Reminiscent of South Africa, a barn near Ipswich may become one of the few venues in the country - and the only one in Suffolk - where couples can get married in a vineyard.

Copdock Hall, an Elizabethan barn set in countryside, is set to offer "magical vineyard weddings" as part of many exciting changes at the setting.

The vines are in full swing in the late summer, around August and September, and before now couples would have been able to use it as a backdrop for wedding photos.

But for couples wanting to get married outside, they may soon be able to conduct the ceremony within the vineyard itself, with 200 or so guests on the huge slanting lawn leading down to it.

The hall has recently been nominated as a national finalist in the Guide for Brides awards.

Alison Hargreaves, at Xenia Venues, explained: "Our next stage of development is to create a ceremony area so couples can get married within the vineyard.

Ipswich Star: The vineyard at Copdock Hall. Credit: Bushfire PhotographyThe vineyard at Copdock Hall. Credit: Bushfire Photography (Image: Bushfire Photography)

"A change of law in April 2022 allowed people to get married anywhere within the grounds of a licensed venue, and Suffolk registrars have been incredibly helpful at looking at different areas that could be used.

"It should be absolutely magical, and trends are moving towards outdoor weddings.

"It will be really exciting to properly bring the vineyard to life, and have couples among the vines when they get married."

Ipswich Star: Copdock Hall set up for a wedding open day. Credit: Sam Rundle.Copdock Hall set up for a wedding open day. Credit: Sam Rundle. (Image: Sam Rundle)

The Grade II listed Elizabethan tithe barn, next to St Peters Church off Church Lane, dates back to 1570 and has been converted into a function suite for weddings and events. 

The village venue was just shortlisted in the Guides for Brides wedding awards, as one of ten finalists in the competitive Barn Wedding category, which took place on March 27.

It was bought by owners Ian and Diane Evans, who developed it from nothing, inspired by South African vineyard weddings.

The couple spent years trying to find a perfect vineyard wedding venue in the UK but couldn't find one, so they found "the perfect barn" and planted a vineyard.

Ipswich Star: Copdock Hall set up for a wedding open day. Credit: Sam RundleCopdock Hall set up for a wedding open day. Credit: Sam Rundle (Image: Sam Rundle)

It took two years for the vines to grow, and three years for renovations before the venue finally opened in spring 2015, and the Xenia Venues group recently acquired the site.

Ms Hargreaves added: "Their original concept was based around vineyard venues.

"They spent years trying to find the perfect vineyard wedding venue in the UK and couldn't find one, so in the end they found the perfect barn and planted a vineyard.

"Before being bought by Xenia Venues, it so nearly became a house with a very big barn, as Ian and Diane were trying to sell it as a residential house as plans to sell as a wedding venue had fallen through.

"The award was quite an achievement for a venue that is still growing. It's really exciting times for the venue, and good for Ipswich as well."

Ipswich Star: The Elizabethan barn dates back to 1570. Credit: EPS Photography.The Elizabethan barn dates back to 1570. Credit: EPS Photography. (Image: EPS Photography)

This is not the only award the venue has scooped in recent years, as the site produces its own award-winning rosé, with the 2022 vintage winning Best Rosé in last year's regional Wine GB East Awards.

Work is also currently underway after a £1 million investment to convert the farmhouse into luxury guest accommodation and a honeymoon suite for bridal parties, all with ensuite bedrooms.

The existing eight-bedroom house is being redeveloped with space for 17 guests and due to be completed in time for the wedding season, along with outdoor ceremony and reception areas next to the Elizabethan barn.

Copdock Hall is hosting a wedding venue open day on Sunday, April 28, 2024, from 10am to 4pm. Pre-register on the Copdock Hall website.