With a history of hospitality, Meadow Brook Hall is Michigan’s most beautiful wedding venue. The entire estate was built with an eye for entertaining, from its 16 lush gardens to the two-story Gothic-inspired Ballroom. This special blog series showcases the unique areas and entertaining spaces that have played host to breathtaking weddings and unforgettable celebrations across the years.
Much has been written about roses in romantic literature and poetry. Roses, perhaps more than any other flower, are synonymous with love. As such, it is fitting that Meadow Brook Hall’s Rose Garden is one of the estate’s greatest attractions for brides and newlyweds.
The lush estate features 16 distinct gardens filled with beautiful details and breathtaking vistas, yet the Rose Garden stands apart as something quite special indeed.
Read on for more about one of the estate’s most enchanting spaces—the Rose Garden.
A Rose By Any Other Name
Since Meadow Brook first began hosting weddings in 1984, the iconic Rose Garden has been the backdrop for thousands of wedding photographs.
Its striking layout bursts with blooms every spring and summer and creates a romantic and secluded walk. It is a perennial favorite location for a First Look before the ceremony, where couples pause the bustle of the big day to share a special moment together.
Located just off the elegant Garden Tent, the Rose Garden’s scale and structure particularly catches the eye. During outdoor wedding receptions, guests can be found exploring the Rose Garden, along with the lovely terraces and pathways that fill the estate.
Meadow Brook’s Rose Garden is the perfect stroll from the East Breakfast Garden and Pegasus Fountain. Guests pass along the white arbor-lined stone path through the sunken garden, ending with the Rose Tea Terrace. Originally the path was lined with pairs of wood columns that supported climbing roses, as seen in the photos from the early 1960s.
Lost in Beauty
Beyond the tea terrace is a remnant of Maple Lane, the original driveway that took guests from the Gate House through a meandering mile-long drive past the deer park, farm buildings and stables.
Matilda Dodge Wilson took great pride in her rose garden, walking through it most evenings to personally select roses to fill her silver vases. Her favorite varieties were Peace, Detroiter and John Dodge—named for her late husband, the automotive pioneer.
Dedicated to gardens and fascinated by horticulture and agriculture, Matilda was national president of Woman’s National Farm & Garden for two years. A fellow WNFGA club member said of Matilda, “She wasn’t afraid to get dirt under her fingernails.” Her Rose Garden stands a lovely legacy to her efforts.
The gardens and estate were planned for seclusion, beauty and to allow enticing glimpses as guests approached the house. The view from the Rose Garden back toward the historic mansion is a perfect example of this—creating a sense of fairy-tale beauty and remoteness before the breathtaking Tudor-revival façade of the house.
A Garden with Deep Roots
At once elegant and unique, Meadow Brook’s Rose Garden has a storied history with deep roots. It has been made, remade and restored many times over the years.
Constructed in 1949, Meadow Brook’s Rose Garden is laid out in a unique oval shape adapted from English landscape architect Arthur Davidson’s original 1928 landscape master plan for the estate. This sunken garden has 18 beds that at one time contained 1,800 roses.
In 1973, the Cranbrook Branch of Women’s National Farm & Garden (WNFGA) restored the Rose Garden to nearly 2,000 roses, with 35 varieties, 16 new patented hybrid teas, 13 old-favorite hybrid teas, two floribundas and patented climbers.
Today, Meadow Brook’s Rose Garden is one of the estate’s favorite and more unusual gardens and is completely maintained by our Garden Club volunteers.
As the spring and summer flowers bloom, it will once more captivate brides, grooms and spouses-to-be as a place both beautiful and rare.
Whether you’ve dreamed of a fairy tale wedding, an outdoor garden wedding or anything in between, Meadow Brook is sure to deliver the entertaining spaces, inspired cuisine and first-class service for an incredible event. For more information about being married at Meadow Brook, contact our events team at .