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Food & Drink

Spring Wedding Day Inspiration

Wedding day inspiration 2024 (credit: Adorlee)

Why hello spring! With brighter days and blossom filled trees, we’re looking forward to lots of beautiful Southend Barns weddings.

Nothing says romance like spring on the south coast, and everything about our West Sussex wedding venue leans into this glorious time of year. From our countryside setting and carefully landscaped gardens awash with seasonal colour, to our tranquil outdoor ceremony space and of course (in case of April showers!) our cosy and fully protected Collecting Yard. Spring weddings at Southend Barns hold more than a touch of magic.

Read on for our very best 2024 spring wedding trends…

Wedding inspiration for 2024

The Wedding Flower of the Moment

When it comes to curating beautiful spring wedding decor, why not work with what this gorgeous season naturally brings – fabulous flowers!

At a time when the outdoors feels fresh, green and new, nature offers an incredible range of florals to choose from.

Using seasonal flowers is a good idea for a number of reasons, not only do they tend to be cheaper as they are more widely available, picking flowers when they are naturally thriving means you get blooms at their strongest and most beautiful which in turn ensures they will look fresh all day. Many growers cultivate popular flowers for use all year round and not just when they are naturally in-season. This can result in a pricier product and one which can pale in comparison to its in-season counterpart.

Not sure where to start? Here are a few of the most popular seasonal wedding flowers for spring:

  • MarchHyacinth, Narcissi, Muscari
  • AprilRanunculus, Tulip, Anemone
  • MayPeonies, Sweet William, Roses, Lily of the Valley

Wedding flowers inspiration

Elevate Your Arrangements

So you’ve settled on your blooms, but 2024 wedding day florals can be more than just a bouquet or single centrepiece.

From meadow-like arrangements lining the aisle in our Dairy Barn and flower filled arches framing your vows, to textural tablescapes filling the air with fragrance or picturesque ceiling installations making the most of the original beams in our Threshing Barn. We’ve seen spring flowers used to glorious effect by many of our couples, bringing the outdoors in with seasonal blooms beautifully reflecting our surrounding landscape.

Floral displays for weddings

A Road Less Travelled

If full on florals are just not your style, do not fear, there are many gorgeous ways to incorporate a springtime feel into your big day without buying out the local florist!

Your colour palette can be a powerful tool when it comes to creating the desired feel for your wedding day. Pretty pastels are evocative of this time of year and when used carefully can result in chic but romantic wedding styling. Whether you choose a tonal approach with one colour in a variety of textures and hues, or a carefully chosen collection of colours, we’ve seen spring styling done beautifully.

Floral arrangements for wedding table

Taking the Stress Out of Styling

Feeling a little overwhelmed with your spring wedding styling? Then our popular wedding Styling Selections are a great place to start. Inspired by our years of experience planning dream wedding days, we’ve created a range of exquisite decor options combining candlelight, luxury linens, centrepieces, lighting and more, to form the perfect base for our couples to add their own personal touches.

From fabulous fairy light ceiling installations to romantic drapery, textural boho touches, monochromatic chic, luscious greenery and the ultimate elegant wedding day set up. Each of our styling options has been carefully honed to deliver maximum impact, without you lifting a finger.

Wedding cake inspo

The Sweetest Thing

Your cake can be a striking centrepiece and a beautiful addition to your spring wedding theme. We have seen some true masterpieces from the creative cake makers our couples have chosen. From exquisite sugar flowers to hand-painted beauties and fresh flowers to dried pressed designs. Delicious and beautiful, what else could you ask for!

Wedding food inspiration ideas

Let it Grow!

Another glorious side of spring is the abundance of delicious food! Our Kitchen Garden is filled with scrumptious vegetables all ready to be used in our Roots kitchen. Our team of chefs are passionate about using the very best quality ingredients either grown on site or sourced as locally as possible. From homemade bread using our own Wildfarmed flour, fresh vegetables and herbs from our garden to fish and meat sourced locally, we are able to offer the freshest and most flavoursome dishes, knowing the full journey of each of our ingredients.

