Botanical Garden Weddings: What You Need to Know

Weddings and flowers go together like… well, you and your partner. To really bring the flower power, check out these tips for a botanical garden wedding.

By Emily Forrest

couple on the dance floor in garden
Photo by Nathaman Photography

Shortly after you and your fiance get engaged, the excitement of wedding planning sets in. One of the first major decisions that you’ll have to make as a couple is which venue to book. You want a space that’s scenic, spacious, and offers the ideal ambiance.

There are so many wedding themes to choose from. If you love the idea of an outdoor wedding, surrounded by lush foliage and florals, a botanical garden may be the perfect venue for you. These gardens feature nature’s beauty in full force. However, botanical gardens also come with some special considerations and rules that you should be aware of.

So, what do you need to know about throwing a wedding in a botanical garden? Keep reading to find out.

What Are Botanical Gardens?

Botanical gardens are gardens that feature a wide range of plants, each labeled by their botanical names, including:

  • Flowers
  • Cacti
  • Herbs
  • Trees
  • Exotic plants

The purpose of botanical gardens is to preserve plants for research, conservation, and education. They often host public tours and educational events. In turn, you can think of botanical gardens as natural art exhibits.

The Benefits of Throwing a Wedding at a Botanical Garden

Botanical gardens are wedding-worthy venues due to their carefully-manicured natural beauty. They offer vast open-air spaces that are ideal for a wedding ceremony or reception, and, thus, they’re growing in popularity amongst wedding planners.

By hosting your wedding at a botanical garden venue, it’s sure to be memorable for everyone involved. Some other benefits of choosing a botanical garden for your venue include:

  • Built-in decor – Botanical gardens often feature gorgeous fountains, archways, statues, and other eye-catching art installations. By choosing to host your wedding at one, you’ll get to showcase all that grandeur without arranging it yourself.

  • A stunning backdrop – If you and your fiance love nature, botanical gardens let you get married right in the midst of it. Not only will the lush gardens look beautiful in person, but they’ll make for a stunning photoshoot backdrop, too.

  • Wedding planning services – Since botanical gardens receive many wedding venue requests, some have started offering wedding planning services, such as catering and decorating. By using these services, you’ll enjoy the peace of mind that your wedding professionals are experienced in working in a botanical garden setting.

  • Ample outdoor space – Whether you want to have a small, intimate ceremony or invite a large, lively party, most botanical gardens offer ample space to accommodate everyone. Many botanical gardens also have open-air performance spaces, which are ideal for a wedding’s live band and dance floor.

  • Beautiful indoor spaces – If you’d like some overhead protection, many botanical gardens also have gorgeous indoor spaces, such as atriums and greenhouses.

For these reasons, botanical gardens are tailor-made for outdoor weddings.

What to Know About Planning a Botanical Garden Wedding

Planning a wedding is a substantial undertaking. There are so many moving parts to keep in mind, regardless of which venue you choose.

However, botanical gardens come with some unique considerations, such as:

  • The weather – Botanical garden weddings are best-suited for balmy spring and summer save-the-dates. As with any outdoor wedding, you want to avoid the rain at all costs. However, if Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate, make sure your botanical garden venue has a backup plan in place.

  • The temperature – Another crucial factor is the heat. You don’t want your guests fanning themselves profusely and feeling miserable throughout your wedding ceremony. If you expect hot weather, set up some overhead shade and provide an air-conditioned space—this way, your guests can seek reprieve from the heat.

  • The rules – Since botanical gardens are plant conservation centers first, they have certain rules that you’ll need to abide by:

  • Liquor – Some botanical gardens have liquor licenses, while others don’t. Depending on your garden’s liquor rules, they may mandate that you order all your drinks from their bar, as opposed to bringing in your own alcohol. Check with your chosen garden to see what their liquor rules are ahead of time.

  • Decor restrictions – Furthermore, botanical gardens often have restrictions on what decor you can set up. Some ban the use of fake flowers, glitter, birdseed, and other small trinkets since they can harm the beautiful garden’s grounds and ecosystem. Fortunately, with so much natural beauty at your disposal, you don’t need a ton of traditional wedding decor.

As long as you safeguard against rain, excessive heat, and adhere to your botanical garden’s rules, you’ll be well on your way to hosting a stunning garden wedding.

