Real Weddings at The Lost Village of Dode Church

14th September 2021

A wedding band is circular with no beginning and no end symbolising eternal union and endless love, a promise that cannot be broken. This is very much in keeping with Dode and our circle of life. The round shape of a ring is also associated with the sun and the earth, their wholeness and perfection representing the couple sharing in peace and contentment. 

For the first time we are going to give you an insight into real weddings at The Lost Village of Dode, Kent from our couples perspective. Our first couple is Vanessa and Alfonso. It was very much a worldwide wedding with guests traveling from five different countries.  We asked them a few questions….

Are we allowed to ask how you became engaged please?

Exactly two years into our relationship, we went for a picnic at Nymans, a ruined mansion with lovely gardens in Kent. Alfonso suggested that “at some point in the future we should get married”. 

I have to admit I was a bit thrown by this as I’d never considered getting married, not because I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life with Alfonso but because I think relationships are something that should just be between the two partners, without any involvement of the church or the state.

So I took my time to answer but at the next picnic we went on – this one at Stoneacre, another old mansion in Kent – I said “yes” but under the proviso we would not have a traditional wedding but something that would reflect what is important to us.

Can you remember your initial viewing? 

Absolutely, it was during the Beast from the East storm in March 2018, it was bitterly cold and it had snowed. The drive there was already an adventure with the road getting ever more narrow. Dode looked even more magical than usual and Doug had lit some of the candles inside. 

What do you remember about your first visit to Dode? 

The snow meant that there was hardly any sound to be heard and you could really imagine Dode as it must have been hundreds of years ago. It was incredibly peaceful and atmospheric.

Why did you choose Dode over any other venue?

We wanted a small wedding – maximum 25 people – but as our guests were almost all flying in from abroad (some from as far as the US) we wanted to give them something to remember.  And for us, Dode has special meaning, too. I grew up in Germany and Spain and Alfonso is Venezuelan but has lived in India and in the US. Having moved around so much and coming from different countries, we wanted our wedding venue to have “roots”, a place we know would still be there in decades to come and that we could come back to and visit. And as the proposal and my answer had happened at historic venues in Kent, we ideally wanted it to be in Kent, too. 

But what really clinched it was Doug and the hand fasting vows he showed us. I have to admit that we had given no thought to the vows but when we read the text for the hand fasting ceremony, we immediately loved it. It had meaning without being religious, a certain spirituality combined with a good dose of humour. We even translated the vows into Spanish and handed them out during the ceremony so that the guests who didn’t speak English could follow them word by word. 

Now to your wedding day itself, how many guests did you have? 

We had 23 guests of seven different nationalities (Venezuelan, German, Spanish, American, Italian, Irish and British) travelling in from five different countries.

What did you choose for food? 

We chose Kitchen of Kent as our caterers. They did lovely hors d’oeuvre which we had outside on the lawn, followed by a dinner of roast pork and roast beef with all the trimmings at tables inside Dode. 

Afterwards Cliff and Rebecca from Treats on a Tricycle arrived to provide us with delicious ice-cream. I’m proud to say I ate my way through all six flavours we had chosen! I’d kept the ice-cream tricycle a secret from the guests so it was a nice surprise. 

Did you have a theme or style for the day? 

No theme as such but I did dress up in a wedding dress which I hope reflected the spirit of Dode, and Alfonso went for a tweed suit. Jo from Moody Blooms provided the flowers. She did wonders with my very vague instructions which were along the lines of “a wedding bouquet which looks like it could have been picked from the meadows around Dode”.

And we had Ollie the owl from Nuptuowls bring our wedding rings to add an extra touch of magic…again, we kept that one quiet from the guests so when Ollie swooped down it was a really special moment. 

Where was your favourite place for photos? 

The standing stones.

Any tips for couples getting married with us?

Have it your way, don’t let anyone tell you what has or hasn’t got to be done on your day. We enjoyed our day so much and there was absolutely no stress and our guests are still talking about the wedding precisely because it was so different from the weddings they’d been to in the past.

I am sure you will agree Vanessa and Alfonso have some photos to treasure for many years to come from their wedding day.

For our second real life wedding at Dode we head to Louise and Joe’s special day. 

Are we allowed to ask how you became engaged please? 

Joe proposed to me on the cliff top at Westgate-On-Sea overlooking Westgate Bay. We had gone their for a fish and chip super in our camper van.

Can you remember your initial viewing? 

Our first visit to Dode was exciting and emotional. The drive along the country lanes to Dode is beautiful. Then it opens to the wonderful special place of Dode. Walking up to the magical huge door just heightened the excitement. When we walked in I was overwhelmed by the atmosphere and moved to happy tears! A truly magical place.

Mary and Doug greeted us with such warmth and super friendly it made us very welcome.

Now to your wedding day itself, how many guests did you have and what food did you choose? 

It was a dream come true to get married the way we wished in the most amazing unique building. We had 36 guests. It had a Steampunk style to it. The catering was by the awesome Flying Pig Hog Roast company. Canapés, Hog roast and spectacular desserts. They also provided miniatures of Mead for the ceremony.

Can we ask why you chose Dode over any other venue? 

We chose Dode over anywhere else because it was the perfect package and we wanted it to be intimate and a Hand fasting .

Any tips for couples getting married with us? 

Joe and I would say to couples, relax and enjoy every moment, the magic of Dode will do the rest. We miss Dode and can’t wait to visit again one day! 

If you want to begin your fairytale marriage at Dode, and would like to know more about weddings at The Lost Village of Dode Kent, please contact Becky – for more information and to book a viewing.

The Lost Village of Dode Team 🙂