Some spring favourites from our current menu include our Roots Allotment Vegetable Salad, Sussex Wild Mushroom, Leek and Toasted Pumpkin Seed Tortellini and of course the classic Overnight Shoulder of Lamb, served with a rosemary and cranberry glaze, roasted new potatoes, crushed pea and mint salad and delicious allotment vegetables.

Click here to browse our full menu.

For more wedding day inspiration follow us on Instagram or Pinterest.

Photo Credits:
Lydia Stamps Photography

Martin Beard Photography
Elizabeth Ruby Photography
James White Photography
Adorlee Weddings
Kelly Hearn Photography

From Field to Focaccia

By Dan Clarke, Executive Chef and General Manager

Food and sustainability play an important part in the running of Southend Barns. Our reputation, not only for providing a beautiful wedding day experience, but for crafting the most delicious wedding day menus, is something we are extremely proud of. With this in mind, we are bursting with excitement to let you in on our latest project…

You may be aware that Southend Barns sits within a working farm in the West Sussex countryside. This is something the team and I have used to our advantage for many years, growing lots of our own produce to use in the creation of our delicious dishes. So, we are delighted to announce that we are now baking bread created with wheat grown on our very own farm.

As a chef, and one that makes every endeavour to use local produce and support local suppliers, I feel incredibly privileged to have the opportunity to grow our own wheat. As I stand in the kitchen, mixing our flour with yeast, salt, water, and a splash of olive oil I can look out of the window and see the fields of wheat where our flour originated. You cannot get more local than that!

The wheat we grow on site is then taken to Wildfarmed who turn it into flour which we in turn use in the creation of our Roots bread – including our Focaccia. We use three types of Wildfarmed flour in our kitchens, the strong bread flour, the country style (mixture of brown and white) and the plain flour, all of which are used in our breads and pastries.

One of our most popular breads is our Focaccia. This is made on the day of a wedding, it’s the first job in the morning to get it ready and proving. We then prep the topping. At the moment, our white Focaccia is flavoured with local tomatoes, rosemary, olive oil, salt, pink pepper, sumac and once baked has a splash of basil oil over it – It is wonderful!

Another favourite flavour uses the Wildfarmed country style flour which is rich in flavour and has a real depth to it. We pair this with caraway seeds, garlic and various seeds including sunflower, pumpkin, and sesame. It is then topped with rosemary oil, sea salt and pepper. Our guests love it and the feedback has been wonderful!

“Focaccia can be so bland but not here at Southend Barns, it’s the best I have ever tasted, and I have tasted a few! Love it!”

Who are Wildfarmed?

Set up by former TV presenter George Lamb, Groove Armada’s Andy Cato and financial guru Edd Lees in 2020, Wildfarmed has a network of farms that follow regenerative farming principles to grow wheat. Wildfarmed turn this into flour that is supplied to restaurants and eateries as well as being used by M&S in bakery products. They have also launched their own range of branded bread.

About Southend Farm

Southend Farm has always been at the forefront of sustainable farming methods and it has recently gone through a conversion period to introduce a regenerative system across the whole farm. As a result, the farm will be one of approx 100 across the UK and France to join the Wildfarmed network to grow and provide wheat on a yearly basis.

Regenerative agriculture describes farming and grazing practices that amongst other benefits, reverse climate change by rebuilding soil organic matter and restoring degraded soil biodiversity. Resulting in both carbon drawdown, improving the water cycle, enhancing biodiversity in the soil through insect, bacteria and fungi activity and wildlife on the land.

The principles of regenerative farming are:

  • No ploughing and as little soil disturbance as possible
  • Keeping the soil surface covered as much as possible (no ploughed fields in the winter) so keeping living roots in the soil
  • Mixed cropping, for example we will grow our wheat as a mixture of 3 varieties of wheat (selected on their disease resistance) with an understory of white clover which is a legume and will assist with nitrogen fixing
  • No use of chemicals (insecticides or fungicides) and a very limited use of artificial fertiliser
  • Use of livestock in the rotation system to build up soil fertility
  • Encouraging water percolation into the soil

Southend Farm and Wildfarmed is the perfect marriage (excuse the pun). We share the same values and goals, the same ethos and a dedication to producing the very best flour to give chefs and bakers the best product for all their flour kneads (see what I did there!). We are proud to be part of this fantastic initiative by not only growing the wheat but then using the flour made from it within our own homemade bread, which is served here to couples and their guests.

