10 UNIQUE WEDDING VENUES IN KENT
A Kent Wedding Photographers guide to choosing your dream wedding venue in Kent
As a Kent boy born and raised, I never really understood the whole ‘Garden of England’ thing. Just wander through Chatham or Gravesend on a Friday night and you’ll know what I mean! But when I became a Kent wedding photographer, I finally got it. Because there are so many amazing wedding venues in Kent, steeped in history and surrounded by beautiful countryside. There’s so much diversity on offer it’s actually a challenge to pick just one! So what’s the best wedding venue in Kent?
Well it all depends on what you want. We’ve got stately homes, rustic barns, secluded woodlands, fields of teepees, beachfront hotels and even a chapel on a farm! So whether you want luxurious, relaxed, romantic or all-out-crazy, there’s a Kent wedding venue for everyone. And as a Kent wedding photographer, I’ve been to my fair share.
So I’ve put together a list of my top 10 unique wedding venues in Kent based on my own experience, all with their own character, their own pros and cons, and their own little idiosyncrasies that give them that little nudge into the extraordinary.
Beacon House - Whiststable
Located practically right on the beach, Beacon House is my favourite all time wedding venue. I grew up surrounded by sea air, and I felt right at home here. In fact, it's more like a home than a wedding venue. The house itself would most likely be chosen to film a new Mama Mia movie (if it wasnt set abroad of course!) It's rustic design, small homely details and unique gardens make it the perfect venue for intimate weddings.
The exterior of the house has space for outdoor dining, perfect for the wedding speeches whilst overlooking the ocean, and for of course, an outdoor ceremony. Of course having only been here once, one could say the wedding guests and couple on the day would have been the overriding factors which make this venue my favourite, I can'y say for sure but until I am it reigns supreme on my venue list.
Oh and The Saturdays also filmed a music video here too!
The Old Kent Barn - Dover
If you’re dreaming of an outdoor wedding, The Old Kent Barn is probably one of the best wedding venues in Kent. Nestled in beautiful countryside, with a picturesque wedding gazebo, a lovingly tended rose garden and loads of cool outdoor spaces, it’s a one-stop-shop for an awesome summer wedding. As far as I’m concerned, if there’s ever a moment with a dog posing on a gazebo, it’s gonna be a good day.
But even if the weather doesn’t play ball (and let’s face it, it might not), you could spend the whole day indoors and you’re still onto a winner. The luxurious bridal prep room is a perfect space to get ready with your bridesmaids in the morning. And the barn itself feels modern and clean, but still manages to keep its rustic charm. Huge windows flood your reception in natural light, so it’s nice and bright and airy and just perfect for photos.
And last- but by no means least- the food rocked my world.
Check out Jas & Lewis' Old Kent Barn Wedding by clicking here
Sands Hotel - Margate
If you’re looking for beachfront wedding venues in Kent, I’d seriously recommend checking out Sands Hotel in Margate. With a rooftop bar and views over the Margate Sands, it’s the ideal setting for a fun, trendy, modern wedding. It’s right on the beach, so you can have sand between your toes in seconds. Oh, and the food’s been Michelin recommended. And you know how much I love my food!
The actual ceremony room is a wedding photographer’s dream too. It’s decorated in light, neutral colours, and you’ve got huge windows overlooking the sea. Not to mention the idyllic backing track of waves and seagulls as you say your vows.
And Margate itself is really cool too. It has loads of gritty, urban photo spots, so if you venture into town it’ll add a whole new dimension to your wedding gallery. Or you could go to Dreamland and add a seaside funfair element to the day. There’s even a road nearby called Love Lane! Perfecto!
Aaron and Bethanys wedding had been postponed a few times, thanks to Covid. And after each postponement, they’d sit on the stone steps leading into the sea and have a few beers together outside the venue. So for their couple’s portraits, I grabbed a few takeaway beers and took them to their favourite steps. As a wedding photographer, I generally don’t like to dictate how a day should unfold. But little moments like this are priceless, and I’ll always jump at the chance to make your day extra special if I can.
You can check out B & As awesome wedding by clicking here
The Vines of Rochester - Rochester
The Vines of Rochester is a tricky one to pin down. They describe themselves as a “stunning, higgledy-piggledy Grade II listed wedding venue”. So yeah, it's definitely different. But different in a good way. And as the sister venue of Cooling Castle, it has a seasoned team working behind the scenes to make sure your day runs silky-smooth.
There’s an elegantly decorated getting-ready room upstairs, a pretty little garden, and a really unusual nordic-style teepee for your ceremony. The hog roast was amazing as well. But also a little weird to see a pig slowly rotating whilst everyone was having drinks!
And as soon as you step outside the venue, you’re right in the middle of one of Kent’s most historic cities. So whether you want to disappear into the winding maze of Victorian streets or into the grounds of Rochester Castle, you’re guaranteed to get some amazing couple’s shots away from the crowds.
You can check out L & As awesome wedding by clicking here
Eastwell Manor - Ashford
Eastwell manor is the quintessential manor house wedding venue in Kent. Of all the Kent wedding venues, this is possibly the most impressive. The first time I did a wedding there, I saw a guy from Made in Chelsea swagger past me on his way to an outdoor pool. I double-checked I was in the right place and quickly cleaned my shoes on the back of my trousers! Seriously though, this is a stunner of a venue.
The ivy-covered stately home-turned luxury spa is at the end of a long, tree-lined driveway, surrounded by immaculately manicured grounds, sweeping lawns and gravel pathways that crunch richly beneath your feet. If you were to draw a manor house Kent wedding venue, it would look like this.