How to Throw a Botanical Gardens Wedding

With the basics out of the way, let’s review some botanical garden wedding ideas:

Step 1: Decorate With Abundant Florals

Even though botanical gardens already showcase a plethora of plants, you can take it up a notch by showering your space in flowers. They will fit right in with your botanical garden theme.

Place overflowing bouquets in the following areas:

  • Your altar wedding arch
  • Throughout the ceremony seating area
  • On the dessert and dining tables
Botanical Garden Weddings: What You Need to Know Photo Credit // Aaron Kes Photography

Use Pressed Flowers

If you enjoy getting crafty, consider pressing some flowers ahead of time. Use them to embellish your wedding invitations. This will give guests a preview of what’s to come at the wedding.

You can also add pressed flowers to your dining table place cards. These little touches will delight your guests and enhance the enchanting vibe of your special day.

Use Edible Flowers

Another way to make your wedding stand out is to use edible flowers in your menu plan. They look beautiful in salads, desserts, and craft cocktails. You could even freeze some tiny florals into ice cubes to spruce up your non-alcoholic beverages.

Also, don’t forget to add a few floral decorations to your wedding cake. When it comes to botanical garden weddings, the more flowers, the better.

Step 2: Set Up a Stunning Indoor Space

While you want to take full advantage of the beautiful outdoors, it’s also smart to design an indoor space.

Some ideas for a dazzling indoor area include:

  • A glass atrium
  • A greenhouse
  • A tented gazebo

Not only will these spaces provide some shade and protection from the rain (fingers-crossed that there’s none), but they also give your guests a clear space to congregate after your beautiful ceremony.

Step 3: Use Romantic Lighting

Mother Nature already provides a lot of the ambiance, but you can amplify the romantic auras by sprinkling some fairy lights throughout the trees.

Candles are another romantic lighting option. Arrange some candles throughout your wedding venue and surround them with gorgeous vases of flowers.

Step 4: Choose Garden-Inspired Wedding Attire

Botanical gardens are brimming with inspiration for your wedding day attire:

  • The garden gown – To embrace the garden gown, consider the following wedding attire ideas:

    • Choose a wedding gown with subtle floral details.
    • Don a handmade flower crown in your hair.
    • Choose a charming pair of heels that exude a garden vibe, either in a soft pink or a floral pattern. As they peak out beneath your gown, you’ll look like a tulip-toed princess on your big day.
  • The garden suit – For a garden suit, you can showcase some on-theme florals by ornamenting your suit with a flower lapel pin or a floral patterned tie. If you don't want to wear a classic black tuxedo, opt for a white suit instead. It will look soft against the green garden backdrop.

You can amplify the garden vibe even further by asking your wedding party and guests to wear pretty pastels. Also, don’t forget to order a stunning wedding bouquet that will live up to the grandeur of your botanical garden venue.

Step 5: Take Advantage of Mother Nature's Beauty During Photos

Before you begin your vows, make sure to schedule in time for a lovely garden photoshoot. You should have no problem finding picturesque backdrops for photos.

Nothing looks more romantic than planting a kiss on your soon-to-be spouse in a gorgeous garden. You’ll cherish these pictures for years to come.

Botanical Garden Weddings: What You Need to Know Photo Credit // heidi-o-photo

Step 6: Send Your Guests Off With Celebratory Seeds

A unique and practical wedding gift that you can give your guests are seeds from the botanical garden. Most botanical gardens sell seeds in their gift store.

Your guests can plant these seeds and enjoy blooming flowers, herbs, or veggies in the springtime. As these plants grow, they’ll serve as a lovely memento of your magical wedding day.

Plan a Perfect Botanical Garden Wedding With Zola

Your wedding day is one of the most anticipated and cherished days of your life. After so much planning, you want to be able to sit back, relax, and smell the flowers (literally). To make the wedding process easier on you, reach out to the wedding experts at Zola.

Zola provides expertise on all things wedding. By partnering with Zola, you can set up your dream registry in a few easy steps. Zola also offers stunning save-the-date invitations with free shipping, free alterations, and free envelopes. Plus, with the digital RSVP tracking, you can also stay on top of your guest list with ease.

To learn more about these helpful wedding planning tools and resources, register at Zola today.

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