Hever Castle recently topped the polls among brides as top castle venue – and here are five reasons why we think it deserves its prize
Hever Castle & Gardens near Edenbridge, Kent has been named best Castle Wedding Venue at the 2019 British Wedding Awards, which was voted for by brides. House Manager Roland Smith says: “Our staff work tirelessly to offer an extremely high level of customer service to our bridal parties and their guests so to have this hard work celebrated nationally is fantastic”.
Here at Absolutely Weddings we’re not at all surprised to see Hever Castle carry off the prize as – alongside the superb service it offers to wedding couples – it has to be one of the most romantic settings in the country for a wedding celebration. Here are five reasons why we love it.
1. Hever Castle is steeped in history
Hever Castle was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn and has had a rich, and sometimes tumultuous, history. The medieval castle is double-moated (just like something from a fairytale) and its interiors are sumptuous. Rich wood panelling and fine furniture from the 17th and 18th century add to the illusion you are stepping back into history. In the castle’s Inner Hall, there are portraits of three generations of Tudor monarchs, while the Dining Hall has an ornate stone fireplace and minstrels’ gallery.
2. There’s a great choice of spaces for feasts
As if the medieval original weren’t enough, there’s a stunning recreation in the Astor Wing. This was created by then owner William Waldorf Astor and is in the Tudor style, with three interconnecting rooms (known as the Tudor Suite). Astor commissioned this addition to the castle in 1903 and the craftsmen who built it even used Tudor tools to ensure authenticity. It was just one of the painstaking projects during his tenure that helped preserve and add to Hever Castle’s riches and make it such an incredible space for celebrations. The Astor Wing offers views to the moat and castle and also has its own private lawn – perfect for adding a very special alfresco element to your celebration.
3. It offers a delightful slice of Italy
Jewel in the crown for summer weddings is the Italian Garden overlooking the lake. This is another addition we can thank William Waldorf Astor for. He wanted an area to display his fine collection of Italian sculpture and over 1,000 men worked to build it. The 38-acre lake alone took 800 men two years to create. And the result is a simply stunning slice of Italian style, with many summer ceremonies taking place under the arched columns of the Loggia. There’s also a rose garden, with over 4,000 plants, and – should the reception want to move indoors – there is space for a wedding breakfast for up to 220 guests in the Palladian-style Guthrie Pavilion.
4. Hever Castle is gloriously photogenic
When it comes to settings for photography, Hever Castle has real star quality. At Absolutely Weddings we’ve featured it as a shoot location, as well as showcasing real weddings that take place there. This shoot featured gowns by Savin London, shoes and accessories by Emmy London and jewels by Dominic Walmsley. It was photographed by James Palatino in a variety of external spaces including the area around Astor’s Loggia and Italian Garden, as shown here. (Model: Sharmina at Storm; stylist: Leigh Williams; Hair and make-up: Nancy Sumner.)
5. Every wedding is bespoke
There is scope at Hever Castle to design something totally unique – whether you’re planning a grand banquet, summer alfresco party, or intimate celebration. You and your guests can also stay over, as there are 28 ensuite bedrooms (the castle has been awarded Five Star Gold for its accommodation). In addition, there’s a four-bed property in the grounds that can host self-catering parties of up to eight. Every aspect of planning your celebration can be managed by the in-house team, who are also happy to recommend trusted suppliers. For more information on wedding ceremonies and celebrations at Hever Castle, visit hevercastle.co.uk