Weddings & Other Events
at the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum
The Edith J. Carrier Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, chosen as the Shenandoah Valley's best gardens site for marriage proposals, is also a beautiful and competitively priced setting for lush garden weddings as well as other family celebratory or memorial social events, or business social events.
Many who begin their life journey together with a proposal of marriage accepted in the arboretum, complete their saga and bring their romantic story full circle with an arboretum wedding. The arboretum offers an array of services for events of various group sizes up to two hundred fifty guests. Wedding ceremonies and other events can be in the luxurious landscaped surroundings and serene settings of various garden sites within the arboretum.
Arboretum weddings and other family social events and private or business social events have the assurance of professional and competitively priced catering and bar tending services and on campus ballroom facilities available through JMU Catering and Events. Fine catering for your event may only be provided by JMU Catering, and is just a phone call away at (540) 568-6637, weekdays during business hours.
Whether a bridal party or business event planner requires a tented ceremony, or wants blue skies, a facility for a rehearsal dinner or small indoor reception, or even a seated tented outdoor full service garden reception, arboretum staff will assist each party find the best suited arrangements for their special and unique social occasion. Click here for a printable copy of the arboretum wedding brochure.
WEDDING PACKAGE $2,595
A package price for all services shown on our itemized price list below totaling nearly $3700 in value, including everything necessary for a complete wedding event, is available by advance reservation. The wedding package price includes grounds use and site set up and tear down for up to 250 seated guests for an event ceremony and reception. The Pavilion is included for two hours on the day of the event as a staging facility for the groom and groomsmen. Ceremony site electrical connections are included. Use of a 29' x 29' tent, and up to three 10' x 10' tents, including tent set up and tear down, are included in the package. The Frances Plecker Education Center reserved use with the Ernst Tree Terrace is included for up to two separate use time blocks of four hours each use. The building and terrace can be used the evening prior to a wedding ceremony for example, for a small catered rehearsal dinner or reception with foods and beverages ordered through JMU Catering at the reserved party's discretion. And the building can be used again, for example, on the day of the event as a dressing area for a bride and her maids, or as a facility for a small indoor post-ceremony reception, again with foods and beverages ordered through JMU Catering at the reserved party's discretion. All chairs up to 250 total, and all tables adequate for a tented reception up to 100, charges are included in the package. A white wrought iron wedding arbor is also included in the package. There is no Photography Use Fee for wedding portrait sessions for booked arboretum weddings with a paid deposit.
At reserving wedding party's option to not order the Wedding Package, or for private or business social events, or for smaller events, event accouterments and services may be reserved and billed separately on an itemized basis:
Private and Business Site Fees
(JMU official events are exempted from site fees.)
||$995 Site Fee|
||$595 Site Fee|
||$395 Site Fee|
Set-Up Services Fees
|Tables, 5' round (max of 6), and/or, 6' rectangular (max of 24)||$5 each|
|Pavilion, this price ONLY for non-wedding, non-business socials, or as staging facility in combination with weddings, each 2 hours use.||$50 (no set up requested)|
|FPEC, this Price ONLY as a staging or dressing facility, in combination with Wedding, each 4 hours use||$175 (no set up requested)|
|Tent, 29' x 29', includes delivery, set-up and tear down.||$500|
|Tent(s), 10' x 10' (up to three tents)||$125 each|
|Arbor, white painted iron||$50|
|Portrait Session, 2 hour Bridal or Engagement (Separate, not with booked event, Free with booked event)||$50 each|
|Overtime staff charge per hour, if requested by user||$25 each|
|Overtime facility charge per hour, if requested by user||$125 each|
10% discount offered to JMU alumni, faculty, and staff. Additional 10% discount offered to Friday and Sunday weddings, when schedule compatible with Saturday wedding events.
