The UK weather may be unpredictable at times, but that hasn't stopped brides and grooms from choosing to host their weddings in their garden.
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In fact, more couples than ever are choosing relaxed, outdoor nuptials following the pandemic, with over half of the nation stating they would prefer a low-key, DIY wedding in their back yard in 2021, and "garden wedding" seeing a 284% increase in searches in 2022.
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Calum Maddock, Gardening Expert from HomeHow, explained: "With so much time spent at home and in the garden, and many relocating to bigger spaces outside of the city, it is no wonder that back garden weddings are set to be one of the biggest wedding trends of 2022."
Celebrities such as Cameron Diaz and Mandy Moore have also jumped on board the trend in recent years, but there are plenty of behind-the-scenes logistics you probably haven't even considered.
Can you legally get married in your garden? Can guests buy drinks at your home wedding? Calum answers all these questions and more, including how to keep costs down.
UK civil ceremonies can now take place outside
As of 1 July 2021, civil ceremonies in England and Wales can legally take place outside. Before this, laws stated that you could only get married in licensed venues, such as churches, registry offices or hotels.
"The perk of having the whole ceremony in one space is there’s no need to worry about ferrying people from the ceremony to the reception," Calum said. "That means the headache of organising transport is instantly eliminated."
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Calum said it's just as important to hire toilets when you're hosting a home wedding as it is for any other venue.
"You may think that indoor toilets are enough, especially if you are having a relatively small wedding, however, remember drinks tend to be flowing and the last thing you need is a long queue for the only toilet available.
"Consider renting portaloos to help ease the pressure on your plumbing system," he said.
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The venue should be just as picturesque (and practical!) at night as it is during the day, and that means outdoor lighting is a must once the sun sets.
"Solar lights are a good option for outdoor lighting, as they are often waterproof and don’t require any plug extension, just ensure they are fully charged before the evening," Calum added. "Solar lights come in various colours but opting for a warm white will create a warm and romantic atmosphere."
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Rain can happen at any time of the year – summer or winter! Calum warned couples planning their wedding: "Making any assumptions about the weather before your wedding day is a huge mistake. Make sure you have backup plans in place for all eventualities.
Providing appropriate shelter for guests is important regardless of the weather conditions, he continued. "In case of a downpour, or even just a quick shower which could dampen the mood, ensure there’s a suitable shelter outside to house guests. A marquee or even just a few gazebos should be perfectly sufficient in keeping your guests comfortable.
Brides and grooms should make sure they provide shelter for guests
"As many tend to drink more alcohol than water during weddings, make sure you load up on water stations and have shaded areas for guests to stay comfortable. Although you can’t force your guests to load up on suncream, having bottles readily available can avoid any medical emergencies on the day."
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If you're looking to cut costs, why not make use of your beautiful garden surroundings? Calum said: "If your garden is already full of flowers and plants then utilise these in your celebrations."
He continued: "Keep in mind the existing colour scheme of your table layouts and, if necessary, bring in other flowers to enhance what is already available. Just be mindful of the weather and which flowers are in season, especially if buying in advance."
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But one part of your garden that will bear the brunt is your lawn, especially if it has been raining.
Calum said: "A grassy area will not only get ruined with numerous people dancing on top of it, but it will be harder for people to dance on, especially those wearing high heels. Consider investing in a flat surface to work as a dance floor. These can be purchased online relatively cheaply, or you can hire tradespeople to come in and install a temporary one for the event."
Food and drinks
Cut food costs and waste with BBQs or food trucks
From BBQs to food trucks, there are plenty of food choices to suit every couple's budget.
"A help yourself BBQ feast allows guests to eat as much as they like, without having to worry about seating charts. A BBQ can also cater to all dietary requirements and doesn’t need to just be meat," Calum advised, before adding: "Food trucks are really popular as they are a fun way to feed your guests and it can ease the pressure off the hosts. Many supply their own cutlery and even offer a clean-up service, they will just require certain things such as a plug socket and water."
Alcohol, however, is where you'll run into problems. "If you are having a free or self-service bar then you will not need to worry about obtaining an alcohol license. However, if you are selling alcohol at your wedding then you will need to get an alcohol licence.
"To get this, you will need to apply via your local council and complete a Temporary Event Notice application form and pay a fee," he said.
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