A garden wedding is becoming an increasingly popular option for home-loving, cost conscious couples. In this blog we explore how a garden wedding can work wonderfully well, and what factors to consider for your special day. As a wedding celebrant I have performed many ceremonies in the gardens of private houses, especially during the pandemic when restrictions limited the number of guests allowed. Depending on your garden, your wedding can be simple and intimate, or wonderfully lavish – you are generally lead by the size, shape and layout of your garden space.
Why have a garden wedding?
Firstly, weddings can be hugely expensive and holding your wedding in your garden can seem like a cost effective option. However, do consider all the add-ons that you will need to hire and buy in – more about that later.
The key benefit to having your wedding at home is that you know the venue well! There will be no surprises – you can, to a certain extent, control the proceedings.
Garden weddings can be beautifully simple and intimate and for some couples they wish to marry in their own home to symbolise how important their home is to them.
Is it a legal marriage?
In a word, no. Or at least, not yet. We are hopeful that in a few years’ time things will be different but at the moment you will need to separate the legal marriage process and the wedding ceremony.
What’s the process?
You will need to attend a short registry office appointment to do the legal declarations and register your marriage by law, which can be done before or after your wedding ceremony. Stacey Solomon and Joe Swash held their wedding in the gardens of their gorgeous Essex home Pickle Cottage. The ceremony was performed by a celebrant and they did the legal part at a registry office a few days later.
Things to consider – 5 top tips
This obviously applies to any wedding anywhere, but it’s really tempting to go overboard with a full garden makeover and structural work in preparation for your garden wedding. If this is in the budget then fine, but be realistic and make improvements that add value to your house and garden at the same time as prepping for the wedding.
#2: Get help
There is a lot more work and stress involved in preparing a garden wedding, as it is basically in your own home. Essentially there is no escape! You are basically organising a ‘dry hire’ wedding, which means you will have hire or buy everything needed for the day.
This potentially includes a mobile bar, chairs, tables, marquee or tipi, decor and styling accessories, lighting, toilets, glasses, cutlery, plates etc, catering, in addition to the usual celebrant, flowers, photographer, DJ, entertainment, power supplies / generators, arranging parking…the list goes on.
A wedding planner can help you source all suppliers and negotiate the best rates, and most importantly, takes a lot of the stress and pressure off you. Think of the details such as who will set everything up, clear plates, wash up, clear up at the end.
Consider using an on-the-day coordinator who can help make the day go smoothly, attending to those little details that may have escaped your attention.
Having crowds of people walking through your house can be quite invasive, especially if you are very houseproud. Think about how you are going to utilise the house and garden spaces – maybe block off the house so that people can stay in the garden area.
#4: Be garden ready
Plan ahead with planting and consider what you need to do in advance to have your garden ready for x months time. A skilled gardener could help transform your garden into a wedding wonderland. Consider different options for if the weather is bad – do you have a plan B? Do you mind people walking on the lawn? Will it be okay if the chairs leave indentations? Where will the bar go? What will you use as the ‘aisle’?
#5: Let the neighbours know!
You don’t want your garden wedding interrupted by Mr Angry from next door complaining that his driveway’s blocked – the best strategy is to invite the neighbours and ask if you can use their drives if possible, to alleviate car parking on the roads.
Wherever you’re thinking of holding your wedding I’d love to chat with you, just get in touch.