17 tips with photos to help you style a beautiful relaxed English garden wedding
Inspired by our lovely member Luke Hayden – all images by Luke Hayden Photography
Earlier this month we featured Luke Hayden’s top tips for planning a garden wedding – a great guide to bookmark and save if you’ll be saying your I dos outdoors – and today we’re looking at styling tips for garden weddings.
An outdoor space is basically a blank canvas, especially if you’re hiring a sailcloth marquee, tipi or Sperry Tent as cover for your wedding reception. It’s amazing to have total free rein on styling your outdoor space – but it can be a little overwhelming too. We’re here to help!
1 Create a welcoming space with signage
It’s nice for your guests to know they’re in the right place, as well as where the ceremony will be, where to grab a drink, where the loos are…
2 Use flowers, leaves, grasses, branches and trees for impact
Seasonal floral styling makes a big impression. Choose dried flowers for late summer and autumn weddings – you can gift them to people after the big day. We love a russet autumnal colour palette for September onwards, or vibrant colour for summer celebrations. And use lots and lots of foliage to bulk out your displays wherever you can!
If you’re getting married in a family garden, you can have lots of fun planning all the planting the year before – fill borders and containers with colour (and of course, bee- and butterfly-friendly native flowers)
3. Create paths with bunting, lighting, lanterns and (eco conscious) balloons
The entrance to a wedding always makes a huge impression, so think about what your guests will see before they even arrive at your ceremony space. This all-white theme with bunting and paper lanterns is effective – and adding fairy lights to sparkle when the sun sets makes it even more special!
4 Have fun with DIY wedding signs – and make your guests smile!
Signage is a lovely project – you can make your own, hire or buy wedding signs depending on your budget. This upcycled crate makes impressive use of stencils – ideal if your signwriting skills are a little wobbly! It’s super cute and we love it.
5 We love picnic baskets… not just for picnics!
Baskets are lovely for proper country garden wedding style. You can serve a picnic meal to your guests, or use baskets for cards, dance floor flip flops, photo booth props, games, cosy throws for the evening… even in the loos for spare toiletries for your guests. Use them around your home, gift them or resell them after your wedding.
7 Make the most of outdoor vibes with open sides to your marquee, tent or tipi
Choose a garden space with a beautiful backdrop: a field or hedge, or the flower beds in your garden. If the forecast is good for your wedding day, have the sides of your tent or tipi open! This creates a feeling of space, and allows nature in – always a win! If a Sperry Tent fits in with your budget, these can come without the sides, or with clear sides just in case it rains!
8 Use relaxed and playful styling – photos make lovely informal place settings
Garden dining should never be overly formal. Bring a smile to your guests’ faces when they sit down to eat… it’s harder than you’d expect finding the perfect pic of every guest, but so worth it!
9 Hire garden furniture for little display areas, like this photo guest book
… or borrow little bits of furniture from friends and family if it fits your garden wedding theme!
Did you know lots of marquee and tipi hire companies have furniture for you to hire as well – everything from a dance floor to chairs and tables and cushions to style your garden wedding. Sometimes it’s nice to have everything coming from one supplier… and hiring is really sustainable of course!
10 Hire lovely wooden benches and use foliage for a naturally beautiful look
It’s all about the nature. Wood & leaves…. you really can’t go wrong!
11 Don’t be too formal – gardens are for playful weddings so have fun with it!
Bring your personalities into your day with signage, stationery and little personal styling touches.
12 Hay bales make cheap and characterful seating – add throws and cushions for comfort (ladies with bare legs will appreciate the softness!)
Hay bales are brilliant – but if you’ve ever sat on one in a dress or shorts, you’ll know about the scratchy. Cushions and throws really aren’t optional!
13 Glitter stations are fun for a festival vibe wedding, and great for kids of all ages!
Bonus tip – have your glitter station next to your photo booth.
14 Hire a mobile bar with character – this one’s so cute!
These little horse box bars are popping up all over the place! Find one at a wedding fair near you.
15 Don’t forget the outdoor games…
Jenga is a great wedding ice breaker, and another of those little touches that never go out of style!
16 Even if your tent or marquee is your plan B, make it as beautiful as you can afford
Wedding marquees have come a LONG way! If you’re a boho couple, choose a tipi. For an elegant outdoor wedding, Sperry tents look amazing and are really versatile. If you’re having a DIY wedding at home, buy or hire whatever you can afford and decorate it with colourful bunting and fairy lights.
17 Think about dusk… lighting comes into its own as the sun sets, and you get double wow factor come evening!
I promise: lighting will come into its own at the end of the day. Think strings of warm festoon lighting, twinkling fairy lights in trees, little clusters of candles on tables, even fire pits for toasting marshmallows and patio heaters for keeping your outdoor space cosy.