Say “I do” somewhere new
The arrival of August has taken us well into the heady heights of the wedding season. Many of us will have attended the wonderful weddings of friends and family over the summer and will still have some left to look forward to over the next month and into the autumn. Then comes the shift into winter weddings at which time the occasions take on a different but no less joyous or beautiful identity.
For those planning weddings over the coming seasons, as ever, choosing the right venue can seem like a daunting task. After all, it is the venue that underpins the entirety of that special day, becoming the foundation to theme, atmosphere and style. Not only does the venue’s persona and reputation act as a prelude for guests by setting the tone and style of the event before they even attend, it’s also representative of that couple, their values and what they want most from their wedding. It is therefore crucial that the choice of venue is nothing less than perfect and will not only meet, but exceed all expectations upon delivery.
When it comes to venues, it’s no surprise that Kent is awash with many of the UK’s best. With our unrivalled mix of beach, countryside and historic town settings, the variety of choice for wedding venues in this county is infinite. From clifftop grandeur and rural romance to magical meadowside hideaways and architectural elegance, Kent is destined to have the perfect venue to suit your every want, need and desire no matter who you are and what your tastes might be. Whether you are craving some inspiration from your location or looking for a blank canvas to which you can add your own creative flair, the Garden of England is certain to provide.
With some stunning new additions to Kent’s ever-growing collection of wedding venues, our list below is a curated and varied guide aimed to help you select the venue of your dreams – a match made in heaven – in Kent.
Originally a Victorian barn, this stunning conversion now has three licensed ceremony rooms to choose from including a spectacular theatre. A beautifully versatile and adaptable venue for both intimate and grand events, select one of the ceremony rooms for an intimate celebration or the grandeur of saying “I do” on stage to 300 guests. Superb professional chefs are on hand to design a menu to suit your tastes and with a range of packages including drink receptions, fork buffets and à la carte menus, you can relax and celebrate your day in style at this unique venue in the heart of the city.
Secretly tucked behind the 14th-century coaching inn, The Buttery and Glasshouse at the rear of The Bull Hotel has become a dazzling one-stop innovative and elegant wedding venue. A 126m2 sleek glass structure purposely designed for wedding receptions now perfectly blends old and new, meeting tradition with a slick modernity. A spectacular retractable arched roof and south-facing sliding glass doors catch the sun and flood the venue with natural light.
Facing The Glasshouse sits the historic ceremony room, The Buttery. Oozing history and charm, while sitting in perfect harmony with The Glasshouse to create a unique Kentish courtyard, this timeless oak-beamed barn-style venue was first licensed by King Henry VIII in 1500.
The Bull Hotel is also wonderful for wedding feasts and includes a contemporary cocktail and craft beer list plus an exciting award-winning 180-bottle wine list. The on-site catering renowned for its two AA Rosettes and its on-site Texan smoker is a nirvana for food lovers.
The perfect backdrop for a quirky wedding that will delight you and your guests, The Bell specialises in relaxed informality which is dispensed with dedicated professionalism. Get married in the Big Room with its hand-painted wallpaper, chandelier and velvet curtains, followed by a Champagne reception in the garden. And then, in true Bell tradition, make your big entrance as newlyweds by walking down the middle of the Stable Bar oak dining table to the applause and confetti of your guests.
With exclusive use of a suite of rooms including The Snug, The Stable and the new Stable Bar as well as the Big Room, The Bell can cater for up to 90 guests for a wedding ceremony, which can increase to 120 for an evening party. The flexibility and style of the rooms means that smaller, more intimate weddings are also very special, hosting 20 people for the wedding ritual and merriment.
Go and see for yourself on Sunday 9 October for The Bell’s Wedding Fair. The team will be joined by some carefully selected suppliers to sample what your wedding could look like at The Bell, and of course, there will be bubbles and canapés.
Edenwood Place, Maidstone
Calling themselves ‘a modern and spacious venue in the heart of Kent’, Edenwood place is brand new for 2022 with a botanical-themed interior and amazing panoramic views across the Kentish countryside. A stone’s throw from the Neolithic Kit’s Coty and not far from both Maidstone and Rochester, Edenwood Place is able to embrace the very best of Kent from convenience in location to views and history.
Edenwood Place’s botanical-themed interior makes a modern backdrop for weddings and civil ceremonies. With a welcoming and laid back persona, couples and their guests are able to relax, feel at ease and enjoy the stunning views of Bluebell Hill with exclusive venue hire. With wedding packages available and experts that are on hand to recommend the best of Kent’s retailers and suppliers, all the essential elements of your day are certain to be covered. From smaller intimate weddings to large weddings with up to 150 guests, the team at Edenwood Place will be able to make a bespoke package to suit your individual requirements.
