Wedding Questions and Answers

Q. What times are available for a wedding ceremony?
A. On weekends (Saturday and Sunday), there are five (5) start times per day to choose from for a ceremony: 10a, 12Noon, 2p, 4p, and 6p

On weekdays (Monday through Friday), there’s quite a bit more flexibility. If you have some scheduling flexibility, you may want to consider a weekday wedding date option. Because these dates are in less demand, you’ll often be able to name your ceremony time during the day and have your choice of wedding venue as well.

Q. What venues are available?
A. There are certain gardens and sites — ranging from intimate to more sizable — available that seem to regularly draw wedding parties due to the unique amenities of each: the Japanese Garden, the Formal English Garden, the Lagen-Buelow Gazebo, the Packard Amphitheater. However, any part of the 56-acre grounds is available for a wedding.


Spring Blossom

Q. What is the approximate seating capacity for each of the main sites?
A. The Lagen-Buelow Gazebo :: 100 guests
The Packard Amphitheater :: 200 guests
The Japanese Garden :: 20 guests
The Formal English Garden :: 25 guests

Q. Is there a room available for the bridal party just prior to the ceremony?
A. Yes, there is. The Garden Room, located on the main level of the Heinemann Visitor Center, may be used by the bridal party one hour prior to the ceremony.

Q. How is a 2-hour period scheduled?
A. Here is an example for a 10a ceremony:

9a :: Garden Room available for bridal party
9:30a :: Seating begins for wedding guests
10a :: Ceremony begins
11a :: Garden Room is cleared/cleaned and available for next bridal party (ceremony: 12Noon)
11:30a :: Next wedding seating begins, if scheduled

Q. What’s the cost for using the Arboretum’s grounds for my wedding?
A. The rental fee for any of the open air venues is $400. The rental fee for the covered Amphitheater/Packard Pavilion is $500.

Q. Is a deposit required?
A. Yes. A NON-REFUNDABLE deposit of $175 is needed to confirm the reservation of your date and time. Please know that our grounds are in high demand as a wedding venue, so unless we have received a deposit, we’re not able to actually reserve a date and time.

Q. When is the $175 balance due?
A. The balance of your rental fee is due and payable 90 days prior to the wedding date. The payment of the balance finalizes your reservation.

Q. What does the $400 include?
A. Venue of your choice: Use of any venue on the property for your wedding ceremony.
Seating: 100 chairs available for your use; set-up by Arboretum staff.
Rain site: the larger, covered Packard Amphitheater is available should the weather not cooperate on the day of your event.

Q. Are electrical outlets available on the sites?
A. Both the Lagen-Buelow Gazebo and Packard Amphitheater are equipped with electrical outlets adequate for most usage.

Q. Is there a sound system?
A. No. But you’re welcome to bring your own and connect to our electrical supply.

Q. What about our wedding photographer? As a professional photographer, will s/he need to pay a required fee?
A. Your reservation includes the right to have professional photography taken in the Gardens on the day of your wedding.

Q. How private is a chosen wedding site during the ceremony itself?
A. The Dubuque Arboretum does remain open at all times for the public’s enjoyment, with the exception of the immediate area where a wedding is being performed. (We are not able to provide staff to monitor the perimeter of your wedding area. Some wedding parties have chosen to ask individuals within their circle of guests to take on this responsibility.)

Q. What are the hours the Arboretum grounds are open?
A. The Arboretum gate is locked at dusk and reopens at 8a, so you’ll want to be sure your guests’ cars are off the grounds before the gate is closed and locked at dusk.

Q. Are there any restrictions related to the traditional “throwing of rice,” for example?
A. We ask that you not throw rice or birdseed. We suggest flower petals or bubbles instead. [Thank you for complying with this request.]

Q. Can we bring our own decorations to add to the venue?
A. Of course. However, always think NATURAL: We ask that you not use artificial florals, etc. that will be left on the ground. [These are harmful, rather than helpful, to our natural surroundings.] In addition, we appreciate your leaving the area clean and neat … either for the next ceremony or for the public who will be enjoying the area after your ceremony.

Q. Is a cart available for a grandparent who is physically challenged?
A. Yes, there is. Please make arrangements in advance to reserve one.

Q. Is smoking or alcohol consumption permitted on Arboretum grounds?
A. No. Smoking and consumption of hard alcohol is prohibited on Arboretum property. Beer and wine, however, are permitted.

Q. Where can I get more local wedding information?
A. Dubuque Weddings at has a complete list and contact information for Tri-State Area wedding services and vendors.

Q. What about other questions not answered here?
A. Please call the Arboretum Monday through Friday during office hours: 563.556.2100.