At Fanshawe Pioneer Village, you can step into your future with a step back in time. Heritage, nature, and photo opportunities all come together here, accommodating weddings that range from romantic nineteenth-century themes to contemporary weddings under a big white tent. How you use this locale is completely up to you, thanks to the help of on-site Rental Coordinator, Bob Graham. "From simple country to historic re-enactment to elegant outdoor receptions under a beautiful tent, Fanshawe Pioneer Village has it all."
Whether you choose an 1800's church for the wedding, a 1920's gazebo, or celebrate your vows in a unique setting like the Cedar Maze or by the Heritage Rose Garden, your wedding will be as distinctive as it is memorable. Let us explain...
A rendezvous with history
Located in London's own backyard, the Village gives you the feeling of having a rendezvous with history and nature. It has tree-lined streets, unique reception spaces, and historic chapels and gardens allowing this location to give your wedding a friendly, old-world ambiance that Bob tells us you can't get anywhere else. And, because of the ability to tie the knot inside or out, they can host weddings of all sizes. This beautiful forty-six acre living history museum in northeast London conducted a feasibility study in 2006 and discovered that the site is perfect for unique weddings and receptions – and the rest, as they say, is history.
Just from talking with him, we could tell that Bob loves his job. And from talking to brides he's worked with, we could tell he goes above and beyond for every one of them. "I'm inspired by brides and grooms who are interested in a different experience and setting for their wedding. When someone thanks me for all my help coordinating their event, it makes me proud to work where I do."
But before coming to Fanshawe Pioneer Village, Bob received his Hotel and Restaurant Management diploma from Fanshawe College and brings over 30 years’ experience in food service management. Bob has overseen countless wedding and corporate events in his long career as catering manager at Redtail Golf Course as well as over 50 weddings at Fanshawe Pioneer Village. Bob takes pride in providing high levels of service with attention to detail in a comfortable manner.
The flexibility and hands-on approach they offer brides is easy to love, especially in combination with the peaceful, beautiful country setting that surrounds you here. They have accommodated holiday parties, sales meetings, company picnics, and of course, many, many weddings. As a non-profit organization, Bob says that they are "dedicated to serving the public and preserving the past."
Shellby Graham and Matt Lockwood had their wedding ceremony at the Lawson Gazebo and reception at the Miller Barn on September 22, 2012 and Shellby says that the staff "As soon as we saw Fanshawe Pioneer Village we knew this is where we wanted the wedding. We both really enjoy antiques and wanted a location that would keep people entertained. It was great because we could have the wedding, reception and photography all in one place. Plus, Matthew wanted to make sure he could have one of his antique John Deere tractors there for the day and I needed the venue to be pet friendly! That part was really special for me… being able to have my dog there for the entire day. He is part of the family!”
While the Pioneer Village can obviously offer the opportunity to host a traditional or historic-themed wedding, don't let the name fool you. This wedding locale could just as easily host an outdoor tented wedding with contemporary décor and hundreds of guests. Thanks to the expansive grounds and numerous structures, the options seem endless here. Chris describes Fanshawe’s style as "simple elegance. The beauty of the grounds, gardens and the unique heritage buildings provide a setting for weddings from intimate to elegant and from casual to country."
Mandy and Brody Corbett wanted a relaxed and fun ceremony and reception in May 2009, and say that’s exactly what they got at Fanshawe Pioneer Village. “While we were concentrated on having a low key, natural event, another bride could plan any type of gathering there, from very regal/upscale to fairy tale, they can do a lot! The atmosphere cannot be beat, it was simply magical, and it's just there, it's not forced.”
Designing your Fanshawe wedding...
We toured the structures and spaces available at Fanshawe Pioneer Village and found that it was really easy to visualize weddings that have and could take place here.
A church wedding...
Built in 1887, Trinity Church is a beautiful example of 'carpenter gothic' architecture and one of only three in Ontario, which is probably why Bob says it's the most popular venue at Fanshawe. Featuring wonderfully carved oak beams and true stained glass windows, the church houses an original pump organ and choir area. The church seats approximately ninety-five with some standing room. And yes... the bells can be rung! It’s also heated and is available for ceremonies year round (with limited availability in December and January but at a discounted price of $400). If you book it alone, Trinity Church costs $600 for your ceremony and one hour rehearsal.
Lochaber Free Presbyterian Church was built around 1884 by Scottish immigrants who were opposed to joining the Presbyterian Church of Canada. This very simple and plain building was host to services in both Gaelic and English. The church has the traditional two aisles, can be decorated and for $400 you can hold your ceremony and one hour rehearsal here. Due to the dictates of the Free Presbyterian Faith, no instrumental music is allowed. This church can seat approximately 110 with some standing room but unlike the Trinity Church, is not heated and is only available from May to October.
A ceremony, gazebo-style...
