An Enchanting Wedding Venue in Kent - The Lost Village of Dode
Posted by Zoë on 08.08.2019
We love featuring unusual wedding venues on Fabulous Wedding Venues, so when I had the opportunity to showcase The Lost Village of Dode on our blog, I jumped at the chance to have a tour of this fabulous Kent wedding venue and to meet the owner Doug and Becky who takes care of the smooth running of their weddings.
The Lost Village of Dode is located at the end of a picturesque country lane deep in the heart of the Kent countryside, surrounded by the most beautiful rolling hills of the North Downs encompassing spectacular views across fields surrounded by traditional woodland glades.
On arrival, I was greeted by a warm welcome from Becky and Doug who provided me with my own personal tour of this historic building that forms The Lost Village of Dode. They wowed me with the history of this special wedding venue.
Doug bought Dode at an auction over 30 years ago, the beautiful Norman Church had been left neglected, with a leaking roof and had been buried by undergrowth. He spent the next 10 years restoring this long-forgotten Kentish gem and brought it back to life - a true labour of love!
Stepping inside Dode, it felt like I had travelled back in time to an exciting medieval period, straw-covered the floor and the whole space was lit by candles creating an ambience of enchantment which completely captivated my imagination.
Leading to the alter down each side of the church were wooden seats decorated with wool rugs and dried flowers. The alter sits on known lay lines making its history even more fascinating and mysterious.
Even the furnishings have a story to tell, they have either been made or bought bespoke with Dode in mind. The old treasure chest located in the corner of the venue and the magnificent candleholders were sourced from Glastonbury. The main door which looks original was hand-crafted specifically for Dode as a birthday gift to Doug, and the shutters on the windows were specially made for the Norman church. The walls stand a foot thick and the narrow windows sit elegantly above you, I was in awe of this wedding venue’s historic charm.
This Kent wedding venue offers couples a simple but rustic feel to their wedding day and holds up to 40 guests plus the wedding couple. Licensed for ceremonies there is also an option for handfasting ceremonies and renewal of vows. After your ceremony, there is the opportunity to accommodate your drinks reception in the beautiful gardens, whilst the staff set up two impressive long banqueting tables for your fabulous wedding feast. The team at Dode look after their couples throughout the booking and celebratory process, providing special rates for wedding couples including an optional hog roast package option with its preferred catering supplier ‘The Flying Pig Kitchen’. A medieval banquet would be most fitting for weddings held at Dode.
I must mention Olli the Owl! This regular feathery visitor to Dode, can be hired to be the most important part of your wedding ceremony, the ring bearer. A trained owl who knows the wedding venue very well. If you would like to book Olli to be part of your wedding at Dode, contact NuptuOwls, a bespoke Kent company offering owl ring bearers.
Dode is heated by both underfloor heaters and wall heaters making it a cosy wedding venue during the winter months. The only months that Dode is unavailable for hire include January through to March and October, allowing Dode and the hard-working wedding team a break from busy celebrations.
The surrounding gardens and grounds are kept immaculate and include a circle of stones an ideal location to hold outdoor handfasting ceremonies. The Beltane festival is celebrated at Dode yearly on 1st May. The festival recognises the halfway point between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice (otherwise known as May Day). If the sun is out, the centre stone lines up with the church of Dode which casts a shadow pointing directly to the centre stone, adding further to the unique charm of this special wedding venue.
Within the grounds you will find a wishing tree, there is an ancient pagan practise whereby ribbons are tied onto the tree and a wish is made, once the ribbon decays or falls off, it is thought that your wish will then come true. Make sure you add your own ribbon to Dode’s wishing tree on your visit!
Doug has built two snug little cottages nestled within the grounds of Dode namely, Hillview and Woodside. One of the cottages has a hot-tub in the master bedroom and is a popular retreat for the bridal party prior to a wedding. Both of the cottages are tucked away and are the perfect get away for the bridal couple or for general hire.
Each wedding at Dode is special, many of the couples that get married there, become life-long friends of Dode and get involved in this amazing little church long after their weddings have taken place.
To arrange a viewing at Dode and meet the fabulous team who will help plan your wedding, you can enquire here. Go and see this truly amazing wedding venue for yourselves, you will fall in love with it!
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