Operators share milestone with 30 married couples

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Huge milestone: Philippe and Janet Sorak (centre) with 30 couples who married at the Barn pub
Huge milestone: Philippe and Janet Sorak (centre) with 30 couples who married at the Barn pub

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Shepherd Neame pub operators Janet and Philippe Sorak celebrated 30 years at their site with 30 couples who have been married there over the years.

The Soraks joined the Barn pub in Lonsdale Gardens, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, as general managers in 1992 and launched weddings in 2011.

Since then, the award-winning wedding venue has been the location for hundreds of couples marking their big day there.

On Sunday 15 January, several brides attended in their original gowns, and the couples, along with others who have helped the pair over the years, including photographer Helen England and toastmaster Jim Cattermole – enjoyed a sit-down meal and disco into the evening.

Amazing night

Janet said: “It was an absolutely amazing night. Some of the couples were really emotional about it, and they are talking about doing an annual reunion now, they enjoyed it so much.

“We couldn’t get over how they all made friends and were on the dance floor together late into the night – it was just so lovely. You get thank you cards and messages but to hear people say how happy they’ve been was so nice for us – it was the best way to celebrate.”

Collage Maker-18-Jan-2023-11.20-AM
Some of the couples: (l-r) Bev and John Smith, Ashleigh and Jon Boxshall, and Andrew and Chloe Hinson

Chloe Hinson, 28, from Tunbridge Wells, was one of the brides who came in her dress, accompanied by husband Andrew, 30. The pair married at The Barn just eight weeks ago.

It was perfect

Chloe said: “Janet and Philippe were so amazing. It is a nice, intimate venue and they looked after every detail perfectly.”

Ashleigh Boxshall, 36, attended in her wedding dress, with husband Jon, 39, after marrying there last August. She said: “We wanted something really relaxed and informal. We’d been together 13 years so we didn’t want a really big, formal wedding. We wouldn’t have changed a thing about it, it was perfect.”

Weddings at the Barn have proved so popular it is already fully booked for weddings on Sundays throughout 2023. The venue can accommodate 70 guests for the ceremony and wedding breakfast, and 150 guests for the evening reception.

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