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Choosing a wedding venue is a big decision! You want to tie the knot somewhere that reflects the two of you – a space that will feel cozy and intimate, but can accommodate your guests. Whether you’re a former Wolverine, or you’re just dreaming of a garden or greenhouse wedding, consider the Matthaei Botanical Gardens! The stunning displays of flora and fauna make the perfect backdrop, and you’ll have several ceremony sites to choose from.
The University’s original botanical garden and arboretum was created in 1907, and since then, the Matthaei Botanical gardens and Nichols Arboretum has grown from 80 to over 700 acres of gardens, research areas, and preserved around the Ann Arbor area.
The Gardens were created to encourage people – students and visitors to the University of Michigan campus – to learn about sustainability and environmental stewardship through enjoying the gorgeous displays in the gardens. The displays are crafted to be enjoyed by the community, and to teach about the flora and fauna and the conservation of nature, and now serve as a stunning venue for nature loving couples!
The Gardens are not a traditional wedding venue, and as a result are much more budget friendly! You can find the most up to date pricing here, but there are a few options for your day. All of these packages include an indoor backup option, a bride’s changing room, rehearsal time, and a coordinator to help with the wedding party and the guests!
The basic package is the most, well, basic! For $1,250, you can rent the Matthaei Botanical Gardens for two hours. This gives you access to the outdoor Garden space of your choice, and up to 50 folding chairs for you and your guests. It does not include parking, so your guests will need to pay the parking fee of $2 per hour (with a $5 maximum). The holiday weekend rate increases to $1500.
For $1,700 (or $2,100 on holiday weekends), you can get the Deluxe package, which gives you 2.5 hours in the Garden space of your choice. You’ll get up to 100 folding chairs, with set up and take down included, and free parking for up to 75 cars!
The Premium package offers 3 hours in the Garden space you want for your ceremony, up to 100 folding chairs that will be set up and taken down for you, and valet parking for up to 75 cars! The holiday weekend rate increases to $3,300, but the standard rate is $2,600.
While you have several outdoor options for your ceremony, this package is for you if you want to get married in the Conservatory! This package is available mid September through May 31st (unlike the others, which are only available mid May through early October), making this the perfect venue for a fall or winter wedding. For $1,500 ($1,800 on holiday weekends), you’ll get 2.5 hours in the conservatory, up to 60 folding chairs, and parking included!
There are 5 garden spaces to choose from when you have your wedding at Matthaei Botanical Gardens – four outdoor and one indoor.
Mid July through early September, sunflowers, marigolds, milkweed, poppies, salvia, and other vivid florals bloom in the Gateway Garden. There’s a pavilion at the center of the garden, with two stone fountain pools and an array of flowers circling around the ceremony space. With a capacity of up to 150 people, this rounded design is perfect for larger weddings!
The Perennial Garden is built as a traditional English cottage Garden, with 4 long beds of perennials and grass aisles in between. The ceremony usually takes place in the semi circle of white perennials, with chairs in the big central aisle between the flower beds. There are over 120 varieties of plants here, which means from May to September, each month brings new colorful blooms! The peak season is June through late September, and you can have up to 150 guests.
The Willow Pond can hold up to 150 people, and features a winding pathway. There is a stone stage perfect for a wedding ceremony, with tall spruce trees in the backdrop and an open lawn for your guests! The Pond feels remote and peaceful, as you need to cross the water to get to the tiny island space. This spot is best from late May through mid October!
The main paths of the Herb Knot Garden are framed with boxwood, and the garden is enclosed by a low yew hedge. In the center, a woven knot design is formed by a bed of thyme. This garden is fragrant, and offers a diverse set of textures and colors! With a maximum of 100 guests, there are several options and ways to use the paths to set up your ceremony. This garden blooms in June and July, but the lavender bordering the garden is most fragrant in July!
As the only indoor option at Matthaei Botanical Gardens, the Conservatory is warm no matter what time of year you get married! It can host up to 100 people, but is only available for ceremonies that begin after 5:30 pm. Tying the knot here can be a fun contrast to the snow or the fall colors outside, and the flowers will always create the perfect atmosphere, filling the conservatory with sweet fragrances!
If you want to have your reception at Matthaei Botanical Gardens, the Auditorium is available after your ceremony! It offers views of the Gardens outside, and can be used as a backup space for your ceremony in case of rain. If you are planning an intimate sized wedding, the Conservatory is also an option!
If you’re ready to book a venue, and you want to host your wedding at Matthaei Botanical Gardens, shoot them an email! You can see the spaces in person as well, as visitors are welcome to check out the displays.
The next step after choosing your venue?Hiring a photographer – contact me to learn more!
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