Many couples choose to celebrate the most beautiful day of their life on the shores of Lake Lucerne or in the grounds of an imposing castle. A wedding in your own garden is just as beautiful – as well as being more economical and much more personal. To give you some inspiration, we’ve put together a list of ideas of how to turn your garden into a creative love oasis with a few simple steps and a little bit of money.
Romance in the garden – with a back-up plan
Ringing wedding bells, fluttering doves, clinking champagne glasses – 39,000 couples in Switzerland say “I do” every year (Federal Statistical Office, 2019). The most popular wedding dates are in the warmest months of the year between May and September. So why not celebrate in your own garden? If you don’t have a large grassy area yourself, you can also ask parents, parents-in-law or friends to make their oasis of greenery available for the big day.
“But for outdoor parties, don’t forget you should always have a back-up plan,” says wedding planner Fabienne Müller from Wedding à la carte in Wädenswil. The two most important questions to answer are whether the sanitary facilities are sufficient and whether there are enough parking spaces available. If in doubt, a rented toilet car and a shuttle service to an alternative parking lot nearby could be the solution. It also can’t hurt to inform the neighbors in advance, or even better, to invite them to the aperitif.
You also need to allow for extreme weather conditions. You could provide sunshades or awnings in bright sunshine, and fleece blankets and rented outdoor heaters for cool evening hours. Your guests will thank you for it. “And it’s important to have somewhere to shelter from sudden rain showers,” says the wedding planner. “You could install several gazebos or rent a larger tent with a floor inside to provide protection for guests on both rainy and hot sunny days. This will also guard against muddy feet in wet weather” – even if it has rained before the big day.
White is the color of the day, in all its various shades, be it for a practical tent or for decorative elements. Since the 1920s, the color of purity and innocence has been a defining feature of the wedding dress, the wedding cake and the entire celebration. Depending on their taste, bridal couples can create a striking emphasis using sparkling gold, delicate pink, a light shade of violet or blue – or their very own favorite color.
Elegantly jazzed-up seating
It’s true that for legal reasons the actual marriage ceremony must take place at a registry office in Switzerland. Afterwards, however, bridal couples can swear undying love and exchange rings in a private ceremony at any place of their choice.
A decorated or even overgrown rose arch can serve as a kind of altar at a garden wedding. At a wedding in the countryside, seats can be created using bales of straw, for instance. To protect the festive wardrobe of the guests, decorate the bales with cushions or blankets – which should obviously match the general color concept of the wedding.
If you prefer a more colorful, extravagant style, you could mix dining chairs borrowed from friends and relatives – this creates an unconventional retro charm. The simplest solution is to use beer bench sets. “Caterers also provide tables and chairs on request,” explains Fabienne Müller. “If you book a party service from the village butcher, you will get dishes and cutlery, but you will almost certainly have to rent the furniture yourself elsewhere.” Furniture rental companies offer bar tables and tables as well as benches, chairs and bar equipment in large quantities – many of them also provide matching covers. These covers can make even the most rustic beer bench look elegant.
Hide unsightly corners with plants
Very few people have a perfectly maintained garden. However, weeds and bare patches caused by dry summer days needn’t spoil the mood: a week before the wedding day, simply collect a few luxuriant plants and use them to conceal unsightly spots. Large flowers in beautiful colors such as hydrangeas (in white, blue or pink), chrysanthemums (in yellow/orange, pink or purple) or asters (in white, pink or purple) are particularly suitable. With a bit of luck, the planted flowers will even survive the next winter and will remind the garden owner next year of the romantic garden wedding.
Rain barrels, lawnmowers or unsightly corners can be hidden behind folding partitions, which you can decorate with festive garlands or flower arrangements. Alternatively, you can conceal them directly behind the bar or buffet.
The right lighting for a romantic atmosphere
Sufficient light must be available anywhere where food is going to be eaten, while indirect light is sufficient for dancing and chatting. Besides fairy lights and lantern garlands, tea light glasses and white lanterns containing candles of different sizes create a particularly romantic atmosphere. Empty jam jars are an inexpensive DIY alternative to shop-bought tea light glasses. They represent a pretty eye-catching feature on the tables when decorated with a nice silk ribbon or pearl necklaces put together out of your craft supplies.
Bottle light chains in the shape of corks are a relatively new idea and are available on the Internet at low prices. No matter whether it’s a bulbous-shaped wine bottle or a delicate Piccolini bottle – any bottle that fits a cork can be transformed into a sparkling lamp. The illuminated elements can be placed not only on the tables, but everywhere in the garden, in the flower beds, on steps and the edges of walls – a romantic atmosphere is guaranteed.
Charming decorative details with a practical effect
The greenery and flowers in the garden alone add a touch of flair. Small details such as home-made white dream catchers, garlands, balloons and lanterns in the trees create an even more magical atmosphere.
Empty bottles of various sizes can be used on the tables as vases for flowers you have bought or ordered. You can also decorate the bottles with the same silk ribbons or pearl necklaces as the jam jars. Stones painted using dotting art are also simple and inexpensive. They can be spread out as small decorative elements throughout the garden and on the tables, or even labeled with names as place cards – a beautiful and personal souvenir for each individual guest.
Decorative protection against insects is not only attractive, but practical too. Most pests don’t like citronella scented lights or fresh lavender. If the mosquitoes are particularly stubborn, it can also do no harm to provide a spray for the guests.
Conclusion: a garden wedding has savings potential
“On average, Swiss couples spend 25,000 to 40,000 francs on their big party,” says wedding planner Fabienne Müller. “You can save money by celebrating in your own garden, but you shouldn’t underestimate the effort involved.” You need to consider a back-up plan and be prepared to set out and put away furniture. “Hardworking friends and relatives, or professional support from service staff and wedding planners, can make the big day less stressful,” says the expert. “If everything is planned perfectly, the garden wedding will be very personal and unforgettable.”
And creative DIY ideas can turn the garden into a romantic oasis of love. If you also ask your guests to bring along appetizers, a salad or cake for the buffet, you will not only save additional money, but also ensure culinary variety. These contributions can be completed by hot dishes such as fish and meat provided by a caterer or party service. Important: to avoid finding yourself with three rival pasta salads, it’s best to ask the guests in the invitation to let the maid of honor know in advance what they’re planning to bring. By keeping a list, the maid of honor can ensure that everybody brings something different.