Planning an at-home wedding? What better reason than to fine-tune your gardening skills and treat your backyard to a wedding-ready makeover?

After all, garden weddings are on the rise. And, Covid has repopularized backyard weddings (out of necessity).

Photo by Claire Eliza

Turning your home into a cut-flower farm will pay dividends back to your wedding budget. For one, will you have oodles of florals to cut and arrange for your bouquets, centerpieces, ceremony altar and floral installations. Then, what florals remain will pose as a stunning garden wedding backdrop. Imagine your wedding photos: an al-fresco wedding dinner reception in your own ‘secret garden'. A stunning floral-filled wedding dream.

The Barn of Chapel Hill at Wild Flora Farm

So, it's about time we enlist some help from the pros to create a venue-level garden at home. Kara Brewer, owner of The Barn of Chapel Hill at Wild Flora Farm knows a little bit (aka quite a lot) about how to create the perfect garden wedding venue. As a treat to you, she's sharing how to plan and which flowers to choose plus gardening tips for preparing your backyard for an at-home wedding.

Photo by Greg Finck

Tip 1: Plan a Year in Advance & Think Seasonally

To prepare landscaping for a backyard wedding, start planning a year (or more) in advance. Keep in mind you'll need to plant what grows best in your particular climate–flowers that grow well in the deep south may not thrive in colder locations. Seasonality is also important to consider. If you've always dreamed of getting married in a field of colorful tulips, don't plan for an October wedding. Tulips are spring flowers and will be long gone by the fall.

Photo by Loi & Tom

Tip 2: Choose Quick-growing Perrenials

For a quick-growing, gorgeous perennial that does well in most climates, I always recommend Limelight Hydrangea. Plant them in a row, fairly close together, just behind the ceremony site. In almost all growing zones, Limelights will bloom in early summer and last through fall. Planting them at least a year (or even two years) in advance will give them plenty of time to mature and provide a stunning ceremony backdrop.

Tip 3: Plant Rows of Spring Bulbs

For spring weddings, tulips and daffodils are always a good choice. Plant bulbs in large clusters for maximum impact. Or, add them to the borders of pre-existing landscaping for a pop of color.

Tip 4: Less Time? Try These Annual Summer Blooms…

Annual flowers grow the year you plant them, so these are a great option if you don't have time to establish perennials. Summer and Fall “cut and come again” favorites, such as zinnias and cosmos are beautiful and last all season. In fact, the more you cut from them, the more they bloom. With these, you can even add a few blooms to your bouquets or centerpieces for a truly personal, straight-from-the-garden touch.

Photo & Dahlias by Floret

Bridal Musings' Tip: Plant Dahlias

Dahlias, while indeed perennials, produce an abundance of blooms in their first summer season. Like zinnias and cosmos, dahlias are “cut and come again” flowers and fill bouquets tremendously. Dahlias come in just about every color, shape and bloom size. Matching your wedding color scheme will be so easy! Plus, if you plant large dinner plate varieties and you won't need to cut too many to fill your arrangements. Then leaving plenty of color in your garden for your wedding day backdrop.

Photo by Claire Eliza

Bridal Musings' Tip: Consider Fragrance

Don't forget to consider fragrance when choosing which florals to plant! And, what's more romantic than a rose garden wedding? Plant rose bushes and climbing roses that are the most fragrant like old garden, antique and English roses. Alternatively, consider winding fragrant jasmine vines up an arbor for a sweet-smelling ceremony altar you can enjoy for decades to come.

Photo by Claire Eliza

Kara Brewer is the owner of The Barn of Chapel Hill at Wild Flora Farm, a 22-acre family flower farm and floral design studio just outside of downtown Chapel Hill, North Carolina. They specialize in cut flowers and honey, floral workshops, and garden-inspired weddings and events. Kara's mantra is Claude Monet's famous quote, “I must have flowers, always and always!”

Kara and her team focus on local, seasonal blooms. They also support state and national efforts to protect pollinators, established an apiary in spring 2016, and donate proceeds from honey produced on the farm to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. This team is the bee's knees.