In 2018, the average cost of a wedding in the UK hit an eye-watering £30,355! Therefore, it came as no surprise whatsoever that brides and grooms-to-be have been searching for budget big-day alternatives in their droves. Online searches and bookings for both elopement and village hall weddings have soared; however, it’s the humble back garden wedding that is the breakaway superstar of 2019, with Pinterest reporting a whopping 441% increase in online searches!
What if, however, instead of gazing out over a whimsical flower-filled paradise, your eyes are met with a tangle of weeds, moss and overgrown trees? Well, the beauty of wedding planning is that the process usually begins at least one year in advance of the big day; therefore, there’s ample time to transform any garden into an outdoor oasis fit for the wedding of the year.
If your garden really is unsuitable, then have a mental flick through the gardens of friends and family. The majority of couples will have that one relative with an EPIC back garden, the kind where your nostrils are assailed by sweet scents at every corner and the sound of bird song is so intense you instantly want to start meditating. If this is your reality, it’s certainly worth asking to “borrow” their back yard!
So, whether you’ve got a sprawling country garden or a bijou city centre courtyard at your disposal, we’ve got some great garden wedding tips to get the creative sap flowing:
We are super lucky that here in Scotland, we’re one of only six countries in the world where couples can get married anywhere their heart’s desire and a private garden is no exception, so pick your favourite spot and get planning.
Every council has slightly different rules and regulations, but if you live in a built-up area, it is likely that you’ll require both noise and parking permits. We would advise speaking to your local council department for further information. If you have nearby neighbours, we would recommend keeping them in the loop on the run up to the big-day and giving them a contact person in case any issues arise on the day.
Plan for Perfection
At the beginning of the planning process couples need to have a really good think about what kind of reception their garden is able to accommodate. Each type of reception comes with different capacities. We would recommend talking through your vision with both a rental and catering company before you make this decision as they will immediately know how much space you will need to set up tables, tents, photo booths etc to accommodate your guests. Catering companies will also suggest different catering options that best meets space constraints and set up.
Preparation is Key
The absolute beauty of a garden wedding is that if couples are well prepared, they will have ample time to plant their gardens with their chosen design and layout. So, if you have a specific colour or décor in mind, the garden will do all the talking if you let it! That way, there’s no need to pay out for blooms and floral decorations on the day. Also, what a great way to prompt you into doing all that gardening you’ve promised yourself for years you’d get done!
Themes & Styling
There are so many options when it comes to styling a garden wedding. From a simple shabby-chic affair to an elaborate vintage extravaganza, every theme comes with different décor and catering styles so getting to grips with your wedding look as soon as possible will help steer the planning process in the right direction.
Being Scottish Celebrants, we’re all too familiar with how how unpredictable the weather can be, no matter what the season. We always recommend preparing for the worst case scenario so definitely RENT A TENT! Whether it’s pouring down or stiflingly hot, a tent of some description is essential at any outdoor wedding (unless you’re lucky enough to have your own adjoining barn).
After all the preparation, that glorious green lawn can very quickly turn from a bowling green to a boggy scene, so to preserve all your hard work, we recommend either hiring a dancefloor or creating a specific dancefloor area on the terrace, patio or decking.
Let there be Light
Other than the huge financial savings that can be made by hosting a garden wedding, the BEST thing about saying “I do” in the backyard is that you’re free to go completely wild with lighting, which will create the most glorious, romantic, whimsical space possible! We recommend starting weeks if not months before the wedding day (because you can if it’s your own garden!) and wrapping and stringing lights around shrubbery and between trees. Candles also really pack a punch so liberally hang candles in mason jars on chairs, trees and tables for an extra dollop of romantic va-va-voom!
Rent = Time Well Spent
The beauty of renting equipment is that not only is it truly fit for purpose, rented equipment also looks the part AND the rental companies set up and take everything away (including dirty dishes!) leaving you with just a slightly dishevelled looking garden to bring back to life!
Feature Photograph by Lisa Webb Photography