It has now been a week since we flung open our doors for our first weddings of 2021, and the excitement here was palpable. As a family run venue with a small team, we are all incredibly passionate about what we do. Here you can meet just some of the faces behind Southend Barns and discover more about what it is we love about our job…
Mariella, Owner & Founder
I founded Southend Barns back in 2012 and I work each day to make sure that our wedding barn is the best it can be. I see my job as coming up with new ideas for couples, improved ways of operating, giving guests better customer service and making all the cogs in the company wheel work. My job changes from day to day, it could be designing a new part of the garden, working on a marketing strategy, planning a drinks photo shoot, tasting delicious Roots food from a new menu or checking the Threshing Barn is set up perfectly just before an event.
What are you most looking forward to when weddings return? I cannot wait to hear those champagne corks popping in readiness for the guests having drinks in the Collecting Yard.
Your favourite part of the wedding day? When the couple have just got married and they are walking back up the aisle, the happiness and joy between the couple is just electrifying and the guests feel it too.
Your favourite Roots dish or drink? I love the vegetarian canapés and a glass of Tinwood of course.
Your favourite first dance or floor filler song? ‘I’m dreaming of a White Christmas’ – it was our first dance song 25 years ago when we got married a few days before Christmas. I love winter weddings, the barns are so cosy at that time of year.
What do you do when not planning weddings? I enjoy running as it clears my head to solve any issues and have discovered cold water swimming since lockdown which has made me much more resilient. I like reading a good book and talking it over with my book club friends and love making and eating good quality food made from scratch.
Amie, Wedding and Events Co-Ordinator
My role is to help plan and organise a couples’ perfect day. Day to day, I show couples around the venue, plan social media posts, organise styling shoots and run planning meetings with our couples.
What are you most looking forward to when weddings return? Definitely seeing a bride walk down the aisle, it is always my favourite moment of the day.
Your favourite Roots dish or drink? The courgette and onion bhaji is my favourite canapé and I don’t think you can beat the chef’s take on an espresso martini – it’s the perfect after dinner drink.
Your favourite first dance or floor filler song? This is a hard one as we have seen so many…for a first dance I’d have to pick ‘This Will Be’ by Natalie Cole and the floor filler would be ‘You’ve Got the Love’ by Florence and The Machine.
What do you do when not planning weddings? Any form of exercise, whether it’s a relaxing Pilates session, HIIT or walking my dachshund, I try and do something different every day. I also love to cook and try out lots of different plant-based recipes, especially ones from the Roots chefs!
Dan, Executive Chef & General Manager
I would like to say that I am like a swiss army knife… with many uses! My role with my chef’s hat on is to inspire, create, support, deliver and ensure our very high standards are maintained for every single couple. As General Manager, my role is to support the whole team, develop people and the brand as well as suggest and implement ideas and strategies that improve the running of the business.
What are you most looking forward to when weddings return? To have people at the barns celebrating a magical day and creating wonderful memories. Also to cook and create, get the juices flowing again and see the barn and kitchen busy with our team delivering great weddings!
Your favourite part of the wedding day? Dessert…I have to say that being a pastry chef! But in general, from start to finish, it is a privilege and a joy to be part of someone’s special day.
Your favourite Roots dish or drink? I love it all, from our delicious canapés, stunning starters, sublime mains and flavoursome desserts. All washed down with a glass of local sparkling Tinwood! Oh, and maybe a ‘Chef’s Tipple’ G&T from our new drinks menu.
Your favourite first dance or floor filler song? The floor filler for me would be ‘Insomnia’ by Faithless which I did throw some shapes to at my own wedding!
What do you do when not planning weddings? I enjoy good food, be it at home or eating out (when we can), walking with our cockapoo Albi and spending time with my wife, who also works at the barns.
Sophie, Wedding and Events Co-Ordinator
What are you most looking forward to when weddings return? Hearing the venue alive and buzzing with guests and chatter and the clinking of glasses. Weddings are such joyful occasions and that love and happiness has been truly missed this past year.
Your favourite part of the wedding day? The bride’s entrance, it is always so well organised and smooth from a venue perspective and I love seeing their partner’s face when they see each other for the first time.
Your favourite Roots dish or drink? Definitely the Espresso Martini Cart!
Your favourite first dance or floor filler song? Not necessarily my favourite song but ‘Summer of 69’ always seems to get people singing and dancing across the ages.
What do you do when not planning weddings? Long walks with Albi, our cockapoo who frequents the office on a regular basis. I also love eating out and exploring new cuisines.
Photos by Hana Venn Photography