Pulling Off an English Garden Themed Wedding in New York

PAn English garden wedding theme easily lends itself to romance and sophistication. Combining a beautiful botanical setting with traditionally English foods and teas, all with a wonderful hodgepodge of vintage favorites, this theme has long been popular as a bridal or even baby shower idea. But why limit yourself? Such an idyllic theme transitions effortlessly into a wedding concept no matter where you live.

If you live in or near New York City, you’re probably thinking city living isn’t exactly compatible with quaint gardens. Luckily, nothing could be further from the truth! The city that never sleeps is always full of surprises, and when it comes to garden weddings in New York, you actually have so many ideas to choose from that the biggest problem you have might just be narrowing it all down! To save you the stress of all those research sessions, here’s an easy, mini-guide to pulling off an English garden themed wedding in the biggest city of them all, New York City:

The Venue

A botanical garden is a natural choice for a lush English garden wedding. Choose from Queens Botanical Garden, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, or New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx. While all three fit the bill for having romantic gardens that will wow you, they each have completely different styles and offerings.

At New York Botanical Garden, the Hudson Garden Grill would make for an elegant tea reception, as would rustic Stone Mill, where you can have your dream wedding at the garden’s stunning outdoor terrace. In Brooklyn, The Palm House at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden is floor-to-ceiling glass and is like catching a glimpse of a royal garden retreat. For a quieter affair, Queens Botanical Garden has a beautifully unique wedding garden that seats 100 guests, with reception options, including a terrace, that will have your guests ready for high tea.

Looking for something beyond the botanical gardens? Try Wave Hill in the Bronx for a setting straight out of Downton Abbey. Wave Hill has an estate house, Wave Hill House, that was built in the mid-1800s and meant to resemble an English country home. Weddings are booked in the evening, with only one bridal party per date, so your English garden themed wedding will be intimate and romantic.

The Food

All of the botanical gardens, as well as Wave Hill House, have prefered caterers. This is incredibly common among places who regularly hold weddings, so you can relax knowing that your reception plans are being handled by seasoned caterers. All that you’ll need to do is bring your input on the menu!

For an English garden themed wedding, consider, of course, a dessert table of elegant scones, jams, mini English desserts, and pastries. Speak with your caterer about creative ideas for a fancy tea sandwich selection. Maybe a finger sandwich buffet with fresh greens, refreshing salads like cucumber or watercress, beautifully arranged fruits, and a well-stocked tea bar with fine china instead of the usual cocktails? If you were imagining a more formal sit-down dinner, suggest a menu of classically British wedding foods. In the UK, seafood is a popular choice for wedding meals, particularly salmon, as are meats, especially lamb.  

Naked cakes with cascading flowers pair well with garden weddings. Wanting something a little more unique and a lot more British? Go with a wedding fruitcake, a long-standing tradition for British weddings (including every royal wedding for centuries except for the wedding of the most recent royal couple — Prince Harry and Meghan Markle!). This won’t be your average fruitcake, though. In the UK, wedding fruitcakes are usually brushed with brandy! You can also incorporate dried fruits, raisins, dates, and design elements, like fresh flowers. Fruitcake might seem unusual here in the U.S, so you could also choose to just have a small one as part of your dessert table and another, larger cake as your main wedding cake.

The Decorations

English garden weddings usually have a pastel color palette, with mints, light pinks, and whites. You could add a pop to this color scheme by throwing in a deep burgundy or brilliant purple. Purple is, after all, considered to be the color of royalty. Add in brilliant flowers and vintage accents. The great thing about an English garden themed wedding is just how many ways there are to design your big day.

The Dress

The traditional white dress fits in well with an English garden wedding, but this is also a theme that easily incorporates color. Light pastel dresses reminiscent of spring are ideal for brides and bridesmaids alike, as are lacy fabrics. This shimmery dress would look stunning at an English garden wedding. This is also prime time for a wedding hat! Large, beautiful hats akin to the derby are customary at weddings in the UK, but a simple flower crown would also go nicely with your theme.

Are you planning your own royal wedding this year? Have you visited any of these New York venues? Let us know all about your upcoming wedding in the comments below!

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