{review} The Butchart Gardens

The Butchart Gardens offers a one-of-a-kind venue for couples who dream of a beautiful garden wedding

The Butchart Gardens offers a one-of-a-kind venue for couples who dream of a beautiful garden wedding

When we walked through the gates of The Butchart Gardens in Victoria, it was easy to understand why couples from all over the world dream of a Butchart wedding. It’s almost impossible to truly do justice to one of the world’s most beautiful gardens without experiencing it for yourself!

We love what The Butchart Gardens can offer a couple on their wedding day. As Owner, Robin Clarke commented, “We have been asked by many people over the years to hold weddings in our garden, and we feel that, at this time of year, one could not find a more beautiful indoor venue offering such an intimate location of great beauty.”

Here’s more on this incredible venue…..

The Grand Tour

If you have your wedding at The Butchart Gardens, you are having a rather exclusive experience, as weddings are only held between January 15th and March 31st each year.  Why is that?  Because the Spring Prelude indoor garden, where weddings are held, is designed and built indoors in a matter of seven days, filled with spring flowers, blossoming shrubs and trees, water features and pathways.

This year will mark the 11th year of the Spring Prelude indoor garden display. The Spring Prelude display provides waves and layers of colour, intoxicating fragrance and the sounds and movement of water all together in the intimacy of a cleverly crafted indoor garden.  Perhaps the most striking elements in this garden are the original water features (including fish!) and sculpture.  We love that each year the features change which means your wedding will not look the same as a wedding held the previous year!

The Gardens look good from every angle, but when looked at through the lens of a wedding photographer – there are so many photo opportunities the mind reels! And here on Vancouver Island, weddings from late February on can include all the outside garden’s flora and fragrance which spring usually provides.

This is one place where your guests will always have something to look at!  For instance, The Rose Carousel, the only carousel on the island, features hand carved animals. Stunning views of the Sunken Garden which culminate in the Ross Fountain lead into Rose Gardens and the serenity of the Japanese Garden. From the Butchart House, you can view the Italian Garden filled with tulips in early spring.

Photo: Ophelia Photography
Photo: Ophelia Photography

Generations of hospitality and attention to detail fit flawlessly into your special day and a bridal couple will be amazed and delighted by the natural beauty and exceptional service offered. It’s easy to imagine yourselves sipping champagne, mingling with family and friends. Having a garden wedding in the winter/early spring is a truly original way to say, “I do”!

Jenny Butchart’s vision can be summed up by the fact that, in 1915, she served 18,000 cups of tea to the many visitors who came to visit her gardens and home – aptly named ‘Benvenuto’, meaning ‘Welcome’.  Following the tradition set by this gracious hospitality, today’s Butchart Gardens staff work tirelessly to make your wedding a wonderful lifelong memory. When we arrived at The Gardens, we were immediately served tea (of course!), and then we set off for a wonderful tour of extraordinary gardens and venues.

Photo: opheliaandromeo.com
Photo: opheliaandromeo.com

Planting the Seeds!

The Butchart Gardens provides bridal couples with a Wedding Coordinator with whom you plan all the details of your wedding day.  You will be given a tour of the area where the gardens will be as well as where the bridal party will prepare for the big moment.  And don’t forget to bring your walking shoes, as you stroll down the stone flagged paths of the beautiful gardens where you will be taking your wedding photographs!

The Gardens offers wedding packages for ceremonies of up to sixty people. Options include wedding photographs alone, a ceremony and reception, or a reception or dinner in The Dining Room Restaurant. All packages include indoor and outdoor photo rights. For those choosing to have a ceremony, a one-hour rehearsal time is also included.

Wedding Photography

•    Pre-wedding site inspection for the photographer and wedding couple       to scout out picture locations
•    A Gardens representative throughout the photo shoot who helps guide       and assist the wedding couple
•    Indoor and outdoor non-commercial photo rights. Prior arrangements       are required. Book a time from 3:30pm onwards
•    Based on maximum of 20 guests

Spring Prelude Ceremony & Reception

•    Exclusive use of Spring Prelude indoor garden from 3:30pm onwards
•    Stand-up ceremony and reception in the Spring Prelude indoor garden
•    Indoor and outdoor non-commercial photo rights
•    Staging area for wedding party
•    1 hour rehearsal time for wedding party (booked in advance of wedding       day)
•    Parking for all guests
•    Two 12 Month Passes for the bride and groom (non-transferable)

The total cost is $1525 (plus food and beverage) plus tax

Spring Prelude Ceremony, Reception & Dinner

•    Exclusive use of Spring Prelude indoor garden from 3:30pm onwards
•    Stand-up ceremony and reception in the Spring Prelude indoor garden
•    Indoor and outdoor non-commercial photo rights
•    Staging area for wedding party
•    1 hour rehearsal time for wedding party (booked in advance of wedding       day)
•    Parking for all guests
•    Two 12 Month Passes for the bride and groom (non-transferable)
•    Exclusive dinner or reception in our Dining Room Restaurant

