A Calgary woman has a new solution for couples looking for a wedding venue at a challenging time.
With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing people to squeeze in ceremonies wherever they can, Jan Hollingsworth is offering up her garden oasis.
Featuring waterfalls, a stream and ponds containing koi fish, all amid thousands of flowers, Hollingsworth’s garden covers the backyard of her home in southwest Calgary.
Hollingsworth invited three veterans of the wedding industry to tour her garden on Monday.
The pandemic backlog means all three of them are very busy these days.
“It’s crazy this year,” wedding planner Nikki Cook said. “People are getting married every day of the week because it’s so difficult to find a venue.”
Hollingsworth is ready to rent her garden to people who find themselves dealing with that predicament.
“It’s an expensive proposition to be married these days,” Hollingsworth said. “Here’s an opportunity for something more reasonable for people looking for a more unique venue.”
Hollingsworth’s yard is already a hot spot on the garden tour circuit.
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“The Calgary Horticultural Society was here Sunday with 120 people through the garden, touring,” Hollingsworth said.
Wedding photographer Ryan McMillan was among those checking out the garden on Monday.
“As a photographer, I just see areas all over the place where I can get pictures,” McMillan said. “The colour pallets that you can work with and the textures.”
Marriage commissioner Jerry Stilson, also on Monday’s tour, says the garden setting is symbolic of many aspects of marriage.
“You see the amount of work, and looking at it from a relationship point of view, relationships take a lot of work to make them beautiful,” Stilson said. “And you’ve got to get your hands dirty, I’m sure.”
Hollingsworth’s husband Bruce Yorga certainly gets his hands dirty in their garden.
“He is the muscle man, the mister fix-it,” Hollingworth said.
Yorga is proud of what he and his wife are creating together.
“Every season, from May to October, this garden completely changes,” Yorga said.
Anyone wishing to contact Hollingsworth about renting the garden can reach her at email@example.com