10 tips for pulling off the perfect outdoor wedding
If saying your vows beneath a clear blue sky and then dancing all night under the stars sounds like your dream wedding, then an outdoor wedding venue is the perfect choice.
An outdoor wedding may take a little more thought - and organisation - than a wedding at an indoor venue, but if the weather is kind and the flowers are in full bloom, it really be well worth the extra effort.
Here are 10 tips on getting the best from your outdoor wedding venue:
- Garden venues tend to look their best at very specific times of the year depending on the seasonality of trees and flowers planted there. Make sure you visit your venue in the season you wish to get married so you can see what it looks like with your own eyes. If that’s not possible, ask to see photos of the outdoor wedding venue during that season. If possible, set your wedding date according to when the outdoor venue will look its best!
- Each season has its own drawbacks for outdoor weddings, whether that is trees dripping with pollen in the Spring or a garden buzzing with insects in the Summer. And, well, we don’t even need to talk about the potential perils of an outdoor wedding in the Winter! In whichever season you choose to wed, ensure you warn guests that yours will be an outdoor wedding, so they know to come armed with insect repellent, hats, sun cream or brollies. Better yet, why organise to have these items on hand for guests to use during your outdoor wedding ceremony and/or reception.
- Your chosen garden venue may have stunning natural beauty, but what are its basic facilities like Check whether there are enough toilets for your guests and that there is electricity for the caterers, lights and DJ. Everything you need for an outdoor wedding can be hired, if necessary, and having too much is usually better than having too little.
- The weather is hard to predict at any time, let alone a year in advance of your wedding date when you may be locking in your outdoor wedding venue. So, even if you are getting married in mid-Summer when the weather is more predictable and reliable, it is still a good idea to have a rainy day back-up plan.This can range from hiring umbrellas and a gazebo to provide shelter from unexpected drizzle, to reserving a whole indoor venue as a reserve - just in case the weather is truly terrible. Many couples holding an outdoor wedding hire a marquee in which the guests can dine. The benefit is that, should the weather turn nasty, your party can quickly be moved inside with little fuss or effort.
- If you plan on partying way into the night, make sure your outdoor venue has adequate lighting, but nothing bright enough to spoil the mood and ambiance. Candle lanterns, flaming torches and fairy lights are all good ways to provide romantic lighting at an outdoor venue without drowning your guests in harsh white light that’ll leave them blind for hours.
- Outdoor weddings are most popular during the months when the weather is hot and the sun is guaranteed to be shining. This does create a few issues of its own, however. You will need to be sure that your bridal gown is lightweight enough for you to cope with the heat, that your make-up will stay put for the duration of the ceremony and reception, and that your flowers won’t wilt after half an hour. Not having an air-conditioned venue to escape to will mean making a few compromises with your bridal outfit, but when the weather is so perfect, it’s worth it.
- In the natural surroundings of an outdoor wedding venue, it’s possible that the ground may not be entirely dry or flat. Check out the layout of the garden in advance and decide whether it is suitable for all your guests. Will elderly guests need help getting around and disabled guests even be able to access your outdoor wedding venue. If the ground is soft, make sure you warn your female guests – and your bridal party - that stilettos may not be appropriate footwear. The bride may want to take heed of that warning, too!
- If you are worried that your outdoor venue may not look its best on a your wedding day, you can supplement its natural beauty with arrangements of cut flowers and potted plants or shrubs, all of which can be hired. Just make sure any additions are in keeping with the outdoor venue’s existing foliage.
- When you are choosing a wedding photographer for your outdoor wedding, make sure they are experienced in outdoor photography. Outdoor photography often requires special light meters or sun shades and different exposures, so be sure to hire someone who has experience working outside where conditions can be unpredictable and change constantly.
- Don’t be afraid to accessorise and personalise your outdoor venue, even if it is stunning in its own right. Decorative birds and butterflies can be placed in trees, and rustic items such as antique watering cans and flower pots can be used to create tasteful flower arrangements. Pick key colours from the garden for your wedding colour scheme to really bring out its character.