Whether you hire a caterer for a gourmet affair or ask Uncle Harvey to man the grill for a down-home barbecue, your own backyard can be the perfect, personal setting to exchange vows. Beyond an In-Case-of-Rain Plan B, garden weddings don't require as much extra time (or money) as you'd think. Here are some low-cost, low-maintenance ways to ensure your big day is a big success.
Getting to the altar on time and relaxed
Manicures are for nails, not lawns. People will be focusing on the bride and groom and mingling with other guests, so the overall impression-mowed lawn, trimmed hedge, deadheaded flowers is more important than fussing over the dandelions. A general tidy up, spread over a couple of weeks, will have your garden in shape for a wedding. Just follow the basic steps for a garden tour.
Rake not cake
Tempted to hire landscapers or do it all yourself? Save your money (and strength). Friends, family and neighbours are usually genuinely eager to lend a hand. Instead of asking them to spend an afternoon wrapping tiny pieces of cake, why not hand them a rake, hoe, mower or shovel?
If your lawn is in good shape, a day of merriment won't do lasting damage. However, this isn't a good time to lay down new sod or start new grass from seed. If you have a young lawn, put up friendly signs that encourage people to stick to footpaths without resorting to the old "Keep off the grass" demand. Wording like, "Just follow the path to the ceremony," will help orient your guests and protect your lawn.
A green wedding
With unpredictable weather patterns becoming the norm, it's hard to know exactly what your garden will look like on your wedding day. If little is in bloom, don't panic. Even if the perennials aren't cooperating, their foliage will provide a peaceful green background. If you want more colour, add a few light-weight pots of annuals. Focus your efforts on the altar for the ceremony, then have someone move them to the reception area so the blooms can be appreciated all day.