There are lots of reasons why couples opt to go small when it comes to their nuptials. Smaller numbers mean more time spent with those that mean the most and less pressure for couples that tend to shy away from the spotlight. Plus, fewer guests can drastically decrease the wedding budget spend.
If you’re planning on hosting an intimate ceremony in the Garden of England, then you’re in luck! There’s a whole host of small wedding venues in Kent, ranging from traditional oast houses to inns and even a castle, and we’ve rounded up the very best of the bunch.
So, stick on the kettle, settle down on the sofa and get ready to find the intimate wedding venue of your dreams.
- Everything You Need to Know About Arranging a Civil Ceremony
- The Complete Wedding Ceremony Guide: How to Plan the Order of Your Ceremony
- The 10 Best Wedding Venues in the UK
1. Battel Hall at Leeds Castle - Tovil
Wedding settings don’t get much more idyllic than Battel Hall at Leeds Castle. This lovingly restored 14th century manor house is situated on the edge of the Leeds Castle estate, surrounded by 500 acres of parkland and gorgeous gardens.
The venue is perfect for intimate weddings with a seated wedding breakfast capacity of 24, a standing capacity of 40 and space for 100 outside. Although small, your wedding certainly won’t be lacking in wow factor, thanks to the sumptuous décor and in-house floristry team lead by a Royal Horticultural Society award-winner.
2. Bewl Water – Tunbridge Wells
There’s something incredibly tranquil about a wedding set at the water’s edge, which is probably why we’re so drawn to Bewl Water. Situated in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this venue complete with Boat House Bistro is made for laidback celebrations for fewer than 75 guests.
On the day, you’ll be treated to a complimentary boat trip across the water to capture some truly unique wedding photographs before settling down to a seasonal three-course meal and taking to the dance floor accompanied by the resident DJ or a live band of your choice.
3. The George Vaults – Rochester
Nestled on the bustling Rochester high street, The George Vaults is just a short stroll from the castle and cathedral. The 14th century building features a unique and atmospheric underground ceremony and reception space with a capacity of 70.
You can say ‘I do’ in the vaults before heading upstairs to the bar and terrace for a drink as you mingle with guests and the staff transform the space ready for your celebrations. Alternatively, you can head to the nearby historic landmarks and capture some seriously Instagram-worthy snaps.
4. The Lost Village of Dode – Gravesend
We’re struggling to think of a more magical venue than restored Norman church The Lost Village of Dode. Situated in the valley between Luddesdown and Holly Hill, the only remaining building in the old village of Dode is fast becoming one of the most exclusive and sought-after wedding venues in Kent.
With an ancient stone circle and atmospheric interior, this venue is perfect for civil ceremonies and partnerships as well as outdoor blessings and handfasting ceremonies. With a hay-covered floor, exposed stone and rustic pews, you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped back in time to a Medieval fairy tale.
READ MORE: 31 Beautiful Wedding Aisle Decor Ideas
5. The Bull Hotel Wrotham – Ash
This family-run, boutique wedding venue has a lot to show off about. From its Boutique Wedding Venue of the Year 2020 award to its 2AA Rosette food and stunning 14th century features, The Bull Hotel has more than earned its place on our list of the best small wedding venues in Kent.
The intimate and cosy barn is the perfect setting for both your ceremony and reception. The white walls, exposed stone, rustic wooden floors and beams all make for a rustic and relaxed vibe. The team offer packages for weddings with as few as 12 guests and know exactly how to make the space work for intimate nuptials.
6. The Barn – Tunbridge Wells
Built in true Kentish style and incorporating plenty of contemporary touches, The Barn combines the best of old and new. Civil ceremonies are held in the stunning new orangery overlooking the manicured courtyard garden and wedding breakfasts are served up in the ambient restaurant within the original building.
There are no hire prices here, simply food and drink packages that start at a rather purse-friendly £2,995 for 50 guests. Within your package, guests will be offered meal choices for all three courses on the day. Plus, the inclusive drinks package includes champagne as standard at no extra cost. Cheers to that!
7. The Hop Farm – Paddock Wood
It just wouldn’t be a Kent wedding venue round-up without an oast house now would it? The Hop Farm sits amongst the world’s largest collection of Victorian oast houses and makes for an impressive and unique wedding setting.
At The Hop Farm, you can marry outdoors under the gazebo or inside the grand oak beamed function room with views across the garden. Smaller wedding receptions are welcome in the function space and we reckon the rustic beams and bricks make a pretty cosy backdrop for intimate meals and toasts.
8. The Oak Barn – Cranbrook
While The Oak Barn itself is a popular choice for large weddings, it doesn’t mean that this gorgeous venue doesn’t cater for more intimate nuptials. Nestled on-site is The Byre, a licensed space that’s perfect for both ceremonies and small wedding receptions.
