So, you are planning an outdoor wedding. Amazing, nothing like the bright blue sky, warmth on your back and sweet sounds of a light breeze in the air. Well, that’s how you imagine it!
Sometimes the reality can be a little different, especially if your big day is in the UK! How many times have you heard, ‘what if it rains?’ Having an outdoor wedding is all about the planning and devising strategies to prepare for less favourable weather. It can be a fantastic choice, sometimes more affordable too but you must be prepared, so our team of Wedding Celebrants have put together a guide to planning your outdoor celebration!
PROS: Booking a venue that includes all of the main details of the day can sometimes be a lot easier, but where’s the fun in that? It can take up a huge amount of your budget and give you less space to be creative. Having a garden wedding, either your own or family members can not only offer you the chance to save some money but also has big sentimental value.
CONS: You may have to hire a marquee, or consider buying one and selling it on after to save on rental costs. If you don’t want people in and out of the house then you may have to hire portaloos. Plus it may not be as easy to cater for everyone so costs for a catering company with all of their equipment can be pricey. You can think outside of the box, however, think American supper style or buffet style food like having a curry or summer picnic style.
In the UK, there are some really beautiful beaches. The beaches of Pembrokeshire in Wales, for example, have been compared to the beaches of Australia!
PROS: Close your eyes and hear the sound of gently lapping waves. Feel the warm sun on your back. Need we say more? You're close to nature, the photos could be amazing and the scenery stunning! Plus, it could be a big open space to fit lots of people and you could even have a themed ceremony quite nicely!
CONS: Beaches can get windy so you must take precautions when it comes to decorations, dresses, chairs and hair do’s! Due to a lack of shade, be prepared with umbrellas as these work for both rain and shine. Also take time of year into account—you’ll want to avoid the rain, however with the British weather, this could be Spring, Summer, Autumn or winter alike! Its worth also checking with the local authority that they have no objections to you using the beach for this purpose, which they shouldn't.
Do you need a PA or sound system outside, or will you have a musician or acoustic band? These are big considerations when choosing your venue as if it doesn’t have access to electricity, you may need to hire generators depending on how far you are away from a source of electricity.
Without dampening your spirits for an outdoor wedding, as they're amazing and we've officiated at hundreds and hundreds of them, you must be realistic and have a good plan B in place. Many couples choose to have an outdoor wedding with their reception in a marquee or a large tipi so it’s a good idea to set up the marquee area with space for the ceremony if you need to transfer it over. If you do wake up to unfavourable weather, make a plan to have your service indoors and stick with it, then focus on enjoying your morning getting ready and preparing for your ‘I do’s’!
A typical ceremony can last anything between 20-40 minutes. If it is at the height of the summer, you may want to consider a shorter ceremony to save guests from the blaring sunshine or provide them with shelter. It is much more pleasurable for guests to have a seat during the ceremony, rather than standing in high heels. However, seats could take the form of hay bales, or even blankets if chairs are difficult to organise for your location. Anything creative will always add to the personalised aspect and be a reflection of you as a couple.
If you are having your wedding in a field or in woodlands, you may want to consider your footwear choices. But if you want to wear heels, pick up some plastic heel protectors and they will stop you sinking in the ground! It might be really fun to have the guests in wellies, traipsing around a slightly muddy field. Be creative as much as possible!
A wedding is a perfect occasion to get dressed up and look smart, however smart isn’t always practical and you might be having a theme of some sort. Pop a note into your invitations to let the guests know you are planning for an outdoor wedding ceremony and to bring a coat, umbrella or even wellies if you think they will be required! A prepared guest is a happy one – no one likes being cold or wet!
Nothing could be better than the fresh air, sunshine and a personalised wedding, but just remember to plan ahead! And if in doubt, run something by your Celebrant as they will have been to many before.
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