Venue Showcase: Elusive Locations (Kirtlington Polo Club & Leckhampstead Forest)

Elusive Locations presents Kirtlington Polo Club, an affordable all-inclusive wedding in a unique and breathtaking location with spectacular views over the Palladium Mansion, Oxford & Leckhampstead Forest, set in a serene ancient oak forest. It’s truly the perfect solution for couples wanting a peaceful, private wedding experience.

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Tell us a little bit about yourself

I’ve been working in events – I say the term loosely as it’s been mostly commercial events and festivals – for the past four years or so, and weddings the past 18 months. Elusive Locations is a venture that we’ve taken on in addition to a long standing luxury wedding company called Marble Private, which has been featured in Vogue for its stunning weddings (I know, epic right!). I’m currently a world-class plate spinner working for both of these wonderful wedding companies – but don’t worry, I’m not yet ‘wedding-ed’ out.

A bit more about me, I’m 23 living and working in London, and when I’m not at the office in Notting Hill or working from home, you can find me painting or reading in a park somewhere, or heading back home to the Cotswolds countryside to be with my family. My role at Elusive Locations is mostly marketing focused, but I will also be your first point of contact when you enquire with us, so do drop me a line and say hello!

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What drew you to the wedding world?

Weddings have always fascinated me, and I absolutely love how fast-paced and exciting the industry is. There’s a real passion amongst the wedding planners and suppliers I have had the pleasure of working with, and of course it’s one of the most rewarding jobs out there! Seeing happy couples say ‘I do’ is a true joy – especially now when so many have been postponed two or even three times. The first ‘wedding related’ job I ever did was actually as an assistant Wedding Florist – it was about 3 years ago – and it was my responsibility to hand the bride her bouquet. She literally burst into a flood of tears and the make up artist had only just finished her lashes! I remember thinking ‘this is such a cool job. I want to do more of this’

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What do you think makes Elusive Locations unique?

Elusive Locations was born in a time where venue hunting has become a challenging and exhausting job, so we’re attempting to cut through the noise with not just an affordable option, but an exclusive and undiscovered option. Our two venues – Kirtlington Polo Club in Oxfordshire, and Leckhampstead Forest in Buckinghamshire – are in previously unused spaces, hidden away in deep forests, and it’s there amongst the trees that you’ll find our enchanting wedding spaces. As I said earlier, our company has its roots in the wedding industry and our directors have won awards for their 15 years of experience, so these spaces are beautifully designed. Every little detail is meticulously thought out, and because both our venues are completely outdoors, there is a magical feel to them. Think of it like this: disco balls line the trees, festoon guides you to your huge private tent, and when you step inside there’s a stunning dancefloor, beautifully decorated tables, a bar filled with only the fizziest of champagne, and the smell of seasonal flowers fills the air. We love the festival feel of an outdoor celebration, and we’ve brought this to both our venues with an elegant, luxurious spin.

Added to this, we build special relationships with our clients by making sure the first step in our enquiry process is a phone call. We want to hear your vision, get to know you, and then personalise our venues to suit your needs. We know that no two clients are the same, and so we make sure to listen to your every need to personalise your day – for example at our Kirtlington venue, you can actually watch a game of Polo during your drinks reception, and the two teams can wear uniforms that are personalised to your couples names!

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How do you get to know your couples before the big day?

As mentioned, the first step in any consultation with us is a phone call. This is important because we want to get to know our couples personally and curate every wedding to suit them. Everything from the flower arrangements, tablescapes, firework displays, and cocktail choices can be completely personalised to represent our wonderful, unique clients. As part of our service offering, we provide a wedding planner on site for 5 days, making sure that the details are absolutely perfect for our couples, and we also make sure our caterers are in direct conversation with our couples so that the food and drink is exactly what they’re looking for. We’re currently running Open Days because we really want to get to know our clients personally, and we’re encouraging them to bring images, tell us their ideas, and get excited with us about their upcoming celebration!

