The English pride themselves in their gardens. English gardens have a nostalgic, dreamy feel that makes them a perfect setting for a wedding, but not everyone has an English garden in their backyard, so this article will help you get some ideas on how to decorate your reception with an English garden theme.
An English garden themed wedding would not feel right if you didnt have flowers that are a staple of the English garden. Some of the most well known English garden flowers are roses, primroses, pansies, poppies, lavender, bluebells, ivy, bachelors buttons, lily of the valley and hollyhocks. The English also love topiaries, which is shrubbery that has been pruned to be a certain shape. For some inspiration look up pictures of famous English gardens such as Levens Hall, Stourhead and Sissinghurst Castle.
To begin decorating, you will want to remember that the English garden is supposed to invoke feelings of grandeur and awe. You will most likely want to begin with your larger structures such as arches, benches and fountains. Many English gardens have arches covered with blooms. You can find arches at any craft store for a reasonable price. You may want to consider getting multiple arches; one to go over the cake, and one for each entrance to where your ceremony or reception will take place. Wrought iron gates, or picket fences are also a fundamental part of English gardens.
You will have to decide if you want a more grandiose Victorian style or more of a cottage garden theme. If you decide on the Victorian style you will want to use wrought iron. Find arches that look as if they are made of wrought iron, lampposts, hanging baskets, benches and small gates or fences. For the cottage garden you will want to stick with wood. So look for picket fences, wood benches, trellises, and window boxes. You will want to cover the arches, and trellises with flowers. Birdbaths and other small fountains would also be a good addition to your English garden décor.
For your gift area you could set out a bench with a mailbox for cards. See image above for an idea.
In English tradition, the bride leads the wedding party down a flower-covered path to the church. You may want to incorporate this idea in your decorations, and have a path that looks like flowers that leads from the arches to different areas of the reception, like the cake and dance floor.
You could also create a path like the one shown in the pathway picture using hanging basket hooks, tulle, lights and small potted plants.
Topiaries would be a perfect way to decorate end pews, corners or to outline the dance floor. You can make your own topiaries using Styrofoam balls, pots, and some plastic foliage. Glue the foliage to the ball, push it onto a stick, and then fill the pot with more foam covered in moss. Push the stick into the foam and you have created your own topiary. To make your topiaries balanced you will want to keep in mind that the sticks length should be double the size of the pot plus two inches. So a 7-inch pot would need a 16-inch stick. You can add little flowers that match your colors. Place them at even intervals around your dance floor, then string lights between them.
Another way to add to the garden theme would be to find wooden wheelbarrows or cart, paint them a matching somewhat neutral color, and fill them with potted flowers. These potted flowers can also double as favors for your guests.
Table decorations could include a number of things. You could make small topiaries, and surround them with candles. You could also find small bird baths fill them with water and put either floating candles or loose flowers in the water. For a cottage garden feel you may want to consider gathering wildflowers wrapping the stems with ribbon that matches your colors and then laying them in a decorative basket. You could also get small greenhouses and put three candles inside with some silk flowers. Get creative and find something that really fits the mood of your wedding. There are limitless possibilities for table decorations for an English garden themed wedding.
Place your sign in book on a pretty wrought iron table and chairs. You can decorate them with garlands of flowers too.
A Beautiful Tradition
Traditionally wealthy couples in England would release a pair of doves as a symbol of their love after the ceremony. For your English garden themed wedding you could get a pretty birdcage, and put a pair of butterflies inside. If the cage has large gaps you will want to put netting around it that is small enough so your butterflies wont escape. You can put them underneath an arch as a pretty decoration until you release them at the end.