Wilderness Reserve is a masterclass in romantic countryside weddings.
Our gentle arcadian landscapes are the picture of pastoral beauty and unmistakable Englishness. The quiet allure of the setting marries with a host of one-off luxury properties to create a timeless destination wedding venue in Suffolk.
Divided across Sibton Park and Chapel Barn estates, our exclusive wedding venues range from a grade II*-listed Georgian manor house, complete with its light-filled Orangery, to a sensitively restored 15th-century farmstead, designed to host those looking for a superlative barn wedding venue.
Elsewhere, an array of outdoor wedding venues await your personal touch, spanning woodland, lakeside and garden settings. Punctuating the fields between are a host of luxury Suffolk cottages and farmhouses – not to mention a show-stopping Walled Garden property. In all, we may host almost any number of your esteemed guests, with space for 200 staying the night.
Wilderness Reserve is yours – all 5,000 wonderful acres of it – on an exclusive-use basis, should you choose. Private use will, of course, suit grand affairs or large Asian and Jewish weddings, though we’re equally versed in small wedding celebrations, where intimacy is a priority.
Furthermore, we’ve done away with the restrictions typical of historic countryside hotels and manor house wedding venues. The result comprises a unique proposition: a one-of-a-kind wedding venue in Suffolk that will oblige even your most unusual wedding requests.
Two hours from the madding crowd of London, but not as far as wedding venues in Norfolk, ‘Sleepy Suffolk’ – as it’s affectionately named – proffers a special kind of country house wedding. A Wilderness wedding is one that attracts couples keen on stepping back into the past, while connecting with the very best of English nature.
Conservation and sustainability are central tenets of our ethos: eco-conscious wedding couples will delight in the flourishing wildlife and greenery (we’ve already planted over one million trees). Indeed, guests often comment on the chorus of song birds throughout the day, from early rising woodpeckers to majestic barn owls at night.
Our journey began more than 20 years ago with the help of pre-eminent landscape architect Kim Wilkie. His expertise and enthusiasm has allowed us to create an eco-friendly backdrop for fairy tale wedding receptions reminiscent of the most romantic and timeless fiction. At Wilderness Reserve you’ll find a true English countryside experience.
Your host will meet you at our Gatehouse Sweet Shop. Once you’ve bagged a few lemon bonbons – no check-in necessary – we’ll escort you in a Series One Landrover across either Sibton Park or Chapel Barn estate to your lodgings.
Your housekeeper, who drives a charming Morris Minor, will be there to receive you, no doubt offering a cup of something soothing and a slice of cake. The Victoria sponge is particularly good. Then you can spend a little time unwinding in the property or by the pool. Be sure to take our vintage Pashley bicycles out for a spin too.
With “I do” done and dusted, your guests’ attention – and appetites – will turn to the wedding reception. Drinks and restaurant-quality light bites are on offer from our very own Estate Kitchen. The team assure us the parmesan crackers with Suffolk gold mousse are not to be missed.
While everyone is busy reviewing your star performance – to the strains of a string quartet perhaps? – you’ll have time for those momentous wedding portraits. Again, location options are as abundant as the nature around you.
A regal pose under our statement stained-glass window in Chapel Barn or something a little more unbuttoned amid the wildflowers of a nearby meadow? The only challenge is in the choosing.
And so to the wedding breakfast. This is where our Estate Kitchen hits its highest note. Head chef Stewart Duffield (formerly at Tom Aikens) takes a flavour-first approach to the locally sourced fish, meat and organic vegetables he and his team prepare. The quality of the cooking rivals any you’ll find from caterers in London.
The Orangery at Sibton Park Manor House is a tasteful space to host wedding breakfasts of up to 140 seated guests, with space on its suntrap terrace for stretch tents and marquees. Those keen on channelling a more rustic wedding theme may well wish to host a Fire Feast in the woods. But let us be clear: outdoor wedding breakfasts at Wilderness Reserve are no less refined.
They always say allow yourself five minutes to take it all in. Sitting under our fairy-light-covered tree near the Orangery – a favourite for Instagram – is a charming spot to take in the hubbub of the dancefloor and the live band you’ve booked. If the party is at Chapel Barn then you’re likely to be making shapes in the enclosed grassy courtyard or in the barn itself, behind its triple-height Crittall-style door.
Those wishing to continue the revelry will be guided downstairs to Sibton Park’s vaulted cellar, which again can be decorated as you please. We’ve had the whole ceiling covered in moss for an ‘undergrowth disco’. From there, bad dancing, karaoke and other fun games may continue into the night.