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9 tips on how to prepare for an outdoor wedding

Posted by Danielle Harvey on 16 July 2022

bride and groom embrace under an arch outdoors Outdoor weddings became increasingly popular during Covid due to restrictions and the safety of guests. However, the outdoor wedding trend looks like it’s here to stay with celebrities like Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker recently hosting a beautiful outdoor wedding on the Amalfi Coast.

A British summer's day can be enchanting, being surrounded by nature, the brilliant blue skies above, and an aisle strewn with flowers, a perfect setting for a magically romantic wedding. 

Planning an outdoor wedding requires several considerations from locations, decor, and weather, the experts at Queensmith have listed their top tips on how to be prepared for an outdoor wedding:

wedding reception table set up with plates and napkins with large floral displaying hanging down above 1. Work out what is realistic
There are a lot more considerations that go into planning an outdoor wedding which means they can be a lot more time-consuming and complicated than an indoor wedding. When deciding on whether to have an outdoor wedding, think about how much time and effort you are realistically able to put into planning your wedding. If you want to take some of the pressure off, you can always hire a wedding planner, you may also be able to find someone who specialises in outdoor weddings. 

2. Think about your wedding date
The weather in the UK can be very unpredictable and therefore considering the seasons when thinking about a date for your outdoor wedding before booking a venue is super important. Although summer is often the best choice for an outdoor wedding, the months of June, July and August are peak times and will consequently mean higher prices and less availability when it comes to picking the venues. To avoid this, you could also try months in spring or early autumn. 

3. Avoid double-booking 
If you and your guests are avid sport fans then you might want to do some research on the dates of major sporting events to avoid dairy clashes. Some of the common major summer sporting events include Wimbledon, Golf US Open, F1 British Grand Prix & Football World Cup and the Tour de France. 

4. Think About Your Venue
Thanks to new government regulations, there is now permanent legislation on outdoor weddings in the whole of the UK. This means that you now have a much greater choice of venues and how you decide to celebrate your big day. Prior to last summer, civil ceremonies at a licensed wedding venue had to take place indoors or within a permanent outdoor structure, such as a bandstand. However, with the new regulations, couples can now have their whole ceremony outside in the venue grounds.

Despite this, it is still very important to think about the venue for your wedding, you should consider which parts of the ceremony you will be using the space for, your budget and what the venue offers. Some venues that specialise in outdoor weddings will do all of the settings up for you and they may also have chairs, tables, and props to use already. Furthermore, you should think about whether the venue has the capability to move everything inside if the weather takes a turn for the worst. If planning a wedding in the middle of nowhere then you will need to consider extra budget for organising all furniture and decor as well as toilet facilities!

wedding reception table outside night lit-up by fairy-lights 5. Prepare yourself for the British weather
Summer in the UK can be extremely unreliable, one minute it could be bright blue skies and the next it could be dark grey storms. Avoid being caught out by having wet or windy or heatwave alternatives. For example, if the sun is beating down on your guests all day, make sure you provide parasols, fans or a gazebo to provide shelter. Think about the time of day, the position of the sun and the position of your set-up for your vows to avoid guests squinting into the sun. If you fear a downpour could happen, provide your guests with umbrellas, blankets or again a gazebo for shelter. Sometimes no matter how much you pre-plan and weather-proof your venue, the weather still might not be in your favour. In this case, make sure you have a plan B option. Don't let the bad weather put a damper on your big day, ensure the venue can provide indoor space to host your wedding as well so that you can have an easy, stress-free alternative. 

6. Choose your decor wisely 
When it comes to decorating your outdoor wedding, you need to think carefully about what you can and can't do. Petal strewn aisles surrounded by candles may be the most Insta-worthy and romantic option however rather impractical. UK summers are known to be breezy and any slight gust will blow the candles out and mess the flowers up. You should make the most of your natural surroundings and enhance these features, think about wrapping trees with fairy lights or hanging drape fabric, lights and floral arrangements from one tree to the other. You could DIY cute wooden signs welcoming and directing guests to each wedding area, such as the ceremony, reception, and toilets. You could also try your hand at upcycling mason jars and place tealights or dainty fairy lights inside to line the aisles. If you don't want your candles blowing out, you could opt for battery operated. You want to keep decor simple to ensure you don't steal the limelight from all the beautiful natural landscape that is already there. 

7. Think about catering 
If you are choosing a venue that already hosts outdoor weddings then they may be able to provide the catering for you. If you are choosing a unique wedding venue then you will have to find your own caterer with experience of outdoor events. Outdoor weddings often mean more relaxed catering options, you could opt for a BBQ, street food vans, pizza ovens or picnic vibes. Make sure you have lots of refreshments for your guests especially if the weather is warm.

wedding table at night lit by fairlights You could even hire an ice cream van to provide cooling snacks for your guests. When picking a caterer you'll also have to consider the power facilities in your venue, such as electricity and running water. 

8. Lighting 
If your wedding reception is staying outdoors and is going on till beyond sunset then you'll need to think about lighting. Your venue might already have lighting facilities in place but if not then you'll need to provide some. To elevate your wedding reception into an ultimate cosy party atmosphere, you can hang long strings of light from trees, fences or even a pergola if your venue has one. This also helps lift darker areas, ensuring the party continues long into the night. Consider solar-powered LED tea lights to mark paths and borders to help guide your guests in the dark.

9. Prepare for the cooler evenings
When the sun goes down in the UK, it can get a little chilly so you should make sure you have things in place to prepare for this and make sure your guests are comfortable. You could have blankets ready to hand out to guests as the evening draws to a close so you can continue to enjoy your evening or make them aware the reception will be outdoor so they can come prepared with a jacket. Some wedding venues will have facilities such as heat lamps or even cosy firepits.

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