"In all things of nature there is something marvelous." -Aristotle
Check out your local botanical gardens. Many have several types of gardens - rose gardens, Asian or Zen gardens, English country gardens - that can serve as a beautiful backdrop for your wedding.
Some botanical gardens are ideal venues to host your wedding reception. They have catering on-site, liquor licenses and can accommodate a sit-down meal or a buffet and dancing. Other gardens may only offer permits for ceremonies or photographs, but have no facilities for the actual reception.
So before you get your heart set on a botanical garden reception, get the facts and go from there. Find out the rules that govern the site and if they fit within your needs - go for it. It will be gorgeous!
Since botanic gardens are generally open to the public, you may have to wait for your reception to begin after the facility has officially closed for the day. Does this suit your concept of your wedding? What can they do to accommodate the time of day you want to be married?
Make sure you know if there are preferred caterers, florists, or bands and other service providers who are contracted to work at this facility. Ask for a list of vendors at the outset to ensure you aren't working at cross purposes. Besides, the botanical garden vendors know the ins and outs of the venue and can guide you to make things easier.
If you are having the wedding reception outdoors on a patio or in the actual gardens, be certain you have a contingency plan set with the garden and their caterers to move inside in case of rain. Find out if you will need to compensate security, parking attendants and others for overtime or if these fees are included in the cost of the facility. Too often this is forgotten and becomes a huge unanticipated expense.
K.I.S.S. (Keep it Simple and Stunning.)
- Send invitations that feature some sort of flower motif
- Stay seasonal - make sure you know what is in bloom and how it will reflect your own touches. Also make sure you don't have allergies to whatever is in bloom or you will be sniffling down the aisle or receiving line.
- Arrange for potted plants rather than cut flowers as centerpieces and accent decor. Make sure that they are small and bright but ...
- Don't over decorate - you have all that nature surrounding you!
- Simple linens and table settings - white or pastel, solid colors.
- Flower motif placecards
- Shimmering candles on the tables to enhance your surroundings and not detract from them.
- Make sure your guests get the chance to tour the botanical gardens during the cocktail hour - both indoors and outdoors.
- Incorporate edible flowers into your foods. Sprinkle pansies and fresh herbs onto your opening salad.
- Have a floral-themed wedding cake. If you are overlooking a rose garden, imagine how the cake will pick up the beauty of the flowers.
- Serve sugared roses. Place a bowl of these petals on each table and give your guests a flowery treat.
- Provide your guests with garden-inspired quotes on scrolls and small herb plants as wedding favors.