A Goodnestone Park Wedding
So you’re thinking of having a Goodnestone Park wedding? I have two words for you- Do It! Having photographed hundreds of weddings in venues all over the country, as well as a fair few internationally, Goodnestone Park still remains one of my all-time favourite wedding venues. Commonly known as some of the most beautiful gardens in Kent, this privately owned estate makes for the perfect backdrop to your big day. Just a stones throw away from Canterbury and set within the Kent countryside, Goodnestone Park boasts it’s Grade II listed house, 15 acres of charming gardens, ancient woodland and a whole host of stunning locations for your ceremony. I can honestly say that Goodnestone Park has it all!
What is it actually like to hold your wedding at Goodnestone Park?
Picture this: You wake up on the morning of your special day in the 1704 manor house, ready for the celebration of a lifetime. The Goodnestone Park mansion is plenty big enough to host your entire wedding party, with even more space available in the picturesque Bonnington Cottage just down the road. Veils are straightened, suits are buttoned and you usher your flower girls, bridesmaids and groomsmen out the door to the perfect setting where you’ve chosen to say your vows. Goodnestone Park has plenty of wedding ceremony locations to choose from, enough to suit every happy couple! For those more traditional, The Church of Holy Cross is just a short walk from the 2000-acre estate. If that’s not quite your vibe, civil ceremonies are also available in and around the grand house itself. Imagine walking up the aisle with the majestic Portico as your backdrop, or signing the register in Goodnestone’s stunning Round Room. And for those with a larger guest list, The Coach House will be the perfect place to begin your marriage. Now that you’ve tied the knot, let the party begin! Brides and grooms are given an exclusive area of Goodnestone gardens to host their marquee wedding reception, with the option of using a luxury Orangery Marquee. Fill it up with flowers, grab a glass of champagne and sit back to enjoy your wedding breakfast overlooking beautiful parkland pasture, knowing that you have thrown the wedding of the year!
Let Goodnestone Park bring your rural destination wedding dreams to life
If you’re looking to get married surrounded by nature and expansive views of the countryside, look no further than Goodnestone Park. So much time and effort has been poured into making Goodnestone utterly breathtaking and the most beautiful place for you and your wedding guests to enjoy. Centred around sustainable management, each of the gardens within the estate boasts something truly unique. In the run-up to the big day, you could take a calming stroll along the grass paths through one of the two arboreta, ending up in the gravel garden. Here, you could sit and pause to take in the ornamental grasses and admire the impressive house and park beyond. When your wedding party arrives at the designated wedding accommodation, soak in the moment as you all spill out onto the parterre and terrace where you will all be wowed by the surrounding Kent countryside, framed by the impeccable lawns and avenues of yews. On the day itself, my favourite place in the Goodnestone Park estate to take my couples for their portrait session is the walled garden. Passing through the herb garden and small tropical garden for some timeless photos, we inevitably end up at the ornamental pond. Reflecting the history of the church and walls that surround it and perfectly encompassed by intricately designed borders, this is my favourite place to capture the photographs of the two of you that you will treasure forever. And when the day of a lifetime is over and you wake up for the first time as Mr and Mrs, you could wander to the woodland garden to soak up the amazing memories from the day before. An absolute haven in amongst the oak and chestnut trees, follow the narrow paths through the grass to the pond and rockery and relive the readings, the confetti, the cake cutting, the speeches, your first dance… everything that made your Goodnestone Park wedding day so utterly special.
Host a historic wedding with Goodnestone Park
How amazing would it be to host your wedding in the place that inspired one of the most iconic love stories of our time? Jane Austen was a frequent visitor of Goodnestone Park and reportedly began writing Pride and Prejudice after visiting her brother, Edward Austen, who lived on the Goodnestone estate. Owned by Sir Brook Bridges, Jane would have been welcomed in by the baronet and his wife, Fanny Fowler, whose daughter Elizabeth was married to Edward. Fast forward a few hundred years and Goodnestone Park is still owned by a Kentish family but is now in the hands of Julian Fitzwalter. Although he now runs it as a much sought-after wedding venue and luxury holiday accommodation spot with his son Edward Plumptre, and uses the estate as arable land, its purpose wasn’t quite so idyllic in the 20th century. As was the case with many stately homes, this palladian house was repurposed into war offices during the second world war. Thankfully a huge effort has been made to restore Goodnestone Park to its former glory and has perhaps now even surpassed that. To have a wedding venue surrounded by wildflower meadows, grasslands that encourage remarkable biodiversity and historic wood pastures is truly unique. It’s even said that the Serpentine walk was one often strolled by Jane Austen herself. I think we can safely say that Goodnestone Park is truly a picturesque and inspiring venue, hosting weddings that can only be described as utterly romantic and wholly elegant.
My experience as a wedding photographer at Goodnestone Park
At each and every wedding I photograph, I come eager to capture beautiful, candid photography. I diligently pack up my entourage of Canon cameras and lenses, set up my flashes, shrug on my money-maker camera harness and impatiently look forward to a day of composition, lighting and hard but incredibly rewarding work. But when I arrive at Goodnestone Park for a wedding, there is that extra dash of excitement, because I am in no doubt that the day ahead will be nothing short of spectacular. For me, there is no better backdrop for my couples than that of Goodnestone Park. Whilst the majority of my brain is filled with shutter speeds, aperture and the rule of thirds, there’s always a part shouting ‘Look at how incredible this is!’. As a documentary wedding photographer, for the most part I like to record the day as it happens and create natural and elegant photographs. There truly is no better place for this than Goodnestone. Surrounded by nature and elegance, you simply can’t help but produce the highest quality photography. And to top it all off, you could not find a warmer welcome than the one rolled out to you from Goodnestone and their dedicated wedding coordinators. The Wedding Dolls are an integral part of each couple's big day on the estate and they leave no stone unturned in their pursuit of perfection. They take the time to care for brides, grooms, guests and suppliers alike, all to make sure that each and every wedding is just as the happy couple dreamt it would be.
So all that is really left to say is that I hope this blog has painted a picture of what a Goodnestone Park Wedding looks and feels like. Beautiful. Elegant. Perfect. And in case it wasn’t already clear, I could not recommend hosting your wedding at Goodnestone Park highly enough. Trust me when I say, you will not regret it!