Southend Barns homemade bread bakingSouthend Barns homemade breadSouthend Barns focaccia made from homegrown wheatSouthend Barns homemade breadSouthend Barns homemade focaccia

2024 Wedding Trends

Couple in wedding barn venue

2023 was awash with glorious Southend Barns wedding style as our couples expressed their love in lots of beautiful ways. Many of our 2023 couples chose to take advantage of our Styling Service, using our range of professionally curated styling options as a springboard to support their chosen wedding decor. But enough reminiscing, it’s time for us to share our projections for the very best wedding trends for 2024. Keep reading for the inside scoop…

What’s New with Wedding Décor?

This year wedding decor is bright, beautiful and above all personal. Glorious warm colours will be taking the stage, ranging from sunny yellow to hot pink and delightfully vibrant poppy red. Add to this a good dose of opulence and you have a celebration fit for royalty!

From enormous floral displays to fruit bowls spilling with delicious and exotic delights, the natural world will be a huge influence in wedding design. Reaching further shores than recent years, greenery will still be an important staple, but elevated with colour and texture, enveloping the senses like never before. Think billowing romantic drapes, ceilings dancing with fairy lights and your favourite candle infusing the air.

Wedding barn venue, SussexIf pared back sophistication is more your thing, then 2024 also brings a beautiful take on tonal wedding decor. Using one colour in various tones and textures creates cohesive and super chic styling. As well as being a visually striking way to style your wedding day, the tonal trend is fairly easy to accomplish and gives the wedding party greater freedom when choosing their outfits.

Brand new for 2024, our Amber Sunset styling option is bang on trend with a tonal palette of warm, sun-kissed shades. Highlighted with beautiful burnt orange and golden touches, this is deliciously rich, wedding day styling at its very best. With a sprinkle of Southend Barns magic, Amber Sunset succeeds in creating a romantic, dusky glow long after the sun has set over the West Sussex countryside.

Alternatively, our Boho Blush wedding venue styling option takes tonal texture to the next level. With sumptuous macramé touches, dried flowers and pampas grass all in soft neutral tones, this is a stunning option for those interested in romantic, blush wedding day styling.

Wedding venue dining hall

Wedding Day Dressing for YOU!

Gone are the days of prescriptive wedding gowns – for 2024 couples the world is your oyster, with brides and grooms opting for wedding wear which perfectly suits their personality. From glorious mini dresses to jewel toned wedding gowns, personal style is in!

Indian wedding dress

Black and White Wedding Day Styling

Monochrome is back for 2024, so if your dream day is to create a beautiful black-tie occasion, then we’ve got the perfect styling selection for you. Our gorgeous monochrome option features chic black and white, glass touches, white roses and elegant foliage as well as hints of gorgeous gold with items such as cutlery.

Super luxe styling doesn’t stop with dressing your venue either, over the top dress codes are set to be popular in 2024. Invite your guests to celebrate in extravagant attire, from black tie with a twist to your favourite glamourous theme. However, a note to the wise, try to keep it light and not too prescriptive, or you could run the risk of making dressing for your wedding a stressful experience.

Wedding meal table setting

The Personal Touch

Not a new trend, but one that has had growing appeal for quite a few years now. Your wedding day is all about you and your love, so what better way to create a timeless and beautiful celebration than by weaving moments from your love story through your day. From handwritten letters to homemade wedding favours or a cocktail which transports you back to that special holiday together. There are many ways to touch on important moments in addition to the anecdotes revealed during speeches.

Personal wedding service

Nostalgic Wedding Day Food

Many of our couples have been opting for food that takes them on a trip down memory lane. From Hunter’s Chicken or Chicken Kiev, our team of incredible chefs have given these childhood classics a creative twist to make them worthy of a wedding day menu without losing their nostalgic charm.

