Kim Hymes Photography is a documentary wedding photographer rooted in Atlanta and travels to destinations around the world.

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Newlyweds kiss while sitting on a bench in a uga botanical gardens wedding

Venues

Ultimate Guide to Planning a UGA Botanical Gardens Wedding

There are few things more romantic than a garden wedding. Maybe it’s the delicate blossoms or the tender care and attention needed to encourage things to grow. Perhaps it’s the pristine landscaping or the graceful butterflies and hummingbirds gliding through the air. Whatever the reason, a garden is the perfect place to begin the next chapter of your love story. About an hour outside of Atlanta, the UGA Botanical Gardens wedding venue makes an exquisite place to host an unforgettably romantic wedding. 

About The UGA Botanical Gardens Wedding Venue

The UGA Botanical Gardens is a beautiful collection of Southern horticulture and natural heritage. Their exhibits are stunning spaces designed to simultaneously calm and inspire, providing an environment for learning and engagement. The Gardens have been serving Georgia’s nature lovers and enthusiasts for 55 years and has become one of the state’s most treasured resources. 

Among their most popular gardens is the Alice H. Richards Children’s Garden, a “2.5-acre wonderland” that gives families a place to interact with a treehouse, edible plants, garden plots, and more. In the spring, the Flower Garden erupts in vibrant daffodils, roses, iris, snapdragons, and cherry trees. The Heritage Garden is home to collections of plants that hold cultural significance throughout Georgia’s history, like magnolias, azaleas, dogwoods, and antique roses. Additionally, the UGA Botanical Gardens is home to a number of winding trails, greenhouses, and preserved nature areas that are ideal for quiet exploration.

A bride smiles down her shoulder in a pink floral dress while holding a bouquet of red roses at a uga botanical gardens wedding

Details of the Grounds

The UGA Botanical Gardens offer a variety of beautiful, versatile spaces for hosting an unforgettable wedding. 

For your ceremony, you can choose to get married in the welcoming, cozy Cecil B. Day Chapel. The chapel’s design incorporates a variety of rich wooden finishes designed to “harmonize with the surrounding hardwood forest.” Soaring ceilings with stately wooden beams make plenty of room on the towering walls for floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over the wooded surroundings. Upon entering the chapel, you and your guests will be greeted by a gorgeous carved glass and mahogany entrance, setting the tone for an elegant and serene ceremony. 

The lower level of the Day Chapel is an open event space with more walls of windows overlooking the forests. Lighter walls and ceilings provide a bright, open canvas for your signature wedding decor with a timeless, modern aesthetic. 

The Day Chapel can accommodate up to 130 guests seated in pews for a ceremony. If you are contemplating using the downstairs reception hall, you’ll have space for up to 65 seated guests or 130 standing. Use of the Day Chapel also includes two smaller dressing rooms for the couple and their respective parties to use throughout the day. 

Newlyweds lean in for a kiss while smiling

The Visitor Center & Conservatory

The Day Chapel is just one option for a UGA Botanical Gardens wedding. The Visitor Center & Conservatory is another exceptional venue space. The Conservatory’s Great Room is a spacious greenhouse with towering glass walls and ceilings. The bright, beautiful room is filled with exotic greenery for a truly tropical aesthetic in a comfortable, controlled environment. At sunset, golden light streams in through the hundreds of panes of glass, casting a romantic glow over you and your guests.

The Great Room can be used for nature-inspired ceremonies, as well as lavish receptions full of fun and dancing. Plus, it’s only a short walk from the Day Chapel, making it an easy reception space to use following your chapel ceremony, should you choose. 

The Conservatory can accommodate up to 200 seated guests for either a reception or a ceremony. When combined with the adjoining patio, you can expand your guest list up to 250 seated guests. 

The third event space at UGA Botanical Gardens is The Terrace Room, located on the lower level of the Garden Club of Georgia. It’s a quaint, sophisticated space that is ideal for a more intimate celebration of up to 140 guests. Decorated by the Garden Club of Georgia, it would be the perfect place for a bright brunch reception or even an afternoon tea (though you can use it for truly any kind of celebration!) There’s also an adjoining brick terrace that overlooks the Discovery and Inspiration Garden, giving you and your guests the opportunity to enjoy the great beauty of the outdoors. 

A bride leans on the shoulder of her new husband wearing a blue suit and red rose boutonniere

Photography Opportunities

One of the biggest draws of a UGA Botanical Gardens wedding is the extraordinary grounds, perfect for capturing gorgeous outdoor photos. We can wander through gardens and along the nature trails for beautiful portraits of you and your partner. If you time your wedding day just right, Golden Hour is a magical time for photos. The grounds come to life with beautiful golden light, adding extra romance to stunning pictures. If whimsical, romantic garden pictures are a part of your wedding day vision, there are few better venues to explore than the UGA Botanical Gardens. 

A groom dips and kisses his bride the a uga botanical gardens wedding while wearing a blue suit

UGA Botanical Gardens Wedding Details

There are a few details to keep in mind if you’re considering a wedding at the UGA Botanical Gardens. First and foremost, as a living laboratory and conservatory, they have some limits to the kinds of decor and celebratory items available for use. For example, sparklers, birdseed, flower petals, and confetti are all prohibited on site, and all flame candles must be indoors and fully enclosed. Any floral decor, signage, or drapery must be freestanding (which shouldn’t be a deterrent, just something to consider as you design your event!) 

The UGA Botanical Gardens do not provide catering. But they provide a required vendor list to pick a caterer. There is the potential to add a licensed caterer to the list if you have your heart set on a specific company, but additional paperwork and fees will apply. As far as alcohol, since the Gardens are a unit of Public Service and Outreach on the University of Georgia campus, the university’s alcohol policies must be strictly adhered to.

With so many moving pieces of a wedding, especially one at UGA Botanical Gardens, it is highly recommended that you hire a wedding planner or coordinator. They help you make sure everything is running smoothly. Plus, a great coordinator ensures that you can focus on being present and enjoying every moment of your wedding day rather than chasing after details, vendors, and a rogue family member or two. 

Newlyweds nuzzle while in a greenhouse walkway at a uga botanical gardens wedding

UGA Botanical Gardens Wedding

A UGA Botanical Gardens wedding is one full of beauty, grace, and romance. If you’re considering hosting your wedding at the Gardens, you’ll need a photographer who can utilize the beautiful grounds to their fullest potential while still capturing every special, candid moment. I would love to talk to you about photographing your wedding! Let’s connect!

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Journalist. Documentarian. Artist


As a documentary wedding photographer, my photography style embodies connection and draws couples with a deep love for family.