Morning Lovelies and happy Friday! I hope you all have a good weekend planned. I would imagine some of you will be viewing some wedding venues this weekend and if you are, you might want to add today’s Festival Brides Love venue to the list.
Allow me to introduce you to The Wild Meadow, a beautiful outdoor wedding venue in Hawkhurst, Kent that not only has a 14 acre meadow, a woodland ceremony area and plenty of space for glamping BUT it is also a real festival site. Yep, you read that right! If you have always dreamed of holding your wedding in a meadow that is also home to a cool festival then this venue is going to be perfect for you. Every year in June, the space transforms into the home of the Woodlands Festival, an intimate, independent family friendly festival.
The meadow, where the festival and the weddings are held, is surrounded by secluded fields and ancient woodland offering you complete escapism and privacy. You really do feel like you are in your own beautiful little corner of the world at this venue, cut off from anyone else apart from your family and friends. It sounds idyllic and the perfect place to hold a festival wedding.
We asked Rachel, the lady in charge of both weddings and the Woodlands Festival, details about the gorgeous meadow and what is available to book for your wedding.
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m from Sydney Australia originally, so I grew up with the outdoor lifestyle, albeit with a little more sunshine!
Having now lived in London for almost 20 years & a background in event production, as well as a continued love of the outdoors, I guess it was a natural transition to move my focus to this beautiful field in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Kent.
If you had the chance to go to any music festival, which one would it be and why?
Naturally I would have to say Woodlands Festival! This is the lovely boutique family friendly festival my husband & I launched last year, which is held at The Wild Meadow. It’s in aid of charity, well two in fact, Alzheimer’s Society & Macmillan Cancer Research, both chosen for family reasons.
The idea came about after spending many weekends with our Goddaughters, who live in Kent. We’d spent a lot of time with them at different events & going on outings, some great for the grown-ups, some great for the kids, but nothing that was great for all of us. So, driving back to London after a weekend spent with them, the idea was hatched, to create a festival designed for children, that their grown-ups will also love! And so, Woodlands Festival was born!
Tell us about The Wild Meadow Kent and how it came to be a wedding venue?
During the festival last June, I was chatting with the land owner about my previous event experience and I mentioned wedding planning. Knowing how popular festival style weddings are and how beautiful the meadow and the ancient woodland are, it didn’t take long for us to think this could be a match made in heaven, or Kent as the case may be!
And if you want to have a festival style wedding, what better location than on an actual festival site!
With the bonus of it being in such a great location, 5 minutes from the lovely village of Hawkhurst, 10 minutes from the nearest train station & surrounded by stunning woodland, complete with its own stream and bluebells, it didn’t take a lot to convince us to give it a go.
Prior to officially launching, we held two beautiful weddings, both of which were for friends. We now feel that we’re ready to share this stunning location with a select few. The meadow has become very special to me and we’re hoping to find like-minded couples who would like to make it their special place too.
What sort of space is available to hire for a wedding and do you have any facilities on site?
The site is perfectly located, as well as being perfectly formed. You turn off a quintessentially English lane into what is a lovely large field with plenty of space for over 100 cars, plus coach access which is a bonus. Guests then walk down & enter through a break in the trees into our beautiful, 14 acre wild meadow.
Surround by ancient woodland, the meadow feels very secluded, however it is only a 5 minute drive from the nearest village. The majority of the meadow is level, making it ideal for marquees, tipis, domes or whatever structure your heart desires! There is still plenty of room left for an outdoor bar, street food van, entertainment or maybe even some vintage fairground games or rides.
It is also the perfect location to create your very own boutique glamping village, allowing you to spend quality time with friends & family.
The beautiful woodland also has something special to offer in the form of a stunning ‘fairytale-esque’ blessing area. A path leads you down and over a stream, through a sea of bluebells and up to a natural clearing, dappled in sunlight, perfect for a woodland blessing.
We are a blank canvas, providing you with a unique opportunity to personalise every element. We have mains water which we provide free of charge, but all other services and suppliers need to be brought in, allowing you to really customise your special day.
Do you offer any additional services such as a marquee or catering?
Through the festival, we have been fortunate to meet some fantastic local suppliers, be it structures, catering, mobile bars plus the one thing you don’t want to think about but is all important… the loos!
We have formed great working relationships with key suppliers & over the last few months have scoured the Kent countryside for more wedding appropriate suppliers to add to our list of recommendations; such as celebrants, photographers, cake makers, florists & photo booth suppliers.
We also have one very unique feature and I don’t know of any other location that can offer this… a naturally growing tree maze! This is something that will keep the kids and young at heart amused for hours! Decorated and lit at night with festoon or fairy lights, it’s a truly magical sight.
Is camping available at your venue and if not, is there accommodation nearby?
Camping is available. Guests are welcome to bring their own tents or as mentioned previously, you can create your own boutique glamping village.
We know that camping is not for everyone and we’re very lucky in that regard to be surrounded by lovely B&Bs, pubs with accommodation and even AirB&Bs; which we can provide you with a list of.
If our readers were to book The Wild Meadow, what can they expect?
Following a site visit to the meadow for the couple to see the site first-hand, we can then discuss how they see their day & what we can do to make it happen for them. Whether that be by assisting with the planning, scheduling & management on the day or simply providing them with a stunning location.
I know from experience that a lot of planning goes into the ‘big’ day, but to make that day happen, you have to think about the set-up & pack down days as well. It is important that your suppliers know when they’re expected on site & what their time frame is to get the job done. You can’t just have them all turn up at once! The scheduling & management of these days is a service I offer, so the bride & groom can just sit back, relax & enjoy their special time.
What’s your best piece of advice for couples who’re trying to choose their wedding venue?
Keep an open mind & consider different possibilities, as you never know what you’ll end up finding!
Finally, what’s your quote/motto at The Wild Meadow?
I think it would have to be “Take a walk in the woods & smell the wild air”. I’ve lived in London for almost 20 years & grew up in Sydney surrounded by bush land, so I guess it goes to show that you’re always drawn back to the things that made you happy as a child.
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