Stylish, seamless and utterly unique. The elegant magic of weddings at Elmley

  • 09/01/2024

Hidden at the heart of the South East’s secret island nature reserve, Elmley’s wedding ceremony venues offer the luxury and privacy of an exclusive hire, married with the seclusion of our stunning wild landscapes.

Eleanor has been working with couples to create their dream day on the reserve since joining the team in 2015. We asked Eleanor some questions on what makes Elmley the perfect venue for a destination wedding, here is what she had to say.

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Photo of Eleanor smiling

(photo credit: Rebecca Douglas)

“The blank canvas setting, and beautiful timeless background of the barn and reserve allow couples to circumvent trends and create something truly individual and elevated.

Our couples have exclusive hire of the venue and accommodation from 3pm the day before their wedding until 11am the day after and many couples even stay on with us after everyone else has left to soak it all in.

And ultimately, I think it’s the flexibility that we offer, tied in with how special it is to be able to spend relaxed time with friends and family, in such a beautiful setting, without ever feeling rushed.”

A long wooden table softly styled for a summer wedding in the Elmley Nature Reserve barn

(photo credit - Olegs Samsonovs)

“We offer what we call a background service, which means we are there as much as couples want us to be, taking the pressure off and dealing with the details. While some might just want us to take care of the logistical elements, and prefer their family and friends to make announcements, and bring their own personal magic, others ask us to be more hands on, including coordinating those little surprises and extra touches. At Elmley we are experienced in making sure all suppliers are running to time, and coordinating the key aspects of the day, but we are always calm and discreet. There are no clipboards or shouting. Our job is to allow you to relax and enjoy the day, whilst feeling like the place is yours.

When engaged couples first book their wedding with us, we send them the Elmley planning bible and curated suppliers list. Developed over our years of wedding experience it shares all of our knowledge and recommendations and is such a useful guide for couples to reference as they tackle their supplier choices, budget and timeline. Although, we’re also just at the other end of the phone or on email.

The level of service we offer means couples don’t always need a wedding planner, but of course we do also work alongside wedding planners and events teams, especially for our international couples and ceremonies.

We meet with each of our couples six weeks before their wedding to run through everything that will happen from when they arrive to when they leave. We take on the detailed admin from there, so they can switch off, relax and enjoy the experience.”

(photo credits - Olegs Samsonovs + Jess Rose)

“At Elmley we’re fortunate to have a number of incredible wedding settings and we recommend couples use each one of these special spaces as part of their big day. This offers an opportunity to shift between different scenes, keeping guests surprised and captivated.

Kingshill Barn is our indoor licensed ceremony location, but the most popular place for the main service in spring and summer especially is the Linhay, our outdoor ceremony location. That means the beautiful barn can be kept secret until later into the afternoon or evening, while the Farmhouse Garden with its spectacular views is perfect for a wow factor drinks reception and outdoor music.

For more intimate or winter weddings The Farmhouse is an enchanting setting, cosily cocooned away from the elements but still boasting breathtaking views.

But we want our couples to choose how to use the spaces. Each wedding is different because all couples are different and so is their wedding day vision. We allow them to bring together people in their own way and create the ultimate party, whatever that looks like for them.”

A bride and groom, hand-in-hand, looking out of the large glass window in the Elmley Nature Reserve barn. The photo is striking in black and white

(photo credit - Olegs Samsonovs)

“We encourage couples to spend some time in the space, they are more than welcome to visit during their planning and feel what that space means to them and their wedding. And we can send inspiration ideas which suit their wedding style too.

A huge part of the appeal is this timelessness of the barn and Reserve’s natural beauty, it is a really stunning blank canvas for couples to make their own. There is no need then to get lost in a vortex of top wedding trends for 2025, and there’s no pressure to immediately think about things like decorations. We do say take it one step at a time and that we are here to help and support you. We remind our couples to make the most of Elmley’s relaxed environment and that rather than trying to squeeze too much in, to slow down and enjoy your celebrations.

That said...we do love a good party! The barn not only lends itself to beautifully-set tables for sit down meals, but also to a professional band and DJ set up, under the vaulted ceilings and with plenty of room for the dancefloor, no-one has an excuse to not get up there.”

“That each one is so different. From couples dressing the barn themselves with dried flowers to those who have a large installation created by a professional team, I love seeing how couples' personalities and individual styles shine through.

We don't hold huge numbers of weddings so I love that we get to know each couple well and it is always exciting and fresh for us to see every couple interpret the same space so differently and is really such a privilege to get to see the final result and play a part in such special days.”

A day of togetherness and celebration that’s truly like no other.

To hear more about weddings at Elmley read more here or contact Claire and Eleanor at

(below photo credit - Jess Rose)

Two brides walk hand-in-hand, backs facing us as they walk through Elmley Nature reserve. The sun is setting, leaving a warm glow across the dried grass fields