Answer to your questions about weddings at Tilgate Park
What’s unique about a wedding at Tilgate Park?
Tilgate Park is set in more than 200 acres of lakes and ancient woodlands. The new licenced wedding garden has been developed from one of our formal gardens, whereas The Barn provides a spacious indoor venue for weddings.
Animal lovers can experience a unique photo session with the meerkats and tapir, whilst the other guests entertain themselves with a walk around the rest of the Nature Centre. Our mature hedge maze is right next to the Arena where there is ample room for a big reception marquee.
Tilgate Park has always held a special place in the hearts of residents in Sussex and we know that you will agree when you visit us for a viewing.
How many guests can I have at my wedding?
Our Wedding Garden and Barn are licensed for up to 100 guests for a wedding ceremony.
For your reception you have a choice of a marquee in the main events arena located within the Walled Garden at Tilgate or the Barn.
The marquee will accommodate up to 200 guests seated around tables, but capacity would reduce if you had a dance floor, band, caterers etc. There is also a large outdoor space for locating caterers and tables and chairs for an alfresco reception.
The Barn will accommodate up to 80 people seated around tables, but capacity will reduce dependent on whether you had a DJ, Band, Dance Floor and catering. There is also a lovely secluded outdoor courtyard which can be used locating caterers and extra tables and chairs.
We have packages available for smaller weddings, which you can choose to have with or without a reception.
Is the venue licenced for a civil ceremony?
Yes. We have licenced two areas, The Wedding Garden and The Barn.
Do I have to book a registrar?
If you are choosing a civil ceremony, you will need to check that a registrar is available by completing a form on their website www.westsussex.gov.uk by emailing email@example.com or calling 01243 642122
There are registrar fees payable directly to them and you will legally be required to give notice. They will guide you through it all.
What’s the difference between a marriage and a wedding?
A marriage is the legal term used and can usually only be performed by a registrar or minister of religion. Tilgate Park is licenced for legally binding civil ceremonies officiated by a registrar only.
A wedding can be performed by anyone, a celebrant, a humanist or even a friend of the family! They usually last a little longer than the traditional “I do’s” and you can make it as personal as you like, even write your own vows.
You can combine both and have a civil marriage and a wedding. Some couples will arrange a registrar to officiate at Tilgate Park and follow on with a celebrant wedding immediately afterwards. Alternatively, some may choose to attend the registry office earlier in the day, or even on another day altogether and have their wedding with their guests at Tilgate Park.
Can we have a blessing, celebrant or humanist ceremony?
Yes! You can also choose other locations around the park for this type of ceremony. So if you want to be married in the pinetum or on the peace garden bridge, we can make that happen for you!
Is the venue fully wheelchair and pushchair accessible?
Yes. The Wedding Garden and Arena are both level access. Level access to The Barn is through the courtyard. We have disabled toilets and a hoist assisted toilet available.
How much does it cost for a wedding at Tilgate Park?
Packages for 2022 start from under £3000 for a one day hire of the Wedding Garden and the Arena with marquee. Micro weddings start from £500.
Added extras include photo opportunities with the animals and booking of The Barn as an indoor contingency plan or dressing room. We can confirm these prices upon request and before booking.
You are free to take photos and video around the park on the day of the wedding without paying for a standard filming and photography fee.
What’s included in the hire fee?
The great thing about Tilgate Park Weddings is that our prices are for dry hire. This means that you are able to make the venue unique to your wedding and choose which suppliers you would like to use for your food, flowers, styling etc.
You can choose a caterer for any cuisine, so if you like barbecue or pizza, fine dining or curry, the choice is yours! The caterer will usually take care of all the licensing for alcohol and provide cutlery, crockery, glassware and linens.
You can hire a bar so that all you have to do is pick up a glass and do the speeches!
Suppliers will have access to electricity, water, parking and the venue manager if they have any questions. Included in your package is the right to roam around the park for photos on the day of your wedding. A venue manager will greet your suppliers upon arrival and will be available until the end of the hire period on the day.
Choose between a garden wedding and marquee in The Arena, or an indoor wedding in The Barn with a reception in either The Barn or a marquee.
Can I have any suppliers I choose?
Yes. Every wedding is totally unique and as a dry hire venue, we give you the free choice to style it exactly as you wish with the suppliers that will make your dream wedding a reality.
Safety is our first priority so to give you the peace of mind to relax and know that your guests are in safe hands, we insist that all caterers are registered with Environmental Health and hold a minimum 3-star food hygiene rating.
We have a number of known suppliers who understand the park and what’s possible.
Can you meet my suppliers?
Yes. We have allowed for two meetings of up to three hours in total to meet with your suppliers and/or yourself to show them the site and answer their questions. This time includes any additional visits you want to make to plan your day.
What are the timings on the day?