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What do you think makes for the perfect wedding?

Details! The devil is truly in the details, and we’ve only learned this after 15 years of working in the wedding industry. Whether it’s as simple as providing polaroid cameras for guests to take pictures, which are then used as name places on tables, or whether its selecting seasonal and sustainable flowers that are handpicked by our floral team, there are endless opportunities to make the wedding unique and memorable for our couple. Both our venues have the catering tents, dancefloors and glamping rigged and ready to go all season, so what we do exceptionally well is add in the special extras to set the wheels in motion.

What’s the most memorable wedding you’ve had at Elusive Locations?

Part of our extensive service offering is music and booking curation, so on one occasion we had a client who absolutely loved pop star Mika – and what did we do? Secretly booked him in for a 2 hour set, and he did a sound test whilst the guests were eating in the adjacent tent, only to burst into song as desserts were being polished off! On another occasion, we used a field next to the venue to build a secret rave in the forest, where we led guests by Samba band to a dancefloor amongst the woods. They literally partied till 5am!

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Why should a couple book Elusive Locations?

We’ve hand selected our stunning venues in Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire because of their enchanted and undiscovered feel. We know that stately homes and manor houses can be a charming place for a wedding, but hundreds of couples have walked through that threshold and got married before you. What we offer is a venue set in a unique location on the periphery of London; romantic and peaceful, and perfect for a couple who wants to fall in love with their surroundings as they say their special ‘I do’.

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What is your #1 wedding planning tip for couples?

Try to incorporate your personality into your wedding to give your guests – and you! – the most memorable experience. This day is all about your love for each other after all, and there are so many fun ways to bring that into your day. Our favourite example of this was a ‘food tour’ with all the places our couple had had a special moment – starting with pints of Guinness and oyster shucking, to wood fired pizza and wine tasting, and then a limoncello gift for guests before they depart.

What’s the best photo spot at Elusive Locations?

At Kirtlington, the best spot is undoubtedly at the top of the hill, looking out over the Palladium Mansion in Oxford on one side, and on the other the grounds designed by Capability Brown. It’s absolutely always a winner for our clients!

At Leckhampstead, it’s got to be in amongst the trees when they are lit up with disco balls, fibre optic lighting and candle orbs.

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What part of your business are you most proud of? 

I think what we’re all the most proud of is our collaborative approach. We all work together to create the most stunning experience for our clients, and with our suppliers and partners as well. We’ve handpicked local recommended suppliers – from florists, photographers, caterers and tech teams – and these wonderful people are truly some of the best in the business!

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How do you feel technology is changing the industry?

Zoom weddings were certainly an interesting thing to come out of the pandemic… whilst we love this adaptability and creativity, we’re thrilled that physical weddings and events can take place again in the coming months. We’re always putting human connection at the very centre of how we work, and this is most important at a wedding! Some of the technology we’d love to see prevail though is paperless invites – it’s an opportunity for our industry to become more eco-friendly and reduce waste.

What is the one piece of advice you would give to couples that are currently struggling amidst the COVID-19 crisis?

It sounds cliche, but take it one step at a time. Wedding planning can be super exhaustive at times, but this is what we’re here for! The whole idea is we’ll take the stress out of your day whilst keeping the fun and romance. Try not to get overwhelmed by an endless list of tasks and to-do’s, and instead allocate an hour a day to achieve one simple task. Stay organised, stay positive, and most importantly keep a really open line of communication with your suppliers and planners.

What do you love about Bridebook?

Right from the get go we’ve had amazing support from the Bridebook team, Kane especially. They’re always on the other end of emails to give a helping hand, and that’s been invaluable for us starting a business literally in the middle of a pandemic.

Are you looking to promote your beautiful venue to our community of couples? Contact our Venue Consultant team at [email protected]. Also, if you enjoyed this article, see more here.