Perfect for an outdoor wedding, Victoria Park & Lawson Gazebo offer a very pretty treed square in the middle of Fanshawe Pioneer Village. It is a romantic gazebo, perfect for an outdoor ceremony. Booked alone, the cost is $600. The gazebo was built in 1923 by Colonel Tom Lawson for his new bride Miggsie. The Park can hold up to 400 guests for an outdoor ceremony.
A mixture of many things at the Pioneer Village helped Lisa and Robert Gallace decide to host their June 2009 ceremony there. "The gardens, old buildings, the great grasses around the site, and the people dressed in costume made it perfect!" Plus, the couple loved that the site had options of an outdoor ceremony, as well as a beautiful old church in case it rained. Lisa's favourite memory of her wedding day at Fanshawe was when she first saw the gazebo decorated and surrounded by beautiful trees. "It looked like it was out of a story book and I was the princess holding court with my prince," she says. "You can't get that just anywhere."
Rick Malton and Rosemary Bush say that Fanshawe fit perfectly into their small wedding plans. "The outdoor Gazebo was charming and the Pioneer Café, rustic and appealing. We also liked the privacy of the venue." They add that they loved having the option to be outside as well with a back-up indoor location, which came in handy when it started to rain before their June 2008 wedding ceremony.
Miller Barn offers the option of a traditional timbered country barn. The open plan main floor will seat up to 110 guests for dinner at round tables, or host approximately 200 for a cocktail party or barn dance. This barn has existing lighting and plenty of outlets for decorative rope or twinkle lights but is not heated. It rents for $1000.
Mandy and Brody held their ceremony in Victoria Park and used the benches for seating, which they say had a very natural feel to it without being contrived. The ceremony was followed by their picnic-style reception in front of the barn with homemade picnic blankets so people could sit on the ground of at tables. “The weather was stunning,” says Mandy. “If we could be outside, we were outside! Inside the barn we had our own decorations with lights and greens.” They add that in addition to the outdoor scenery and indoor option (in case of bad weather), they loved the ambiance at Fanshawe Pioneer Village. “They even let us play Tug-of-War in the park!”
The Pioneer Village Café is a replica of an early twentieth century machine shop – a rustic wooden building with bistro tables and chairs. The café seats approximately sixty for dinner and about eighty for a cocktail-style reception. It’s available from May to October. Additional dates are available, but require the assistance of the Rental Coordinator (that’s Bob). The café is heated and is therefore available for receptions year round, with limited availability in October, December and January. It rents for $800.
The Labatt Brewery Yard rents for $900 and is a large (180 x 105') yard behind the brewery that can accommodate tented events for up to 250 people. Here you could enjoy a beautiful outdoor wedding reception with the privacy of having the entire Village to yourself after 4:30 pm when the site closes.
Tecumseh Field is an open field that can accommodate well over 1000 people at one or even two separate events. Washroom facilities are available at the café but additional facilities will be required depending on the number of guests. At 192 x 600', Tecumseh Field offers over 100,000 square feet of wedding-suitable space for only $1,200.
Trillium Gallery is the newest addition to Fanshawe Pioneer Village. It offers all of the charm you have come to expect from Fanshawe Pioneer Village but with all the modern conveniences. Set with a picturesque view of the lake and conservation area the Trillium
Gallery can accommodate 150 guests in a seated reception or 200 guests for a cocktail party. The gallery rents for $1,250.
Chelsea feels that she and David got way more than they paid for. "Not only did we get the wedding we wanted but we also supported a local historical site. Plus, you have a team there anytime you need them to answer any of your questions." Rosemary and Rick would agree - they told us that Fanshawe's prices exceeded their expectations. "They were perfect for our budget and exceeded our expectations when we found out that someone from the staff would be at the venue during the wedding to make sure everything was going well." They, too, would recommend Fanshawe for other couples whether they’re having a small or large wedding since the grounds are beautiful and private.
Offering the perfect backdrops
At Fanshawe Pioneer Village you have endless unique photo location options. Brides have had photos taken around the gardens, on the wooden foot bridge and atop the porch of the General Store.
Lisa and Robert wanted to have their wedding photos taken on a beach, but since it was too far of a drive from their ceremony and reception locations, they used the lake outside of the Pioneer Village. "We got the best pictures and people thought that we had gone south for our wedding," Lisa told us. "We had so many different options for pictures that it was amazing! It took all of the stress away from running around from site to site. We were looking for something totally different and unique and we found it."
For those who aren't marrying here, but still want photos on-site, the Village allows you to have your photo sessions there for a $50 fee, just as long as it's arranged in advance. This cost includes entry into Fanshawe Pioneer Village for your photographer and your entire wedding party. "We would strongly advise that your photographer visit the Village prior to the day to gain an understanding of the best spots for pictures since there are many locations to choose from."
Facilitating your wedding
Fanshawe Pioneer Village includes just about everything you need for your wedding, at no additional charge...
