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A Garden Variety // English Garden Weddings

hydrangea blooms in wedding reception table centerpiece
Ashford Estate rustic barn fountain and colorful mums

One of the many beautiful themes couples are choosing for their wedding events again this year is the English Garden theme.  Especially popular at outdoor events, nothing says romance and whimsy more than an iconic English Garden.  But this dreamy and romantic theme can always be recreated indoors, too!  And best of all, there’s really one main ingredient… one important key to creating an English Garden of your own… lots and lots of flowers, of course!

tented wedding reception table

The basic design principles of English Gardens can best be described as full, natural-looking, meandering floral beds in several distinct layers, featuring borders of flowers often in cool, pastel colors.  Although some can be considered formal, English Gardens are a far departure from the symmetrical, well-manicured design of the traditional French and Italian Garden, and elicit a more unpredictable and whimsical, warm and casual feeling.

wedding gown hanging from outdoor garden arbor
bride and groom outdoors by stone and concrete wall

Common elements include multi-height design, with the tallest species found in back, floral borders spilling into the walking paths and full plantings overflowing with a variety of perennials.  Favorites include roses (England’s national flower), lavender, geraniums, daisies, delphinium, hollyhocks, primrose, phlox and wisteria… and all in abundance.  English Gardens often have an asymmetrical, organic design that appears well-tended, yet to have been created very naturally over time.

Nestled in between the luscious, over-grown watercolor flowers, you’ll find cottage décor like old picket fence posts, weather-worn wooden wheelbarrows and benches and brightly painted ceramic and rustic, white glazed terra cotta pottery. 

Lush green grass fills the space between the myriad of plantings and a water fountain or a pergola dripping in climbing clematis or wisteria provides an exciting focal point.  And bluestone, pea gravel or cobblestone pathways wind throughout the peaceful garden beds.

bride and groom hold hands on wooden bridge
blush and sepia toned bridal bouquet

If an English Garden is in your wedding dreams, pick a spring or summer wedding date and choose a venue with a lovely outdoor space that already features or can easily accommodate an abundance of quintessential English Garden flowers added to the landscaping.  Decorating with potted plants that can be permanently planted afterwards is also a wonderful eco-friendly wedding trend, one that also allows you to remember your wedding day every time you step into your own garden.  

Tidy rows of boxwoods or yews surrounding rustic pathways made from natural stone will beautifully frame a garden party tented wedding event.  And add a touch of whimsy with time-worn décor items like an old, rusting iron gate or faded barn doors with just a hint of their original bright paint remaining.

For indoor wedding events, start by filling all available space with floral arrangements overflowing with roses and adorn tabletops with pillar candles in lanterns or hurricane vases rather than glittery candelabras.  If your event venue features a ton of natural light, be it large picture windows or a greenhouse space, you’re off to a great start.  

This is the perfect time and place for hanging those lush floral or greenery installations from the ceiling or twisting green garlands along the beams and posts.  Keep your color palette light, with cheerful pastels or fresh, cool colors and add a few rustic, cottage décor items throughout.

bride and groom walking in garden with boxwoods

We love the Ashford Estate, Grounds for Sculpture, Abbie Holmes EstateCrossed Keys Estate and Glen Foerd on the Delaware for their beautiful, lush English Garden elements.  In fact, Glen Foerd’s gardens were redesigned during the Country Place Era of the late 19th & early 20th centuries, when many American gardens were carefully landscaped to replicate grand European gardens of the day.  

And Crossed Keys Estate really looks like it was scooped up and flown in straight from the English countryside! Take a look at all the beauty in their website’s photo gallery and check out Jessica and Galen’s fantastic tented wedding held on the grounds of Crossed Keys.

bright greenhouse wedding venue
circular hanging garland installation at wedding reception

Venues that are perfect for bringing the English Garden inside include The Olde Mill Inn in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, in both their Grain House and their Washington Ballroom, and The Madison Hotel, where their indoor Victorian-inspired Conservatory adorned with tons of gorgeous hanging floral arrangements definitely has a wonderful, magical garden atmosphere.  Be sure to see Celia and Scott’s wedding day for proof!

bride and groom sitting by a pond
bride and groom in garden of purple irises

And for more gorgeous examples of English Garden inspired or accented weddings, check out Jamie and Jared’s Glen Foerd on the Delaware wedding event, Cherie and Florian’s wedding at the lovely Abbie Holmes Estate and Lauren and Eric’s joy filled Grounds for Sculpture wedding day!


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