FAQs for hiring a venue at Wakehurst

Use our comprehensive list of frequently asked questions and answers to help you plan your wedding or private event.

Wakehurst Mansion at spring

What do the venue hire fees include?

  • exclusive use of the venue on your chosen day for the hire period
  • support from our Event Staff in the run-up to your event
  • one of our Venue Managers to support the delivery of your event
  • banqueting chairs and tables
  • car parking (subject to availability) - cars can also be left overnight if pre-arranged
  • stewards
  • signage
  • cleaning of the venue, before and after your event
  • access to the gardens during opening hours for you and your guests

What is the booking procedure?

  • Provisional bookings can be held for up to 14 days without commitment.
  • Confirmation of a Private Event requires a signed copy of our terms and conditions, together with a 60% deposit of the venue hire fee + VAT. Please make cheques payable to RBG Kew Enterprises Ltd. Please write the event reference number, booking name and event date on the reverse.
  • Confirmation of a Corporate Event requires a signed copy of our terms and conditions together with a purchase order number for your venue hire fees. The Kew Finance Department will invoice clients with payment required within 14 days.

How will you ensure that the public do not enter the venue hire space and that it will be private?

We will place signage at strategic points notifying day visitors that parts of the gardens are closed to the public due to a private event. A steward will also be on duty to help direct day visitors, ensuring privacy for you and your party.

On the website we list dates when the Mansion and Millennium Seed Bank are closed for private events as well as listing this on our public event calendar.

Who will be there from Wakehurst on the day and what will they do?

You will have a member of the Events Team present on the day to oversee your event. If you are having a ceremony and/or reception they will oversee suppliers and direct guests for the ceremony. They will also help coordinate the running of the ceremony with the registrars and manage the stewarding team.

Can we hire the venue for a half day or a couple of hours?

The Mansion is hired out to only one client each day to ensure that they receive the full attention of the Events Team. We do offer a reduced three-hour venue hire rate for couples who want to hire the Mansion for their ceremony only. Please contact the Wakehurst Events Team for more information.

Can we supply our own alcohol (BYO) or provide a cash bar for evening guests?

Our on-site caterers offer the option of client self-supply of alcohol with a corkage fee, drinks packages on a per head basis, beverages on a sale or return basis, and evening cash bars. Please speak directly to our on-site caterers for a quote.

Can we bring our own caterer, entertainment or production company?

Due to our venue being a Grade I Heritage-Listed building, the greatest care must be taken to prevent damage. Only our approved suppliers are allowed to provide catering, entertainment and production services for any event taking place in the Mansion. This also allows us to restrict the range of suppliers to those that provide services to the very high standards of delivery that we expect for our clients. 

Are we able to use a friend/s as the DJ/band?

Only accredited suppliers are allowed to provide entertainment services for any event at Wakehurst. Occasionally non-approved entertainment can be accommodated but only with prior consent from our Events Team, which will require full adherence to our venue and garden regulations, Wakehurst's Premises Licence, and health and safety protocols. In such cases there is also the requirement that our partner entertainment company, Prelude, provides a sound engineer to monitor the performance.

Can we use our own florist or photographer?

We have a list of florists and photographers which we highly recommend. However, you are permitted to use your own choice of florist and photographer.

Is there accommodation on site?

Although there is no accommodation on site, we are located a short distance from several hotels and guest houses. Please ask the Events Team for information.

Is there car parking available on site?

As part of your venue hire you will receive access to either the events car park (weekday evenings and weekends only) or parking in the Visitor Centre car park. Guests may leave cars overnight if pre-arranged with the Events Team.

What about access and setup for caterers and suppliers?

The confirmation letter sets out detailed timings for both your event and access/departure times for your suppliers. Any requirements outside the agreed timings may incur charges.

Can my event go on later than 11pm?

A one-hour extension to midnight is available and chargeable upon request. Due to nearby residences, and out of courtesy to our neighbours, all standard evening hire times finish at 11pm which is the time that the premises should be vacated.

Is confetti allowed?

The use of confetti is not permitted inside or outside the venue. This also includes rice, petals and the use of biodegradable confetti. The use of bubbles is permitted.

What are the restrictions on theming?

Due to the Mansion being a Grade 1 Heritage-Listed building, no decorations may be affixed to the walls or any fittings, either internally or externally. No decorations may be placed on the existing antique furniture in the hallway area. We do allow the window sills and bay area in the dining room to be used for arrangements but a protective base must be used underneath, and items should rest on cork or felt bases. Balloons are permitted in the venue.

With regards to theming and decorating, the Events Team are able to provide basic support in this area. If you require a wedding or party planning service please ask the Events Team for advice.

Are there any restrictions on floral displays?

Flower displays may not include berries, grapes or soft fruit as they can stain the surfaces in the venue. Lilies and other flowers with staining pollen must have their stamens removed off-site. Pedestals with flowers are permitted in the venue in pre-agreed positions so as not to touch any wall or surface area. Pedestals should not block passageways.

Can we have candles and if so, what are the restrictions?

You may have battery-powered candles only. As the Mansion is a Grade 1 Heritage-Listed building, we do not allow any naked flames.

Can we smoke inside the venue?

The Mansion is strictly non-smoking in line with the "smoke-free England" legislation.

Can we have outdoor furniture or games on the Mansion Lawn?

We have outdoor benches in place and allow picnic rugs within the agreed, contracted areas. Only non-obtrusive games are permitted on the lawn, such as 'Giant Jenga'. We do not allow croquet or any other ball games as the area is a formal lawn that must not be damaged. If either of these are taken outside the agreed boundaries, Wakehurst cannot be held responsible for your privacy.

Can we have an outdoor event/barbecue on the Mansion Lawn?

The Mansion is sold and hired as an indoor venue with an accompanying garden. In cases where clients are looking for an outdoor hire space with a wet weather option, the Mansion will probably not be the correct venue for you. Although guests are free to use the garden area and benches already in situ, the focus of your event – such as dining and dancing – will be inside.

Barbecues and hog roasts are permitted during weddings and events. These are always supplied by one of our approved caterers only and positioned in a suitable back-of-house area to avoid health and safety issues or damage to the gardens. Please speak to a member of the Wakehurst Events team for further information.

Can we have a marquee on the Lawn?

Marquees at Wakehurst are provided by approved suppliers only. Please ask to see the approved suppliers list for contact details. Marquees are positioned on the croquet lawn with views towards the Mansion. For further information please speak to a member of the Wakehurst Events team.

It's summer and we're having drinks in the garden – can our musicians play outside?

Only unamplified musicians are permitted to play externally. They must remain on the paved area immediately outside the Mansion Gallery and time restrictions will apply. You may also be required by your musicians to provide suitable cover in extreme weather conditions (sun or rain).

Can guests get access to the Gardens before the ceremony?

Please liaise directly with the Events Team for further arrangements.

Can we have fireworks?

Due to the fallout of debris from fireworks and out of consideration to our neighbours, neither fireworks nor Chinese lanterns are permitted at any private events at Wakehurst.

Can the photographer use the upstairs of the Mansion for a group photo?

This request may only be accommodated at short notice and subject to other activities going on in the administrative areas.

Do we have an extra room for bags/changing/band etc?

Depending on your event plan an extra room may or may not be available for your band. However we can provide a storage cupboard. This is not lockable and items are left at the owner's risk.

Can we arrange to leave items in the venue overnight?

Everything must be collected immediately after the event. Wakehurst cannot accept any responsibility for items left overnight.