably seat 120 guests. Weddings receptions may only be held in barn itself (or in the entire barn and covered courtyard space as a whole), if your ceremony is being held outside, at the registry office or in a church. . For the evening party we can accommodate 170 guests in total in the barn/ courtyard marquee/ lounge and bar to enjoy a disco, live band or barn dance or, even (déjà vu...) a full rendition of the Sound of Music! 

Where can we actually get married on the Bateman’s Barn South Elmham site?

Medieval Bateman's Barnnad Grace our outdoor ceremony space are licensed for civil ceremonies and the signing of the register.

You are welcome to choose to hold your marriage ceremony outdoors or at locations throughout the grounds, but you will be required to step across to either 'Grace' or the historic barn to sign the register at the end.

May we arrange our own celebrant? 

All couples are always welcome at Bateman's Barn, to get married and celebrate their marriage according to their own beliefs and wishes. You are most welcome to organise your own celebrant or humanist to conduct the ceremony or blessing if you prefer. 

For further information about the legal implications of ceremonies conducted by celebrants/humanist etc. , please speak with our lovely registrars at East Suffolk District Council. You can reach them on 01502 528160.

Do we have exclusive use?

Yes. Our all our wedding packages include exclusive use of the venue and we ensure that they dovetail in such a way that there is never any overlap. The only other people on site will be us (because we live here!) and our small team (for the venue and the organic farm). There is no need to worry about wandering across from the Hall to the barn for breakfast in your dressing gown!   

How long do we have the venue for? 

Our venue hire price pages list the number of hours or days each package runs for, our main package is 3 day hire and ceremony only in winter is 2 hours.
All packages have set up times which allow plenty of time for those all important deliveries, decorations and set up requirements on the eve of the great day, as well as time on the day after to enjoy a leisurely breakfast, collect vehicles and take things home. 


How many guests can stay on site?
We are happy to open up our home, South Elmham Hall, as a comfortable B&B for wedding couples and their guests. We have 5 double, en-suite guest bedrooms on the first floor (accessed by a steep flight of stairs). We regret that due to the historic nature of the property, we are not able to welcome children.
We can also arrange Bell Tent glamping in the grounds for up to further 20 guests.  

Are animals allowed in the bedrooms?
Sorry, we do not allow pets in the bedrooms.
Pets may be welcomed on site for the ceremony / celebrations with prior agreement from the owners, but please note that Bateman's Barn is located on a working farm with livestock and we also have our own pets and fowl at South Elmham Hall.     

Is there a bridal suite?
Couples often choose the largest of our guest bedrooms for their own use. It has four-poster bed and medieval wall-paintings. There is no additional premium - it is the same price as our other guest rooms. Best bagg-sy it quick!     

Do you let out the rooms in South Elmham Hall to other guests?
To other guests in your wedding party, yes. To the general public, no.
You are most welcome to reserve all five of the bedrooms at South Elmham Hall when you book the barn for your wedding celebrations. Alternatively, your guests can book them individually with us. In addition, we will always share a list of local accommodation providers to support you and your guests with a range of choices. 
Please note: Due to the historic nature of the property, we are not able to welcome children - sorry.      

Is there an event manager for the day?

We will be on hand to advise and assist you, sharing our 20 years experience but always willing to listen and help you create your perfect wedding from your first call, right through to and including your wedding day and we take care of all the clearing up of the venue afterwards. That said, we are discreet and never wish to tread on any toes, so we will only ever give the level of support you need to help make your wedding go super-smoothly.      

Do you have heating in the barn and covered courtyard? 

Yes, both the barn and covered courtyard marquee have integral heating.

Can we have confetti? 

Yes, it wouldn’t be a wedding without some confetti, please make sure it is biodegradable though.

Can we use our own caterer?

Absolutely. Our first class kitchen facilities / 5* hygiene rated kitchens are available for use by a suitably qualified, licensed team of caterers of your own choice. If you have your own caterers in mind, then we are happy to liaise with them and ensure that everything runs smoothly. If you would like to choose a local caterer, we can provide a hand-picked list for both daytime and evening food based on our extensive experience.   

Can we supply our own drinks?

Yes, you may bring your own wine and / or sparkling wine by prior arrangement, but we do charge a corkage fee. No other drinks (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) should be brought onto the premises, with the exception of drinks for babies / toddlers. 

