We’re Fazackarley a wedding photographer and wedding film maker duo based in Brighton and London and covering the whole of the UK. We’ve designed this guide featuring some lovely garden weddings we’ve photographed over the years to help you with your own wedding planning.
Can you get married in your garden? Current UK laws prohibit you from officially marrying in your garden and for your marriage to be official it must either:
- Take place at a religious building
- A register office
- A venue approved by the local council (you can find further details of these on your local council website).
So, although you can’t have an official ceremony in your garden there’s nothing stopping you from holding a wedding blessing in your garden and doing the official bit a different day at the local registry office.
For wedding blessings, a lot of couples choose to hold something very much similar to an official ceremony, with a walk up the aisle, readings and songs. Instead of a celebrant or registrar you can choose who you would like to officiate, such as a friend or family member and you are free to write your own blessing words.
Size and space
Firstly, think about what space you have available for a back garden wedding and whether it will be able to accommodate a marquee, tent or covering that can host the number of guests you’d like to invite. Do you have indoor space for guests and vendors to use (such a toilets or a large kitchen for catering and drinks preparation and service) or will the whole of your reception need to be held outdoors?
If you are hiring in an outside catering then the team will need somewhere to store, prepare, serve and clean away food. The same goes if you are having a bar as a set up and storage area will need to be provided.
Garden wedding decor (the fun bit!)
Pinterest is obviously a great source of inspiration for garden wedding ideas and as low key outdoors weddings are really rising in popularity so you’ll also find a lot of the top wedding blogs will have inspirational features on what other couples have done for their own celebrations. Try Rock my Wedding, Love My Dress, Whimsical Wonderland Weddings and Boho Weddings for starters. You could also have a look at Evelyn & Chris’ recent garden wedding for some fab garden wedding decoration ideas.
Preparing your own wedding food can be a lower cost option but is also one more thing to think about during your planning. If budget allows then hiring a catering company can cut down on a lot of stress and provide you with options for hot and cold food. Catering companies will usually provide serving staff to ensure your day runs to schedule and that your guests drinks are topped up and buffet foods are replenished. They ‘d also handle all the set up and clearing away so that you can just enjoy your day!
One of our couples, Holly & Nick, had the most amazing array of homemade food at their wedding.
If space allows, hiring street food vendors can also be a great way of feeding your guests, we’ve worked at a lot of weddings where there have been wood-fired pizza ovens, ice cream vans and carts, mobile cocktail bars and the much loved hog roast.
Table and chair hire
You’ll obviously need to provide somewhere for your guests to sit. Some couples opt for a low key vibe using haybales for their ceremony and reception (we advise you to cover the bales with a sheet or material or cushions for the comfort of your guests!). This can work well if you are having a rustic style wedding with buffet catering. If you’re planning a sit down meal then tables and chairs are a more practical option. Some companies provide table linen and chair decorations (bows and coverings) as part of the hire options.
Garden games are the obvious choice for low key weddings and are a lot of fun, but some couples really choose to push the boat out and hire fairground rides for their guests like the ones here at Gina and Ben’s amazing funfair-themed garden wedding or Katy & James’ fab field wedding.
You’ll need to consider lighting in terms of creating an atmosphere (think fairy lights, candles and festoon lighting) but also the practical aspects such as guests being able to safely move around and exit your reception venue. If your gardens are large will guests need to bring torches to find the car parking or toilets or will you provide lighting solutions for this? Don’t forget that your photographer will also need good levels of light to work with – a few fairy lights on tables probably won’t cut it!
Is there enough space for your guests (and any suppliers) to park within your venue or will they have to park in local streets outside? It’s worth bearing in mind that any vendors you hire such as catering staff, band, florist team, photographers will likely have heavy/bulky equipment and supplies to transport so will need to be able to park close to your venue.
You could always consider arranging transport for your guests from a central location to your venue.
Flooring/ and footware
If you’re hiring a marquee then flooring is usually also provided but if you are doing it yourself then do remember that you may need to provide some kind of matting in case of bad weather or for winter garden weddings – your guests won’t want to squelch through boggy mud in their wedding finery. You may wish to advise your guests, for comfort and safety, against wearing very high heel shoes if they will be walking on grass or rush matting, even on dry days.
Music and sound
There are laws in place in the UK prohibiting loud noise during the hours of 11pm and 7am, so unless you live somewhere very remote it’s worth reading up on the laws regarding noise to avoid any complaints. It’s always worth considering inviting your neighbours along to the celebrations too!
If you are planning a very large wedding with speeches then you may wish to hire a sound system and microphone to ensure all your guests can hear properly. A lot of companies offer solutions that can work with your laptop or iphone so you can also provide your own music via a playlist if you wanted.
Will guests and vendors be permitted to use toilets in your house or any indoors premises? If not, you’ll need to think about hiring toilets. There are a number of options for this, from the standard ‘portaloo’ to the slightly more attractive cabin style toilets, which allow you to have separate loos for men and women.
- Have jugs of water available throughout the day so guests can help themselves
- Signs – make sure you signpost throughout your venue so guests can easily find the toilets and car parking
- Provide details of local accommodation and taxi companies for your guests. Alternatively, if space allows, you could allow friends and family to pitch tents and stay over
Want more inspiration?
We’ve photographed a host of marquee and garden weddings in our time as Brighton and Sussex wedding photographers so if you are looking for more inspiration why not have a browse through some of the glorious weddings on our blog.