I recently spent a gorgeous sunny afternoon at the opening of the brand new Orangery at Hayne House, a beautiful family-run wedding venue in Kent. Hayne House has been a wedding venue since 2012, but the decision to build a custom designed Orangery specifically for weddings has really transformed it into the perfect venue for Spring/Summer weddings. I was really impressed with the thought and attention to detail that has gone into designing this space - it really has been purpose built for weddings and the team have applied their wedding expertise and thought about the needs of their couples at every stage. If you're looking for a beautiful venue just a stone's throw from London, this could be the one for you!
Hayne House is in the idyllic village of Saltwood in Kent. Surrounded by 30 acres of an immaculately landscaped private family estate, the house itself used to be the estate's hunting lodge - and was once home to Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson! The original house is now home to a gorgeous bridal suite, bridal dressing room and four additional bedrooms, along with a dining room where you can enjoy a leisurely breakfast with your bridal party and a lovely sitting room which can be used at night after your wedding if you want to keep the party going just that little bit longer with your family and bridal party.
Photo Credit - Matt Rowe
The orangery has been built just next to the house, in the stunning private garden. Weddings at Hayne House used to take place in a marquee in the garden and the Orangery takes that marquee indoor/outdoor vibe to the next level. It's a really bright, light space with panoramic floor to ceiling windows and French doors that really make the most of the lovely garden view and give you the feeling of an outdoor garden wedding - even when the good old British weather is against you!
As I mentioned, the venue is fully licensed and you can choose to have your ceremony in the Orangery or in the garden itself. If you plump for an outdoor ceremony, there is a lovely oak-framed porch which overlooks the gardens and can sit up to 120 guests. It's the perfect space for a romantic outdoor (and legal!) ceremony . Alternatively, the Orangery itself can also be used as a ceremony space, with internal bi-folding doors cleverly blocking off the dining area to create a lovely blank canvas ceremony room which also seats up to 120 guests.
Photo Credit - Emily Crutcher
Either way, after your ceremony you can have have drinks and canapés on the perfectly manicured lawn your guests, before heading into the Orangery for your wedding breakfast. This is where the Orangery really comes into its own. With French doors along two sides, the dining area really feels like part of the garden and has a perfect indoor/outdoor vibe. It's a real blank canvas too so you can go to town with your styling here and it works for any kind for decor, from a scattering of round tables to majestic long feasting tables, and from chilled boho styling to a more formal, glamorous vibe. Throw the doors open on sunny days for a Mediterranean garden feast feel - but don't worry if it does rain on your day as you'll still enjoy garden vibes and the glass ceiling gives you that glorious sense of dining under the stars, while being totally protected from the elements, perfect!
Once dinner is over, it's time for a party and the Orangery is also home to a large dance-floor (which doubles as the indoor ceremony space) and fully stocked bar. In an example of the logistical thought which has gone into the design of the Orangery, the bar is right next to the dance-floor - so you never have an empty dance-floor because everyone has gone off to get drinks!
On a more practical, but super important note, there are also toilets inside the Orangery (and they're really nice!) - so you don't have to worry about portaloos or guests having to wander through the gardens at night or in the rain trying to find the loos! There is even one loo which has been specifically designed to be big enough for a bride, her bridesmaids and any wedding dress! The orangery is also fully wheelchair accessible.
As the evening comes to a close, it's just a few steps back to the house where you can polish off the last of the champagne with your family and bridal party in the lounge before heading upstairs to the gorgeous bridal suite. This was being decorated when I visited so there aren't any images yet - but I was allowed to have a sneak peek and oh.my.God it's a beauty!
Transport to Hayne House is super easy - there are excellent motorway links via the M20 or it's just a 5 minute taxi ride from Sandling Station, which is easily reached in under an hour from St Pancras, making this an ideal venue for London based couples. There are plenty of places nearby for guests to stay and there's even a B&B within the grounds of the estate - which is perfect for those guests who just want a short stumble to bed at night!
Photo Credit - Emily Crutcher
Fleur Record -Smith is the lovely founder of Hayne House, she says - "With over 30 years combined experience of hosting weddings and events, when the wedding co-ordinators and I set about designing the Orangery we wanted to create a unique and beautiful wedding venue; a quality, stunning building giving couples the perfect backdrop to their wedding ceremony and reception, with a real connection to nature and the gardens that is light, airy, eradicates their worries or concerns, and transforms seamlessly from day into the perfect evening party venue."
"So we put our heads together to review and records couples' concerns that they had shared about other venues or weddings that they had attended. During the design stage we systematically addressed these issues in the knowledge that when a couple finally selects their wedding venue, it is undoubtedly one of the biggest decisions they will make, as it can influence their choice of vendors and even what they will wear."
Photo Credit - Emily Crutcher
There's no doubt that Fleur and her team poured their heart, soul and considerable wedding experience into building the Orangery - and it really has paid off. It's an ideal venue for couples who love the relaxed, country garden vibe that a marquee gives you - but with none of the practical considerations that marquee weddings can involve and a dedicated on-site team who make wedding planning an absolute breeze. The gardens are absolutely beautiful and the Orangery is a really thoughtfully designed space which shows them off perfectly while being a gorgeous setting in its own right. It really is the perfect place to dance the night away under the stars.