Outdoor wedding ceremonies require a lot of planning but there is good reason why they have become so popular.
Outdoor wedding ceremonies provide a glorious natural backdrop. Be it in an ancient woodland, on a beach, in a quintessentially English garden or in the grounds of a beautiful licensed country house wedding venue.
Combining soft, warm and natural light it’s no wonder that outdoor wedding ceremonies are a photographer’s dream providing endless opportunities to capture images of magical moments of your day.
So let’s get planning the outdoor wedding ceremony of your dreams with the ultimate step by step guide.
- Which is the best month for outdoor wedding ceremonies?
The most popular months for outdoor weddings ceremonies are July, August and September. As these are considered the warmer summer months and what could be better than sipping Pimms or champagne on a balmy long sunny afternoon.
Statistics show however that these are not necessarily the driest months. August is actually one of the wettest summer months. In July or September however the odds could be better for a dryer and warm day.
The down side is that these months are also the most popular so don’t delay when booking your suppliers.
- Choose your venue for your outdoor wedding ceremony.
With a wedding celebrant led ceremony the venue does not have to be licensed. This opens up even more opportunities for you to find an ideal unique location for your ceremony both at licensed venues and those which are unlicensed.
- Licensed venues
Beautiful venues in all sorts of guises, be it a country house, converted barn or hotel now have designated outdoor ceremony areas which comply with the roof requirement under the existing regulations for outdoor wedding ceremonies. However never be afraid to ask your chosen venue if there are any other locations which are not licensed.
A wedding celebrant will be able to present a ceremony in those locations. They will be used less often so it’s a great way of making your wedding ceremony different from all the others held at the venue.
- Unlicensed venues
If you use the services of a wedding celebrant the possibilities for outdoor wedding ceremonies is limitless. There may be somewhere that is particularly personal and special to you as a couple. A beach perhaps where you spent happy summer holidays.
Woodland weddings are enchanting, romantic and guaranteed to amaze your guests. Dappled shade and often with a completely natural amphitheatre. There is something innately peaceful and wild with only the rustle of the leaves in the trees as a background noise. They also lend themselves beautifully to a boho or rustic theme.
How about a vineyard or an apple orchard or perhaps at home in your garden. There is nothing more personal.
Contact a wedding celebrant to discuss your vision and they will be absolutely delighted to help.
- A wedding planner
If you decide to go down the unlicensed venue option, you could consider contacting a wedding planner to help with the organising of your outdoor wedding ceremony especially if you have chosen a venue a long way from home.
They are often considered an extravagance but don’t be afraid to discuss your budget with them. They offer different levels of service and they may in fact save you money and stress on the day.
For many having a wedding planner on the day is reassuring and removes a lot of stress leaving you and your family to enjoy your day.
A wedding planner will coordinate all your suppliers so they know where they need to be at what time, make sure the day runs as it should and if there are any queries they are the go to person, not you or a member of your family.
- Have a good back up plan for rain.
Yes we’re talking that perennial British conversation. The weather. However positive minded and sunny your personalities are there is no escaping that the rainy day option needs to be discussed and a Plan B must be in place. Even at formal wedding venues this conversation has to be had.
Make sure you really check out the wet weather option with your venue. A top tip is that during the show round if you are NOT disappointed by the space they offer you, you know you will have found the right venue.
When it comes to the actual day my recommendation would be NOT to leave it until just before your guests are arriving to make the call. The more time you have to prepare, the better. It’s far less stressful for everyone in the long run and will have given yourselves time enough to get used to the idea of being inside rather than out.
If you have chosen the unlicensed venue option a tent will be provide the most perfect area for a ceremony and can then be turned round quickly for the reception. They are a great way to gather everyone outside whilst staying both functional and stylish. Don’t be afraid to bring elements of the outdoors — like flowers, foliage, twigs and trees — into the marquee.
Alternatively if you decide to take the more risky ‘to hell with it’ route how about having baskets of brollies in readiness and hey some some colourful ponchos are jolly too. Embrace the whole concept of a rainy wedding.
If you can’t beat it – include it. Umbrellas in drinks, hurricane lamps and of course wellies for the bride! You can rest assured if you have everything covered for a filthy rainy day it won’t rain!
- And for a heatwave!
Believe it or not it’s not always rain that’s the problem. If your wedding happens to fall in the middle of a heatwave your guests will be eternally grateful for a thirst quenching slug of water. So make sure you have some water bottles handy. Also provide some areas of shade and organise your seating around the sun’s position so that your guests aren’t left sweltering.
So you’ve found your perfect possibly remote location. In all the excitement don’t forget to arrange some transport for your guests especially if among them you have elderly people, children or just friends with uncomfortably high heels!
- A bit of forewarning
Let all your guests know a little about what you are planning. There is nothing worse than being unprepared so when you send your invitations tell them them you are hoping to have an outside wedding ceremony and to come prepared for any eventuality! You don’t have to spill all the beans.
9. To conclude
Wherever, whatever you plan for your outdoor wedding ceremony. You won’t be disappointed. Having an outdoor wedding ceremony is all about the planning and devising strategies. It can be challenging but is definitely worth all the effort.