We are able to offer both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages by the jug or bottle for the reception and are happy to serve free jugs of tap water.  

We have long-standing relationships with our suppliers and are not only able to supply at prices which are in line with other local facilities or bars, but can often source special requests effectively too. Our Stables Bar is well-stocked and we are pleased to accommodate special requests for beers and spirits too. 

Do you have a licensed pay bar?

Yes, our permanent, well-stocked Stables Bar can operate as a licensed pay bar and this facility is included in the wedding package. It serves well-kept real ales and local ciders, draft lager plus a full range of all your favourite wines, spirits and soft drinks. We ensure that our average prices for a pint or glass of house wine are fair and in line with other local facilties and bars.

You may choose when you would like the bar to be open through your day. 

What is included in the price? Are there any extras we should know about?

For full details of all our wedding venue packages and hire fees and optional (but oh-so-special) extras, please see our prices section.

Do you hold Open Days?

Yes, we hold Open Days in Spring and late Summer and these also showcase some of our regular local suppliers. We may also hold open afternoon/evening events so you can get a flavour of the place both in the light and after dark. 
However, most of our couples do come and see Bateman's Barn on an exclusive visit to the venue made by prior arrangement. Please don't be shy - we'd be delighted to show you around personally - just give us a call.

When can I come & visit?

Please give us a call to check venue availability and to arrange an exclusive visit at your convenience. We will be delighted to show you around personally.

Before you can confirm the date of your booking, you will need to book with the local registrar and / or may wish to make arrangements with your own celebrant. We will hold a provisional booking for a date for 7 days without obligation. Your booking is not confirmed however until a deposit has been paid.

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On-site preparations

Can we visit the venue in advance with the photographer?

Yes, we can arrange a mutually convenient time for you to visit the venue with your photographer if you wish. Your photographer is also welcome to visit on his / her own by prior arrangement.   

Do we get access to decorate? 

All the venue hire package options include set up time, either half or full day, the day before your wedding, so there is plenty of time to dress the venue.

Can we do our own flowers & decorations? 

Yes, of course. We will be on hand to help when needed, especially where a ladder or special fixings are required. If you want to do something a bit different, then please let us know in advance so we can work out how we can achieve your look.

Can we have real candles? 

Yes, that's fine. Beautiful in fact. However, they must be in suitable fire-proof holders.

Can we have a rehearsal for the ceremony?

Absolutely. We make sure that there is time for the rehearsal on the set up day. It doesn’t need to take long - approximately 30 mins and we are on hand to go through things. Don’t forget to bring your chosen music. Oh, and let those involved know what time it will take place!

Is there a PA system?

Yes - and no. We have a sound system in the barn and in the covered Courtyard area through which we can play the music from your IPOD, tablet or laptop. We do not have a PA system with microphones - from our experience, this is simply not necessary for the speeches as the acoustics are excellent. If you envisage needing microphones for part of your celebrations, it is possible to make arrangements to hire in PA equipement.   

Can music be played outside?

Yes. It is possible to make arrangements for outside sound systems and PA. Many of our couples choosing to hold their ceremony outside have preferred to include live music.

Is there access for coaches?

Yes, coaches, minibuses and people carriers can drop off by Bateman's Barn. We also have dedicated parking bays for disabled drivers. 

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Celebrations & Catering

Can we use outside caterers? 

Yes, we supply a list of recommended local caterers or you can bring in someone you have discovered yourselves.

All caterers wishing to use our fully-fitted, 5* hygiene rated on-site kitchens must be licensed holders of a current food hygiene certificate, with a rating of 4 stars or above, and must have public liability insurance.

We regret that we have met a few caterers over the years who we would not recommend or who we would decline to use our faciltiies here, so please just check with us before booking your caterer.

Will you be here to make sure everything runs smoothly? 

Yes. This is a family-run business and we will be here to look after you every step of the way - but just as little or as much as you require and always in the background, ready to clear up any mess, rearrange furniture, liaise with suppliers and keep the loos clean. Basically, we'll be sure to take care of all the bits you don’t want to think about, but which are essential to a successful day!

Are smokers catered for? 

Yes, we are able to allocate a smoking area if this is required. 

