Denver Botanic Gardens Wedding Guide
Updated March 18, 2021
Why choose the Denver Botanic Gardens for your wedding
The Denver Botanic Gardens is one of my favorite venues in Denver. If you like the outdoors, being surrounded by lush and colorful florals, and don’t want to travel too far outside of Denver, you should definitely consider the gardens. I also love that so many aesthetic styles can be accommodated at the gardens, whether you prefer a more classic and elegant look, or a more eclectic and colorful look. With 12 event spaces spread over 24 acres of gardens, you can mix and match to get to the perfect set up for your wedding vision.
Where are the Denver Botanic Gardens Located?
The Denver Botanic Gardens are located at 1007 York St, Denver, CO 80206. They are adjacent to both Cheeseman Park and Congress park, and are surrounded by an historic upscale neighborhood in Denver. If you like walking around looking at houses, this is the neighborhood to do it in.
What is the overall feel of the Denver Botanic Gardens?
The space is elegant, fresh, organic, and intimate. Each area of the gardens has its own name and design plan that highlights a particular plant, flower, or natural element of Colorado or other geographic region. You can view the overall layout of the garden and follow along as you learn about each space with their visitor map. (*Note: most indoor areas at the gardens are currently closed to the public due to COVID)
What are the ceremony and reception sites at the Denver Botanic Gardens?
I’m going to start with a chart overview that outlines the general uses of each ceremony and reception space, including the guest capacity for each. In addition, each space has specific restrictions on amplified sound, which I’ve tried to capture here as well. You’ll find more detailed information and photos of each space below. You can refer back to this chart as you read about and explore each space.
|Site Name||Guest Capacity||Ceremony Space?||Reception Space?||Amplified Noise Restrictions|
|Romantic Gardens||250||Yes||No||1 hour allowed|
|Woodland Mosaic||40 – 75||Yes||Yes||Acoustic Only|
|Annuals Garden and Pavilion||120 – 250||Yes||Yes||1 hour allowed|
|South African Plaza||65-125||Yes||Yes||1 hour allowed|
|Water Garden Gazebo||20-25||Yes||Yes||Acoustic Only|
|Orangerie||100 – 225||No||Yes||No restrictions when |
doors are closed;
when doors are open
|West Terrace Tent||150 – 250||Yes||Yes||Acoustic Only|
|UMB Bank Amphitheater||600 – 1200||Yes||Yes||1 hour of spoken sound|
|Marnie’s Pavilion||80 – 150||No||Yes||No restrictions|
|Mitchell Hall||200 – 300||Yes||Yes||No restrictions|
|Gates Hall||60 – 90||Yes||Yes||No restrictions|
|Welcome Garden||175||No||Yes||Acoustic Only|
*Note that the Gardens are currently following COVID-19 capacity guidelines from the state.
Actual guest count allowance will likely be less than indicated above. Contact the event staff for up to date numbers.
Outdoor Ceremony and Reception Spaces
Romantic Gardens (ceremony only)
The Romantic Gardens is one of the larger ceremony spaces at the gardens and is also the most private. The staff sections off the Elipse Garden and the Welcome Garden so that you can utilize these spaces exclusively for your guests. In addition, the location of the Romantic Gardens in the corner means that you’ll have less public traffic nearby during your event. Despite the large allowed guest count, this space feels intimate and romantic and has a nod to Elegant and European style.
You can reserve this space for 3 hours, which includes an hour for set up, an hour for your ceremony, and an hour for your clean up.
You can have up to 1 hour of amplified sound in this space, which means that you can use microphones and projected music during your ceremony.
Woodland Mosaic (ceremony + reception)
The Woodland Mosaic garden is tucked to the side of the Denver Botanic Garden and is the only garden that features a unique historical artifact. In the 1990’s Euro Disney commissioned 7 of these green glass solariums. But then never used them. The one located in the gardens was kept in storage in boxes for 20 years before being donated to the Gardens in 2012 and reassembled.
This spot is perfect for intimate microweddings and can be used for either ceremonies or receptions. The stone patio that surrounds the solarium also means that you can blend the spaces for indoor and outdoor receptions, though seating is limited outside.
I think the best use of the space is for ceremonies, where you can fit 30 – 40 people, and for receptions staged with 2 long king tables and everyone seated inside. I recommend using the outdoor areas for photos and for cocktail gatherings.
Due to the proximity of the Woodland Mosaic Gardens to the outer perimeter of the gardens (and thus a residential neighborhood), only acoustic music and sound is allowed.
Annuals Garden and Pavilion (ceremony + reception)
The Annuals Garden and Pavilion is a popular spot at the Gardens and can be used for both your ceremony and reception. You can stage your ceremony in any direction, depending on your guest count, host a cocktail hour on the patios adjacent to the pavilion, and then flip the pavilion space to offer an al fresco dining experience to your guests.
You’re allowed one hour of amplified sound at the Pavilion, which most people choose to use during their ceremony. If you want to keep your whole event at the Gardens and include a dance party for your reception, you can pair the Annuals Garden with the Orangerie or Marnie’s Pavilion where amplified sound is allowed. These spaces are adjacent to each other and provide an easy flow from event to event.
