Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES -

Pritchard is of­ten asked if flow­ers from the gar­den can be used in bou­quets or cen­tre­pieces. “It isn’t al­ways prac­ti­cal,” she says, “un­less the flow­ers have been picked at the right time and con­di­tioned prop­erly in or­der to be per­fect for wed­ding pho­tos.” Pritchard, who is help­ing to plan 25 back­yard wed­dings this sum­mer, says flow­ers from the gar­den work well for ac­cent pieces. When ex­treme heat is fore­cast, she rec­om­mends putting flower ar­range­ments out­side only a few hours be­fore guests ar­rive, mak­ing sure the flow­ers have a wa­ter source. Often the per­son host­ing a back­yard wed­ding cre­ates con­tainer de­signs to com­ple­ment the over­all theme of the wed­ding. Th­ese can be dis­played on rented pedestals and strate­gi­cally sit­u­ated at en­trances to the yard, re­cep­tion area, and tent. Pritchard says ra­nun­cu­lus is one of the most pop­u­lar flow­ers for back­yard wed­dings along with hy­drangea, gar­den roses, veron­ica (speed­well), dahlias, astilbe, and sweet peas. Mixed greens such as snow on the moun­tain, hosta leaves and ferns are pretty and nat­u­ral look­ing. While black, white and gold themes are pop­u­lar for ho­tel wed­dings, Pritchard says pas­tel colours such as peach, ivory and soft green are favourites for back­yard wed­dings. Also trend­ing are bright colour group­ings such as pur­ple, fuch­sia and ma­genta with ivory. Wed­dings of­ten serve as the im­pe­tus to start or com­plete an out­door project such as a canopy, arch­way, or per­gola for get­ting mar­ried un­der. Pritchard says birch­wood adds a rus­tic flavour. Weather is one of the big­gest fac­tors when plan­ning a back­yard wed­ding. At a mo­ment’s no­tice, should ex­treme heat, pelt­ing rain or high winds threaten to spoil the cer­e­mony, the wed­ding must be able to tran­si­tion seam­lessly to an in­door set­ting. Daryl Doell, D’Lite Pro­duc­tion (, pro­vides pole-free tents for back­yard wed­dings ca­pa­ble of seat­ing 200 or more guests. Erected a day or two prior to a wed­ding to al­low time for dec­o­rat­ing, Doell in­stalls a sub­floor over the en­tire ground sur­face and a dance floor which re­sem­bles par­quet hard­wood. Ad­van­tages, apart from the ob­vi­ous one of guests be­ing able to dance the night away on a smooth, level sur­face, in­clude less ground mois­ture which can soak through shoes and con­trol of mos­qui­toes that hide in the grass. When the sun be­gins to set, soft light­ing ex­tends the cel­e­bra­tions well into the night. Doell says al­most ev­ery bride wants Paris-style cafe bistro string light­ing with 11-watt clear in­can­des­cent bulbs for a warm ro­man­tic glow. For the area out­side of a tent, Pritchard wraps mini lights on cop­per cords around wicker balls and places them through­out the gar­den. Hang­ing lanterns from trees, us­ing real or LED can­dles also works well for il­lu­mi­nat­ing a gar­den wed­ding. One of Pritchard’s clients is Cindy Proskur­niak whose son and fu­ture daugh­ter-in-law will be mar­ried this Au­gust at Proskur­niak’s East St. Paul res­i­dence. Proskur­niak is ex­pect­ing 150 guests and says the tim­ing of the wed­ding is per­fect for many of her peren­ni­als such as Rus­sian Sage, Goblin gal­lar­dia and he­liop­sis to put on a beau­ti­ful show. She plans to shear her bor­der of Walker’s Low cat­mint nepeta for a sec­ond flush of blooms in Au­gust. Cae­sar’s Brother, a beard­less Siberian iris, planted through­out her gar­den won’t be in bloom how­ever the sword­like fo­liage and el­e­gant vase-shape will be very at­trac­tive. Her hus­band, Mel, man­aged to re­store, for the short term, an ex­ist­ing Shu­bert Chokecherry tree by re­mov­ing nu­mer­ous dis­eased branches. Proskur­niak is re­lieved and says it will look won­der­ful for the wed­ding. For fra­grance and colour, Proskur­niak has planted many more an­nu­als than usual, choos­ing mostly soft pinks and pur­ples to com­ple­ment the theme of the wed­ding. Con­tainer dis­plays in­clude creamy Bomb­shell hy­drangeas un­der­planted with trail­ing blue lo­belia. For con­sis­tency con­tain­ers have been spray painted in flat black and Cindy has high­lighted some ar­eas with a ham­mered cop­per paint. In ad­di­tion to rent­ing a tent she also plans to rent a por­ta­ble toi­let. “A deluxe model,” said Proskur­niak with a smile. As for new projects, her son, the groom-to-be, has built an out­side bar for the pa­tio. Deb­o­rah and Wal­ter Hiebert have hosted seven back­yard wed­dings since 2007. In Au­gust their six hectare prop­erty sit­u­ated near Al­tona will be the set­ting for their son’s wed­ding, 200 guests have been in­vited. Ma­ture trees sur­round the prop­erty which in­cludes a large open space of man­i­cured lawn and plenty of room for park­ing. For the wed­ding cer­e­mony the bride will walk down a long, curved path­way that leads to a vine-cov­ered ar­bor over­look­ing a large flowerbed seeded with pink lavat­era, cos­mos, and zin­nias. The Hieberts’ pic­turesque prop­erty is dot­ted with el­e­ments that serve as ideal back­drops for rus­tic vin­tage style wed­dings. A small, sin­gle room build­ing called a sum­mer kitchen with its orig­i­nal white wooden sid­ing is ac­cented with win­dow boxes and flowerbeds planted with pe­onies. It was easy to fall in love with the sight of an old wooden gra­nary that sits in a shady part of the yard. The Hieberts have in­stalled win­dows and shut­ters and added a front porch with cedar shakes. In­side, the ceil­ing is draped with bil­lows of burlap with string light­ing. The gra­nary has been used for serv­ing desserts at wed­dings. A quaint metal basin that serves as an out­door gar­den sink hooks up to a spigot for guests who visit the nearby out­house which was built from old barn wood and fea­tures a grapevine wreath on its door. The path lead­ing to the out­house is lined with thyme, berge­nia, columbine and Solomon’s Seal. One of the back­drops for many wed­ding pho­tos is in front of a vinecov­ered wooden tack shed with a rus­tic split rail porch rail­ing. I would love to own the Hiebert’s thick walled wooden farm trough that sits nearby. Rein­vented as a planter, this year it is brim­ming with canna lilies and nas­tur­tiums. Kasan­dra Leafloor is a stu­dio florist who owns Pur­ple Peony Wed­ding and Event Flo­rals and also works for Academy Florists. This sum­mer she is par­tic­i­pat­ing in the plan­ning of three back­yard wed­dings.


A rus­tic or vin­tage look is all the rage for back­yard wed­dings. This old wooden gra­nary set among shady trees and tall zin­nias is the per­fect back­drop for pho­tos.


In just a few months, this East St. Paul back­yard will be the scene for a wed­ding.

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