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Garden Weddings

GARDEN WEDDINGS

Weddings are a very special occasion and they are to be enjoyed thoroughly, after all, it only happens once or twice in a lifetime.

Most weddings end up being photographed in a garden; and an increasing number hold their receptions and even the ceremonies in gardens. The only problem with a garden wedding can be the threat of rain; but there are ways around even that problem, such as hiring a marquee, or having undercover areas that can be used in an emergency, such as garages, carports, and verandas These be surprisingly effective when done up with flowers, balloons, and other decorations.

Some people choose a garden wedding because of the character it can evoke. For others it can be a way of minimising cost but maximising style.

If you are thinking of a garden wedding, here are some of the things to consider:

· Access - choose a garden that has good drainage and some hard surfaces, particularly where a lot of people are walking. Temporary matting can be hired to create pathways in areas where footing might be a bit soft or uneven, or to protect lawn areas underneath.

· Cover for both wet or hot, sunny conditions – hire a marquee, provide seating in shaded areas, put up shade wings or sun umbrellas.

· Provide warmth in cool conditions, or some method of cooling in hot conditions. Large, portable (wheeled) heaters can be readily hired. Portable fans can be strategically located to create breezes on a hot day.

· Provide protection from wind. Temporary windbreaks can be readily created from shade cloth (should be neatly done) or similar materials, or rows of container with flowers or foliage plants.

Thinking Ahead

You generally know at least 3-6 months ahead of the wedding that you will be using the garden. If the garden belongs to you or to a friend or relative you can start preparing well in advance to ensure that the garden looks its best on wedding day.

You need to sort out with the bride and groom where exactly in the garden they wish to have their wedding or reception, where do they want to have their photographs taken, and where other things should be located including guests seating, marquees, musicians, extra toilets, etc. Make sure you have consulted with support staff such as caterers as to their needs, including overhead protection, water taps and power points.

Is it a day wedding? Does it stretch into the evening? Or is it at night? Do you require additional lighting? If so, have it set up, and trialled well before hand.

It is also a good idea to inform neighbours about the wedding well before hand. Do they have any concerns?

You might also do a complete overhaul of your garden. Some things you might do include:

· Renovate lawn areas, including feeding, regular watering, improving drainage, levelling out depressions or rises.

· Prune plants that are straggly, or overhanging pathways.

· Repair or upgrade pathways, particularly any rough, slippery or uneven sections.

· Establish massed displays of flowering annuals or herbaceous perennials, timing your planting so that the flowering displays are at their peak on wedding day.

· Ensure that the garden is fed and watered well leading up to the wedding, and that pests and diseases are thoroughly controlled.

The week or two before

Give yourself plenty of time for those last minutes tasks. Check your garden to ensure everything looks great. Remove any weeds, tidy up fallen leaves and twigs, and deadhead any old flowers. Ensure that any garden furniture or buildings (e.g. pergolas, gazebos) are thoroughly clean, including checking for spiders, and other creepy crawlies. Ideally mow any lawn areas 2-3 days prior to the wedding, and make sure any lawn clippings are collected to ensure the lawn looks its best, and so that the lawn clippings are not tracked everywhere by wedding guests, and any support staff.

What to look for when hiring a marquee, chairs, tables:

· That the size and number is related to the number of guests

· Can the sides of the marquee be easily lifted to allow breezes through?

· Who is going to set up the marquee, tables and chairs?

· How big a space is required to set it up?

· Is there good access to get the marquee and tables into the garden?

What to look for when hiring sound system, dance floor, musicians

· Will you need protection from the elements?

· What is the most suitable surface for dancing on? Is that level, stable, not slippery or rough?

· How big an area will you need? How many people will be there?

· Do they have special requirements?

Catering

· Will you hire a company or do it yourself?

· How many guests you will have?

· Do they have any of them special dietary requirements?

· Where do you find catering companies?

· What do they have on offer? At which price? Are they recommended?

Decoration

Think and prepare well before hand about it:

· Are you decorating with ribbons, lights, flower displays?

· Consider that they may need to be suitable for inclement weather

· Many hands make light work!

Toilets

Additional toilets may need to be hired, particularly if you only have one or two toilets in your house, and are expecting a lot of guests. Location of such toilets is very important. They should ideally be out of sort, but be readily accessed. Hired toilets can be chemical or biological, you can choose nowadays according to your preferences.

Above all, a wedding day is to be enjoyed, so don’t be stressed if little details don’t come out as expected, laugh at those and make the most of your wedding day!

Article by John Mason and staff of ACS Distance Education.

www.acs.edu.au

www.acsedu.co.uk

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