Smith & Matese Wedding
Thank you for allowing Dow Gardens to be a part of your special day! It is our understanding that you have reserved the Willow location on:
Date: Saturday, June 15th, 2024
Rental & Setup Start Time: 10:30am Ceremony Begins: 12:00pm Rental End Time: 1:30pm
IMPORTANT: We ask that you keep to the schedule and plan on beginning your ceremony at the "begin" time above. Wedding ceremony site, changing room, and rental items will be available no earlier than the scheduled start time and no later than the scheduled end time. You are welcome to utilize the rest of the garden, before or after, for pictures for as long as you wish as long as these spaces are clean and vacated.
We look forward to welcoming your family and friends to your wedding ceremony at Dow Gardens! The information in our Wedding Guest Information document could be useful to those guests who may not have visited us before. A printable copy is available for you to distribute to your guests via wedding invitations, email, etc.
Please complete no later than Monday, March 6th, 2023 two weeks after booking. For your convenience a printable copy is available. It is very important that you read and understand this information.
2. FINAL DETAILS
Received your final head count? Ready to finalize your details? Click below! Complete no later than Saturday, May 4th, 2024 six weeks prior to your wedding date.
3. FINAL BALANCE
Your final balance will be determined by the additional amenities you would like setup (chairs and rental items.) Please let us know what your needs are by completing the details section above. Within 2-3 business days your final balance will be available to pay over the phone or in person at our Dow Garden's visitor's center.
Please contact the Rental & Tour Coordinator with questions or to make a payment.
Final payments are due no later than Saturday, May 25th, 2024 three weeks prior to your wedding date.
IMPORTANT - Please read thoroughly
Please read thoroughly
- To preserve the integrity of the Gardens, vehicles are not permitted. Decorations (including audio equipment, etc.) must be walked back to the wedding location from the Visitor Center. For this reason, over-sized items are not recommended. Feel free to bring a wagon or a dolly!
- Wear comfortable footwear. There is a short walk to the wedding location (approximately 300 yards) that is both paved and unpaved. You may choose to walk around for pictures before or after your ceremony.
- A golf cart may be available for an additional fee, to be used as a mobility shuttle. The mobility shuttle is available ONLY for guests with mobility issues 30 minutes prior to and 30 minutes after the ceremony. It is not intended for the transport of equipment/decorations.
- Wheelchairs (up to 4, available at no charge, reservation required) are recommended for those who wish to explore the Gardens or stay longer for photographs. If you've reserved mobility aids for specific guests, please let us know and have them check in at the front desk upon their arrival so that we may accommodate them.
- Directional signage will be placed along the pathway for you. Should you wish to create your own signage, let us know! You may choose to utilize our sign holders (8.5 x 11, can be positioned horizontally or vertically) or bring your own signs with bases (nothing may be staked into the turf.)
- Founder's Circle can accommodate a maximum of 100 guests seated. Staff members will setup/tear down any items provided by Dow Gardens. Unless otherwise specified, chairs will be setup facing the Leaping Gazelle statue. If you would like a different arrangement feel free to let us know!
- To reduce vendor traffic, we request that the 100, or less, chairs are rented from Dow Gardens facilities. We can rent up to 100 chairs, at $2.00 each, which includes setup and tear down.
- A bridal changing room will be available for the duration of the 3-hour rental period. For ceremonies taking place at Founder's Circle, this bridal changing room is located in the Historic Barn. Dow Gardens does not provide a changing/prep room for the groom or groomsmen. All personal items must be removed from this room by the Rental End Time.
- For ceremonies taking place at Founder's Circle, Dow Gardens provides access to up to 4 parking spaces at our Administrative Office building (located at 1018 W. Main St.)! These spaces are closer to the Historic Barn and Founder's Circle site, allowing the wedding party to access these areas more easily.
- If you intend to utilize some or all of these parking spaces, we require the license plate numbers of all vehicles that will be in these spaces! Please communicate these license plate numbers to the Rental & Tour Coordinator no later than 24 hours prior to the ceremony start time, via email or phone.
- 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 can be scheduled to take place 1-2 days prior to the ceremony, at the clients selected time (subject to availability, please confirm time and date with Rental & Tour Coordinator). 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 site and timing of the ceremony.
- The one-hour ceremony rehearsal period is not intended for rehearsal dinners.
- 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, photographer, 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 & Setup Start Time.
- Work 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. Clients are welcome to hang items on the chairs. If damage is done to the chairs (or any rental items), a portion, or entirety, of the $100 refundable damage deposit will be withheld at the discretion of Dow Gardens staff.
- Flowers are welcome in the form of corsages, bouquets, boutonnieres, and decorations. Flowers and/or petals (real or fake) are not permitted to be "tossed" into the air as a form of celebration. Real rose petals are acceptable but must be removed prior to the end of the rented time frame to avoid a portion of the damage deposit being withheld.
- Artificial petals/leaves, glitter, confetti, rice, fireworks (including sparklers), tiki-torches, fire, and birdseed are not permitted for use in the Garden at any time. Bubbles are a great alternative!
- Hanging items on plants or trees is not permitted.
- Aisle runners are permitted on pathways, but may not be laid on grass.
- Tents are not permitted.
- Dow Gardens will provide a clean site that must be returned in the same condition in which it was found. Those using the grounds and facilities are liable for any damage to the rented site.
All personal items, including trash items, must be removed from the ceremony site, bridal changing room, and rental items by the contracted Rental End Time.
- We recommend designating a family member, friend, or guest to ensure all trash items are removed from the site after you leave the site when the ceremony is over!
- Dow Gardens does not have an indoor or covered outdoor facility for use as a rain backup location.
- It is recommended, not required, that clients make a backup plan in case of rain or severe 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), and Creative 360 (989.837.1885). Rain backup is a separate rental and is not automatically included. The reception site is often suitable, as well.
- Please read the following for information regarding rental cancellation and refunds due to rain and/or severe weather:
- In the instance of a cancellation due to severe weather that requires the Dow Gardens property to close (strong winds, lightning, flooding), during the rented time frame, as determined by Dow Gardens staff, a refund will be immediately offered, with the exception of the initial $200 nonrefundable down payment.
- If you choose to utilize your rain backup location, due to rain or weather that is not considered severe, the client must contact Dow Gardens no later than 1.5 hours prior to the start of the scheduled Rental & Setup Start Time to inform us of the rental cancellation and inquire about a refund. If this notice is not received 1.5 hours prior to the Rental & Setup Start Time, or the client does not arrive within the 3-hour rental period, no refund will be offered.
- Example: The 3-hour rental period for a 12:00pm ceremony is 10:30am-1:30pm. In this instance, the rental cancellation notice must be received no later than 9:00am (1.5 hours prior to the Rental & Setup Start Time) on the day of the ceremony.
- Refund checks are distributed via mail and can be expected within 2-4 weeks after the ceremony date.
- You are more than welcome to visit the Gardens any time, during regular business hours, to view the ceremony locations, unguided. We would love to discuss your plans! If you have specific questions please call or email to make an appointment.
- We do our best to answer 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 give us a call and let the receptionist know.