Wedding and private or business social events for up to 250 people can rent the large lawn for a use fee of $995. Weddings or private or business social events with smaller guest group sizes can rent various location sites and buildings within the arboretum's 125 acres, at prices posted on this website page. The site fee reserves a designated area, space or building only, not the entire 125 acres of the arboretum. Wedding and private or business social events reservations are for a four hour time block. Additional time may be arranged by special request at additional hourly cost ranging from $25 to $125 per hour depending on the site or building use being extended.
It is recommended that securing a facility be a top priority when planning for an arboretum wedding or private or business social event. To learn of date availability, visit this calendar, found on this site's navigation menu. To tentatively hold an available date, download the Reservation Form using the link below, complete, sign, and return by hand delivery, fax, or email attachment. Once a completed and signed copy is received in the arboretum office, the requested date is tentatively held for 10 calendar days pending receipt of deposit. A completed and signed Liability Release form is due with deposit before the expiration of the ten day hold for business reservations to guarantee the date reservation. Wedding Reservation Form and Liability Release
Parking is available on a first-come, first-serve basis for both day visitors and event visitors. Parking lots available are at the two gated entries to the arboretum including in the north lot, 18 spaces with 2 handicapped-designated spaces, and in the lot nearest to the education center, seven spaces, with 2 handicapped-designated spaces. When JMU classes are not in session, 40 spaces are available at the EJC North Lot R-5 without a permit, at the top of the arboretum on University Boulevard. Also available are Convocation Center lots F and G without a permit when JMU classes are not in session. Parking availability is shown on the 'Directions' link in satellite or map view on the bottom of this web page. For a printable digital copy of a driving map that can be sent with event invitations, open this link: Driving Directions, and Parking Map. The arboretum recommends event planners check with JMU Athletics regarding football game dates which create peak visitor parking demand, minimizing space availability for first come-first served parking for arboretum private social events.
The 29' x 29' tent can be erected over a straight-row, center-aisle seating area for up to 120 guests, or set up to accommodate standing receptions of 120, or dining -seated receptions up to 80 at rectangular or 60 at round tables. The three 10' x 10' tents can be used as cover for musicians, as a service area for buffet or beverages, stage cover, or any appropriate event use.
Receptions at the Frances Plecker Education Center (FPEC) can accommodate up to 48 for seated dining at round tables, 60 in theater seating with a center aisle, 85 indoors standing only receptions, and 120 in fair weather indoor/outdoor receptions when reserved with the Ernst Terrace. We recommend for after-ceremony receptions, wedding event planners for over 120 guests consider off-site facilities such as the JMU Festival Conference Center ballroom(s) phoning (540) 568-6637, or nearby country clubs, or hotels with ballrooms, or large restaurants, for off-site wedding receptions that can also serve as a severe-weather "Plan B" backup facility.
A back up inclement weather plan is recommended to be in place for the date of the event, for all arboretum events, and must be planned and implemented by the reserved user. Back up facilities may be churches, restaurants, or country club facilities, or facilities scheduled to be used as a reception site, determined at reserved user's sole discretion.
A fee of 20% is withheld in the event of cancellation. Cancellation is permitted for severe weather related cause like heavy rains forecast, high probability predicted rain, or high likelihood thunderstorms, until 48 hours from your reserved date and time. (A low-probability, light-sprinkle weather forecast is not considered a severe weather forecast for the purpose of 48 hour cancellation refund.) The arboretum recommends watching the NOAA seven-day forecasts, which can be accessed from the link at the bottom of this website page. Arboretum staff will work with reserved event planners who wish our staff advice for weather cancellations. For non-weather related cancellations, a written notice to cancel by fax, or cancelled in person in the arboretum offices, or by US Mail that is received and date stamped by the EJC Arboretum, 780 University Blvd., Harrisonburg, VA 22807, or cancelled by email to: Gail Turnbull, email@example.com, received in the arboretum office at least 90 days in advance of a reserved date allowing the arboretum opportunity to rebook the cancelled date. Without 90 days written notice for non-weather related cause, there is no refund.