Most registrar weddings are booked between 12 pm – 4 pm. Your caterer, stylist, florist and other suppliers may arrive from 7:30 am.
Your guests can party on until 11 pm and we request carriages are prompt at 11 pm.
Your caterer and other suppliers can stay until midnight to tidy and clear away. Please note that any late departure will incur additional charges, however we can arrange for them to return and remove their equipment the next morning. Anything left overnight is at their own risk and we will not take any responsibility for any lost, stolen or damaged items.
Is there a room available for the registrar meeting beforehand?
We can provide an office in our staff area where the registrar can say hello, meet with you and check your ID before the wedding.
Do you provide staff?
A venue manager will be available on the day to greet your suppliers and show them where to park and set up and and the facilities that are available. The venue manager will remain contactable for the entire day and they will lock up at the end of the hire period.
If you need ushers or marshals, you are welcome to bring your own staff on site.
Can I have a wedding planner to make some decisions for me?
Yes. We have allowed a section within our wedding agreements for you to nominate a person who can make decisions on your behalf if you wish. This could be a wedding planner, relative or friend. Please note, they may make decisions that incur additional charges so it is important that they know what your budget is and what you want to have on the day. We may ask you to confirm by email that you accept any additional charges from the changes they make.
Are toilets available?
Public toilets are available in the Walled Garden and if hiring The Barn, there are unisex toilets and a disabled toilet. A hoist assisted toilet is available within the Nature Centre.
You are welcome to hire additional posh portable toilets if you want the convenience of them nearer to a marquee in The Arena.
Is smoking allowed?
Smoking is permitted in a designated smoking area within the Arena and in the courtyard of The Barn. We respectfully ask that there is no smoking in the Wedding Garden.
Is confetti allowed?
You are welcome to use fresh or dried petals as confetti but we ask that you refrain from any other type of confetti or glitter cannons as we have to protect the wildlife in the park.
We recommend that when you tell your guests this, you offer to supply the confetti for them on the day. This also gives you the opportunity to colour match the confetti to your styling.
Can I have fireworks or Chinese lanterns?
Unfortunately, with a zoo on site, we cannot allow either. However, if you would like to use handheld sparklers, you may do so at your own risk.
Are there restrictions on noise?
We want your party to be full of fun and for everyone to have a great time. However, you must be mindful that there are a number of residents who live within the park and we ask that you respect their peace. When you come and take a tour of the park we can show you where they live. Most DJs and musicians are able to ensure their music can create the right atmosphere without causing an inconvenience for neighbours, so please be sure to explain this to them too. We are happy to meet with and show your suppliers the location and talk through acceptable noise levels.
What parking is available?
The wedding car and two registrars will be given a reserved parking space in the area adjacent to the Walled Garden. All suppliers will be shown where to park in the staff parking area within our working yard.
Your guests will be able to park in one of the free car parks, on street or in one of the pay and display car parks. If they choose a pay and display car park they are responsible for ensuring they display a valid ticket for the correct duration.
What entertainment is available?
There is so much to do at Tilgate Park! To add some adrenaline to your day, why have a go on a woodland Segway or book to have some tree top photos on our GoApe course?
You may want to explore the maze next to The Arena, or visit the Nature Centre to see the huge range of over 100 species of animals from all around the world.
Take a boat out with the swans on the lake or even play a round of golf on the morning of the wedding at Tilgate Forest Golf Club.
We have contact with suppliers who you can hire to provide funfair rides and children’s entertainment if you have a big family to keep occupied.
Or maybe you want some giant garden games and a crèche for little ones. The Arena is big enough for all of this to be set up.
Are dogs allowed?
Assistance dogs are allowed, specifically for the purpose of accompanying the person they are supporting. We request that no other animals are brought within the Walled Garden.
If you are arranging a horse drawn carriage, we can allow them to come up to the gates.
What if we have to postpone?
If the government restrictions mean you have to move your wedding, we will offer you an alternative date. If possible, we will offer you a like for like date within 12 months, i.e. if you have booked a Wednesday, we will offer you an alternative Wednesday and if you have booked a weekend, we will offer you an alternative weekend. If there are no dates available to offer you, we will look to the next year and so on. If you do not wish to book one of the alternative dates that we have offered you, you could choose to pay an additional fee to change to an alternative date that suits your diary. If we really can’t accommodate your postponement, we will refund any deposits paid so that you can find a venue that will host your special day. We’re nice people!
If you need to postpone your wedding for any other reason, cancellation and re-booking fees may apply.
Is my security deposit refundable?
We take a £500 security deposit at booking and providing there is no reason to make any deduction for damages or breach of contract, we will refund that to you after the wedding. If there are any charges, we will of course tell you what and why and send an official invoice, still refunding the difference. It is important that you make your suppliers aware of this.