From decadent BBQs to mouth-watering plant-based options, our varied and diverse menus have something to sate any palette. You can browse our full menu here, and our Roots chefs are always happy to chat about any special requirements you might have.

Personal wedding service catering

Festival-Fabulous Weddings

Personality is everything for 2024 weddings, so if you are more of a laid back kind of couple why not opt for a festival style theme. Our rural setting is a gorgeous backdrop for a festival wedding, with surrounding fields, our Collecting Yard and pretty gardens – the perfect spot for games, stalls, drinks stations and pop up food stops! Our Roots chefs also do a delicious festival inspired menu with sharing platters, homemade pizzas in pizza boxes and more.

Our rustic Threshing Barn looks wonderful dressed with festival-fabulous disco balls, garlands and gorgeous big tonal balloons, and makes an amazing space for you and your guests to dance the night away to an awesome band or DJ.

Keep the festival magic running into the night with our new luxury Bell Tents. Our six tents are situated in our pretty wildflower meadow and make ideal overnight accommodation for close friends and family to retire following your celebrations.

Wedding day drinks (credit: Kelly Hearn)

Wedding Day Drinks Trends

With a significant increase in people going teetotal, it is more important than ever to ensure you offer a great selection of non-alcoholic drinks for your wedding celebrations. Here at Southend Barns, we take taste seriously and have curated a wide range of the very best non-alcoholic drinks options. From the award-winning Wide Idol alcohol free sparkling wine, to popular non-alcoholic spirits, and of course our own delicious range of mocktails and spritzers.

On the subject of drinks, another trend here to stay is the gloriously decadent champagne tower! This throwback to roaring 20s style creates real wow factor as a centrepiece and is a fun addition to your big day. The tower can be filled with your choice of sparkling drink, and whether you choose one of our local Tinwood sparkling wines, Prosecco or a non-alcoholic option, it will be a moment your guests never forget.

Wedding trends can be fun to take inspiration from, but fashions come and go, the most important thing to remember when choosing styling, food and decor, is to pick what makes you and your partner happy.

Our whole team is dedicated to ensuring you have the perfect wedding day for you. A special day like no other which you truly enjoy, creating beautiful memories to treasure and hold dear for many years to come. We can’t wait to be a part of each and every celebration this year and we promise that every single wedding that takes place in our beautiful barns will be utterly and completely perfect.

If you are interested in booking Southend Barns for your wedding day, please do get in touch on 01243 641247 and our dedicated team will be more than happy to help.

Photo credits:
Ruby Roux Photography
Kelly Hearn Photography
Jasmine Andrews Photography

From Our Garden to Your Wedding Table, Our Top Plant-Based Dishes

Vegan dish

By Dan Clarke

As the executive chef at Southend Barns and one who has been in the business for 30 years, I often get asked the question, ‘What do you think of plant-based food?’

Over the years I have seen a lot of change in the culture and attitude towards vegetarian and plant-based food, gone are the days where some chefs would simply remove the protein, or serve a classic stuffed pepper. The plant-based revolution is here, in full swing and not going anywhere. As a chef, I love the challenge, to be pushed to strive to deliver new and creative ideas that are outside the traditional wedding day menu.

Here at Roots, we like to set trends, to evolve, to create, to inspire and to show our couples that we can create and deliver fantastic plant-based, gluten free or dairy free food with lots of wonderful choices, ingredients, and flavour combinations.

We are blessed with a kitchen garden that allows us to plant what we like. To sew a seed, watch it grow, nurture it, pick it and then plate it! From our garden, to your table – who cannot love that! I have just set out our planting season with our gardener Gemma, we are planning to grow lots of root vegetables this year. A firm favourite of mine is celeriac, it is so versatile and can be used many ways – pureed, roasted, confit and raw in salads. Herbs and lettuces will also feature heavily this year along with heritage carrots, and of course beetroot! Beetroot is a firm favourite with the team and where our name originates from, Roots.

My biggest source of plant-based inspiration comes from a very well-known chef called Yotam Ottolenghi who runs and owns the Ottolenghi chain of restaurants. The way he takes humble, simple ingredients, adds some spices, seeds, nuts, or other flavours, and combines it with a vibrant dressing, yoghurt or dip is brilliant! I love that style of food and would eat it all the time if I could.

