Planning your dream outdoor wedding

couple in garden married

Outdoor weddings are becoming a popular alternative to the traditional indoor setting in the UK. The thought of tying the knot in a scenic location, in the open air and surrounded by their loved ones is a dream for many brides.

If you’ve decided to host your ceremony, wedding reception – or both – outside, there are a few important details you’ll need to consider pre-wedding. From your wedding party’s outfits, to the temperamental weather, there’s a lot to plan for.

Regardless of whether it rains or shines on the big day, if you’re well-prepared, you can have a fabulous outdoor wedding.

The ceremony

 Does your perfect wedding include you saying ‘I do’ in the sunshine? Then these are the things you’ll need to have a think about.

Location, location, location

One of the first decisions you’re going to need to make is the location of your ceremony. Some brides choose a place of sentimental value, perhaps where their partner proposed, while others simply desire an attractive backdrop. Three of the most popular outdoor wedding settings are:

  • The beach

The ocean is arguably one of the most beautiful wedding settings. Exchanging vows with the sea breeze and the sound of crashing waves couldn’t be dreamier for some brides. Perfect for those who want a casual and relaxed vibe to their day.

  • Flower-filled gardens

If you’re not a beach babe, then a gorgeous garden ceremony may be for you. Garden weddings bring a little nature to your wedding ceremony. Take a look around your area to see if there are any stunning gardens which could host your ceremony.

  • Your own backyard

This is perhaps one of the most sentimental outdoor wedding ceremony settings you could choose. Hosting your ceremony at home also gives you the flexibility and freedom to be as creative or quirky as you like.

couple on beach

Making your marriage legal

 It’s important to remember that marriage regulations in the UK state that marriages can only take place within a permanently immovable structure.

This means any premises outside this definition such as the open air, a tent, marquee or any other temporary structure are not permitted. You can have an unofficial blessing or ceremony on that beach, or other location, but it won’t be legally binding. So you may need to head to the registry office before or after to tie the knot officially.

Think about the dress

When heading off to choose your dream wedding dress, and your bridesmaids’ dresses, you’re going to need to bear in mind the outdoor setting of your ceremony.

You may have fallen in love with long, heavy-material bridesmaid dresses. But remember, you don’t want them to feel uncomfortable in the heat of summer (for those lucky to be blessed with a hot wedding day). Floaty and soft designs would be perfect for spring or summer vibes.

Now, you may also be thinking at this stage, how do I keep the bottom of my dress clean during an outdoor ceremony? There are a few things you could do to prevent getting your beautiful dress dirty. You could buy a bridal petticoat, to lift the bottom of the dress off the ground or invest in a protective spray to coat the bottom of the dress. Alternatively, you can add ‘lifting my train off the ground’ to your bridesmaids’ duties lists. 

married couple outside

Helping the guests cool down or keep dry… 

Your guests would greatly appreciate you thinking about them during the ceremony. You may need to think about setting out fans or umbrellas for your guests.

Having a plan B is also a good idea, just in case. This may be putting a deposit down on a tent, which you can use last minute. Or your venue may have an indoor space you can use if needed.

The reception

So, you’ve had your ceremony, and are now officially a ‘Mrs’! It’s then time for your outside reception. Very few brides opt to have a completely out-in-the-open-air wedding, and will often choose a barn, marquee or tipi for a little more shelter and warmth as the day continues.

Consider the catering

You need to make sure that your caterer has all the equipment they need to feed all your hungry guests. You should also think about what your food choices are going to be. Perhaps make the choices light and summery, or easy to serve.

Toppling table pieces

Be wary of the wind if you’re seating your guests outside (even in a marquee there may be a breeze). You could put heavy vases filled with luscious flowers or rustic pieces of driftwood as your centrepieces.

Name cards also may need to be stuck down, to avoid confused guests wondering where they’re supposed to be sat! Alternatively, you could paint their names on pebbles for a personal but weightier touch.  

table pieces

Make it magical with lights  

If you want to make your reception sparkle after the sun goes down, then drape fairy lights or hang lanterns around the area of your wedding party.

Summer evenings in the UK can tend to get a bit chilly. To complement your glowing lanterns, you could even build a fire to keep your guests warm after the sun has disappeared. These extras will give your wedding a warm and unique ambience.

Hire a good-quality generator

Nothing kills the mood like the music suddenly shutting off or reception going into darkness – so secure a good generator! To keep your snazzy band or banging DJ going, make sure you’ve got a powerful generator.

Provide bathroom facilities

Wedding planning isn’t all about the glamour. You also need to identify the necessities, and toilets are definitely one. If you choose to have your celebrations alfresco then you’ll need to rent facilities, especially if there’s nowhere nearby to direct your guests.

You can rent luxury toilet facilities for your wedding, which won’t take away the glamour your big day.

And remember, you need enough for all your guests… you want them on the dancefloor – not queuing!



Find your dream wedding and bridesmaids’ dresses at Alta Costura. We stock beautiful gowns for every setting. Book an appointment today.

Thought I’d add this as they’ve had them at a couple of weddings I’ve been to. Feel free to chop.

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