Wedding Ceremony/ Reception/ Private Event Rules and Conditions

1. RESERVATION TERMS

a) A NON-REFUNDABLE AGREEMENT FEE will generate an agreement between Friendship Botanic Gardens and client for a Ceremony and/or Reception.This fee is non-refundable and will not be applied towards the venue fee. ALL AGREEMENT FEES ARE $250. We will hold the date for your event for 7 days without a signed agreement. Friendship Botanic Gardens must have a signed agreement within 7 days of paid agreement fee to continue to hold the date thereafter. If we do not have a signed agreement, we will remove the ‘date hold’ until we have one, which may result in you losing your date.

b) MINIMUM AGE: You must be at least 18 years of age to rent any Garden facility. 

c) DATES AND HOURS OF USE

Wedding Ceremonies & Receptions are scheduled from the first weekend in May through the end of October. All times listed are CENTRAL TIME. Please remember to put Central Time on your invitations since we are close to the Eastern Time Zone in Michigan, and we have found that guests sometimes get confused by this. *If the venue you reserved is not vacated at the appointed time, an additional charge of $200 per hour will be applied to your credit card on file or will be taken out of your damage deposit. Delays cause problems for vendors and our staff, especially when we have multiple events in a day. Thank you very much for understanding! We can host weddings any day of the week, with the exception of most Friday evenings. 

Saturday weddings are either 1 p.m. or 5 p.m. vow times. Times for weddings on other days of the week can be customized. *If you are booking a Ceremony and a Reception on a Saturday, you must take the 5 p.m. vow time slot. If you are only booking a Reception, time will be determined by the Wedding Coordinator. 

Time will begin when our staff begins transporting your guests to the venue and ends when everyone has departed. 

  • Time typically begins 30 minutes before vows (This is usually the earliest guests start arriving). 
  • However, time may begin before the 45-minute window, if your vendors require excessive assistance from our staff. 
  • You will be notified by our Wedding Coordinator when time has begun AND when you are close to your scheduled end time. 

d) Photographs can be taken in other parts of Friendship Botanic Gardens before and after your wedding time, as long as you are not in an area where another event is taking place. If you are taking photographs prior to your start time, it is recommended that you and your bridal party wear comfortable shoes, as people movers will not be provided. If photographs go after your rental time, you will be charged an additional $200/hour. 

2. LEGAL: You will comply with all laws of the United States and the State of Indiana and with all ordinances of the towns of Pottawattamie Park & Michigan City, all Friendship Botanic Gardens rules and regulations, and you will not permit anything to be done on said premises in violation thereof. 

3. ALCOHOL: Alcoholic beverages are permitted onFriendship Botanic Gardens property during your event following the Provisions for Events Servicing Alcoholic Beverages (Attached Addendum 1). 

4. GLASS CONTAINERS of any kind are NOT permitted outside of the ceremony or reception area. 

5. FIRES: Ground fires are strictly PROHIBITED. Sparklers are PROHIBITED. Battery-powered candles are permitted and recommended. A small bonfire is permitted for an additional $100 and one of our staff members will be designated as the fire keeper. 

6. DAMAGE DEPOSIT: We require a damage deposit of $200.00 per event to cover possible damage and if rules are not followed. There will be a 1 hour minimum $75/hour clean-up fee if debris is left and must be paid to Friendship Botanic Gardens out of the damage deposit. This deposit will be refunded fully or partially the week following your event via paper check to the address listed previously if there are no problems regarding litter or damage in the reserved event area. If the damage deposit is not paid in full by the time of the wedding rehearsal, the rehearsal will not take place. (If your event is only a Reception, the event will not take place until the damage deposit is paid.) Damage Deposit check is null and void if not cashed by 6 months after your event or end of calendar year, whichever comes first.

Please leave the premises clean, placing all cigarette butts, paper, plastic bottles, plastic bubble parts, and other debris in proper receptacles furnished by Friendship Botanic Gardens. DO NOT throw anything on the ground except a few LIVE flower petals from your Flower Girl. Bubbles and lavender are approved. Cigarette butt stands are provided for smoking guests. 

7. ELECTRIC USE: Electric is included at no additional fee. 

8. PARKING & ENTRANCE: You and your guests are admitted to Friendship Botanic Gardens at no additional fee. People movers are provided for guests requiring assistance to and from the venue. We encourage guests to walk and enjoy the natural beauty in Friendship Botanic Gardens. Guests will not be transported to the venue via people movers until 30 minutes prior to vow/event time. They may walk to the venue 45 minutes prior to vow/event time. Our main parking lot has a total of 102 parking spots: 78 asphalt spots, 8 side drive asphalt and 16 grass spots. Additional parking is available if needed for larger events. Our back entrance off of Liberty Trail has 300 grass parking spots available for events on the Celebration Side of Friendship Botanic Gardens. Your specified parking lot will be determined by the Wedding Coordinator. Safety is a priority here at Friendship Botanic Gardens. If you are unable to drive, your car will be safely locked in our parking lot overnight and will be available for pickup when we open the following day at 9 a.m. HOWEVER, if you have a Sunday event, please discuss pickup arrangements with our Wedding Coordinator, as we are closed to the public on Mondays. If you or your guests are arranging a pickup service, please designate which parking lot you are using. For Celebration Side events, please use the address 1018 Liberty Trail; if using Symphony Side, please use the address 2055 East U.S. Highway 12. 