The Annuals Garden is closed every year from May – June as the garden switches over from its spring tulips to its summer flowers.
I think the areas around the Annuals garden are at their most lush and beautiful in the late summer and fall.
South African Plaza (ceremony + reception)
The South African Plaza is located next to a bubbling brook and is the perfect space for a small, intimate wedding or cocktail hour. There is no structure or shade at this spot, so if you’re planning to be in the area for longer than the ceremony, you might want to consider renting umbrellas for shade for your guests. You can do your reception here, though most people choose to combine a South African Plaza ceremony with different reception space.
Water Garden Gazebo (ceremony + reception)
The smallest and most affordable ceremony and reception space, the gazebo is located next to the Monet Pool. Though you can technically fit 20 – 25 people in the space for a standing ceremony, it’s tight. I’d recommend this space for a very intimate elopement (under 10 people), followed by couple’s photos in other areas of the garden.
Orangerie (reception only)
The Orangerie is a long indoor/outdoor space that features garage doors that link it to the patio walkway outside. The glass Orangerie is located next to the main greenhouses of the gardens, so it can get very warm in the daytime, especially if the doors are closed. In the evening, with the doors open, this space is lovely and intimate.
The Orangerie is great for cocktail hour and is often paired with an Annuals Garden ceremony and a West Terrace dinner. You can also host a seated dinner in the space with long kings tables (round tables are just too tight). With the doors open, though, you can’t use amplified sound, so you’d have to close the doors for toasts.
West Terrace Tent (ceremony + reception)
At the end of the Orangerie, as you approach Monet’s Pond, is a clear sided tent that can be used for either ceremonies or receptions. The tent features twinkle lights and misters for hot days. No amplified sound is allowed though, so the space is most often paired with other spaces and used mostly for meals.
UMB Bank Amphitheater (ceremony + reception)
This is the largest outdoor space at the gardens. Located next to the grass amphitheater, the huge patio can host up to 1200 people and is idea for large weddings. While some might see the tent as too big or intimidating, the right designer and decor can completely transform the space. If you’re hosting a smaller wedding (more on the 100-200 people side), you could easily section the tent to host the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception in different and unique areas. Especially during COVID, this space allows ample room for social distancing.
The sound restrictions in the space are very specific and allow for one hour of spoken word. All other sounds must be acoustic.
The tent features twinkle lights and is open May – October.
Welcome Garden (Romantic Garden entrance + cocktail hour)
This private area is perfect for a guest entrance to your Romantic Garden ceremony. It can be used for pre-ceremony refreshments, check in tables, and post-ceremony cocktail hours.
Indoor ceremony and reception spaces
Marnie’s Pavilion (reception only)
The area (also known as the orchid house) features an indoor fountain, a balcony, bathrooms, and an open area for a DJ and dancing. since the space is indoors, amplified music is allowed so many couples choose to use the space for dancing. It pairs well with Orangerie cocktail hours.
You can host up to 70 people for a dinner on the balcony, or you can use the upper space for desserts and drinks with dancing down below.
You do have the option to turn off the water feature during your rental, as the water feature is soothing but a bit loud.
Mitchell Hall (ceremony + reception)
Mitchell Hall is the largest indoor space at the Gardens and is the most “traditional” in terms of indoor wedding reception spaces. Because of its size, it pairs well with a Romantic Garden ceremony. It can seat up to 200 people for dinner. The space boasts a stage that you could utilize in many ways, built in AV and spotlights.
Gates Hall (ceremony + reception)
Gates Hall can be used for ceremonies and receptions, but its most often utilized for desserts and dancing after an outdoor dinner. It has a similar feel as Mitchell Hall, but is much smaller. It has the same AV set up as Mitchell Hall.
Technical and practical tips for getting married at the Denver Botanic Gardens
One thing to keep in mind is that the gardens are one of the main cultural organizations in Denver, and thus operate as a museum. Their first priority is to the integrity and health of the plants and gardens. As such, they do have specific policies on amplified sound and are open to the public on a daily basis.
All outdoor sound is required to go through the garden’s. They have a contract with PSI and because of the varied restrictions on noise in the area, the garden’s need to maintain control of all sound produced within the gardens. If you choose to host dancing in an indoor area you can hire your own DJ.
Spaces are reserved in 1/2 day and full day increments. Half days include 4 hours for your event + 2 hours of set up and 1 hour of clean up. Full days include 8 hours for your event + 2 hours of set up and 1 hour of clean up.
You can overlap your rentals. That means that your total time on site might be more like 10 hours with your half day and your full day rentals overlapping instead of being consecutive.
Outdoor spaces can be rented until 9pm. Indoor spaces can be rented until 11pm or Midnight. Clean up can continue after the event ends at the above times.
There are two touch up room spaces at the Gardens. But neither are very aesthetically pleasing. I would recommend getting fully ready off site and using these rooms as holding rooms before your ceremony if you need to.
There is no kitchen onsite for caterers. All caterers have to cook in trucks or kitchens offsite and transport food to the gardens with their own warming methods. The gardens have a preferred caterer list. You can choose a caterer outside of that list for a small fee. The gardens does not allow mobile bars or food trucks, and the liquor license must be held by the catering company.
