Region’s very own tropical paradise to make debut as wedding venue
- Credit: Picture: Nick Butcher
A jungle paradise hidden in the depths of East Anglia is set to play host to a wedding for the very first time.
Henstead Exotic Garden, created by Andrew Brogan, will be the marriage venue for Hannah Joy and Ty Tooze as they tie the knot this Saturday, June 23.
Despite being created from scratch just 15 years ago, the garden boasts an awe-inspiring array of weird and wonderful plants that tower over visitors as they wander around the tropical surroundings.
Suffolk's very own secret jungle is open to the public throughout the summer, but has never played a part on a happy couple's big day - until now.
'We're huge outdoors people, so when we decided to get married it had to be outdoors,' said Miss Joy, who originally hails from Australia and met her husband-to-be in 2015 while working at London Zoo. 'We visited the usual sort of venues - golf clubs, hotels - but none of them appealed to us.
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'There came a point when we had to think outside the box. We even looked at garden centres and then we heard about Henstead Exotic Gardens.
'When we first spoke to Andrew he wasn't too sure about hosting a wedding, but as soon as we got there we fell in love with the place and had to persuade him to make it happen!'
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Among the garden's features are a tropical summer house, 100 palm trees, and a brook surrounded by a mass of more than 200 giant bamboo plants.
While making his Britain's Best Back Gardens TV show, Alan Titchmarsh said it was 'like Belize comes to Beccles. You don't expect it anywhere, and certainly not in dry East Anglia.'
High praise from a revered gardening heavyweight, and the garden's creator is looking forward to the spectacular paradise making its wedding debut.
'I was shocked to be asked, especially given Hannah and Ty work so far away, but the most important thing for me was the enthusiasm of the couple,' said Mr Brogan.
'They loved it from the instant they arrived, even though their first visit came in the middle of the cold snap and the garden wasn't looking its best.'
'They've got guests coming from all over the country and I'll be there to make sure everything runs smoothly.'
No stranger to receiving national attention, the exotic garden was also the location for a Daily Express fashion shoot earlier this week.