What better place for a celebration of love than a garden surrounded by flowers, butterflies, and singing birds? Take advantage of nature's ready-made décor and use the season's best blooms as your wedding colors. Gardens provide a feast for the senses with dazzling visual appeal and sweet fragrances. No matter where your photographer stands, you'll surely be caught looking your best.
Unless you're using an indoor or covered garden, you'll need to take weather into account. Although you've done your research and avoided the rainy season, it's important to plan for an unseasonal shower just in case. Look for venues with nearby covered areas so your party can take shelter while the storm passes. You can also find party rentals and tents that will keep your party dry.
If you're planning a garden ceremony, you're probably hoping for a sunny day. However, even blue skies can present challenges. Your guests may be arriving in strapless dresses or without hats. Save them from sunburns with carefully-chosen wedding favors like personalized mini-bottles of sun block, floppy sun hats, or even delicate, fashionable umbrellas. On hot days, folding fans are favors that are always appreciated.
As with any outdoor wedding, survey your site before choosing an outfit. Look for low plants and landscaping that could snag long, flowing material–as a rule, tea-length wedding dresses are the best bet for garden ceremonies. Watch out for soft surfaces that can swallow high heels. If the grass is soft and clean, you may even wish to go barefoot. Unless you have a dedicated assistant who's willing to follow you around all day, skip the long train. You can always make up for it with extra adornments in your hair or an especially elaborate veil. Carefully describe the location in the invitations so guests know how to dress appropriately, too.
All Living Flowers
The best part about garden weddings is that the flowers are already there. There's no need to spend thousands of dollars on floral arrangements that will just wilt in a few days. The living flowers in your garden don’t need to be ordered ahead of time; they'll just be there waiting for you, every bit as fresh as the day they burst into bloom.
To really embrace your theme, try to make it through your whole wedding ceremony and reception without using any cut flowers. Living flowers send a message of growth and life, which is a beautiful statement for a wedding. Even your bouquet doesn't need cut flowers. You can use air plants (Tillandsia), which are exotic and delicate ornamentals that don’t need to be anchored in soil to thrive.
To further continue the theme of living, growing décor, you can embed native flower seeds into your invitations. That way, when guests are done reading the information, they can plant the entire piece of paper and grow a colorful reminder of your wedding.
Rooting Your Bouquet After the Ceremony
If, like many brides, you've fallen in love with your bouquet, you don’t have to say goodbye to it after the wedding. Instead of tossing the bouquet away at the reception, keep it and stick it in a vase of water. Many plants can be rooted easily from cuttings–consult with your florist when choosing your flowers to ensure that the blooms you pick will take root easily. Some examples include: geranium, forget-me-not, lavender, marigold, passion vine, and many fragrant herbs like rosemary. You can also add a sprinkle of rooting hormone, which is sold at most garden supply stores and will help plants take root more easily, but be sure to read the label warnings thoroughly if you use the product.
The rooting process only takes a few weeks, and requires very little effort on your part. You can leave the bouquet in water on a sunny windowsill during your honeymoon, and when you come back you may see the beginnings of delicate roots sprouting from the bottoms of the stems. If some of the water evaporates over time, just add more. Not every sprig will take root, so keep an eye on the bouquet and remove any strands that appear to be wilting. Don't worry if the flowers dry up and fall off; as long as the stem stays green, the plant will live and new flowers will grow.
When the roots are a few inches long, you can take the bouquet out of the vase and plant it in a flower pot or a garden. It will grow into a living replica of your wedding bouquet and will act as a fragrant reminder of your happy day for years to come.
Finding Your Perfect Garden
Gardens come in many styles, from mossy and enchanted-looking grottos to bold rows of brilliant sunflowers. You may prefer primrose gardens with white wicker arches, or your taste may run toward the wild and untamed. Some gardens are large enough to contain fountains and gazing pools, or hedge mazes right out of fairytales. Other gardens are small and intimate, with unexpected art pieces tucked into crannies. When you find the garden that's perfect for you, you'll know immediately.
No matter what style of garden you choose, you'll be able to pledge your commitment to your beloved in a special space. A garden is a place where things take root and grow, after all. Small seeds stretch toward the sun and fruit and flower. By beginning your married life in such a space, you'll have a lifetime to discover what blossoms the years will bring.