A magical place to dance and dine the night away, Port Lympne’s stunning new Orangery and terrace are a creative salute to the theatrical entertainment style of the Gatsby era. Truly private and available for exclusive use only, it has capacity for 160 seated guests in addition to a dance floor, cloakroom and luxury washrooms. It includes its own fully incorporated kitchen for all fine dining requirements, as well as the option to add additional marquees or a food station on the adjoining lawn.
Also new for 2022 and another beautifully elegant blank canvas for guests to add their individual touches to, the Pergola is tucked away within Port Lympne mansion’s ancient whispering walled garden. One of the most romantic settings to exchange your vows, this space is fully licensed for civil ceremonies and comfortably hosts up to 120 guests for a seated wedding ceremony. Ideal for spring and summer days, guests will follow the happy couple out into the beautifully-tiered terraced gardens for a celebratory glass of Champagne.
Ferry House, Isle of Sheppey
Hidden away beside the Swale estuary among a picture-perfect landscape of wild meadows and natural wetland reserves lies the Ferry House. Secluded yet accessible, just 60 minutes from London, the Ferry House specialise in refined rustic weddings with accommodation for 70+ guests and expansive menus using their homegrown, family farmed and locally sourced produce. Defined by a real essence of Kent’s idyllic beauty and charm, this waterside treasure boasts an oak gazebo, oak barn and a gorgeous event suite, which are all ready and waiting for you to add your own touches to, or have decorated with the help of the wonderful team here. More than just a venue, the Ferry House also provides a Powder Room – a peaceful and luxurious place for brides and grooms to get ready, treatment rooms to help you destress and unwind with pre- or post-wedding pampers, and tranquil guest accommodation offering rooms for up to 70+ guests. Accommodation also includes a stunning honeymoon suite with waterside views, a queen-size sleigh bed, lounge area and spa bath with room for two.
Crown Lodge, Wye
A truly stunning venue at a most spectacular location, Crown Lodge in Wye is set amidst ancient woodland and wildflower meadows offering panoramic views over the valleys and hillsides of the West Kent countryside and into neighbouring Sussex. A cosy lodge that will be exclusively yours for the day, Crown Lodge say that their ‘sole purpose is to provide you and your guests with an intimate venue for your beautiful wedding or celebration.’ Offering a natural woodland ceremony with surreal views, the beautiful wooden lodge seats up to 90 guests for a sit down wedding breakfast and includes a separate indoor ceremony room when the weather does not permit for outdoor ceremonies.
For summer ceremonies that make the most of the beauty of the outdoors, Crown Lodge’s sliding glass doors open out onto a terrace which is decorated with festoon lights and rattan sofas; a simply perfect setting for enjoying balmy summer evenings. Winter weddings can be truly magical too, with fairy lights, candles and fur rugs creating a chalet-style ambience for a cosy winter sanctuary that’s perfect for celebrating with friends and family.
Set in the glorious surrounds of an elegant golf club, Relibbets offer their clubhouse as an elegant and classic wedding venue. Overlooking the course and lake, the scenery at Redlibbits creates a surreal backdrop to make for a truly memorable day, as well as wonderful photographs to cherish for a lifetime. With tailormade packages and a bespoke wedding planner on hand, a wedding at Redlibbets is destined to be as perfect as you have ever envisioned.
St Martin’s Priory, Canterbury
A real hidden gem in historic Canterbury, St Martin’s Priory is nestled in the heart of Kent and sits within the borders of the World Heritage site of St Martin’s Church, which is recognised by UNESCO as the oldest church in England. For those wanting a wedding venue that is steeped in history and oozes original character and atmosphere, St Martin’s Priory is certain to be just that. A historical Grade II listed building bursting with stories as well as Jacobean and Georgian architecture, the priory provides a versatile location allowing the couple to put their own style and theme to their special day.
Set within two-and-a-half acres of enchanted gardens and offering idyllic seclusion and privacy near the heart of the city, guests are able to enjoy a drinks reception on the Tudor Lawn and stroll through the picturesque Rose Gardens. The venue is a photographer’s dream and boasts breathtaking views of the iconic Canterbury Cathedral from the top lawn and a spectacular water feature for those memory making photos. Hosting your wedding at St Martin’s Priory means your day will be truly magical, memorable and admired by all for years to come.
