There is something truly personal, special and unique about having an outdoor wedding, with the beauty of nature offering the perfect setting for romance. However, planning an entire day al fresco leaves you with a lot to think about in the run up to the big event. So we’ve put together a definitive guide to help your planning run as smoothly as possible:
As with any wedding, the location is likely to be the first thing you think about. You’ll want to find somewhere with plenty of space to fit all of your guests, and somewhere that is easily accessible for all, and somewhere that is naturally beautiful, so choose wisely. We would always recommend taking a look at a few different locations before making your final decision. You may find that some locations have plenty of additional facilities and an indoor plan B setting just in case the rain decides to pour, or that if they’ve hosted a wedding before they can offer their expertise on your big day. If you want to have your ceremony outdoors also, you may have to search a little further to find a venue with a license.
It is common that a large number of the guests attending will be travelling from further afield, so will often need somewhere to stay. There may be hotels nearby for the guests to book into; however, you may also want to consider glamping for the evening. This will make for fantastic photos, and the most romantic evening setting possible. One of our large group booking abodes is perfectly suited to fit up to 55 guests sleeping between an array of quirky, luxury tents and yurts, plus there’s even an entertainment yurt! This is just one of our yurt holidays that could be suitable for a wedding, but be sure to check out our website to see the range of properties available. It’ll be like a great camping adventure, but with all of the luxuries, you could wish for!
Tables and Chairs
If your ceremony is also outdoors, you’ll need to provide enough chairs for all the guests. These can then be utilised in the afternoon and evening for your meal, and also for people to relax on. The best way to go about this is usually to hire tables and chairs, and for the outdoors, picnic benches are a perfect option – budget friendly too! Alternatively, opt for a mix ’n’ match theme with a variety of different seating options for a shabby chic and rustic look. For something quite unique, you could try stacking hay bales together with some pretty patterned blankets – this can create tables and chairs for a low price with ultimate comfort!
Although a traditional sit-down meal is not out of the question for an outdoor wedding, why not embrace the theme and enjoy a picnic or barbeque? You could even consider renting out a food truck or two so that the guests can have their choice of foodie delights! Another alternative is to set up a large tent specifically for the food and then you can hire an outdoor catering company to come along and cook you up a feast! If the weather is particularly hot, get an ice cream van down for the day to dish out sumptuous scoops to all your guests to keep them cool all day long!
The Dance Floor
No wedding would be complete without a dance floor, so this is something to bear in mind. Again, you may want to utilise the food tent as an entertainment tent for the dance floor; you can glam it up for the evening with a disco ball, coloured lighting and fairy lights to create the ultimate dance floor. Don’t forget to inform the DJ or band that your location is outdoors as they may have to switch up the equipment they bring.
In terms of decorations, it is often best to keep with the natural theme, opting for a plethora of beautiful flowers and greenery to decorate your area. The outdoor setting will often provide its own set of decorations, so you will have less to do yourself! You can even create your very own outdoor photo booth; suspend a large picture frame from a tree branch, or set up some curtains with ribbons and a floral display to encourage visitors to document your day!
Fairy lights and lanterns offer a wonderful warm light that is perfect for the evenings when the sun begins to set. During the day, you’ll likely find that no additional light will be needed, as the sunshine will provide it naturally. You will, however, need to think about the lighting for any tents or marquees available on the day. Candles can be somewhat of a health and safety hazard when placed near the floor. However, you can use ropes and strings to suspend candle holders from the branches of trees to create the most beautiful setting for the evening!
A Children’s Area
Will there be children attending your wedding? You might need to think about them a little more than the other guests, particularly as the younger ones can get bored very easily. Why not set up a designated children’s area? Here you can include colouring tools, books, a selection of toys and some games to keep the kids happy all day long!
Try to stick with the outdoor theme for your wedding favours; it might be worth giving the guests something to use for the day. This could be in the form of sunglasses, personalised fans or blankets, disposable cameras or even a basket full of flip-flops; this offers a quirky touch along with a practical use!
The facilities are a very important thing to remember, particularly for an outdoor wedding as they may not be provided. Although many venues have alternative toilet facilities for outdoor events, it is certainly worth checking, as this may be something that you will need to sort yourself. You’ll need somewhere for them to wash their hands too, along with mirrors for touch up.
The most important thing is that you enjoy the planning and the big day! Once it arrives, you’ll have finished all your preparations and the day should run to plan; and if it doesn’t, it will make for memories that you’ll look back and laugh about for many years to come! An outdoor wedding can be simply divine. If you’ve got any other ideas that might help a fellow planner out, feel free to share them with us on our social media channels!