For your ceremony there’s a wonderfully secluded shaded courtyard, with a quaint little pond (which I almost fell in). And the sun sets above the majestic manor house, giving you the perfect golden hour shots if the weather’s on your side.
Food-wise, they gave me the best sticky toffee pudding I’ve ever had. Seriously, the best I’ve ever had. It’s not a cheap venue by any means, but it’s arguably worth the cost just for the sticky toffee.
You can check out P & Ds intimate wedding by clicking here
Lillyroo's Glamping - Sandwich
Lillyroos glamping sandwich isn’t actually a proper wedding venue! It’s mainly for families glamping, but they do take on a select few number of weddings a year. And when I say a few, I really do mean a few! So if you like the look of the place, I’d suggest getting in touch early.
So why have I included it in my list? Because it’s great! They’ve got grass, they’ve got countryside, they’ve got teepees, they’ve got goats. What’s not to love?! And if you’re looking for a festival-style wedding venue in Kent, this is a perfect choice.
There’s a large festival teepee for your ceremony in any weather, or there’s the option for an outdoor ceremony on bales of hay if the sun’s playing ball. And there’s loads of glamping tents for your guests to stay in overnight, all within staggering distance of the ceremony teepee. So basically the night can really kick off into a wild party if that’s the kinda thing you want!
One of my favourite moments was a guest being rolled up in the carpet leading into the ceremony teepee! I love little moments like that. And a wedding venue like Lillyroo’s definitely gives your day the ‘let’s roll that guy up in a carpet’ atmosphere!
You can check out S & Ns festival style wedding by clicking here
The Winding House - Dover
The Winding House near Dover used to be a coal mining building back in the day and has that insanely cool industrial, Victorian aesthetic. And the grounds and surrounding countryside are beautiful too. So as long as it’s not raining too hard, there’s plenty of opportunities for amazing wedding photos from the outside of the venue. You get a lot of these coal building-turned wedding venues up North, but they're a rare gem down here in Kent.
The ceremony space inside the venue is super-slick and contemporary, with loads of natural light and really high ceilings that make the whole place feel really spacious. And it’s elegantly simple in its decor, so you’ve pretty much got a blank canvas for your styling.
There’s a pokey little room for the reception, but that’s more than made up for by the sick-ass party space in the evening! They also run a complimentary minibus service for your guests to and from the local hotel, so everyone can get completely wasted if they so choose.
Kent Life - Maidstone
Kent Life is arguably one of the most unique wedding venues in Kent. It’s a working farm that’s been opened to the public, and it also just happens to have a really pretty little wedding chapel in the grounds. There’s a big playground and a softplay for kids, so it’s a great venue if children will be a big part of your day. And the fact there’s loads of farm animals everywhere gives the place a really relaxed, fun, laid-back vibe.
The pink wedding chapel looks like it’s been picked up out of some quiet little town in America and dropped, Wizard of Oz style, into the Kent countryside. It’s so intimate, so cool, and weirdly romantic. Your food is served in a barn, with another barn for dancing (and, inevitably, barn dancing).
If you love animals and are looking for a Kent wedding venue with a difference, Kent Life is a really cool choice.
The Papermill - Benendene
The Papermill is definitely the most obscure venue on this list. If you’re looking for a romantic, timeless, blissfully secluded wedding venue in Kent, The Papermill is an ideal choice. Not only is it pretty difficult to find their website, I even had trouble finding the actual venue on the map. Luckily someone put a sign out a few minutes before I arrived or I might still be driving around looking for the place!
So what actually is The Papermill?! Well after trekking through dense Kentish woodland, you come to a clearing with a large wooden arch for your ceremony, surrounded by hay bales for your guests to sit on. You get married in the open air, dappled sunshine streaming through the canopy of ancient woodland, with nothing but distant birdsong breaking the silence.
Wind your way further through the trees and you’ll find a centuries-old barn and an open meadow where you can pitch a marquee. This Kent wedding venue is exquisitely simple and pure. Ever seen Robin Hood Prince of Thieves? Well it’s that kinda vibe. I saw birds of prey, a few rabbits bounding through the trees, and loads of beautiful butterflies in the meadow. It really is such an amazing atmosphere if you love nature and the outdoors.
You can check out this kent exclusive woodland wedding by clicking here
Winters Barns - Canterbury
Winters Barns is a barn wedding venue near Canterbury. The beautiful gardens are ideal for an outdoor ceremony, and make it a strong contender if you’re looking for a summer wedding venue in Kent. Lizzie the coordinator is super friendly and helpful as well, which makes a massive difference.
It’s oozing with traditional Kentish character, with exposed rustic wooden beams and an old oak door reathed in ivy. There’s also a quaint white bride over a lovely little pond just begging to be a backdrop for your couple portraits!
There’s a really nice getting-ready room as well, so it’s a wonderful place to start your wedding day. And the outdoor drinks with all-you-can-drink gin made for some great candids!
Are you looking for a Kent Wedding Photographer?
As a documentary wedding photographer, I don’t like to shoehorn my way into your day and start bossing you around. I like to let the day unfold naturally and capture all the amazing little moments as they happen. So you’re free to just have fun, be yourselves, and have the best day ever. And I just take a backseat like a good friend with a camera and capture the story of your day.
If you’re looking for a Kent wedding photographer, you love my work and would like for me to join you on your day, I’d love to hear from you. Get in touch today and let’s have a chat and get to know each other.