Here’s how to create the enchanted outdoor celebration of your dreams

A gentle breeze caresses the lawn. Soft sunlight filters through trees. The scent of fresh flowers fills the air. And maybe, if you’re very lucky, a delicate butterfly will flutter past as you share your first kiss as a couple. Welcome to the enchanting world of garden weddings, where nature becomes the backdrop for your special day. 

In recent years, garden weddings have surged in popularity among brides and grooms, and it’s no surprise why. These outdoor celebrations offer a unique blend of natural beauty, romantic ambiance, and whimsical charm, creating unforgettable moments for couples and guests alike. But how can you make sure that you throw the outdoor celebration of your dreams? Here are our 17 best tips for garden wedding planning.

Consider season and climate

Romantic pink garden blooms
Photo by Daiga Ellaby on Unsplash

The first step in planning your dream garden wedding is thinking about how the season will impact upon your theme, design, and overall planning. Of course, spring and summer are the obvious garden wedding choices due to their warm weather and abundance of blossoms, but don’t forget that fall offers a rich tapestry of colors as the leaves change (plus plenty of opportunity for cute outdoor themes like rustic harvest or pumpkin patch party). 

Don’t write off the idea of a partial garden wedding in winter either—because while you’ll probably want to have most of the celebration indoors, you can still turn the outdoors into a frosty fairytale space for guests. Think Christmas or winter decor like twinkling fairy lights, evergreen fronds, and silver-painted pine cones, plus heaters, blankets, and even a hot chocolate station to keep people warm. Or what about hiring Santa to arrive in a sleigh and give out wedding favors? 

There’s nothing stopping you from creating a frosty winter wonderland that’s a cross between Narnia and Lapland.

Choose the perfect location

Once you’ve chosen your season, it’s time to find the ideal scenic space for swapping your vows. You’ll want a wedding destination that doesn’t just have a garden as an afterthought but instead has made it a lovingly crafted feature that spirits you away into a magical world.

Needless to say, with our piazza, iconic tulips, and dreamy Tuscan design, Il Tulipano is everything you could possibly want from a garden wedding venue.

Pick your ideal garden wedding theme 

Why not take your garden wedding up a notch by weaving a special theme into it? Whether it’s cottage core, boho festival, carnival magic, English garden, Mediterranean dream, enchanted fairytale, or Great Gatsby glamor, you can use your imagination to amplify your outdoor setting.

Embrace nature in your decor

Beyond themes, let nature be your guide when it comes to garden wedding decor. Enhance the natural beauty of your surroundings with simple yet elegant touches like floral arches, cascading greenery, and twinkling fairy lights. Other charming elements like wooden signage, lanterns, and rustic-chic furniture can create a seamless blend of indoors and outdoors.

Plan for ultimate guest comfort

While outdoor weddings offer stunning scenery, they also require careful planning to ensure the comfort of you and your guests. Consider hiring wedding tents or sun umbrellas to provide shade and shelter from heat or unexpected rain showers. 

Plus don’t forget to provide heaters and blankets for those post-sunset hours. And if your wedding is in high summer, then offering guests fans, parasols, sunscreen, bug spray, and cooling wipes is essential. 

Create a thoughtful layout

Design a garden wedding layout that maximizes the flow of your event while highlighting the natural beauty of the space. Arrange seating areas strategically to take advantage of scenic views and craft intimate gathering spots. Consider creating designated areas for key moments like the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception to keep the celebration moving smoothly.

Curate a seasonal garden wedding menu

Celebrate your outdoor wedding with a thoughtful menu that showcases local, natural, and seasonal ingredients. Serve refreshing cocktails infused with local herbs and botanicals, crisp salads featuring produce from nearby farms, and entrees celebrating the bounty of land and sea. You could also design a garden-themed wedding signature cocktail with ingredients like edible flowers or elderflower liqueur. 

And for summer garden weddings, don’t forget to offer plenty of hydration options to keep guests cool and comfortable, such as an arrival drinks station.

Choose garden-friendly wedding attire

When it comes to garden wedding attire, think comfort and practicality alongside romance and whimsy. If your celebration is in the summer, then opt for lightweight fabrics like organza, chiffon, or linen that will keep you cool in the heat, then layer on a shawl or bolero for the cool of the evening. Brides may also want to choose a gown with a shorter train or skip the veil altogether to avoid any snags or stains from outdoor elements. A dreamy parasol would also be ideal for summer soirees.

Also, consider choosing a nature-loving color scheme for your bridesmaid dresses. For instance, a fashionable sage green wedding aesthetic, or gentle floral pastels like lavender, rose, or lilac, or contrasting bold shades that will make your gals look like a bunch of vibrant blooms. And don’t forget to choose local, seasonal flowers for your bouquet and the groom’s boutonniere.

Embrace the natural lighting

One of the most magical aspects of garden weddings is the natural lighting that bathes everything in a soft, romantic glow. Take advantage of “golden hour” (the last hour before sunset) by holding a later ceremony at that time or arranging for your photographer to hang around a little longer to snap magical “sunset kiss” portraits. 

Also, consider including lanterns, candles, or string lights to add warmth and ambiance as the day turns to night. 

Communicate with your vendors

Open communication is key when working with vendors to bring your garden wedding vision to life. Provide everyone with detailed information about your venue, or, ideally, choose vendors who are already familiar with the setting (Il Tulipano has a list of first-class preferred New Jersey wedding vendors). 

Schedule a tour to discuss setup plans and address any questions well in advance of the big day. Also, make sure that your makeup artist creates a look suitable for an outdoor ceremony, for instance, heat-resistant makeup. In short, you want to ensure that your vendors have all the guidance they need to make your garden wedding dreams a reality.

Embrace flexibility

While outdoor weddings offer unparalleled beauty, they also come with the inherent unpredictability of Mother Nature. Embrace flexibility and have a backup plan in place for less than ideal weather, whether it’s a marquee or an indoor space on standby. 

That is why it’s a good idea to choose a venue that only hosts one wedding at a time, as the team will have the time, flexibility, and space to make any last-minute changes. 

Capture every moment

Don’t forget to hire a talented photographer and videographer to capture all the special moments of your garden wedding. Choose professionals who have experience shooting outdoor events and understand how to work with natural lighting and scenic backdrops.