Another great source of inspiration comes from a very well-known Indian recipe book called Dishoom. A lot of Indian food is plant-based or vegetarian so when I was given this book, I could feel the creative juices flowing and my mind was racing with ideas for our menu. By combining my own repertoire and experience with a dash of inspiration from Ottolenghi and voila – we have an exciting and diverse plant-based menu to delight our couples and their guests.

One of our most popular vegan options has to be our Butternut Gnocchi with Miso, Mushrooms, Spinach, Charred Tenderstem and Sesame. This dish was inspired by Ottolenghi who do a swede gnocchi. It is such a wonderful dish, full of flavour and texture, and loved by everyone that tries it.

Plant-based desserts have been more of a challenge but a very exciting one, and with my experience as a pastry chef, it is a challenge I gladly accepted!

With plant-based ingredients becoming more readily available and very good in terms of the quality, the difficult part of making vegan desserts truly exceptional is the execution – adapting cooking techniques to make it as close as possible to a pudding that has non plant-based ingredients in it. One example of this is our Sticky Toffee Pudding, which we can now make plant-based. It has been a real challenge and taken many attempts, lots of notes, lots of trials and about 9 months to get it right! We now have a pudding that is very close to the traditional version. Gooey and light with a nice flavour and texture. We serve it with plant-based toffee sauce, plant-based vanilla ice cream and passion fruit. Oh, and we can also make it gluten free!

Our Vegan Brownie is another popular choice. The texture and gooeyness of this decadent brownie is sometimes better than our usual brownie recipe. It really is great, and gluten free too.

One of the biggest questions I get asked about plant-based food (especially desserts) is what we use instead of eggs. We use a couple of items, mainly chickpea juice, with which we also make mayonnaise with and our meringues. The other is apple puree. This works well as a combiner and adds a mellow flavour which enriches many desserts.

We are dedicated and passionate about plant-based food here at Southend Barns. Feedback from our guests has been amazing with couples so thankful for the care and attention we go to with our plant-based menu, as well as the quality of the food and the variation and choice.

Browse our full range of menus here

Photos: Elizabeth Ruby Photography

The Best Dishes of 2023

Wedding day food

My Best Dishes of 2023

Daniel Clarke, Executive Chef and General Manager at Southend Barns

What a year it has been for Roots at Southend Barns! Our ever-evolving 2023 menus focusing on seasonal and local produce have been a huge hit, so we wanted to take a walk down memory lane and let you know this year’s firm wedding day favourites from all of our lovely couples…


This year we introduced five new canapés and without doubt the most popular one has been our Overnight Crispy Pork Belly with Miso & Toffee Sauce which is topped with toasted sesame seeds and chives. So many of our couples have opted for this delicious dish – a mouth-watering way to start your wedding day food journey!


We introduced four new starters to this year’s menus and they have all been super popular. One of my particular favourites is the Smoked Chicken & Parma Ham Salad which is served with celeriac and apple slaw and mustard dressing. Classic Baked Camembert has also had a return to popularity! We serve our version with pineapple & chilli chutney, Roots toasted focaccia and a drizzle of our Southend Honey!

Another frequently chosen dish this year (and my favourite dish of all time!) is Ham, Egg & Chip. Our more sophisticated version of this pub favourite features an elegant pressed ham hock terrine with gherkins and parsley, served with a crispy quails egg that has a runny centre and finally the homemade chip – triple cooked to perfection!


There are two dishes that stand out from all the rest – both were new additions for 2023 and I am so pleased they have been so well received.

The first, Chicken Kiev. Oh no I hear you cry, not a deep fried tasteless piece of chicken with butter that oozes out! No sirree, our Kiev is made from farm reared chicken, stuffed with garlic and parsley butter. A Kiev bon bon made from garlic, lemon and parsley butter is then chilled, coated in panko crumb, deep fried and placed on top of the perfectly cooked chicken breast. One groom said to me, “I never in a million years would of picked a Chicken Kiev for our wedding but after having it at our tasting it blew my mind! It was brilliant and everyone raved about it!”.