9. PAYMENT:  If you miss your date of payment, the credit card on file will be charged the amount due within 2 business days of your missed payment date. If the credit card transaction does not go through, the event will be removed from our calendar and we have the right to rebook the venue. You will receive a monthly invoice in the mail from our business manager. If your event payment is not paid by 180 days prior to your event, the credit card on file will be charged in full. If we do not have payment (via credit card or check) in full 180 days before the event date, the event will be removed from our calendar and we reserve the right to rebook the venue. If your event is less than 180 days prior to this agreement, a payment arrangement shall be made in writing with the Business Manager. The clients shall be obligated to inform Friendship Botanic Gardens of any changes, updates, and/or cancellations of the credit card on file. 

10. CANCELATION POLICY (This section does not apply to couples that have been allowed a postponement): Should you decide to cancel your reservation 180 days or more, the agreement fee(s) are non-refundable. If your venue has already been paid (partially or paid in full), you will be refunded. We will not reschedule your event or refund your payment due to inclement weather (unless extreme conditions, which will be determined solely by Friendship Botanic Gardens staff). Events must be paid in full 180 days prior to the event. Should you decide to cancel within 180 days of your event, there will be no amount refunded and the credit card on file will be charged the full amount due. If you have already paid for part of your venue (cash, check, or credit card), your credit card will be charged the remaining amount due. If the credit card transaction fails, Friendship Botanic Gardens will pursue legal action for all balances due. The client shall be responsible for all legal fees incurred by Friendship Botanic Gardens in pursuing this legal action. 

11. POSTPONEMENT POLICY: Postponements are at the sole discretion of Friendship Botanic Gardens. (A) If a postponement is approved by FBG the payment schedule (#9) is effective from the original date. In other words, payment is still due 180 prior to the original date. (B) If a postponement is approved by FBG no other date changes will be allowed and the cancellation policy (#10) will not apply. 

12. INDEMNIFICATION: If the cancellation of this agreement is made 180 days or more before the event, Friendship Botanic Gardens shall make a refund to the client whose credit card is on file. The person receiving a refund shall indemnify and hold harmless Friendship Botanic Gardens from any claim of action by the other client or third party.

13. REHEARSAL RULES: A one-hour rehearsal privilege is included with your venue payment. Rehearsals are scheduled between client and Wedding Coordinator. Time slots are typically 5-6 p.m. or 6:30-7:30 p.m. the night before the ceremony unless another time is needed, agreed upon and determined by the Wedding Coordinator and clients. All participants for rehearsal must arrive at Friendship Botanic Gardens at least 15 minutes prior to scheduled rehearsal time. If rehearsal time is delayed, not due to a Wedding Coordinator emergency, the scheduled end time of the rehearsal will remain the same. For example, if part of a Bridal Party is 20 minutes late and the 5 p.m. rehearsal starts at 5:20 p.m., the rehearsal will still end at 6 p.m. All guests must exit Friendship Botanic Gardens grounds directly following the rehearsal. 

14. DECORATING: Decorating is permitted; however, no staples, nails, or double-sided tape are allowed. All decorations must be removed within 24 hours of your event. Any decorations that require a ladder must be done by Friendship Botanic Gardens staff at a charge of $75 an hour, with a 1 hour minimum to put up and 1 hour minimum to take down. Decorating after your rehearsal is not allowed. If you would like to decorate before your rehearsal, please discuss with the Wedding Coordinator. 

15. SPECIAL REQUESTS: Any special requests must be submitted to Friendship Botanic Gardens for approval no later than forty-five (45) days prior to your rental date. Special requests may include anything not specifically covered in this rental agreement. 

16. PERSONAL PROPERTY AND VALUABLES: Friendship Botanic Gardens ARE NOT responsible for the personal property and valuables of wedding party members and guests which includes those left in the VIP Cabin. Please secure your property as you would in any public place. 

17. SECURITY: All Receptions and Events where alcohol is present require the presence of a law enforcement officer. Indiana law requires you to hire an officer within La Porte County. Therefore, you may hire an officer via the Michigan City Police Department, Trail Creek Police Department, or La Porte County Sheriff. Contact information for these agencies are provided in the “Provisions for Event Serving Alcoholic Beverages” page. 

