20 Unexpected Places to Have a Garden Wedding
Image courtesy of Hidden River Events
Want to get married on an avocado farm? In a cut flower garden? Or maybe have guests mingle with birds of prey between the ceremony and reception? Garden weddings break out of the backyard and into places you've never imagined.
No matter what colors you've picked for your wedding palette, everything goes with green at Irvine Nature Center in Owings Mills, Maryland. Set on 116 acres, this non-profit organization extends their commitment to conservation beyond education and into venue rentals that include a cutting-edge green facility and preserved outdoor areas, plus a list of eco-friendly vendors ranging from organic pedis to sustainable florists.
Hidden River Events' slogan—"we grow food, we grow flowers, we grow love"—sets the tone for this 17-acre farm near Asheville, North Carolina. Ceremony sites include the bank of the Swannanoa River, perennial garden, annual cut flower garden and the Marrying Field, where buttercups bloom in the spring.
Napa may be known for its wine, but The Carneros Inn is known for its apple orchard, an outdoor ceremony space with views of apple trees, mountains and vineyards.
Chicago's Navy Pier may be better known for its ferris wheel, but it also shares space with a gorgeous one-acre botanical garden called Crystal Garden, where 80 palm trees thrive under a six-story glass atrium. It's the perfect way to have a summer wedding no matter what season it is.
Started in 1921 as a walnut farm by Gilbert and Beatrice Bates, Bates Nut Farm has become a destination wedding venue in Southern California. The year-round sunshine may have something to do with it, but so does the 100-acre farm lined with mulberry trees and gorgeous greenery all around.
Image courtesy of Green Door Gourmet
Just 11 miles from downtown Nashville, Green Door Gourmet is a working farm providing herbs, produce and flowers to individuals, local restaurants and grocers. It's also home to a 6,000-square-foot white oak barn—with a grand hall, mezzanine, screened porch and two bar areas made from reclaimed barn wood—and hand-built red cedar arbor perfect for rustic outdoor ceremonies.
Get married among the grapes! At Saltwater Farm Vineyard in Stonington, Connecticut, a WWII airplane hangar has become an award-winning winery where couples become husband and wife. The space is set on more than 100 acres with views of Long Island sound and tidal marshes.
The rolling hills of Kentucky make a beautiful backdrop for weddings at McGee House, a historical home and event space in Harrodsburg. Surrounded by barns and hay bales, the Southern spot includes colonial charm.
At the foot of Cahas mountain in Boones Mill, Virginia, sits Sundara, where orchards, gardens, streams and stone walls create a unforgettable ceremony.
Get married besides a koi-filled pond, underneath an ancient Silver Maple tree or underneath a canopy of oak and eucalyptus trees at The Flower Farm in Loomis, California. This working citrus orchard, bed & breakfast, nursery and coffee house puts on gorgeous celebrations with the Flower Farm barn as the centerpiece.
Say your vows with the Blue Ridge Mountains—and Petit Verdot vines—in the background at Mountfair Vineyards in Mountfair, Virginia, a stunning spot for a vibrant fall wedding.
Between the wedding and reception, most people host a cocktail hour where guests chit and chat. But at Schlitz Audubon Nature Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, you can have birds of prey—falcons, hawks, owls and even a bald eagle—do a meet and greet or presentation for your guests. Just 15 minutes from downtown Milwaukee, Schlitz Audubon is a 185-acre sanctuary on the shores of Lake Michigan.
At Alyson's Orchard in Walpole, New Hampshire, couples get say "I do" on land moved together by glaciers long ago. The 450-acre property is home to peach, plum, pear and nectarine trees, plus more than 50 varieties of apple trees.
Gardens can be difficult to find in big cities, but Chicago's Greenhouse Loft event space embraces nature inside and out of the platinum LEED-certified building with an 8,000-square-foot organic sky garden filled with native plants and trees.
In the snow or sunshine, the ivy-walled courtyard at Chicago's Ivy Room is a beautiful way to invite nature to a city wedding. Don't miss the Medinah temple, an 80-year-old Moorish style amphitheater nearby.
How about a post-wedding hike? At the Black Earth, Wisconsin, location of the Aldo Leopold Nature Center, couples can wed on the grounds then take off on 38 acres of trails along the property. At the Monona location, wetlands, woodlands and an oak savannah make timeless photo ops.
Image by Audrey Grace Photography
Get married in a meadow or let a 100-year-old pine at Chattahoochee Nature Center in Roswell, Georgia, be a symbol of longevity at your wedding.
Built in 1916 for Samuel Insull, one of the founders of General Electric, Loyola University's Cuneo Mansion and Gardens was landscaped by noted Danish-American landscape architect Jens Jensen. The perfectly manicured grounds have been featured in many movies, evoking that rich "fairytale" look.
At Greenfield Farm and Gardens in Anacortes, Washington, couples can create their dream wedding on 10 acres, featuring gardens, 5 arbors, log cabin, pond, antique tractor collection (imagine the photos!) and a bar made out of a grain bin.
How many people can say they got married on a ten-acre organic avocado farm? Estancia Culinaria in Redland, Florida has that and more, including walking trails, a coral rock chapel and a country feel, though Miami is a half hour away.