When I got married back in 2005, we did things in a rather unconventional way—far more sustainably and with much less expense than was the norm at the time. We married in early September in a local country church, but with a ceremony that was not overtly religious. Then we had the event afterwards in a local pub and its lovely outdoor garden, with around 40 guests and a buffet we had prepared ourselves.
I made the invitations, the favors, our wedding cake, and my dress with some help from family. My grandmother arranged the seasonal, local flower displays, and everything was very much DIY. Since we were only in our early 20s, we did not have the funds for anything more elaborate. But even so, sustainability was also very much on our minds.
Today, interest in sustainable weddings is on the rise. And some of our decisions do not seem as unusual as they once might have. Back then, we did not have our own garden, but if I’d had one, there is no doubt in my mind that I could have grown many of the things I needed for a sustainable wedding celebration.
Here are some tips to help you plan a wedding that revolves around using your garden and the things you grow in it.
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A Sustainable Venue
The first thing that you might think about is actually holding the ceremony or reception in a garden—either your own or that of a friend or family member. The natural and beautiful setting of a garden can be a romantic spot, and you might have living flowers all around you, rather than cut flower arrangements.
Having a wedding outdoors means you don’t have to contend with energy costs or other concerns about a venue. You’ll have a lot more control over what the event costs, in environmental as well as financial terms. The only thing you can’t control is the weather!
A garden is a wonderful place for photographs, even if you do not actually get married there or dine outside. And keeping things as close to home as possible cuts down on those travel miles.
Flowers and Floral Arrangements
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For many people, creating a romantic environment means having flowers. Even if you don’t actually have a wedding outdoors surrounded by living plants, you may wish to bring nature into your venue. If you have a garden, you are already at an advantage. You might be able to grow the flowers for the event yourself, depending on your location and the time of year.
For our wedding, we had bouquets and arrangements with sunflowers and red roses; both types of flowers are pretty easy for many gardeners to grow. We also used harvest wheat for our harvest-time event. There are plenty of other flowers that you might grow in your garden for cutting.
For venue arrangements, rather than using cut flowers that will fade, you might opt for displays in pots or containers with living plants that you can take home and continue to nurture after the event.
Food and Drink
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Keen gardeners can go even further, and not only grow flowers in their gardens but also food for the wedding breakfast or even the wedding cake. Using local, seasonal foods is always the best policy, and it is even better if you can grow at least some of the food you and your guests eat in your very own garden.
If you cannot grow enough food to feed all your guests, you might prepare drinks or add certain homegrown elements to dishes or to the cake to give the event a really personal touch.
Wedding Favors and Dried Petal Confetti
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All those added extras that make guests feel very welcome and make a wedding a very special occasion can also be prepared using things from your garden before the big day.
For example, you can give guests some sachets of dried petals to use as confetti. And you can handcraft any number of small edible gifts, such as little sweets, cookies, or small jars of preserves or herb blends, from things you grow in your garden.
You might also consider natural handcrafted items like homemade soaps, little baskets, or other thoughtful homemade favors made from natural materials from your own outside space.
If you do not simply send email or text message invitations, you might consider making some personal and handmade invitations. You could use natural inks or paints, and even make your own paper from plant fibers.
Alternatively, you might send invitations that double as useful items—for example, wooden coasters cut from wood pruned from trees in your garden. You might make edible invitations that can be eaten after they are read. Or stick seeds to your invitation so it can be planted to create a new wildflower meadow. With some imagination, you can make invitations that won’t just be thrown out after they have been read, but will also serve some other function.
These are just some ideas that might help you make the most of the things a garden can provide when planning your big day.