18. PHOTOGRAPHS: Imagery (photographs and video) may be taken of your event by Friendship Botanic Gardens staff and used for marketing purposes and social media. If you’d prefer to opt-out of this clause, please indicate this prior to completing your venue booking.

19. VENDOR RULES: Events that have outside vendor(s) must make the following rules clear. If these rules are not adhered to, the vendor will not be allowed back to Friendship Botanic Gardens and the clients will lose a portion or ALL of their damage deposit, decided upon by the Friendship Botanic Gardens Executive Committee. 

a) Vendors must arrive on time. Since Friendship Botanic Gardens is an outdoor venue and we often have multiple events per day, vendors must arrive at the time designated so that other events are not disrupted. 

b) FOR SYMPHONY GARDEN EVENTS ONLY: Vendors must park in designated parking space within the main parking lot. The Wedding Coordinator or the Friendship Botanic Gardens member in charge of the event will schedule a time for arrival. Upon arrival, the vendor must check in with a Friendship Botanic Gardens staff member at the Welcome Cabin. The vendor will need to load their items onto a people mover with protective blankets or covering and the people mover will be driven by Friendship Botanic Gardens staff only. At no time will the vendor be allowed to drive down to the Symphony Garden event site. 

FOR CELEBRATION SIDE EVENTS ONLY: The Wedding Coordinator or the Friendship Botanic Gardens member in charge of the event will schedule a time for arrival. Upon arrival, the vendor must contact that same Friendship Botanic Gardens staff member to check in and shall wait for the staff member to direct them accordingly. If you are a restroom or food truck vendor, you will be placed as close to the venue allowed, to be determined only by the Friendship Botanic Gardens staff member in charge of the event. Vehicles are NOT allowed on the lawn or on the asphalt paths. 

c) If a vendor needs Friendship Botanic Gardens to provide tables, chairs, and/or extension cords, the clients should make the Wedding Coordinator aware of this during the event planning phase and no later than 7 days prior to the event. 

d) The vendor is responsible for their own clean up. Friendship Botanic Gardens will provide the trash receptacles and can liners and remove the trash ONLY after it has been bagged up properly by the vendor. 

e) The vendor(s) must sign a vendor agreement that will be sent out by the Wedding Coordinator (and will remain valid and on file for vendors for the current season.) 

Provisions for Events Serving Alcoholic Beverages At Friendship Botanic Gardens (Addendum 1)

Alcohol is permitted at Friendship Botanic Gardens sponsored events and/or contracted arrangements. Parties wishing to make contracted arrangements to serve alcoholic beverages may contact Friendship Botanic Gardens Staff for additional information. Security & insurance regulations, below, must be followed. 

SECURITY: A uniformed police officer with jurisdiction in La Porte County must be on duty the ENTIRE TIME at any event where alcohol will be served. The Law Enforcement Officer must remain on duty until everyone in the rental party has exited. Arrangements, payment and scheduling are the responsibility of the Lessee. Referrals for Security are available if needed.

You may use an officer from one of these agencies: 

INSURANCE: Lessee (Renter) hereby acknowledges notice that Lessor (Friendship Botanic Gardens) is not insured for “Host Liquor Liability” coverage. If the Lessee furnishes alcoholic beverages at any event, and persons who attend are charged an entry fee, or required to purchase tickets in advance, or Lessee has a cash bar or an open bar, then Lessee shall submit to Lessor at least thirty (30 days prior to the event, a certificate of commercial liquor liability insurance showing liability limits of not less than ONE MILLION DOLLARS ($1,000,000.00). If Lessee is using an alcoholic beverage caterer, the caterer’s insurance will satisfy this requirement, PROVIDED it has at least liability limits stated above. Lessee MUST comply with the above in regards to alcoholic beverages. In any event Lessee hereby agrees to indemnify and hold Lessor harmless from and against any and all claims, including any claimed litigation expenses, court costs, or attorney fees, arising out of Lessee’s said use of these premises and to indemnify and hold said Lessor harmless from and against any judgment based on any such claims. If proof of insurance is not provided 30 days prior to even, the reception may be canceled by Friendship Botanic Gardens. 

LIQUOR PERMIT: Lessee (or caterer) is responsible for obtaining a day permit to serve alcoholic beverages during the event at Friendship Botanic Gardens from the state of Indiana. This form is available online. Also, the person serving the alcohol must have a current alcohol server permit from the State of Indiana and must bring it to the event.

 

LESSEE: I agree to the above terms and conditions. I recognize and am fully aware I may be held personally liable for damages or injuries that may result if alcoholic beverages are furnished at this event.

Liquor Permit Details Form

Once you have obtained your liquor permit from one of the above law enforcement agencies, please use the following form to provide your permit information to Friendship Botanic Gardens.  Alcoholic beverages cannot be served during your event until this information is submitted.

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