12 Top Tips on How To Plan An Outdoor Wedding UK

Your Wedding Day holds immense significance being one of the most special days of your life and choosing a natural setting for it is truly unparalleled. The expansive fields, breathtaking views, and abundant greenery serve as catalysts for romance. Opting for an outdoor wedding will elevate your special day, creating unforgettable memories and offering numerous photo opportunities. Granted, some may feel apprehensive about hosting a wedding in the great outdoors. With so many considerations already in mind, adding the risk of the elements may seem daunting. However, when carefully planned and executed, exchanging vows outside becomes a remarkable experience that both you and your guests will cherish forever. 

Outside Wedding Ceremony

At Sedgebrook Hall, we have hosted many special outdoor weddings and know how to set them off without a hitch. Our team has had the pleasure of working on a wide range of wedding styles, from charming rustic outdoor affairs to sleek and modern celebrations. The beauty of an outdoor wedding lies in its ability to be customised to perfectly reflect the love shared between you and your partner. To assist you on how to plan an outdoor wedding reception, we have crafted a comprehensive guide that covers all the essential details:

1. Choose the Right Venue

Start by selecting a suitable outdoor venue for your wedding. Consider factors such as the location, scenery, amenities, and capacity. Popular options in the UK include gardens, parks, country estates, and beachfront locations. Ensure that the venue is licensed for weddings if you plan to have a legally binding ceremony.

2. Weather Considerations

If you’ve spent any time in the UK, you’re well aware of the unpredictable weather. One moment the sun is shining, and the next, the heavens may open. When couples opt for an outdoor wedding reception, they usually choose the spring or summer seasons to increase the chances of good weather. However, regardless of when your wedding takes place, it’s wise to prepare for all eventualities by choosing a venue that offers both outdoor and indoor spaces. 

In case of adverse weather conditions mentioned above, make sure to prepare a backup plan. Identify an indoor space nearby or consider renting a marquee, tipi, or tent that can provide shelter in case of rain or strong sunlight and serves as a suitable area for dining outdoors. Make sure there is ample space for your guests, catering, and other essential services. For the outdoor wedding reception lighting, add a touch of creativity by incorporating candles or lanterns. Keep in mind that larger guest lists may pose challenges for those at the back to hear, so it’s worth considering a speaker system to ensure that everyone can fully experience the heartfelt words being shared.

When planning an outdoor wedding reception we advise to stay in touch with your vendors and venue management to monitor the weather forecast and make a decision if the need arises. 

3. Decorations and Set up

Plan your outdoor wedding decor to complement the natural surroundings. Consider the existing landscape, flowers, and foliage. Enhance the venue with fairy lights, lanterns, floral arrangements, and other decorative elements that suit the outdoor setting. Keep in mind that some venues may have restrictions on certain decorations or alterations to protect the environment or historic structures. If you opted for a marquee for your outdoor wedding, consider embellishing the marquee with fairy lights and floral wreaths for a simple yet effective decor and creating an enchanting ambience.

4. Guest Comfort 

Take your guests’ comfort into consideration. Provide shaded areas, parasols, and fans for hot days. If it might get chilly, consider offering blankets, outdoor heaters, or fire pits. Communicate with your guests about the outdoor setting and advise them to dress appropriately, considering weather conditions and suitable footwear.

5. Utilise Nature in Your Outdoor Ceremony

Embrace the natural surroundings for your outdoor ceremony and let nature be your inspiration for rustic decor. Enhance the enchanting atmosphere by adorning trees and shrubbery with twinkling fairy lights, creating a captivating starlit ambience. If there’s a garden archway available, take full advantage of it by sharing your first kiss and capturing memorable photos beneath its charming allure. Delight your guests by scattering flower petals along the ground and consider adding a touch of creativity with coloured sheets.

6. Consider Timings

Planning an outdoor wedding is slightly more complicated than an indoor one, so ensure you have the time to facilitate. If your wedding is coming up and you have your heart set on tying the knot outdoors, just prepare yourself for a bit more prep. Once you’ve got the ball rolling, delegate tasks to willing friends and family members so it doesn’t seem so daunting. A wedding coordinator can give invaluable help and advice which may keep everything on track. They can help with the budget, vendors, guest list and anything else that you have in mind. Obviously, remember that a coordinator will add to the budget and some couples prefer to organise everything themselves. There are also lots of last-minute wedding checklists that can help you.

7. Sound System and Music

If you will be having an outdoor wedding reception at home, hire professional audio equipment to ensure clear and audible music and speeches. Always be aware of any surprise weather when setting up electricals and arrange the appropriate covers for them just in case. Depending on the setting of your wedding, tailor the music accordingly. For a barnyard wedding, go for country music, whereas if it’s on the beach, play more tropical tunes. Work with your partner to create the perfect playlist which you can both enjoy. 

If you are having your outdoor wedding reception at a wedding venue, ensure that your venue can accommodate a sound system. Discuss any noise restrictions with the venue and adhere to the designated times for amplified music to avoid any conflicts with neighbours or local regulations. You should also speak to your venue about where would be best to place the dancefloor and set up the band or DJ.

8. Menu and Refreshments

Coordinate with your caterer to plan a menu suitable for outdoor dining. Ensure that proper food handling and storage facilities are available. Discuss the bar setup and consider providing refreshing drinks such as lemonade, water stations, or signature cocktails. Arrange for appropriate disposal of waste and recycling facilities.

Most outdoor weddings are held in the warmer months, which means people will be thirsty. Keep water readily available and think of your elderly and younger guests, particularly in the spring and summer months. 

If you are holding your wedding outside, you can get creative with your menu and have something that stands out from other weddings. A BBQ, Hog Roast or picnic-style food are all enjoyable and fit with the natural theme. If you don’t want tables, lay down blankets on the floor and let guests choose their own seating arrangements. This veers away from traditional weddings and means one less thing off the to-do list. Speak to your venue about catering options and ask for inspiration from past weddings they’ve hosted if you get stuck for ideas.  

9. Legal Requirements for Outdoor Wedding Planning 

Ensure that your chosen venue is licensed for weddings, or alternatively, plan to have a separate legally binding ceremony indoors before or after the outdoor celebration. Familiarise yourself with the legal requirements for marriage in the UK and consult with the local authorities or a wedding planner to ensure compliance.

10. Notify the Authorities

Notify the local authorities about your plans for an outdoor wedding. Some venues may require permits or additional permissions, especially if you plan to have amplified music, fireworks, or a large number of guests. Check with the local council for any specific regulations or restrictions that may apply.

11. Plan for Unforeseen Circumstances 

Prepare for unforeseen circumstances by having backup supplies, such as extra seating, umbrellas, or a first aid kit on hand. Assign a responsible person or a wedding coordinator to oversee the event and manage any unexpected situations.

12. Consider Professional Help

Planning an outdoor wedding in the UK can be complex, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the local regulations and logistics. Consider hiring a professional wedding planner who specialises in outdoor events to assist you with the planning process and ensure a smooth execution.

Final Thoughts on How To Plan An Outdoor Wedding UK

Now you have your planning an outdoor wedding checklist you can start getting excited and enjoy all the fun wedding prep. Remember, planning an outdoor wedding in the UK requires attention to detail, flexibility, and preparedness for the weather. With proper planning and a backup plan in place, you can create a beautiful and memorable outdoor wedding experience for you and your guests.

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