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Wedding Garden in Flushing turns 25

The Queens Wedding Garden, the first ever in a public botanical garden celebrated its 25th anniversary recently, and Astoria Federal Savings Bank marked the occasion with a $5,000 gift.
“Other botanical gardens didn’t like it,” said Roland Wade, former executive director of the botanical garden and the creator of the wedding garden. “They thought it was undignified.”
Wade observed that once news got out about the revenue the wedding garden was generating at 43-50 Main Street in Flushing, many gardens soon began to book wedding ceremonies and photography. “Dignity lost out to solvency,” he observed sagely.
The wedding garden was created with a mere $2,000 budget, according to Wade. “The flagstone path was a sidewalk in College Point,” he recalled, “Con Ed was ripping it up, and we convinced them to bring it here.”
Likewise, the white picket fence and materials for the Gazebo (the plans came from a kit) were donated, and the two “I” beams which support the footbridge were found, abandoned, on the property,
According to Astoria Federal Flushing Branch Manager Kerrie Culhane, “It’s a good example of progressive thinking. We like to support projects that are unique and entrepreneurial and the wedding garden is just that kind of project.”
With the construction of a new, green-building administrative center, Ward is afraid for the future of the Wedding Garden. “I’ve heard that they want to move it to preserve ‘sight lines’ in the new design,” he lamented, “But then it wouldn’t be the first, the original.”
Jennifer Ward Souder, Director of Capital Projects for the botanical garden, assured Ward, “Considering what we’re spending on the new facilities, any decision to move the garden is a long, long way off.”
Souder concedes that in the beginning, no strict records were kept, so it’s difficult to determine just how many people actually got married in this lush and secluded-seeming corner of Flushing, and how many just came for photographs. “But we’re going to work on it,” she said.
In recent years, about 80 weddings are performed there annually, and “hundreds” of couples pose for their photographs.
To book the wedding garden for an event or pictures, call Clare Del Monaco at 718-886-3800, Ext. 201 or visit the website at www.Queensbotanical.org/about/weddings.

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