More and more brides opt for outdoor weddings to infuse romance and personal touch into their special day, while allowing a beautiful backdrop for their wedding photos.
We understand that you might feel overwhelmed before starting with the planning process, but rest assured, we’ve prepared a guide to take you through all the essential steps in planning an outdoor wedding, so keep reading, and get ready to take notes!
How long does it take to plan an outdoor wedding
Just like ‘more traditional’ indoor weddings, planning for an outdoor wedding can be stressful and time-consuming. From choosing a location for your wedding ceremony, to sending out invitations, newly-engaged couples often feel pressured with time, especially when planning starts only a few months before the set date. That is why we would recommend allowing 9 to 12 months to plan your perfect celebration day, without having to compromise on any little detail.
Planning an outdoor wedding checklist:
Choose the right season for you
This is evermore important when choosing to get married outdoors, you have to pick a season that matches the best with what you had envisioned for your big day. Do you have a preference for blooming flowers scenery or are you dreaming more of a trees-covered-in-snow one? There is no wrong answer! Knowing far in advance when you’d like your wedding to take place will help you initiate the planning process as it’ll give you an idea of the timeframe you have available before saying ‘I do’! If you are planning to have an outdoor wedding at a wedding venue, many venues only offer this option during the warmer months, usually May-September - and even then it can be weather dependent!
Choose a location
Now that you know when you want your wedding to take place, you have to answer another big question, which is: ‘Where do you want your wedding to take place?’. Keep in mind that the answer to this question is closely tied to the season you picked - if your wedding is going to happen in a rainy season, then you’ll have to allow extra planning time and resources to ensure you and your guests keep warm and dry. We would recommend grabbing a notebook, and noting down different happy places you’ve been to before, or simply potential locations that are crossing your mind right now. This will help you brainstorm and pick the right location for you!
Set a budget
Setting a budget for the wedding is never an easy task, but it is a crucial step as it helps set a sort of guideline for the whole planning process. Depending on when and where you want to have your wedding, you will have to allow more resources to make sure that the celebration goes through without any hiccups. Also, this is usually the step where you decide how big/elaborate you want your wedding to be.
Outdoor wedding venues
There are endless possibilities when it comes to selecting a venue for the wedding, with an outdoor space to hold the celebration. We would recommend picking a spot that allows for a backup plan, meaning a covered area, in case the weather turns on you suddenly. This is obviously easier at a dedicated wedding venue but there is currently a major review underway by The Law Commission looking into, amongst other things, whether couples can get married in a much wider range of locations such as their own homes, parks or even on a ship.
Do not hesitate to check out the outdoor space we offer in our venue, which is perfect for the summer months (May-September).
Outdoor wedding reception ideas
We’ve seen multiple outdoor venues that have been completely revamped outside adding floral decorations to them - flowers and lighting can turn any regular location into a magical space, so we say go for it! Why not base your decor following a theme? We recommend creating wedding inspiration boards far in advance, to give you a good sense of the type of decoration, colours and overall aspect you want to give. You can read our guide on how to create wedding inspiration boards to help you through the process.
Make sure you plan enough seating areas for your guests and depending on the season, you can always offer your guests handy items to keep them comfortable throughout the day - some cozy blankets in frozen weathers or little hand-fans in very hot ones can make a difference!
How to plan an outdoor winter wedding
Outdoor winter weddings tend to be more challenging than other seasons because the weather is harder to predict and tends to hold more surprises.
A few tips from us to you to make sure that your day goes by with as little disruptions as possible:
Make sure that guests can still access your chosen location - think to arrange transport for them if necessary
Set up carpets/wood flooring on the grass or distribute plastic shoe protectors to your guests, to stop shoes from getting wet or sinking into soil.
Plan extra umbrellas or disposable rain ponchos to distribute to your guests in case the weather turns on you and the rain starts to pour down
Plan for a backup venue option in a covered space - we know that this is not ideal, but it will allow for your celebration to proceed instead of having to cancel everything the day of.