Couples have been getting married in gardens for ages, but recently they're doing more than just taking their vows amid lush, verdant settings.
From planting heirloom lettuces and fruits for their wedding dinner to gifting guests with homemade seedling favors, brides and grooms are developing some serious green thumbs.
Even the traditional gardens are becoming more personalized. Some couples are choosing to design their own nuptial garden venues — right in their own backyards.
Astrid Lindo and Matthew Hoffman, co-founders of online heirloom seed company LivingSeedCompany.com, based in Marin County, have seen an increase in couples doing just that over the past few months.
"One client spent two to three months working on the garden for their wedding," said Hoffman, who provided the seeds for the couple. "It was a beautiful example of how couples can create such an important element of their special day," said Lindo.
But of course, serious landscape design requires planning, not to mention time.
"It takes a long time to plan a garden — especially when it involves construction of pergolas or other structures," said Lisa Moseley, owner of Lisa Moseley Garden Design in Santa Monica, who has designed gardens with upcoming nuptials in mind.
But couples don't have to undertake elaborate landscape design to create something special, said Wanda Wen, co-founder of Soolip: A Couple's Garden.
"Couples who plant together are planting the seeds of marriage symbolically and literally," Wen said. "Sharing the bounty at one's wedding reception — either through the bridal bouquet or through table décor — can be incredibly meaningful."
From Eleanor Roosevelt'sWorld War II-era Victory Garden to Michelle Obama's edible garden, growing local, sustainable produce continues to gain popularity. Now some newly engaged couples are getting into the act by incorporating the fruits (and vegetables) of their labors into their wedding menus.
When novice gardeners Brooke Barnes of Camarillo and Steve Zipperman ofManhattan Beach got married last October, they decided to plant a couple's garden together under the guidance of Oscar Carmona of Healing Grounds Nursery in Goleta.
The two grew mixed lettuce bowls, which were later served to their family and friends at their catered wedding dinner. For Barnes, the hard work paid off.
"A wedding is so personal, and serving our homegrown lettuce at our wedding meal made it even more so," she said.
Green gifts and favors
What do you give a couple with a passion for gardening? How about gardening tools, a local nursery gift certificate or a posh garden shed. But brides and grooms aren't the only ones being gifted with greens.
Barnes and Zipperman decided to share their passion for gardening with their guests. For wedding favors, they gave miniature potting kits, which included a small bag of biodynamic soil, mixed lettuce seeds and a letterpress card with planting instructions.
"The idea was that family and friends could take the pots home and start a garden of their own," said Barnes.
"Hopefully, it's something that they will remember long after our wedding day."
Lindo and Hoffman also will spread green love at their own wedding in Kauai — by giving guests their company's seeds.
"It not only reflects what we love to do, it's the perfect lightweight favor," Lindo said. "The last thing you want to do is give them something heavy they will have to lug home on the plane."
For Wen, the passion for gardening that is ignited in clients such as Barnes and Zipperman is a triumph.
"Eight months after their wedding, Brooke and Steve have become enamored with the soulful and grounding art of gardening," she said.
Denise Ritchie of Malibu Compost agreed. "The idea that a couple would plant the seeds of their union into the soil, while beginning their journey together is so romantic," she said.
"What better love story?"