Are you and your other half fresh air fiends? Never happier than when you are out of doors?
It wouldn’t be a surprise then if you’ve given some serious thought to having an outdoor wedding. Which is a lovely idea, although there are a few things you need to plan and consider beforehand. That said, an outdoor wedding is perfectly do-able in the UK, as long as you’re reasonably practical about it.
You need to be married under a fixed structure
Romantic though it may sound, in England you cannot get legally married under a canopy of trees. It has to be under a fixed structure (which can’t be a marquee either). You can however get married under an outdoor pagoda.
You do need to have back-up plans for the weather
One thing is for sure in the UK, you never know what the weather is going to do. You can have a warm golden day in October with hot sunshine and a freezing cold day in June, complete with black clouds.
So if you want an outdoor wedding you need to plan accordingly. Holding your reception in a marquee is a good half-way house. If the weather is wonderful, you can open up the sides of the marquee and let the sun shine in. Put hay bales outside and festival flags for that summer vibe and decorate the interior of the marquee with bunting and seat guests at long, rustic style trestle tables.
Alternatively, you could have a barn wedding which lets you spill outside onto a terrace in good weather or hold your reception in a conservatory.
Think about warm days and cool days
Barn, marquee, conservatory & gazebo… If you’re choosing any of these you need to think about the temperature. On a hot day, you need to make sure that the barn stays cool inside, with a refreshing breeze. In a conservatory check that there are blinds to keep out the dazzling sun and that there is air-conditioning or windows and doors that can be fully opened.
If you’re holding your reception in a marquee, plan for cold weather. You may need to invest in heaters (which the marquee company can provide) if your wedding is being held in the autumn or spring, once the sun goes, it can get chilly out there!
If it’s wet, you will need to provide umbrellas for the guests to get to and from the marquee, particularly if the toilets are in the main building.
What you eat and drink
Where you hold your wedding reception and the style of wedding is also going to impact on the sort of food you serve. If you’re holding your party in a marquee, then a buffet style wedding day might work best for you. It’s very on-trend to have different stalls of ‘street’ food. You could have a burger bar, a fish and chip van, Thai bowl food and maybe a dessert table. If you’ve invited guests with different food requirements, this is one way to keep everyone happy. Talk to your venue and the caterers to see what would work well.
As for drinks, you could have a cocktail bar or a craft beer mini tent. Maybe a juice bar and a smoothie bar?
Decorating your outdoor venue
We’d say use flowers in season and in autumn, possibly even sheafs of corn, barley and pumpkins.
Over doorways, have garlands of flowers which also make for fabulous photo opportunities.
Use rustic signage to show guests the way to the car park, toilets, marquee, chill-out areas, dancing or wherever they will need guidance.
Thinking about walkways
Remember that if you’re having a marquee in a field (or tepees) some of your guests will arrive wearing high heels. So put walkways in place so that heels don’t get spoiled. In dry weather you could put rugs outside and lanterns to light the way after dark.
If you’re having an outdoor themed wedding, think about wedding favours that will fit in with the mood. One idea we like is personalised packets of seeds like blue forget-me-nots.
Fun and games
If the weather is good, guests and children can entertain themselves with giant games of Jenga, croquet or maybe a supervised bouncy castle for youngsters.