• Benches and trestle tables to seat up to 100 in Miller Barn
• Pioneer Village Café: bistro tables & chairs
The Fanshawe Pioneer Village has accessible washroom facilities at the back of the Pioneer Village Café, however portable facilities will be required at Tecumseh Field. This can be arranged on your behalf for an extra charge.
If you do need to rent additional tables, chairs and tents, the Village fees fit within most budgets. And Bob can arrange these for you as well...
• Round tables to seat 8 to 10 are $9.00 per table (set up and delivery charges may apply)
• White Wedding Chairs are $3.75 per chair (set up and delivery charges may apply)
• Folding Chairs are $1.80 per chair (set up and delivery charges may apply)
• White Canopy Tent is 10 x 10' (pick up and self assembly required)
• Larger tents can include set up and delivery. Table linens, chair covers and decorative topiaries are also available to rent.
Help with planning and service
Bob lets couples know that throughout their wedding day, staff at Fanshawe Pioneer Village will be on-site to make sure that everything runs smoothly. "They'll address any unforeseen situations, make last-minute adjustments... whatever they can do to make sure your event is a success." Much like how they accommodated Rosemary and Rick's last minute ceremony location change when torrential downpours spoiled their outdoor plans. "Bob was wonderful, accommodating, informative, helpful and encouraging. We couldn't have done the wedding there without his help and guidance. Bob was always prompt with our email communications, let us come out several times to set-up and 'feel' out the area for pictures, decorating and food preparation... he was attentive to our needs and made the experience positive and stress-free."
Bob takes inquiries, meets with brides and follows up throughout the entire planning process. He also coordinates rental equipment and contracts and supervises each event to make sure that everything goes smoothly. Plus, a Rental Assistant is also present at each event to ensure your every need is met.
Trinity Church or Lawson Gazebo + Trillium Gallery | Have a lovely wedding ceremony with a sit down dinner that fits 150 people or cocktail party that accommodates 200 people in Trillium Gallery. A perfect pairing that includes the appeal of the Pioneer Village but with a modern twist. $1,600
Lochaber Church + Trillium Gallery. $1,400
Pioneer Village Café + Trinity Church or Lawson Gazebo | Perfect for an intimate wedding of 60 or less. Hold the ceremony in a church or gazebo and use the Café to host a reception and dinner. $1,200
Pioneer Village Café + Lochaber Church. $1,000
Victoria Park + Lawson Gazebo or Trinity Church + Pioneer Village Café or Miller Barn | Victoria Park can hold up to 400 guests for an outdoor ceremony. For a dinner reception of 60 guests or less, use the Café. For more than 100 guests, use Miller Barn. $1,350.
Victoria Park + Lochaber Church + Pioneer Village Café or Miller Barn. $1,150
Trinity Church or Lawson Gazebo + Tecumseh Field or Labatt Brewery Yard | Have a charming wedding ceremony and then dance the night away with a cocktail party or a sit down dinner in a tent in Tecumseh Field. *Please note: Tent rental not included. $1,400
Lochaber Church + Tecumseh Field or Labatt Brewery Yard. $1,200
Victoria Park + Lawson Gazebo + Tecumseh Field | For large ceremonies and receptions (400 guests or more). *Please note: Tent rental not included. $1,400
Fanshawe Pioneer Village | Have the whole Village, including forty-six acres and thirty buildings, just for your wedding, for the entire day. $10,000
"The price was right," according to Lisa and Robert. "We had the whole site for our use. We didn't have to drive for pictures and we had the use of the whole park at our disposal."
Also available to you:
• Your own Event Coordinator to oversee your wedding details.
• Free guest parking & free entry to the Village for your event.
• On-site catering.
• Directions and helpful hints as inserts for your wedding invitations.
• Suggestions for food and entertainment with 19th-century flavour and flair.
Details, details, details
• There is no entrance fee to Fanshawe Conservation Area for you and your guests when you host your wedding at Fanshawe Pioneer Village. Just let the attendant at the gatehouse know that you are there for a wedding, and pass the same information on to your guests.
• A 50% deposit is required to reserve your wedding date at Fanshawe Pioneer Village, along with the completed Booking Form.
• A $400 damage deposit is required, which may be refunded after the event takes place.
• You will also be required to provide a Certificate of Liability for two million dollars to indemnify the London and Middlesex Heritage Museum against damages. This can be obtained from your personal insurance provider or broker and must be provided 30 days prior to your wedding or the booking will be cancelled with no refund. A certificate of Liability may not be required if the renter is only using Fanshawe Pioneer Village for a wedding ceremony.
• A standard SOCAN fee of $70 is required if you have either live or recorded music at your event.
• If you plan to serve alcohol at your wedding, you'll need to obtain your own Special Occasion Permit from your local LCBO store or online and hire a licensed bartender.
• Catering at the Pioneer Village Café, Miller Barn and Victoria Park may be arranged from a list of approved caterers. Please contact Bob for further details.