Next up, Hunters Chicken. This was my daughter Holly’s favourite dish as a child. However, the Southend Barns version is of course elevated to the highest level.

The chicken breast is slowly marinated for over 48 hours in our own BBQ rub and then seared and roasted. This decadent dish also features a croquette made with smoked pancetta, Sussex Charmer Cheddar, roasted onion, thyme and potato, bound in crispy breadcrumbs and baked. The dish is served with our own BBQ sauce and delicious green slaw. The feedback for this has been really amazing!

We are also seeing increased interest in our plant based menus. Roots has an extensive choice of creative plant based options for each course. It is a really exciting time for chefs who embrace the plant based method and a brilliant opportunity to really utilise all the delicious produce we have locally here in West Sussex and on our farm.

Inclusivity is really important to us here at Southend Barns, therefore almost all of our dishes can be adapted to be gluten free, dairy free or plant based. We also ensure that the majority of our salad dressings are plant based and we create our own vegan mayonnaise.


Now we’re talking! I absolutely LOVE desserts and have spent a lot of time honing my skills in the pastry section of Michelin star kitchens. Some of my favourite desserts are those old school favourites like Bread and Butter Pudding, Crème Brulee, Bakewell Tart and Sticky Toffee Pudding. These classics are also frequently a hit with our couples too and can be adapted to suit the time of year.

A new addition for this year which has been very well received is our modern take on the classic Profiterole. With a view that, ‘the bigger the better’, we created an oversized version with a crispy croquant on top which gives the choux bun some texture. This is then filled with the couples chosen flavoured cream, and topped with a chocolate gu. The Amarena Cherry and Chocolate version has been particularly popular.

2023 also saw the introduction of our Cheesecake Menu which features a selection of 10 cheesecake flavours coupled with ice cream or sorbet. My particular favourite is the Carrot Cake Cheesecake which is served with carrot jam, carrot meringue, creamy frosting and passionfruit sorbet.

Our famous Sticky Toffee Pudding has also held its own in popularity this year. Served with passionfruit jam and marmalade ice cream, this (in my opinion) is a must try! The accompanying flavours go amazingly well with the rich pudding and the salty toffee sauce – utterly delicious.

Outside Kitchen

2023 has also seen us cook up a storm on the coals with our newly enhanced BBQ menus. The BBQ menu has been a popular choice this year with Peppered Rib Eye Steaks, Satay Skewers, Minted Lamb Rumps and Katsu Chicken being the most popular options. Guests love to see the chefs in action cooking in our new outside kitchen over hot coals and local wood.

To accompany these stunning meats we offer a beautiful and creative salad bar. Including delicacies like Panzanella, with local tomatoes, inhouse focaccia, allotment basil & shredded onion. Our Caesar Salad has been a real winner, with Kos and gem leaves, homemade Caesar dressing, crispy parmesan, focaccia croutons and aged parmesan shavings.

One of my favourites is the Tuk Tuk, inspired by Thai and Asian flavours. This rice based salad features toasted sesame, peas, toasted seeds, coriander, lime, ginger and garlic. It is a really fresh option and goes beautifully with meat, fish and plant based mains.

Finally, we launched two new themed menus for 2023, our Tapas and Festival menus. These have both proven to be really popular and are a fun take on wedding day dining. If you have not seen them yet, click here to take a look.

Photography: Ruby Roux Photography

Why Wedding Day Desserts Will Never Go Out of Style

Roots Catering wedding food

From Bakewells to brûlées, nothing can evoke culinary happiness, and even a touch of nostalgia, like the sweet taste of a favourite dessert. Often the pièce de résistance to any menu, wedding day desserts are also a wonderful pick-me up for guests planning to dance the night away.

With endless possibilities available, our Executive Chef (and pudding connoisseur), Dan, gives his advice on what to consider when choosing your dessert options.

With a 30 year career in the industry, starting out in restaurants and country houses all across Europe, Dan is an expert in all things sweet!

Have you seen much of a change in the approach to wedding day desserts?

