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By Highwic and Luke Ellery
Garden wedding venues can infuse your day with a whimsical, fairytale-like quality. You can enhance your special day with these magical qualities through personalised touches and clever styling. Here are our top 5 reasons why a garden wedding is such a perfect choice. But this article isn't just about why to have a garden wedding. Since we have access to insider knowledge from well-seasoned garden wedding hosts like Markovina Estate and Highwic, we felt it was only right to give you a few tips on how to throw that dreamy garden wedding too!
Image by Christina Schmidt Photography
There are so many things to love about summer in New Zealand. Lounging at the beach, spending countless hours in and out of the water, the long days and late sunsets, barbeques, and sleeping with the windows open. One aspect of Auckland summer that isn’t so desirable, however, is the inevitable rainy periods scattered amidst the sunny days. When it comes to the uncertainty of whether or not you and your guests are going to be victims of an unexpected mid-afternoon shower, a garden wedding lends itself to the possibility of multiple ceremony locations. Most often garden wedding venues include the choice of an outdoor or indoor ceremony area, which is perfect for those who are a little weather weary.
Image by Markovina Estate
For some wedding guests, venue changes can be quite an inconvenience and nobody enjoys downtime in between the ceremony and reception. A garden venue can cater for both the ceremony and the reception with equal levels of quality maintained throughout, from excellent reception and dining areas to quality lighting, sound, and dance floors.
Image by Ross Hurley Photography
We all know and appreciate how important the food and drinks are on your wedding day, so it’s understandable to want a certain level of perfection. For many of us, picnic food and delicious, summery meals are synonymous with garden parties. So naturally, garden weddings are the perfect excuse to have some unique food options.
Image by A Bryan Photo
Much like other outdoor ceremonies, garden weddings already grant you with a stunning natural backdrop. With that in mind, you can focus your floral budget on just one centrepiece for the ceremony, or you could put your entire floral budget towards your reception. In either case, you are looking at a smaller impact on the budget without having to sacrifice the wow factor that a professional florist can bring to an event.
Image by Kristen Soileau Portraits
It is common practice for service-based providers to operate during both high and off-peak times throughout the year. The more expensive high peak season occurs over the warmer and festive months of the year. So for couples working to a strict budget, an off-peak season wedding could be just the cure for your budget woes. Winter weddings lend themselves well to personal styling that brings out the unique beauty of the cooler months. For example, the autumnal colours can deliver stunning results for your garden wedding that translate into killer photo opportunities.
Image by The Undefined Photography (of Highwic)
Choose a wedding venue that offers both fine and wet weather options. If you’re dreaming of an outdoor summer garden wedding then it pays to fortify all your hard work and planning by having a plan B that you love as much as your plan A. This shouldn't be too difficult as, like we said earlier, most garden wedding venues have multiple spaces available.
Image by Diana V Photography
One key consideration that couples often forget to take into account is just how much hard work goes into being a good guest. Mixing, mingling, chatting and dancing make for very thirsty work. This means it’s absolutely essential to ensure you’re providing your guests with a substantial amount of food and drink (non-alcoholic as well as alcoholic). You can have a lot of fun, especially with the latter – fruity punch, iced teas, home-made sodas, and slushies are all great options. Why not have customised virgin cocktails themed around your wedding or love story? This will help ensure that your guests can enjoy their night for as long as possible and will help prevent any sore heads the next day.
Image by Gore Vázquez
One of the best things about having a garden wedding is enjoying the relaxed atmosphere that comes with sprawling out on the grass and taking in nature. Hiring some lawn games is an excellent way to encourage your guests to make the most of your beautiful garden venue. Try stilts, croquet, giant Jenga, hopscotch or skittles – these will get people to socialise, have some fun, and bring out their inner child. Speaking of children, why not organise a fun garden hunt for the little people? Scatter objects around the garden, equip the kids with a home-made worksheet and let them run wild.
Image by Laura Evans Photos
Garden weddings are perfect on a cool, clear afternoon but they can get a little overwhelming in a sweltering summer. One way to combat this is to opt for a slightly later ceremony start time such as 4:00 pm or 5:00 pm. That way you and your guests can enjoy a beautiful evening without having to endure the heat. Other great ways to keep guests cool include offering fans, having a supply of sun umbrellas at the ready, choosing a nice shady ceremony spot, and supplying creative ice-cool drinks. You could even have an ice cream truck park up on site handing out delicious ice cream during your cocktail hour; it’s a surefire way to make your guests feel delightfully spoiled.
Image by Jenny Harper Photography
Colour is an essential tool to bring some life, fun and personality to your wedding. You can be inspired by the flowers that will be in bloom at the time of your wedding, by the trees and foliage on site, or even by friends and family. Styling your bridal party with some colour could mean opting for fabulous floral bridesmaid dresses matched with lighter coloured suits with themed pocket squares for the groomsmen. Alternatively, your flowers and décor can be used to create a cohesive look that evokes your dream aesthetic. It could be whimsical reds, yellows and oranges, opulent jewel tones, or classic apricot and white. Whatever palette you go for, colour really is a great way of embracing and enlivening your garden surroundings in order to create a distinct atmosphere on your wedding day.
So, go forth! Research a few garden venues (we recommend starting with Highwic or Markovina) and find one that covers those bases - an indoor and outdoor option, maybe one that also offers external catering or at least has catering options that reflect the ambience of the event. After that, start looking into your colour palette, and the rest is history. Soon enough you'll be walking down an aisle of petals in a freshly manicured garden, surrounded by your loved ones, living out one of the best days of your life.
Article edited from original content by Lydia Martin and MariaYeonhee Ji
Your wedding venue is often the first decision you’ll make for your big day. Our Auckland wedding venues...
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