Shepherd Neame Pub Managers Celebrate 30 years – with 30 Happy Couples

A husband and wife team who have managed a Shepherd Neame venue for 30 years celebrated the milestone with 30 couples who have married there over the years – including several brides in their wedding dresses.

Janet and Philippe Sorak joined The Barn in Lonsdale Gardens, Tunbridge Wells, as General Managers in 1992 and launched weddings in 2011.

Since then the beamed building has gone on to become an award-winning wedding venue and hundreds of couples have marked their big day there.

So it was fitting that when Janet and Philippe reached 30 years at the site that they would celebrate with 30 couples – and they did so in style on Sunday evening (January 15).

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.

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 dancefloor 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.”

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.

Andrew described the service they had for their wedding as “faultless” while Chloe said: “Janet and Philippe were so amazing. It is a nice, intimate venue and they looked after every detail perfectly.”

Bev and John Smith, who live in Chalk, married there in June last year, after two postponements due to the pandemic.
Bev did not wear her wedding dress, opting for a necklace she wore on her wedding day with her outfit. She said: “We looked at quite a few venues but we loved this one because it was more intimate and personal. Philippe was amazing from day one.”

John added: “The amount of effort they put in for you is amazing. The awards they have received are well deserved.”