Absolutely! Couples have so much more choice now than they used to. Classic sit down desserts will always have an important place in a wedding breakfast menu, but now couples are bringing sweet treats into other areas of their wedding day. From macaroon towers, to ice cream trucks, donut walls, s’mores and more. The possibilities are endless for creating a wedding day full to the brim of much loved treats.

Do you think it is important to tailor your wedding day dessert to your style of wedding?

Whilst – in my opinion – the most important thing when it comes to your wedding breakfast is choosing food that you LOVE. Our Roots team can help you fit your choice of wedding day food to the style of your big day.

When it comes to desserts we have some beautiful options for all levels of formality. If high dining is the style of your dream wedding day menu then our luxury profiterole is pure indulgence. This large light and crispy choux bun topped with croquant crumble is available in a range of different flavours. My personal favourite is our chocolate and Amarena cherry. Filled with a fragrant cherry and vanilla cream with a chocolate crémeux on top, scattered with Amarena cherries, homemade honeycomb and a chocolate crisp. This decadent treat is then served with a locally made cherry and chocolate ice cream.

If you are planning a more laid back kind of vibe for your wedding then our new dessert bar is perfect! Serving a collection of mini desserts including passionfruit posset with mango, pineapple & coconut; Tonka bean crème brûlée with rhubarb; raspberry & white chocolate cheesecake with raspberry jelly & white chocolate honeycomb and chocolate & salted caramel crémeux with toffee popcorn!

The dessert bar is part of our new outside kitchen and is a more interactive style of dining where you and your guests can come up, graze and chat with our Roots chefs.

For those looking, is there an alternative to the classic wedding cake which is just as show-stopping?

Indeed there is – a croque-en-bouche! A French take on a wedding cake, this impressive tower consists of Choux buns filled with vanilla cream, then dipped in hot caramel. The tower is finished with spun sugar and decorated. Traditionally in France, it is customary for the cake to be smashed with a sword by the married couple, before being served to guests…

What are your favourite wedding day desserts?

Our Roots menu features a couple of real classics that have really stood the test of time and also demonstrate the incredible skill of our pastry chefs.

One of my favourites is our Sticky Toffee Pudding, served with salted toffee sauce, marmalade and honeycomb ice cream and an unexpected hint of passionfruit sauce – trust me, it is incredible.

Another firm favourite of mine – and many of our guests – is our classic Bakewell Tart. This carefully honed dish oozes skill and perfection in terms of the finest of pastry, lots of delicious raspberry homemade jam and a filling of light frangipane that is laced with amaretto. This is all topped with flaked almonds and brushed with an apricot and amaretto glaze. Served warm with classic vanilla custard and cherry ice cream, this stand out dish is pure indulgence.

Have you got anything new on the menu?

Our team at Roots live and breathe exquisite flavours so we’re always creating new seasonal menu options for our couples to choose from. New to the kitchen this summer is our tonka bean crème brûlée. This wonderful new flavour puts a fresh spin on a classic and much loved dessert. The dish is served with poached strawberries and strawberry ice cream – truly a match made in heaven!

We also recently introduced a new dessert. Channelling childhood memories, this nostalgic favourite has been given a luxe, fine dining update. Our very own vanilla and cherry “Viennetta”! Served with the divine combination of chocolate goo and cherry gel, this new in dessert is already proving popular with our couples.

What is your advice on where to start when choosing your wedding day breakfast?

Relax, our Roots team are here to guide you through the whole process and ensure that you and your partner get the wedding day menu of your dreams.

Don’t fret about the time of year your wedding is taking place – unless you are wanting berries as these are prime between May to September. But if you both live for sticky toffee pudding or want a Bakewell tart on a hot day in July then why not! It is your wedding!

My top tip is to just choose what you like and if you really can’t decide then our dessert bar is a great option, or why not try a couples’ dessert – the perfect way to both enjoy your favourite pud on your big day!

Click here to see the latest Roots menus and please contact the Roots team if you have any questions on 01243 641247.

2023 Wedding Trends

Jade Jordan wedding bouquet

Each January we get together and discuss our wedding trend predictions for the year ahead. While we think a wedding should always be about the couple and their own individual tastes and personalities, its always fun to see some of the new ideas and inspirations that come around.

