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Everything You Need to Know About Planning an Outdoor Wedding

Franky Shanahan

Are you planning to get married outside? We’ve previously shared five things to consider before making a final decision.

Today, we’re back with a team of experts who are ready to impart plenty of advice and help you create the kind of outdoor wedding you’ve been dreaming of…

outdoor wedding ceremony
My Perfect Ceremony

Meet the Experts

Camp Katur in North Yorkshire has various options for your wedding ceremony within its 250-acre estate. Along with the Rustic Barn and adjoining Orangery, there’s the Woodland Chapel, a Glamping Meadow, and new for this year, the Woodland Geodome. The first of its kind in the UK, the Geodome is a white igloo-shaped venue with panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.

Jo Clarke, founder of My Perfect Ceremony, is an award-winning wedding celebrant with a wealth of outdoor ceremony experience.

Sami Tipi is a midlands-based tipi hire company. Their kata tents provide a unique, atmospheric event space for outdoor celebrations, whatever the weather!

The Ashridge Great Barn in Devon offers civil ceremonies in the gardens, as well as celebrant led ceremonies in the woodland or down by the lakes.

Here are their top tips and everything you need to know about planning an outdoor wedding ceremony…

camp katur yurt in woodland wedding
Camp Katur, North Yorkshire

Your Outdoor Ceremony

‘There really is nothing more beautiful than an outdoor wedding ceremony. More and more venues are beginning to offer registered structures like gazebos or bandstands, but what if you want your wedding in your local field or in the tipis that you’ve fallen in love with?  Well, you can! However, as you’re probably aware, these sorts of locations aren’t technically legal.

Nowadays, a lot of couples sneak off to the registry office before their ‘big day’ so they can hold an outdoor blessing or humanist ceremony conducted by a celebrant in front of family and friends. Doing it this way gives you the freedom to have your ceremony where and how you want it. A celebrant will tailor your ceremony to reflect everything about you, from writing your own vows to having a family member or friend say a few special words. It really can be completely how you want it to be.’ – Sami Tipi

‘Try to have a site visit with your celebrant so that you’re able to discuss ceremony location options.  You may come up with something completely unique that you haven’t thought about previously. It’s also a chance to see the ground at different times of the year – some parts of the land may be boggier than others!’ – My Perfect Ceremony

Sami Tipi wedding fairy lights at night
Sami Tipi, Derbyshire. Photo by Christopher Terry Photography

Think of Your Guests

‘Make sure your guests are aware the ceremony is likely to be outdoors so they can dress accordingly, particularly elderly relatives and children. Encourage everyone to pay particular attention to their footwear!’ – My Perfect Ceremony

‘We always advise couples to try and manage guest expectations. When you’re creating your invitations, it’s worth adding good information about the venue, links to our website, a packing list, and instructions to bring warm clothing.’ – Camp Katur

‘One thing which is important to consider is how your guests are getting to and from your outdoor ceremony location, particularly guests with mobility issues or special needs.  Here at Ashridge, all or locations are a short walk from vehicular access, and we try and make sure that the ground is as level as possible. Granny Richards is now 96 and happy to be used as a guinea pig!’ – The Ashridge Great Barn

outdoor wedding ceremony ashridge great barn
The Ashridge Great Barn, Devon. Photo by Vanessa Perri-Khoo Photography

What About the Weather?

‘This is the UK, so always, always have a wet weather plan – be that a covered area, umbrellas, or a different location. At the Ashridge Great Barn, we’ll check the forecast one week before your wedding and discuss any implications with you. Some couples choose to go ahead despite the forecast, while others prefer to err on the dry side. It all depends on your wishes.’ – The Ashbridge Great Barn

‘Obviously, you can’t bribe the weather man to ensure glorious sunshine for your wedding day! Our biggest advice is don’t stress about it! What you need to remember is outdoor wedding celebrants do this all the time, so they’re used to having to think outside the box. They are often happy to wait and see if the storm will pass. And if it doesn’t, the dance floor space inside our tipis lends itself perfectly to becoming the backdrop for your ceremony. With guests able to sit in seats that are already set out, it gives you a quick fix for a sheltered space if the rain just won’t stop!’ – Sami Tipis

Sami Tipi wedding
Sami Tipi, Derbyshire. Photo by Ed Brown Photography.

‘Rain isn’t always a negative. Fortunately, we’ve only had a few weddings where the skies have opened, but the couples and their guests all embraced it and some amazing photos were produced. Stay relaxed and have fun. Whatever the weather does, it will be a day to remember!’ – Camp Katur

‘Make sure you have a ‘wet weather team’, giving everyone jobs to do if it’s raining.  For example, moving chairs and tables or telling wedding guests where to go.’ – My Perfect Ceremony

woodland wedding ceremony ashridge great barn
The Ashridge Great Barn, Devon. Photo by Clare Kinchin Photography

A Word on Wedding Décor

‘Outdoor weddings are naturally beautiful and don’t need much decoration – especially during summer months when the leaves are green, skies are blue, and birds are tweeting. Save yourself time and money. We find if you overdress the outdoor area and the weather does take a turn for the worse, it can be difficult to move everything to another sheltered area and you risk things being damaged by the rain. If the outside space you’ve chosen is already beautiful, keep it simple.’ – Camp Katur

Make Sure You’re Covered

‘We strongly advise taking out wedding insurance so you’re covered should anything go drastically wrong or the weather takes a turn for the worse and damages any hired equipment. It’s not expensive and it’s worth every penny, just in-case the unexpected does happen.’ – Camp Katur

You can explore more beautiful outdoor wedding venues here.

Everything You Need to Know About Planning an Outdoor Wedding | Find Your Perfect Venue Blog

Tags: Outdoor ceremony, Outdoor wedding, Tipi wedding, Unique wedding venue, Wedding planning,