Following the British government’s announcement that, from 17th May, weddings and receptions can take place in private gardens with up to 30 people, DIY and garden weddings are set to be a growing trend. 

For many couples hoping to tie the knot this summer, the news weddings with up to 30 people can take place from 17th May is very welcome indeed. However, those that are scrambling to lock in their desired venue, keep hold of deposits and plan a wedding in less than 30 days may be pleased to know a new trend is taking hold.

The ease in restrictions outlines that private gardens will be considered amongst Covid-secure venues for wedding receptions in England as we enter stage three of the roadmap out of lockdown. So, as Pinterest searches for ‘small back garden wedding’ increase by 190%, Jess Martin, wedding decoration expert at Ginger Ray, and Anna Davison, CEO at the Tiny Wedding Company share some top tips on how to create the ultimate stylish garden wedding.

How to Host a DIY Wedding Reception in Your Garden

Stay Savvy and Keep Costs Low

Whilst the average cost of a wedding in the UK is around £15,000 to £20,000, a garden wedding comes in at a fraction of the cost. Even with the additions of a marquee and caterers, the price is still likely to be considerably less.

“If you are looking to hire a tipi marquee in your garden with caterers and a bar, fully decorate the marquee and the garden, hire photographers and musicians you would be looking at up to £6k.” Anna Davison, CEO at the Tiny Wedding Company, explains.

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Hosting a garden wedding is a great opportunity to get a bit crafty and save some money by upcycling old furniture or hidden gems from charity shops or resellers.

Anna adds: “If you are open to being a little more savvy and creative by upcycling pieces from Facebook marketplace, using flowers from the garden, cooking the food yourself and borrowing tables and chairs you will be able to create a stunning wedding day for under £1000.”

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Embrace Your Inner Boho Bride

Having your wedding in your garden comes with tonnes of perks,  including the fact that you can go all out with decorations at just a fraction of the cost of decking out a whole venue. You can also really embrace the bohemian wedding theme with ethereal and nature-inspired decor.

Jess Martin, wedding decoration expert at Ginger Ray explains: “Relaxed, boho vibes are a huge trend for wedding decorations this year – and it’s so easy to create the look in your garden. Touches of pampas grass, flower garlands and macrame really add to the boho look and feel.

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Natural Off White Bunny Tails, £9.99, Ginger Ray

“Adding foliage and flowers (even if they are artificial) in as many places as possible is another easy way to achieve a relaxed setting. If you’re adding in the traditional archway for the bride and groom, try wrapping foliage around the frame, or buying a ready-made one if you’re not the crafty type!”

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Copper Frame Wedding Arch, £69.99, Ginger Ray

Anna adds: “Turn simple foldable tables into elegant tablescapes with draped pieces of neutral material, add foliage, flowers, candles and whatever colour palette you decide to go with.”

Create Seating Zones

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Individual Confetti Sachet from Shropshire Petals

“Your garden will always be your garden, but when it comes to celebrating your wedding day, you want it to be the place you celebrated your special day,” suggests Anna. “Get creative and plan the space, create zones and different areas for different aspects of your day. It’s a great way to make a setting feel comfortable.

“Zone certain areas with sofas and comfortable chairs, rather than just randomly placing them around the garden. Create another zone with high stools and barrel style standing areas. If you have the space, having a gazebo or small tipi marquee can act as another room or bar, it is also a great blank canvas to decorate.”

Get Crafty With DIY Wedding Decorations

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Credit: Pexels

“Gather friends and family to get involved and create their own decorations for your special day,” says Ginger Ray’s Jess.

Whether it’s painting signs, creating photo banners, or flower arranging, try hosting a fun pre-wedding craft evening with snacks and fizz.

“If you have the time, start collecting glass bottles to make your own cute lanterns to place around the garden, by adding in LED lights and tying in raffia string. Making your own decorations is not only eco-friendly, but is also a great way to cut down on costs, and add a personal touch to your wedding.”

Keep Things Lowkey When it Comes to Music

Although couples often dream of a big live band for a riotous reception, or a harmonic string quartet to usher them down the aisle, when it comes to music at a garden wedding it’s often best to keep things a little more lowkey. This doesn’t mean you can’t all enjoy a good boogie, though.

Anna says: “Music is another key element to any wedding day. Having a band tends to take up a lot of space in smaller gardens, you might want to look for acoustic musicians that are still able to create a great atmosphere but require a lot less equipment and can comfortably set up anywhere in a garden.

“PA sound systems are great because they also come with a microphone, perfect for speeches and any announcements throughout the day, you can hire this equipment from £35 or buy the equipment from £100.”

If you’re on a very strict budget, Jess suggests setting up your own wedding playlist. “To add an extra personal touch, set up your own Spotify playlist and invite your guests to add to it before the big day,” she explains. “That way, nobody has an excuse not to get up onto the dancefloor!”

Set up Food and Drink Stations

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One of the many benefits of having a garden wedding, is not having to fret over a formal seating plan for meals. Instead, create relaxed food and drink stations, where people can grab bites and top up as they please.

“Creating DIY bars is a great way to encourage your guests to help themselves throughout the day. Buy beer barrels from local breweries who tend to offer the pump as a rental. Setting up ‘pimp your’ gin and prosecco tables is a lovely added extra too. Firepits with smores and toasted marshmallows in the evening is also great fun once the sun goes down,” Anna comments.

“Candy stations are also a brilliant alternative to a more formal cake, and add yet another element of fun to your garden wedding,” adds Jess. “There are tonnes of options out there, from donut and pretzel stands, pick ‘n’ mix, to ice-cream stations.”

Make the Most of Natural Lighting (and add a few little extras)

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Lighting plays a big part in creating the stunning atmosphere at your garden wedding – and getting the day to night transition spot on is vital.

Jess says: “Dot tealights around your garden on as many surfaces as you can to really create that serene, warming feel – the more the better. Try incorporating LED lights by weaving them into foliage you’ve used to decorate your garden too. Festoon lights are also bang on trend this summer, and are a great option if you’re going for a festival look and feel.

“Buy some sparklers and add them to a party bag for each of your guests and light them when it gets dark, spelling out letters with them also makes a gorgeous photo opportunity!”

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Ruby is Digital Editor of Wedding Ideas and the brand's sister magazines, Baby and Little London. Overseeing Wedding Ideas' online presence, Ruby covers everything from bridal fashion and beauty trends to venues, budgets and whether Brexit will affect your big day. When she's not navigating the world of weddings or scouring the internet for the latest lifestyle and beauty trends, you'll probably find Ruby trawling through the Zara sales, escaping the city for a weekend at the spa or cashing in the discount vouchers at her local Pizza Express. And when that doesn't work, she'll be parked on the sofa midway through a Netlfix crime documentary binge.