The natural beauty of a garden wedding appeals to many brides, and what’s not to love? Soft, natural light creates lovely photos and the charming ambiance puts guests at ease. Garden weddings do have their own unique challenges, though. Choose your garden site carefully and make contingency plans for inclement weather.
Choosing the Perfect Venue for a Garden / Outdoor Wedding
1. When choosing the perfect garden venue, consider your options. Botanical gardens, museums, parks and even a friend’s backyard make intimate, lovely gathering places.
2. Consider the practical elements of planning a garden wedding. Does your chosen site have easy access to electricity and running water? Is parking convenient and accessible? Are the paths well-lit and maintained so that elderly or handicapped guests can maneuver them with ease? What about delivering and setting up food, tables and flowers?
3. Does the site reflect your wedding’s theme? For example, a rustic forest woodland or cottage garden naturally dictates a casual theme, while a garden within an estate calls for a more formal affair. A large garden is often more difficult to decorate than a small, intimate space.
4. Consider the landscaping within the garden. Will it be in its full glory for your wedding? Ask the vendor what flowers will be in bloom when you get married. Review photographs of previous weddings that took place at the same time as your intended wedding.
5. Ask the vendor about bringing your own food, flowers and lights to the site. Some vendors require you to use their caterers and florists.
Making the Most of a Garden Theme
1. Incorporate themes from the garden venue into other aspects of your wedding. For example, use similar flowers in your bouquet and centerpieces as those found growing in the garden. Use natural materials, such as bird nests, grape vines, pebbles or shells as decorations.
2. Choose music that enhances and reflects your theme and setting. A string quartet is appropriate for a formal garden setting, while a playlist of contemporary, folk or jazz songs works well for a more casual event.
3. Keep things simple. One of the great things about a garden wedding is that Mother Nature has taken care of most of the decorating tasks for you. Keep decorations and floral arrangements simple, allowing the natural beauty of the garden to shine.
4. Incorporate the garden theme into the cake and favors. Decorate the cake with fresh flowers or pine cones, birds or leaves sculpted from marzipan or gum paste. Send guests home with prettily packaged flowers, garden seeds or sachets of dried lavender.
5. Time your wedding to maximize the beauty of natural light, usually early in the morning or at sunset. Use candles, luminarias and twinkle lights to enhance the effect. Keep a bucket of water on hand if you use candles.
Troubleshooting for Garden Weddings – What’s Your Plan B?
1. Make an alternate plan for inclement weather. Perhaps a tent with rented heaters, or even an indoor site. When setting your wedding date, consider the natural weather patterns in your area. Buy a wrap or shawl to wear if the weather is cool.
2. Ensure that the site is free of poisonous plants, such as foxglove or poison ivy, especially if young children will be attending.
3. Arrange seating away from bodies of water that attract mosquitoes or flowering bushes that attract bees and other insects. Flowering trees may drop pollen on unsuspecting guests. Burn citronella candles to repel mosquitoes.
4. Plan ahead for formal photograph locations. Watch for shrubs and trees that may appear awkwardly placed in photos.
5. Visit the venue at the time of day you plan to have the wedding. Will guests be squinting at the sun? Is the location hot due to a lack of shade?
A garden is an ideal location for your special day. With proper planning, your wedding will be picture perfect.