The Beacon, Tunbridge Wells
A naturally abundant and generous country house, The Beacon in Tunbridge Wells is tucked away down Tea Garden Lane by the edge of some pretty woods. A picture postcard of whimsical rustic romance, this refurbished historic home has stunning views and endless gardens while the interior is full of character and charm for a relaxed and intimate celebration. A little bit like home, with cosy corners, snugs and stylish interiors, The Beacon is also the ultimate party house and ideal for an exclusive use wedding of feasting, celebrations and fun.
Say “I do” in the beautiful surroundings of the gardens or dining room, feast on your favourite dishes with a divine menu created by the head chef, and party till the small hours with your loved ones. With all the hidden nooks in the gardens and house, there’s no shortage of stunning backdrops for your photos either. A fantastic touch when you choose to hold your wedding at The Beacon is that you’ll have free rein of the home and the garden with the entire team at your beck and call. Not to mention your own personal wedding planner to make sure everything runs smoothly.
Hotel Du Vin, Tunbridge Wells
Set in one of the town’s architectural landmarks, Hotel du Vin Tunbridge Wells is a Grade II-listed mansion that was built originally as a private residence. Inside, the building’s Georgian features have been painstakingly retained, while the hotel has carefully added their own unique touches to the 34 bedrooms, bistro, bar and private rooms. Outside, the beautiful gardens and enhanced original terrace makes the perfect place for a Champagne reception with the manicured lawn as the backdrop. To help you plan your big day, you’ll have your very own wedding organiser who will be with you from beginning to end making sure that your dreams turn into a reality and that everything from flowers to your favourite canapés are just the way you want them.
Alongside delectable food, an exceptional wine list, the cosiest accommodation and truly exceptional service, you can also have the run of the whole hotel exclusively for you and your guests. The ultimate in private celebrations.
Just a stone’s throw away from Rochester Castle and Rochester Cathedral is The Vines of Rochester. Formerly The Old Archdeaconry, this magnificent and historical building has been lovingly restored and improved to create a magical venue.
With the inclusion of a dressing room to prepare on the morning of your wedding, a ceremony option in the gorgeous tipi, pre-reception drinks, fabulous food, evening buffet and space to dance the night away with the in-house DJ, the Vines provides couples with everything they could possibly need on their day.
This also includes fabulous accommodation for you and your nearest and dearest. For those staying at the hotel, each one of the guest rooms has a unique look and feel – from copper baths and views of the cathedral to quirky passageways that reveal hidden rooms, each suite has its own personality – all individually designed with handpicked furnishings, textiles and fine linens.
The BarnYard, Upchruch
The BarnYard in Upchurch is ideal for making the most of Kent’s beautiful apple orchards, which can be enjoyed from either the barn or the grand marquee and can host lavish receptions for up to 300 guests. Nestled in the heart of the Kentish countryside, in a natural valley surrounded by 150 acres of stunning landscape combining rolling hills, natural woodland and romantic orchards, The BarnYard is set to provide an enchanting setting to host the most memorable day.
New additions to The BarnYard include a stunning dressing room available for your use from the morning of your wedding day and new menus that offer a fine dining experience and have been created for your every indulgence. The talented chefs use fresh and locally sourced ingredients to prepare carefully selected dishes from three-course menus to BBQs and hog roasts.
With packages and wedding planners available, The BarnYard is sure to make the planning process as smooth as possible, the venue is even pet friendly – so your treasured four-legged friend doesn’t have to miss out!
Overlooking the Romney Marsh and coming complete with a gorgeous bar, Odo’s Barn has space for up to 100 seated guests and 150 reception guests. With a light bright and airy ambience to match its gorgeous high ceilings and sturdy beams, ceremonies and celebrations at Odo’s Barn are set to be superb. With original 15th-century features, fantastic acoustics and stunning golden chandeliers, the atmosphere will be alive with frivolity and set to make memories that last a lifetime for the couple and guests alike.
Goodnestone Park, near Canterbury
A vast, privately owned estate located in the heart of the stunning Kent countryside and just an hour’s journey from London, Goodnestone Park was first built in 1704 and is steeped in rich history including frequent visits from the famous novelist, Jane Austen.
Beautiful gardens and surroundings provide the perfect setting for your cherished wedding photos and accommodation includes the Grade II listed house, which has 12 bedrooms and can sleep up to 24. Renovated in 2016 and offering a luxurious location, all the grandeur of the house’s history and the comfort of its modern furnishings provides the ideal place to stay and celebrate. Bonnington Cottage is also available to rent as extra accommodation for wedding guests. From 2023, all weddings will be held within the beautiful orangery marquee which is hired in conjunction with the house for two or three nights.