From bold colourways and a return to fine dining to a focus on sustainability, read on for our 2023 wedding trend predictions…

A Splash of Colour

Classic greenery and whites are always popular choices when it comes to wedding décor and flowers, but 2023 will see some extra splashes of colour. We’re loving the new shade of orange and pink for flower arrangements as well as brightly coloured candles and accessories.

Living Plants

Another up and coming trend is a surge in live plants rather than floral arrangements. Perfect for creating a botanical jungle, live plants are also a more sustainable and cost effective option as they can be taken home and kept or hired in and returned at the end of your day.

Bringing Sexy Back

From plunging necklines to ethereal sheer designs, catwalks have been featuring bridal gowns that are not only beautiful – but a little bit sexy too! However, if you are looking for a dress with a bit more substance, the timeless ball gown with full skirt and billowing sleeves is also back. This is the kind of dress which would have Cinderella weak at the knees.

Grooms are also taking their wedding look to new heights this year as stunning tailored suits in an array of sumptuous fabrics take centre stage. From velvet to silk, 2023’s groom is embracing luxury – and we are here for it!

Here Come the Girls

Whilst the trend for mismatched bridesmaid dresses shows no sign of slowing, 2023 brings a more tonal palette of earthy and neutral colours to the table. From wedding parties dressed all in white, to soft and stunning rusts, sage greens and sky blues – let nature be your guide.

The Conscious Touch

From flowers to food, sustainability is important to many of us. Over the years we have seen a definite shift in how couples approach their wedding day choices with many more interested in locally sourced food, local flowers and adding reusable elements throughout their big day. As an eco-conscious wedding venue, this is a trend we are definitely celebrating.

The Great Outdoors

With stunning countryside surrounding our beautiful barns, our wedding venue is the perfect place to embrace the trend to tie the knot outdoors. Our Secret Garden sits between the flint wall of our Dairy Barn and our alpaca’s field. Lined with elegant stone benches and surrounded by beautiful borders filled to the brim with greenery and flowers, we’ve created a stunning setting for outdoor nuptials.

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Menus with no rules!

Couples are relishing a culinary world without rules. Over recent months our Roots team have seen an increase in fun, creative menus. From twists on retro classics like the Scotch Egg, Chicken Kiev and Arctic Roll (a childhood favourite of our Executive Chef), to mouth-watering fusion food featuring world-inspired flavours.

Healthy, plant-based dishes and salads are also becoming requested lots more and in contrast to this there has been a return to full on fine dining.

Cheese wedding cakes are still going strong with couples opting to personalise them with carefully selected options that represent memories, places or family favourites.

Home Grown Flavours

With an increasing focus on local flavours and ingredients, we’ve changed the produce grown in our Roots Kitchen Garden to include some of this year’s trendy veggies and herbs.

Heritage carrots are particularly popular right now as they pack a punch in terms of colour and flavour. Spring greens and cavolo nero (black cabbage) have also been added to our seasonal vegetable selection while our herb patch is full of basil, coriander and plenty of oregano to top the wood fired pizzas, cooked in our new outside kitchen.

These are just a few of our predictions. We can’t wait to see what else this year has in store!

Photo credits:

Adorlee Weddings
Kirsty Mackenzie Photography
Ruby Roux Photography
Marcel Grabowski Photography

Roots Catering

Southend Barns logo

Part of the Southend Barns family, our team of talented chefs combine the best ingredients with flair and experience to create the most delicious dishes. We believe that the finest foods start from the best fresh ingredients; many of which are sourced locally or from our own kitchen garden to create a wedding feast to remember.

We are always working hard to develop new and exciting ideas. Last year, in response to the smaller reception parties, we created many lavish seven course menus and decadent bespoke dishes for guests to savour. We’ve also been updating our drinks offering with a new coffee cart, Pimp Your Prosecco station and an extensive new G&T menu featuring many locally sourced varieties.

To us the wedding feast is so much more than just the food served. It is a treasured moment that sees loved ones come together to share in your happiness over food, drink and laughter.

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