Outdoor weddings are becoming increasingly popular and with good reason. You can have a truly unique experience that is perfectly tailored to your individual style. There are fewer limitations on the number of guests or the length of time you can party for. Plus you can even make a full weekend of it with glamping options where available.
So we have put together some top tips to help your day run as smoothly as possible.
Tip One: Plan For All Weather
You may have envisaged exchanging your vow in glorious sunshine, but the UK is notorious for its sudden changes in the weather. So the first thing to do is ensure that you have a back up plan.
If the rain come to pay a visit on your special day, ensure you have shelter for your guests and indeed for the ceremony itself if needed. Places that have marquees readily set up for your wedding breakfast and the ceremony itself will ensure little disruption if the weather takes a turn.
If you need to move tables, chairs, crockery etc, you want to make sure that the location of the indoor shelter is close by to minimize the time it takes to move things. Also ensure that these areas are large enough to accommodate all your guests.
Alternatively, if your reception is taking place at a different site, make sure that it is already set up with a sheltered reception area. That way all your tables, décor and other things will be nice and dry when you arrive.
Of course you may be blessed with the gorgeous sunny day you wanted, but this too can bring about issues. You don’t want your guests to be melting while you say your I Do’s or at the reception after. So you may want to make sure that there is plenty of ventilation if you have a marquee area. Ask if the sides can be removed to allow for air flow.
It is a good idea to contact your venue to see what contingency plans they have in place for changes in the weather and if they have staff that will be able to carry them out for you on the day.
Tip Two: Keep Your Guests Comfortable
Part of planning for the weather can be included in looking after your guests. Have baskets filled with sun hats, parasols, sunscreen, umbrellas, fans and of course bug spray. After all, bugs are the guests that no one invites and we really don’t want to be bothered by.
According to Dominic from Moonacre Weddings “Notifying your guests prior to the wedding what to expect is crucial to their comfort. After all, heels don’t work in sand or grass.” Giving them instructions on what the contingency plan is if the weather isn’t great will help too. This way no one will be left unsure about where to go or what to do should plans change last minute.
Consider welcoming your guests with a cold drink before the ceremony if it is a particularly warm day.
Also have baskets with blankets and cushions dotted around so that your guests can find a comfy spot to chill out later on after the ceremony.
Tip Three: The Food
The season and location you are getting married in will help you decide on the food you serve. For example a summer beach wedding would be ideally catered with lighter food, fruity drinks, salads etc. Or for a woodland wedding you may like to have a barbecue with plenty of cold drinks available. But an autumnal or winter wedding you may wish to serve hot foods and even consider serving warm drinks such as mulled wine.
Tip Four: Hire An Experienced Wedding Planner
An outdoor wedding can take a lot of work to plan, especially if you have several suppliers providing the set up for the day. Although it is a good idea to try to limit the number of suppliers involved by looking into venues that provide a lot of the basics or suppliers that cover multiple items for the day.
But an experienced wedding planner/event organizer will be able to ensure that all things are coordinated and run smoothly on the day. They will be able to take care of timings and arrange with suppliers so that you don’t need to be worrying on the lead up to the day.
They can also ensure that guests know where they need to be and should the contingency plan for the weather need activating, they can take care of that too. For a smooth running day, an experienced wedding planner can be a godsend.
Tip Five: Arrange transport and accommodation for your guests
Outdoor weddings are often in remote places that may be difficult to find or have poor connections with transport. It may be worth laying on transport for your guests to ensure they arrive safely and can get home again afterwards.
For guests that are going to drive themselves, you will want to make sure that there is somewhere for them to park that is specifically for them. It may also be worth having someone onsite to direct traffic as it arrives ensuring that no-one gets blocked in. You also don’t want this parking to be too far from the venue so that they have to go on a hike to get to the wedding.
Of course you may have guests that wish to stay overnight prior to and after the wedding. So here you can either give them a list of local accommodation that they can choose from, or maybe organize onsite glamping accommodation. This way no one is stressed and you can party as long as you like.