Prime weekend dates can book up to a year in advance. The gardens opens up dates for the following year on January 1 of the current year. So, for example, they opened 2022 dates on January 1, 2021. However, you can still do a site visit at the gardens prior to that and then email to reserve your date on January 1. If you’re interested in Saturdays June – September, definitely don’t wait to book a site visit!
What time should I get married at the Denver Botanic Gardens?
Morning, afternoon, and evening are lovely in the gardens, but I prefer the late day light for couple’s photos. The sun sets over the west side of the gardens, towards Cheesman Park and produces the most beautiful golden glow in the hour before sunset.
If you do choose to do a brunch wedding, there is ample shade throughout the gardens, so lighting is always good somewhere.
The Gardens don’t have scheduled time blocks for their rentals so you can work with them to customize a timeline that meets your needs. Just keep in mind that they’re also working around the public events schedule and other events taking place at the Gardens.
What season should I get married at the Denver Botanic Gadens?
The Gardens offers weddings year round, but summer and fall are the most popular. In the winter, many of the plants loose their leaves and much of the grounds are empty as the soil is prepared for spring planting. By April, the plants start greening out and gardens start filling out. In June there is a lot of greenery, with a little less color (outside of areas with tulips and spring flowers). I think the gardens hit their prime in September with the most variety in color and plant life.
If you choose to get married at the Gardens in winter you will have the Blossoms Of Light lights throughout the gardens. Just keep in mind that the gardens aren’t available for photographs after 5:00 when they open to the pubic for Blossoms of Light. If you want to get those twinkly photos throughout the gardens, you’ll have to plan your timeline to allow for photos prior to 5:00pm.
Should I have an indoor or outdoor reception?
The biggest factor you have to consider when thinking about having your reception indoors or outdoors at the Gardens, is sound. Do you envision dining outdoor surrounded by plants under twinkle lights? Do you see yourself dancing the night away to a hip DJ? Of course, the best part of the gardens is that it is possible to do both by combining spaces to meet your needs.
It’s also possible to have your ceremony at the Gardens and to choose to do your reception at another location altogether, like a hotel in Denver.
Do I need to rent tables and chairs?
The gardens provides basic round or rectangle tables and chairs. If you’d like something other than what’s included, you’ll need to work with a rental company to bring them in. If you use the garden’s tables, you will need to bring in your own linens. Your planner or catering company can help you figure out what you need and get them ordered.
Is the Garden’s open to the public during my event?
The Gardens is open to the public every day except for a couple of holidays and days that they close early for their summer concert series. In the summer, the Gardens are open until 9:00pm, so there will be public access during this time. In the off-season, they close at 5:00pm. However, the Gardens does a good job stationing off areas reserved for private events to allow you as much privacy as possible during your rental.
I’ve never felt that the public was an issue at any of the weddings I’ve photographed, though some public guests are excited to see wedding couples at the Gardens and will likely tell you “congratulations!”.
Best places for wedding party and couples photos at the Gardens
Outside of the many ceremony and reception options, the gardens are full of beautiful spots for photos. Here are just a handful of my favorites. I would encourage you to visit the gardens and find your own favorite spots and communicate that to your photographer so you can be sure to have time to visit them for photos!
Scripture Garden and Herb Garden
Both of these areas are near the Woodland Mosaic Garden and the Romantic Garden, which means they’re perfect for portraits when you don’t want to wander too far from those areas. Plus, they’re full of shade, so they’re beautiful any time of day.
This Asian inspired garden features really beautiful circular arches, eastern inspired pavilions, and east Asian plants like bamboo. It also has a really cool stone pathway. It’s a favorite spot for many couples I work with and is right next to the Woodland Mosaic Garden.
The gorgeous, still pond is full of lilys and lily pads in the summer. In the evening, as the sun is setting, you can get a gorgeous reflection shot across the pond. The pond isn’t far from the Annuals Garden and is right next to the Water Garden Gazebo.
Shofu-en Japanese Garden
The traditional Japanese stroll garden was inspired by the Rocky Mountains and features 130 transplanted character pine trees. There are several bridges to utilize for photos and pathways surrounded by beautiful draping willow trees. This is also the farthest west you can go in the gardens, which means you’ll be milking that sunset light til the very end.
How much does it cost to get married at the Denver Botanic Gardens?
The short answer is that it depends. It depends on which areas you choose, how many areas you choose for your event, and whether you rent for a half day or a full day. The best approach would be to contact the events department to set up a site visit.
While I hope that this guide gives you tons of insight on how to get married at the Denver Botanic Gardens, the best way to figure out which spaces you like and what your day will look like, is to meet with the events staff.
They’ll help you outline what spaces you like, look at date options and determine the best timeline for your day. They can also give you a solid quote for your event.
You can email the events department at firstname.lastname@example.org or reach them by phone at 720-865-3551.
I travel all over the state of Colorado and across the US to capture connected wedding stories for devoted and courageous couples. I’d love to be your Denver Botanic Gardens wedding photographer!