In Florida we are lucky to have beautiful weather all year round. You could not choose a better place for your backyard or garden wedding. Before you decide if an outdoor wedding is right for you, there are many things you should consider. First, is your yard large enough to accommodate your guests comfortably and do you have adequate parking? Second are you a do-it-yourselfer? Yes you can hire a caterer, florists, even an event planner but be prepared to do some of the prep yourself. If you answered yes to these questions then here are a few tips to transform your backyard into the garden wedding of your dreams.
With a little help from your friends; choose a theme and create a plan, then create a backup plan just in case. Enlist family and friends to help with the details. Sharing the duties will not only help you but will let them know that you want to include them in your special day.
Mix and mingle: You need to make sure you have good crowd flow. A way to do this is divide the area into sections; ceremony, bar, buffet and dance or mingle areas.
Be prepared: You never know what Mother Nature will throw at you. Ants, bugs, rain, wind, heat can all put a damper on your special day. Consider renting a tent, porta potties and fans or misters if you are planning a summer wedding. Use citronella candles and bug zappers in the evening.
What to eat: choose your favorite foods being sure they are suitable for outdoors. Consider cupcakes or a dessert bar instead of a wedding cake. Serve a buffet of picnic or finger foods. Be sure to have plenty of lemonade and ice tea or punch to keep the guests from becoming dehydrated.
Ambiance: Music and lighting is very important. Twinkle lights draped through the trees for an evening ceremony and soft music under the stars creates a magical feeling.
Extreme backyard makeover: There are many ways to make your backyard wedding worthy. Start with the simple things, mow, rake and weed to give the yard a well manicured look Add an arbor or gazebo as a backdrop for the ceremony and it becomes a permanent part of your garden decor. Place a couple of small benches nestled within the garden for intimate seating. It is also important to look at the ground itself. Is the ground level? Are there areas of standing water when it rains? Do you have an area for dancing? Many rental companies rent dance floors or you could install a paver patio that will double as a dance floor and for backyard gatherings for years to come.
What is a garden wedding without flowers? Carry your color and flower theme into your garden beds by planting colorful flowering annuals and perennials. floridafriendlyplants.com offers a list, with pictures and descriptions, of the top 20 annuals, such as Marigolds, Coleus, Salvia, Delphinum and Impatiens. They also have list for perrenials, drought and shade tolerant Florida friendly plants. Consider an all white garden for an evening wedding with Dusty miller and Alyssum or eye popping colors for Summer with bright yellow Allamanda or fire red Brazilian red hots.
If you do not have a yard or would rather not have your wedding at home there are many beautiful botanical gardens, resorts,B&B’s, artist studios and other outdoor venues that offer rental of their gardens for weddings. Here are a few throughout Florida:
Bonnet House in Fort Lauderdale spans 35 acres, with a variety of exquisite settings for weddings of any size.
Hollis Garden, Lakeland, is a Botanic Garden set in a neo-classical architectural environment.
Chalet Suzanne, Lake Wales, offers four distinct wedding ceremony sites at the historic 100 acre estate.
Inn on Fifth, Naples, has a spacious courtyard overlooking the poolside waterfall and foliage islands.
John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, is located on a 66-acre estate on the shores of Sarasota Bay.
Cypress Grove Estate, Lake Jessamine in Edgewood the Estate House at Cypress Grove is a vintage 1925 estate. Harry P Leu botanical gardens in Orlando boasts that weddings have been a tradition there for many years.
Steinhatchee Landing Resort, Steinhatchee, has an outdoor gazebo and sprawling green lawns along the Steinhatchee River.
Miami Beach Botanical Gardens, Miami, offers rental of the entire garden for large weddings or the intimate Japanese garden with wooded surround and waterscapes for smaller weddings.
Gasparilla Inn, Gasparilla Island, experience the feeling of Florida as it was meant to be at this seaside resort.
Dancing Crane Gallery, Village of the arts in Bradenton, is a cozy private garden, perfect for small weddings with its enchanted lighted garden, pond, and gazebo.
Disney, Orlando offers the ultimate garden wedding. You can reserve the pavilion at the Magic Kingdom with the Cinderella castle as a backdrop or have your wedding at Epcot in the Italian courtyard or Japanese garden.
Whether you decide to do it yourself in your own backyard or have your wedding at a botanical garden or other venue, there is something to be said about an intimate gathering in the garden to create a unique and magical setting for one of the most memorable days of your life.
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About Florida Creative Living
At Florida Creative Living Magazine we are dedicated to providing readers of all ages with informative, inspirational, and new ideas to various solutions which any individual may encounter in their day to day living.