The total cost is $1675 (plus food and beverage) plus tax

Intimate Spring Ceremony 

♥Exclusive use of Spring Prelude indoor garden starting
at 4:00pm for up to a 2 hour period
♥Choose one of two standing ceremony locations
within the Spring Prelude garden to say “I do”
♥ Spring Prelude indoor garden
non-commercial photography
♥ Use of Wedding Party Staging Area adjoining Spring
Prelude for up to 1 hour in advance of the ceremony.
♥ Parking for all guests
Groups of 10 or fewer $675
(including the Bride & Groom)
Groups up to 16 $950
(including the Bride & Groom)

Other Services and Options include:

•    Licensed Bar services
•    Set-up Charges
•    Basic Bar $75.00
•    Deluxe Bar $120.00
•    Set-up charges are waived if Bar sales exceed:
•    Basic Bar $350.00
•    Deluxe Bar $450.00

If you opt for the Basic Bar, it will include both white and red house wine, domestic beer, stock liquor selection, soft drinks and sparkling water.

The Deluxe Bar includes everything in the basic bar plus cocktails (ie. Caesar’s, Screwdrivers) select white and red wine, imported beer and juice.

There is a maximum of 60 people for all packages.

Your Wedding at the Gardens

Receptions are held at the original Butchart Residence where generations of hospitality have been enjoyed by visitors. Original elements are still retained from when Mrs. Butchart first arranged the home, creating a real feel of grandeur. The bridal couple and their guests are able to enjoy an elegant, charming dinner in this historical setting.  If desired, a small dance floor can be set up for those who wish to “trip the light fantastic”.  Entertainment for your guests is welcomed as long as it is approved by The Butchart Gardens in advance.

The Butchart Gardens chefs take wedding cuisine very seriously. Pre-selected menus include everything from Alberta steak to Gulf Island’s mussels – they take great pride in presenting exceptional and innovative menus, using the very best ingredients from local Vancouver Island suppliers, whenever possible. For receptions, the chefs offer a wide variety of Canape’s, a selection of local and international fine cheeses, fresh vegetable crudites’, smoked salmon, and fresh seafood.

The bride and groom are assisted in selecting a wine from the cellars or, if the couple have a specific choice, it can be brought in by the Garden’s chefs.

Couples are very happy with the results! “It seemed you were ready to bend over backwards to make sure everything was perfect. From appetizers to final dessert course, it was delectable.  Bravo to the kitchen staff!”  Devin Card of Devin Card Photography

We love that, as well as exquisite cuisine, couples are also offered lovely menu cards, featuring floral from The Gardens, to add to the table decor.  Looking for garden inspired favours for your guests? The Butchart Gardens Wedding Favour Seed Package of White Forget-Me-Not’s is an environmentally friendly way for the bride and groom to say thank-you.  The bridal couple can personalize each package with their names at the top!butchart 6

The Wedding In Bloom!

On your Wedding Day, you are treated to exceptional service as your privacy and the intimacy of the occasion are of primary concern to The Butchart Gardens. Private areas for you and your bridal party are provided for prior to the ceremony. Parking is set aside specifically for your wedding and, of course, there is no admission fees for you or your guests!!

Your bridal party and photographer will be joined by a Butchart Garden’s representative who will assist your photographer with choosing sites.

“The experience I had yesterday was phenomenal! The customer service you provided to all if us was incredible. You and your staff were friendly, polite and helpful. But it was your personal contribution that made it memorable. Bravo to the kitchen staff! I think you guys will have great success with future winter weddings and I will definitely be recommending Butchart Gardens to all future wedding clients!”

“I wanted to let you know that you were a huge part in making our wedding day absolutely perfect.  If I had to do it over again there isn’t anything I would do differently.  I have heard from numerous people who attended that it was the best wedding they’d been too.”
Leslie U.

Photo: opheliaandromeo.com
Photo: opheliaandromeo.com

We Love….

That in the dead of winter and in early spring on Vancouver island, when things aren’t looking so pretty outside where you live, you can still have your dream of a beautiful garden wedding come true!

This is one of the premier gardens of the world – and you can have your wedding in an indoor garden especially designed for the occasion. What we are politely trying to refer to here is bragging rights!  “We got married at The Butchart Gardens!”

The sense of being a guest of the Butchart family from the moment you drive into the parking lot. The employees are trained to treat visitors (and wedding guests!) as good friends who are coming by to see the gardens. And you really do feel that way!

Wedding Details…

Wedding groups are only accepted between January 15 and March 31, and only wedding parties with confirmed reservations will be permitted entry.

Site Inspection and Check- list
The wedding couple must complete The Butchart Gardens’ wedding site inspection prior to booking. To confirm your wedding, the package price must be paid in full 3 months prior to wedding function.

Service Charges & Taxes
All food and beverage is subject to a service charge, except where noted.
1) 15% table and bar service
2) 10% other services i.e. Receptions
All prices subject to taxes

For your Wedding in the Garden

Call the Wedding Coordinator at 250.544.4478 or email weddings@butchartgardens.com.

Don’t miss out on the website at www.butchartgardens.com. Full of wonderful galleries of the gardens year round!

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