Light and airy, The Byre features French doors that open out onto the stunning rural backdrop. After the ‘I dos’ you’re welcome to really explore the surroundings, toasting your marriage on the lawn or stealing a moment together at the wildlife pond.
9. The Castle Westenhanger – Lympne
We bet you didn’t think an actual castle would crop up during your search for a small wedding venue in Kent, did you? Well, this 16th century beauty is actually pretty perfect for intimate weddings.
The team at The Castle Westenhanger are happy to accommodate weddings with just 30 guests and couples can choose between saying ‘I do’ on the manicured lawn under the shade of the gazebo or indoors against the backdrop of original beams and an inglenook fireplace. After the festivities, newlyweds are treated to a night in a state-of-the-art suite complete with antique furnishings.
10. The Gardens – Nettleshead
Outdoorsy couples will be in heaven from the moment they lay eyes on the 16 gardens here. From woodland spaces to flower filled corners, every inch of The Gardens makes for an Instagram-worthy wedding photo backdrop.
You can marry on the manicured lawn in front of as few as 30 guests before exploring the gardens with a glass of fizz or two. When it comes to the wedding breakfast, we’d invite guests to join us in one of the stylish tipis before pulling out our best moves in the contemporary barn.
11. Reach Court Farm – Dover
Run by brothers Oliver and James, Reach Court Farm has a personal, family feel that suits intimate weddings down to the ground. Reach Court Farm caters for weddings with as few as 50 guests and charges no corkage fees – so you’re free to bring in the booze you love without a pricey penalty.
The elevated oak framed gazebo is a dreamy ceremony setting ideal for summer nuptials. The marquee within an old barn makes for a unique wedding breakfast space while the picnic tables and a rustic outdoor bar area offer up a laidback summer drinks setting.
12. Secret Garden - Ashford
Secret Garden is a Victorian venue with very modern values. The team at this venue know that every wedding is different and so they offer five ceremony spaces - including a gazebo in the walled garden and a charming glass house - as well as two main reception areas and a range of outdoor drinking and photo spots. You can hire the venue on an exclusive basis or simply hire a room and host an intimate celebration.
The Glass House is the perfect spot for intimate weddings with space for up to 50 for a ceremony and 24 for a sit down meal. The Coach House can accommodate between 80 and 90 guests for a sit down meal plus 40 more for an evening party. During your reception, you can enjoy a freshly prepared menu of your choice served on Secret Garden's signature vintage chintzy china, giving your celebration a true English country garden feel.
13. The Ferry House Inn - Harty
The Ferry House Inn is a charming Kent country wedding venue complete with gazebo for outdoor nuptials and ambient barn for indoor 'I dos' and magical receptions. The barn has a maximum sit down capacity of 70-80 and the venue are happy to accommodate weddings with as few as 20 guests. Alternatively, you can book the elopement package for 17 guests and have your ceremony in the barn or gazebo before enjoying afternoon tea or a grazing table in the stunning Farm House as well as two night's accommodation in the fabulous Farm House rooms.
We love the twilight wedding offering here, with ceremonies taking place at sunset and celebrations beginning under the twinkling fairy lights of the barn. We're also more than a little tempted by the home grown menu featuring dishes created from ingredients in their very own kitchen garden and family farms.
14. Sands Hotel Margate - Margate
As well as gorgeous rustic barns and country houses, Kent also has an array of seaside wedding venues thanks to its stunning coastline. Sands Hotel Margate is a gorgeous example of what the Kent coast has to offer, boasting charming seaside views and an atmosphere reminiscent of childhood beach trips and romantic mini breaks.
Sands Hotel Margate is the ideal choice for couples in search of a Kent wedding venue with a contemporary feel. The neutral and modern Bay Restaurant can accommodate up to 62 seated guests while the Terrace Suite has a maximum capacity of 56. Both rooms are licensed for civil ceremonies and you're welcome to spread out and invite up to 150 for an evening reception complete with traditional fish and chips!
15. The Manor Gardens - Birling
If you dream of secluded woodland celebrations and blank canvas venues then The Manor Gardens could be the place for you. With 14 acres of gorgeous land in the heart of the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, you won't find a more peaceful and idyllic setting for your nuptials.
You can host up to 150 guests here, although there's no minimum number and it's totally up to you who you invite and how you use the space. You can hire a small tipi, stretch tent or marquee for intimate and cosy gatherings and bring in your own caterers and bars, making it the perfect spot for unique celebrations. You're also welcome to pitch tents on-site or head to a nearby campsite for serious festival feels!
Unsure what to serve at your self-catering wedding venue? We got the best unusual wedding food ideas your guests will love.