If you can count on good weather, have your wedding ceremony outdoors to enjoy an abundance of beautiful scenery. Survey the location carefully to choose the best spot for the ceremony. Enhance the garden with lighting and special plantings. Prepare yourself as well for the natural elements that may or may not become part of the ceremony, such as birdcalls, swooping dragonflies or planes flying overhead.
You have a ready-made focal point for the ceremony if your garden has an arch or arbor. Plant fast-growing vines to climb up the arch, such as interesting gourds, sweet-smelling honeysuckle or morning glories with their heart-shaped leaves. If you don’t have an arbor, a movable trellis or an area circled with flower petals would work. The Perfect Outdoor Weddings website suggests a large tree, the middle of a secluded meadow or the end of a swimming pool.
Even the best-maintained garden needs sprucing up for a garden wedding ceremony. Coordinate plantings with the wedding colors and use container plants as well as in-ground plantings. Use planters to separate one area of the garden from another. Tall or medium-size boxwood hedges, spiky plants, palms with large leaves or even tall bamboo can separate the ceremony from the reception area. Large blooming pots of geraniums or petunias add color to an informal wedding, while roses or hydrangeas have a more formal feel.
Late afternoon or evening ceremonies require lightening for both functional and decorative reasons. LED or electrical lanterns, tiki torches, or outdoor table and floor lamps add either a bright or a subtle effect depending on how you use them. “The Outdoor Living Idea Book” suggests whimsical, punched-tin luminaries, strings of lights strung in trees and on fences and paper lanterns hung at varying heights to create a special atmosphere.
Enhance the garden theme by using flowers in all aspects of the ceremony. Begin with flowers painted onto a "Welcome" sign and banners with flowers painted or sewn onto them to lead the guests to the ceremony site. Use a ring-pillow sewn in the shape of a flower, flower petals for tossing on the newly married couple, and flower seed packets or lavender sachets tied with a bow to present as guest favors.