Are there specified quiet areas?

This tends to be dealt with more by inference than large signs! The lounge in the covered area adjacent to the covered courtyard with its comfy sofas is a natural place for those quieter, catch-up moments or perhaps for older or younger guests who prefer a slightly quieter time of things. The nice thing is that even in this quieter space, you will still be very much party to what's going on ... at the rest of the party!  

What about disabled access /facilities?

Entrances to the medieval barn are wheelchair-friendly and there is seamless access to the covered courtyard and car-parking area where there are dedicated parking bays. Disabled toilets are all conveniently situated within the main barn building itself, with the stables bar and other facilities only a short distance away across the fully paved courtyard.   

What are the provisions for babies & children?

Children are very welcome at Bateman's Barn. Entrances to the medieval barn are pram and buggy friendly and there is seamless access to the courtyard and car-parking area. Baby changing facilities are all conveniently situated within the main barn building itself, with the stables bar and other facilities only a short distance away across the fully paved courtyard. A limited number of high chairs are available. Our lounge area in the covered area adjacent to the Courtyard Marquee with its comfy sofas is a suitable, quieter area for little ones during the evening celebrations.

Over the years, we have worked with a wide range of couples who have wished to make younger guests feel especially welcome by providing them with activity packs and gifts. We are happy to share these ideas and experiences.

Please note: As Bateman's Barn South Elmham is a moated site, children must be supervised at all times.
Due to the historic nature of the Hall we cannot welcome children into our guest rooms in South Elmham Hall.  

What parts of the gardens / grounds can we use?

There are over two acres of secluded gardens, woodland and lawns surrounding the medieval barn for you to enjoy with your guests. During your visit to the venue, we will be pleased to show you around all the different areas.

Outdoor ceremonies are particularly popular in our ruined gatehouse or ancient grove, plus 'Grace' our dedicated outdoor ceremony space. Wherever you choose you will need to sign the register either in the Batemans barn or 'Grace' to make it legal.

Couples are also welcome to have their photographs taken in our private gardens, fields and wildflower meadows by prior arrangement.

Don't forget that you can also brighten your evening celebrations with our fire-pit in the woodland and if your party is staying over, we can organise a walk the following morning across the meadows to our enigmatic ruins of South Elmham Minster.  

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After dark

Is there lighting for the evening? 

Yes, we have different lighting options for daytime and evening, with delicate white fairy lights dotting the barn and marquee and wall wash lights outside.There are also garden lights and tree lights to illuminate the outdoor seating areas.

Are we allowed fireworks? 

Yes, indeed. This is a regular request and we are pleased to accommodate it. We have in-house fireworks packages starting from around £600 (2021/22). Due to health and safety and public liability insurance, you cannot do your own fireworks.

Is there a noise limiter to control the sound levels of the band/entertainers?

No, there is no noise limiter, although we will ask a band/entertainer to set the sound levels to suit your other activities which may be taking place at the same time or to review them if we deem that the levels are having a detrimental effect on the fabric of the medieval building.

Do you allow Chinese or sky lanterns? 

Sorry, we do not allow Chinese lanterns as they are a fire risk and a hazard to farm animals and wildlife.

Can we have a 'campfire', sparklers & entertainers using fire as part of their act?

We have a dedicated area for a firepit in our woodland area on the island, just across from Bateman's Barn and can prepare, light and stock it for you. This is an optional extra to our wedding venue hire packages.

Sparklers may be used on the lawns area only with due care and attention.

We have in the past here had outdoor evening entertainers such as jugglers who use fire as part of their act. Please talk to us about what you have in mind.    

What time does the evening end?

You are welcome to continue your celebrations until midnight. We advise that guests not staying at South Elmham Hall arrange their taxis for 12.15pm. 

Can guests leave cars overnight? 

Yes, if vehicles can be collected by midday Sunday after a Saturday wedding and 11am Thursday after a Wednesday wedding that would be best.

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After the day

Who clears up at the end of the wedding? 

Don't worry - we'll do all that. After your wedding celebrations have finished, we clear up for you, take down any decorations and store all your belongings overnight in the barn for you to collect the next morning.

When do we have to be out by?

Your venue hire period expires at midday on Sunday after a Saturday wedding and 11am on Thursday after a Wednesday wedding.

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