Event Guidelines

Congratulations on your special event! The following guidelines have been put in place to better serve you, the client, and for the protection of the Garden and its amenities. Please read carefully and contact the Rental & Tour Coordinator if you have any questions.
PLEASE NOTE: All private events including wedding ceremonies and elopements MUST take place within a pre-reserved time block.  For the courtesy of our guests, private events not scheduled via our Rental & Tour Coordinator (with complete payment), are not permitted on campus at any point during the year.  This rule applies to both Dow Gardens and Whiting Forest.


Staff members will place directional signage along the pathway for your guests.  Should you wish to create your own signage just let us know! You may choose to utilize our sign holders (8.5 x 11, portrait format) or bring your own signs with bases (nothing may be staked into the turf.)


Staff members will setup/tear down any items provided by Dow Gardens.

To reduce vendor traffic, we do ask that you allow Dow Gardens to provide the first 100 chairs. If you require more than 100 chairs (at Peninsula site only), we are happy to refer you to an outside vendor.

A sound system can be setup for an additional fee and includes a wireless, handheld microphone and a bluetooth speaker.  The client must designate someone to operate the system and a compatible device is required.
Live or prerecorded music is welcome. One 110-volt outlet will be provided.  If you require additional outlets you are welcome to bring a power strip.


The space contracted for the wedding ceremony is also available for wedding rehearsals, pending availability. Time is limited to one hour. Rehearsals must be scheduled in advance. Please note Dow Gardens staff will not be present for the rehearsal. Chairs, electricity, and rental items will not be setup for this event. Ceremony rehearsals are a private, one-hour opportunity for you and your wedding party to familiarize yourselves with the space and timing of the ceremony!


Vendors (florists, musicians, photographers, etc.) must adhere to the terms of our guidelines and it is the client’s responsibility to share these guidelines with them. Set up for your event may not begin before the contracted Rental Setup & Start Time on the day of your event. Any vendor, coordinator, or other guests that arrive early to begin setup before the designated setup time will be asked to return at the appropriate setup time. Decorations, supplies, rentals, musical instruments, and/or other items are not permitted on site prior to the contracted rental time.

It may be necessary to consult with your florist to have boutonnieres delivered to groomsmen and bouquets to bridesmaids if they choose to ready themselves in separate locations.


Items may not be staked into the turf, including shepherd's hooks. There is no exception to this rule.  Free-standing decorations are welcome. Tents are not permitted. Clients are welcome to hang items on the chairs. Hanging items on plants or trees is not permitted.

Decorations meant to be tossed in the air and/or scattered on the ground: Artificial petals/leaves, glitter, confetti, rice, fireworks (including sparklers), tiki-torches, and birdseed are not permitted for use in the Garden at any time (bubbles are an accepted alternative). Real rose petals are acceptable but it is the clients responsibility to remove them by the contracted Rental End Time.

Real flowers - in the form of bouquets, boutonnieres, and corsages - can come in the Gardens.

Aisle runners are permitted, but may not be staked down, and are not recommended for use on grass.


Dow Gardens will provide a clean site that must be left in the same condition in which it was found. Those using the grounds and facilities are liable for any damage to the rented site.

Refusal to clean up the ceremony site, and other areas visited in the Gardens, by the end of the 3-hour rental period may result in the loss of the $100 Damage Deposit reimbursement.

Smoking, vaping, and e-cigarettes are not permitted at Dow Gardens or Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens.


It is recommended that clients make a backup plan in case of inclement weather. There are several nearby venues that offer rain backup locations including:

  • The Midland Center for the Arts, (989) 631-5930
  • The Grace A. Dow Library, (989) 837-3432

Rain backup is a separate rental and is not automatically included. The reception site is often suitable. Although not required, rental of a rain backup is recommended.

In the instance of a cancellation due to inclement weather, during the rented time frame, as determined by both the renting party and the Dow Garden's staff, a refund will be offered with the exception of the initial nonrefundable down payment. If you choose to utilize your rain backup location, due to rain, please contact us as soon as you are able.


You are more than welcome to visit the Gardens any time during regular operating hours to view the wedding locations, unguided. We would love to discuss your plans! If you have specific questions please call or email to make an appointment or give us a shout.

We do our best to answer event-related inquiries within 24-48 hours.  However, office hours are dependent on our schedule of events.  Saturdays, we are dedicated to the amazing ceremonies taking place in the Gardens and on Sundays/Mondays we rest.  Please allow us some time to get back to you. However, if you have an emergency or an urgent question, please call and let the receptionist know.