Whether you choose a venue, or your own backyard, here is the ultimate guide to planning (and hosting!) the perfect garden wedding. We have designed flowers for several garden-style events, and we’ve created this guide to help you plan and host the perfect your garden wedding.
Here are my top 10 tips for planning, designing, and hosting a perfect garden wedding!
#1 Pick a location with stunning gardens and architecture.
You’re thinking, “duh.” I know. But you would be surprised by how many requests for garden weddings come to us, and the space is absolutely horrid. It goes without saying, that an outdoor wedding should have a good foundation of natural beauty. That view can be a lovely garden up against a back fence, a wooded glen, a view of the lake, or a building with beautiful architecture.
#2 Avoid Venues that kill the mood
Loud traffic? Telephone poles? Barnyard smells? Outdoor storage under the deck? Avoid these pitfalls. Yes, that may mean that your backyard is out, and you may need to search for a different location. But it is worth it. That being said, if you do have telephone poles in the distance ruining what is otherwise a perfect location, talk to your photographer and planner about how to avoid those angles. There is often a solution… but communication with your vendors is key to making sure those elements don’t end up in the final product.
#3 Find Level Ground
Have you ever been to a picnic, and the table kept rocking…? Your wedding shouldn’t have rocking tables. A level area of ground, or a pre-existing patio are essential for dinning outside. You’ll want to make sure you have enough room for plenty of seating, and dancing, if you plan on having a dance. Talk with your planner to make sure the rental company is aware that you are dinning outside, and if they will be shimming the tables to prevent the dreaded rocking.
#4 Have a Rain Plan
Even rain on your wedding day can be magical, especially when you’re surrounded by flowers and the beauty of nature! To keep you and your guests comfortable, book a back-up tent (Apres here in the Twin Cities now offers clear topped tents, which are PERFECT for making sure you can still see the beauty of the surrounding gardens). For photos, umbrellas are a perfect solution to make sure you get those perfect outdoor photos!
#5 Plan a Walkthrough with Key Vendors
I cannot stress the importance of this enough. Whether you are having an at-home garden wedding, or at a venue, the walkthrough is absolutely critical. If you don’t have the time, have your planner take the lead on this item. The reason for a walkthrough is to determine where light is the best, and what architectural details the photographer would like to highlight. It is critical that the florist be along for this walkthrough, so they can plan for design elements to highlight the areas where the photographer would like to be. Gorgeous doorway with amazing light, but unfortunate iron railing (ahem, see below)? A stair installation of floral and greenery would be the perfect solution.
#6 Choose a Contrasting Color Palette
If you’re getting married outside, chances are high your ceremony backdrop will be green. Going with a greenery arch is the wrong choice in this instance. It will blend into the background, you will be lost in a sea of green, and your guests will have a difficult time focusing (literally focusing their eyes) on the ceremony in front of them. We need to create visual layers to help your guests, and your photographer’s lens, focus on your ceremony! I recommend a contrasting floral palette to both bring focus to you AND make the greenery backdrop even more striking. So, for green, a base of white is a great place to start, and of course accent floral in your wedding colors are easily visible as well.
#7 Choose designs that highlight native floral and foliage
You selected a stunning venue, and if you’ve decided on arrangements with a greenery base, I would highly recommend using foliage that is native to the area. Throwing topical leaves into a Minnesota garden wedding is out of place and creates a “one of these things just doesn’t belong” feeling. It’s unsettling for this style of wedding. Ask your florist about using local foliage, foraged greenery, or foliage that complements the existing gardens and landscape. Here at Rose and Laurel, we always prioritize local blooms (and we serve weddings and events throughout the Twin Cities and around Minnesota). To find florists who prioritize local flowers in your area, you can check out the Slow Flowers Directory
#8 Provide Accessories for the Weather
In case of rain, umbrellas are a great option for your guests, especially if they need to venture from the tent to indoors and there is not already a covered walkway. If you are hosting a garden wedding in the cooler months (or if you live in a cooler climate), providing a blanket for each guest is a thoughtful luxury touch.
#9 Have a Parking Plan
This is particularly important if you are hosting your wedding at home, or at a venue that is made for smaller groups. You may need to consider off-site parking with a shuttle, or valet parking. Make sure to have appropriate permits pulled, or you may end up with a “Father of the Bride” scenario. A skilled and experience planner will be able to help with this!
#10 Have a Bathroom Plan
Again, this is particularly important when you are hosting a wedding in your own home. If you have a low guest count, using the home’s existing restrooms should be fine (if you have a septic tank, that may not be the case…). However, if you anticipate a large guest count, or perhaps would prefer not to have your home open, a luxury portable bathroom option would be perfect. These options are very nice, and usually include solid stone countertops, ceramic sinks, and running water. As with parking, A skilled and experience planner will be able to help with this!
Bonus Tip Good Food + Good Ambiance = Amazing Garden Wedding
At the end of the day, this guide is really here to make sure that your garden wedding has the ambiance to draw your guests into the experience, and when they leave at the end of the night, they will be talking about how amazing and beautiful your wedding was the whole car ride home. Your wedding will become the blueprint for your friends, and the new standard for what a garden wedding will look like. Create a beautiful ambiance, pair that with attention to detail, and an amazing caterer, and you will have the perfect garden wedding!
I hope you found this garden wedding guide helpful! Ready to Start Designing Your Garden Wedding? It won’t be complete without flowers — book your consultation here.
“As a wedding planner, I’ve worked with many florists, and Sarah truly creates works of art! … Her knowledge of flowers, especially local flowers, is so impressive. And she was just a joy to work with and on the ball with details! She would bring positive energy and absolutely gorgeous florals to anything she’s a part of – I can’t wait to work with her again, and can’t recommend her enough!” – Erica, Piece of Cake Minnesota Weddings
Planning: @pieceofcakemn | Photography: nikoleruth |Videography: @oftheseafilms |Floral Design: @roseandlaurelmn |Stationery: @epitomepapers |Hair: @139hairbyheidi |Makeup: @mirandart123 with @139hairbyheidi |Décor: @vintagesoirees |Dress: @bophasar_atelier |Bridal Jewelry: @goldfinejewelry |Rings: @thejewelerryan |Dessert: @amyscupcakeshoppe |Suit: @knights_chamber_clothiers |Chairs, Linens, Napkins: @apreseventandtent | Venue: @outinglodge