Hidden jungle paradise hosts wedding for the first time
- Credit: Archant
Love was in the air as East Anglia's very own tropical paradise played host to a wedding with an exotic twist.
In what was the first ever marriage at Henstead Exotic Gardens, lovestruck couple Hannah Joy and Ty Tooze tied the knot on Saturday, June 23.
The garden was developed from scratch by owner Andrew Brogan and boasts a tropical summer house, 100 palm trees and a brook surrounded by a mass of more than 200 giant bamboo plants - all in the depths of Suffolk.
Having assessed a number of options in their search for the perfect venue, the newlyweds - lovers of the great outdoors - were left uninspired, but eventually stumbled upon the ideal candidate.
Despite initially requiring persuasion to wade into uncharted waters, Mr Brogan is now delighted to have played a part in a happy couple's big day.
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'Hannah and Ty really had to convince me, and I initially said no because if you haven't done something like this before it's unknown territory,' he said.
'I'm used to stage managing things myself, but everyone involved in organising the wedding was very hands on and it was important they had it their way.
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'There was a real 'secret garden' aspect as the ceremony was at the front of the garden and that's all the guests saw beforehand. It was brilliant to hear people gasp when they discovered the scale of the place.
'A lot of the guests were from Australia and it was so strange to hear them compare the garden to their own country.'
Having attracted widespread national attention over the past few years, the unique jungle is no longer the county's best kept secret. Gardening heavyweight Alan Titchmarsh said it was 'like Belize comes to Beccles' during filming for his Britain's Best Back Gardens TV show.
As well as being open to the public throughout the summer months, the success of the exotic gardens' debut wedding has left Mr Brogan open to the prospect of hosting more.
'We get people coming to see the garden from across the country and lots of them say they see it as more of a venue than a garden, so we'll see,' said Mr Brogan. 'What people don't realise is that is requires so much maintenance, so it's been great to do something a little bit different.'