What to consider when planning an outdoor wedding

Most engaged couples dream of an outdoor wedding, whether in part or wholly outside, picturing a hot day with romantic views.  While no one wants rain, even the sunshine can cause problems on the day, from sun stroke to over exposed photographs. An outdoor wedding needs a lot of planning so to help you out, here are a few things to help you with your planning.

Sunshine

We all want sunshine with no trace of rain on our wedding day, but you really do need to consider what happens if the temperatures soar. Make sure that there is ample shade, in fact I would suggest more shade than sunshine. If you are hiring a meadow or field without a marquee, consider adding as many parasols as possible as well as handing out pretty ones to your guests. Ask the venue in the planning stage what their provisions are for a heat wave.

Create soft drink stations with jugs of squash around the venue or trugs filled with bottles of water to counteract the alcohol that will be enjoyed. It is nice idea to add suntan lotion too, so everyone has access to some – you can create a pretty pamper location within the space or add some to the toilets. Hand out fans too to help everyone cool down; you could also add them to the Order of Service.

photo by Kerrie Mitchell

Photographers find it harder to capture the perfect image in the sunshine – in fact rain is easier to work with. The photographer, Kerrie Mitchell, shares her thoughts on hot weddings.

“In terms of photography, bright sunshine at midday can be very harsh. If you’re able to, consider having a later afternoon ceremony where the sunlight will be much softer. You may also want to see where the sun is positioned. In an ideal situation the sun would be either directly in front or behind the ceremony set up so as to avoid harsh shadows creeping in from the sides.

If your ceremony is outdoors in a woodland, dappled light can look beautiful in summer and provide shady comfort for your guests. However, try to ensure the front of your ceremony set up (where you will be standing) is in the shade. This will ensure you are both lit evenly and avoid one of you being in harsh light whilst the other is shaded.”

photo by Lina and Tom Wedding Photography

Rain

All couples dread rain at their wedding but it can actually add to some atmospheric photographs. Rain is more common at certain times of the year, but you cannot rule it out at any point here in the UK so plan for it!

The best thing you can do is hire an outdoor space with a marquee or barn alongside, so you can enjoy the day whatever the wedding. Provide brollies so your guests can move about outside if needed; these can be hired or bought throughout the months planning. Many brides at outdoor weddings end up wearing wellies; again, plan for it and treat yourself and your bridesmaids to a nice pair and add some cute labels on the sides such as Bride and Team Bride.

The photographers, Lina and Tom love the dramatic nature of a rainy wedding and in fact have taken some of their best wedding images with bad weather as the backdrop

"If you're considering an outdoor wedding, the weather has to be a big consideration. The only way to guarantee sunshine is to pick a destination in the sun such as Ibiza for your big day, as getting married in the UK will come with certain considerations. Try to pick a venue that looks great inside as well as outside, so you won't feel it a poor second, and spaces such as conservatories or garden rooms can let in lots of light and bring the outside in, so your photographer can still capture a bright and airy feel to your day. If it does rain, try not to be disheartened, a great photographer will still be able to create magical images in the pouring rain without necessary resorting to keeping you indoors, so if they suggest getting out in the rain, forget getting your dress damp and get out there! In fact, some of our most dramatic wedding images were taken in the rain"

 

photo by Lina and Tom Wedding Photography

Shelter

As mentioned it is best to hire an outdoor space with somewhere to shelter such as a barn as this way you get the best of both worlds. Many choose to hire a field and then add an extra marquee or tipi but there is much to consider if this is your choice. Firstly, you will need power for lights and music so ask the venue/land owner what they can help with

photo by Lina and Tom Wedding Photography

You may also need to hire extra toilets; thankfully there are some nice ones you can hire as no one wants a Portaloo at their wedding but remember to factor this into your budget. Other practical questions to ask them are:

Is there a water supply? This will be needed for the caterers and bar and if not, you will need to check with the suppliers that they are OK with this.

What is the access like to the venue and therefore into the marquee. You may need some matting down to create a pathway, extra lights to ensure it is safe as well as how the suppliers are going to get into the marquee.

When can the marquee be put up? The suppliers will need time to erect and remove the marquee and these timings will be added into your hire times.

If this sounds like too much, why not hire a barn? There are some amazing farms with stunning views such as Bolton’s Wellbeing Farm set on a hillside. Celia Gaze, the owner and founder, shares her thoughts on getting an outdoor wedding right:

“It is important to create a wedding that reflects you, so if you love the great outdoors choose a barn that you can then decorate to your taste. You can add fairy lights, or hang hundreds of paper lanterns in pretty colours to create a magical space. Even when you have designed the perfect romantic setting, there are still things you need to consider as this is still classed as an outdoor wedding.”

photo by Chris McGloin Photography 

“Think about where you are going to have your ceremony to make sure it has the perfect backdrop for your photographs; think about where you are going to stand throughout the service so that the guests have a wonderful view too. Lastly remember that some outdoor venues are not licenced for you to legally get hitched, which means you will need to go to a register office beforehand. Do your research fully to ensure you get the day of your dreams – and maybe like at our farm, you could have the extra wow of llamas wondering around!”

 

Kate Beavis is a vintage lifestyle expert, published author and curator of artisan wedding fairs at Magpie Wedding. She is passionate about inspiring women to follow their own styles, whatever their age, in all aspects of their lives from fashion, to weddings, to interiors.

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