Wedding FAQs

Photo Credit: CLARAfied Images

How can I book my wedding?

Please BOOK ONLINE on the Wedding Venues page.

What are the Arboretum’s policies for weddings?

Please see our Wedding Rules + Procedure Policy.

During what months can a wedding be scheduled at the Dubuque Arboretum?

Due to colder temperatures and our off-season hours, weddings can be held from May through October.

What times are available for a wedding ceremony?
  • On weekends (Saturday + 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 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.

*6 pm weddings. As daylight/sunset allows; e.g., May, June, July, August.

How is a 2-hour period scheduled?

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
What’s the cost for using the Arboretum’s grounds for my wedding?
  • The rental fee for the Lagen-Buelow Gazebo, Japanese Garden, Formal English Garden, Whispering Pines, The Conifer Forest, and any other open-air venue is $500. 2-hour period of time.
  • The rental fee for the covered Packard Pavilion Amphitheater is $600. 2-hour period of time.
What does the rental fee include?
  • Venue of your choice Use of any venue on the property for a 2-hour period for your wedding ceremony.
  • Rehearsal. Please contact the Arboretum office (563.556.2100) to schedule your rehearsal date and time.
  • Seating 100 chairs available for use at the Gazebo site or the Packard Amphitheater; set-up by Arboretum staff. [If additional seating is required, we can suggest rental businesses for you to contact.]
  • Rain site The large, covered Packard Pavilion Amphitheater is available should the weather not cooperate on the day of your event.
  • Garden Room The Garden Room is available for your use an hour before and an hour after your reservation time. You may use this room to change clothing, enjoy your food and beverages, and relax. 
Is there a place for bridal showers, rehearsal dinners, and receptions?

Yes! Wedding couples have booked …

  • the Packard Pavilion,
  • the Hafeman Veranda, and
  • the Garden Room

… for these wedding-related events.

Packard Pavilion | Adrianna Joy Photography, LLC

Packard Pavilion | Adrianna Joy Photography, LLC

Packard Pavilion | Adrianna Joy Photography, LLC

Hafeman Veranda | Deb Lovett

Hafeman Veranda

Hafeman Veranda

Garden Room

What happens if it’s raining on my wedding day?

The large, covered Packard Pavilion Amphitheater will be available as a back-up venue in case of inclement weather. It is located across the street from the Visitor Center.

Are electrical outlets available on the sites?

The following wedding venues are equipped with electrical outlets adequate for most usage:

  • Lagen-Buelow Gazebo
  • Japanese Garden
  • Formal English Garden
  • Packard Pavilion Amphitheater
Is there a sound system?

No. But you’re welcome to bring your own and connect to our electrical supply.

What about our wedding photographer/videographer? As a professional photographer/videographer, will s/he need to pay a required fee?

Your reservation includes the right to have professional photography/videography taken in the Gardens (anywhere throughout the Gardens) on the day of your wedding.

How private is a chosen wedding site during the ceremony itself?

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.

Since the Dubuque Arboretum is all-volunteer, we’re 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.

What are the hours the Arboretum grounds are open?

The Arboretum gate is locked at dusk and reopens at 7a, so you’ll want to be sure your guests’ cars are off the grounds before the gate is closed and locked at dusk.

Are there any restrictions related to the traditional “throwing of rice,” for example?

We ask that you not throw rice or birdseed. Instead, we suggest bubbles or real flower petals (no fake petals are permitted).

Thank you for respecting and complying with this request.

Do you have any fun favors for our wedding?

Yes, we do! We currently offer Koi Fish Food packets. They’re mini-fish food bags for your guests to feed the koi fish in our Japanese Garden pond … a short, lovely walk through the Arboretum’s grounds.

Can we bring our own decorations to add to the venue?

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.

Is smoking or alcohol consumption permitted on Arboretum grounds?

Smoking. The Dubuque Arboretum & Botanical Gardens is a tobacco-free environment. Smoking, tobacco products, devices, and electronic smoking devices are not permitted on Garden property, including all buildings, grounds, restrooms, and parking lots.

Alcohol. According to City of Dubuque park ordinances, alcoholic beverages are permitted in Marshall Park and on Arboretum property. We ask that moderation be kept in mind.

What outdoor venues are available?

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:

  • Japanese Garden,
  • Formal English Garden,
  • Lagen-Buelow Gazebo,
  • Whispering Pines
  • The Conifer Forest
  • Packard Pavilion Amphitheater.

However, any part of the 56-acre grounds is available for a wedding.

What is the approximate seating capacity for each of the main sites?
  • Lagen-Buelow Gazebo: 200 guests
  • Packard Pavilion Amphitheater: 200 guests
  • Japanese Garden: 50 guests
  • Formal English Garden: 25 guests
  • Whispering Pines: 100 guests
  • The Conifer Forest: 100 guests
Is there a room available for the bridal party just prior to the ceremony?

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 and one hour after the ceremony. It includes a mini-fridge, microwave, sink, tables, chairs, and a mirror. [Room must be left clean for the next party. Thank you!]

Photo credit: Marc & Mindy Photographers

Photo credit: Olivia Katherine Photography

Photo credit: Amanda McLeod Photography

What about other questions not answered here?


We’re sure to get all of your questions answered!