FAQS for saying "I do" at MBGNA

What is the maximum number of guests that we can have at our ceremony?

The gardens can comfortably hold up to 130 guests (not including the wedding party); chairs are included in the price of the rental and an additional. Our conservatory can comfortably accommodate up to 65 guests including the wedding party. Occasionally we can accommodate up to 150 guests but this often requires some guests to stand. 

What if two and a half hours isn’t enough time?

Likely it will be!  That being said, if you need time before or after your standard package time, please discuss with the rental coordinator in advance.  Additional time may be available at the standard rate of $200/hr.  Due to other events, rentals, and normal visitors, early arrivals and late departures should not be assumed, and likely will not be able to be accommodated.   MBGNA staff have the right to refuse access outside of agreed upon times.

Are the gardens closed for our ceremony?

No. Our staff will work to keep general visitors clear of the garden space you have reserved immediately prior, during, and after your ceremony, however if your rental time is during normal operating hours, there will be other visitors in the gardens.  

Are we allowed to have tents in the gardens?

The short answer is no. However, if your musician requires shade or shelter, we have a small 10x10’ tent that may be used; this tent needs to be set up and taken down by someone in your party during the rental period.

Does Matthaei provide a list of vendors (caterers, photographers, officiants, possible reception spaces etc.)? 

Yes! We are always updating our vendor list to ensure your day is magical! The rental coordinator can provide this list as requested.

Is a dressing room available?

Yes, there is always a ready room with mirrors set aside for the couple to suit their needs, whether that be getting ready, a quick break, or a moment alone.

We are interested in a conservatory ceremony, can the waterfall be turned off?

Yes! Just ask someone on staff prior to the ceremony to turn it off for you.

Are the gardens ADA accessible?

While most of our paths are gravel they are overall wheelchair accessible, and so is our conservatory.

Are there electrical outlets for speakers, microphones, etc.?

There are electrical outlets in the Gateway and Perennial Gardens as well as in the Conservatory.

Can we bring an arch or trellis for our ceremony? Do you have one that we could rent?

You are welcome to bring in an arch or trellis so long as it does not damage our space in any way. Set up and take down must occur during your rental time and the arch or trellis must leave with your party.   We do not have an arch or trellis for rent.

Are we allowed to bring an aisle runner for our garden wedding?

You are allowed, however, we highly recommend against it. Paper runners turn to shreds in the grass, stick to shoes and get very soggy very fast. Cloth runners amplify the unevenness of most of our gardens and can cause falls.

May I bring my dog in to be a part of my ceremony?

Unfortunately, dogs are not allowed on the grounds and we can’t make any exceptions.

Are our guests free to enter the conservatory/rest of the gardens?
Yes, your guests are welcome to tour our grounds during the duration of the rental period during regular public hours.

Can we have a champagne toast?

No.  University policy prohibits alcohol on campus except in very specific circumstances.   If you have an on-site reception scheduled, the caterer can provide beer/wine service for you.

Are we allowed to bring in potted plants for our ceremony?

You are welcome to bring potted plants into outdoor gardens, however they are not permitted inside the Conservatory, with no exceptions.

We would like to have a flower girl throw petals for the processional, is that allowed?

That is fine in outdoor spaces, so long as they are real flower petals and that you agree to pick them up before your rental period ends. Artificial petals are never allowed.

I would like to set my rehearsal date. When should I do this?

Up to four months before your ceremony you can get into contact with the rentals coordinator to set a tentative date for your rehearsal; if a paying event gets scheduled during the tentative time for your rehearsal then that event will take precedence and this time may change. A month in advance we will finalize the time for your rehearsal.

I scheduled my rehearsal, now what?

The rehearsal will last 45 minutes from start to finish; we ask that you and your guests arrive 15 minutes early to ensure prompt start times. You will have the choice to have someone from our MBG team to facilitate or your party can facilitate independently. If you choose for us to facilitate, a member of our team will work with your group to work out things like placements, processional, and other things to help you all navigate our space. 

May we toss birdseed, rice, flower petals, blow bubbles etc.?

For the most part natural flower petals and bubbles are totally fine so long as any mess that may occur is cleaned by your party before the end of your rental. Birdseed and rice and other things along those lines are never permitted. Please check with the rentals coordinator if you aren’t sure!