I have had the privilege of working at Mount Ephraim Gardens on a number of occasions, spanning all sorts of ventures - from styled bridal photo shoots, to some commercial and branding photography, to weddings. I always love coming back as there are always new ways to photograph the many parts of the venue and estate, and the changing seasons always bring a multitude of different colours to the trees and surroundings.
The venue is accessed primarily via a grand iron gate, with a winding driveway which leads around the back to a large car park with plenty of room for guests. There is also a small amount of parking around the back of the house for other suppliers to park, useful for carrying heavy loads for setting up the venue for weddings with quick access to the ground floor. The surrounding roads are a little wider than single track and are not street lit, so be careful driving around at speed or at night (although the roads are usually quiet enough!)
If you're looking for a classical and elegant country house style venue, with loads of outdoor space for you and your guests to enjoy, and the potential for truly gorgeous wedding photography, Mount Ephraim Gardens should be on your list! Here are some photos of the interior and surrounding gardens - all taken at different times of the year and at different events. Some are taken from a styled bridal photo shoot whilst others are from a wedding in the summer of 2018. The rest are stock/commercial photos I took around the venue and grounds.
Most of Mount Ephraim Gardens' tastefully decorated bedrooms on the first floor lead out onto a mezzanine style corridor and down a wide and winding staircase down to the ground floor. The wooden banisters are intricately carved and make great places for detail photographs of the wedding dress, and of course making a grand entrance for the bridal party before the ceremony.
The larger function rooms on the ground floor provide the perfect template for decorating and laying out how you would like for your wedding reception. It can be a bit of a squeeze for lots of the larger tables, but for fewer guests it makes a great place to celebrate while having your wedding breakfast and the speeches, of course! There are period touches throughout, including classic portraits on the walls, lovely fireplaces and classic decor.
The main marble floored area in the middle of the ground floor serves a dual purpose: it can either be set up for indoor ceremonies in inclement weather or the colder times of the year, and as the dance floor for the evening reception at your wedding. While you and your partner take centre stage to cut the cake and have your first dance, your guests gather around and line the staircase and landing above to watch on as you twirl and spin with the love of your life.
Outdoors is where the beauty of Mount Ephraim Gardens continues, with a terrace style and steps leading down away from the main house and buildings to a grand archway and double staircase to where outdoor ceremonies take place, in front of the double arch set into the wall and hedgerow. The bridal party walks down from the house between two lines of trees before descending the stairs to their waiting guests.
The Japanese style stone bridge serves as a gorgeous focal point to some truly lovely wedding photographs, of either the bride and groom on their own (as below) or together as you wander through the expansive grounds of the estate. The long gardens, outbuildings and rustic backdrops of the walls, old wooden doors and rose gardens all provide endless possibilities to be creative on your wedding day - you have the chance to have some beautiful photographs taken!
The venue and gardens have for many years been owned and managed by the Dawes family, and after a time spent under ownership of a different family, it has now come back to its original owners. Lucy Dawes provides a simply superb service to everyone who sets foot in the door - whether a member of a public, someone coming to stay at the venue's B&B section, or a couple looking to book their wedding there. She is a testament to the venue and sets a great standard for all to enjoy.
Mount Ephraim Gardens is a truly unique venue with so much charm, character and potential. One of my favourites in Kent and only a 30 minute drive away. If you have booked to get married here and would are looking for your wedding photographer, I would love to hear from you!
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