The sheer volume of venues which are now licensed to hold marriage ceremonies tells us how many modern couples are looking for somewhere out of the ordinary for their special day. Most people associate an outdoor wedding with getting married overseas when in reality, and with a bit of careful planning, you can have your perfect day right here in the UK. Here is our guide to help you plan your ideal outdoor wedding without setting foot on a plane.
At present, the rules for getting married outdoors vary greatly across the UK. In England, for example, you have to say your vows under what is classed as a fixed structure and that structure must be licensed. While this does cut down your options a bit, the good news is that many venues now have gazebos et al in their grounds which are licensed for wedding ceremonies. The rules are a lot more relaxed in Scotland and Ireland and if you fancy a Scottish wedding you are spoilt for choice as from September 2014 venues don’t even have to be approved for weddings. It’s very much a case of picking a spot and getting a minister to come along to do the necessary. This is ideal for those who want to break away from tradition as outdoor humanist wedding ceremonies are legal in Scotland. Weddings in Northern Ireland are much the same as in Scotland. As long as the officiant agrees you can have your ceremony anywhere you like.
Time of year
Although you cannot guarantee the British weather at any time of year the summer months will at least ensure a bit of warmth. But as this is also the busiest time of year for weddings booking your venue well in advance is a must. Getting married beneath a gazebo or other structure, as mentioned above, gives you the best of both worlds as you are in open air but protected should the rain gatecrash the party.
The romantic notion of squatting down on cushions and eating buffet food off mismatched crockery may be your idea of the perfect wedding, but you need to consider the comfort of your guests. The little ones will love this, but what about grandparents and older guests. Our old friend the gazebo comes into play again as you can keep your open air vibe but allow your guests to sit in comfortable seating to enjoy the wedding breakfast. Picnic tables and wicker style patio furniture can look fantastic in this setting, and fairy lights strung underneath the gazebo will set the mood perfectly. If you have a large wedding party a marquee is a good choice as you can decorate it how you want and roll up the sides to let the natural surroundings play their part in the day.
Choosing the right photographer is more important than ever when holding an outdoor wedding. Ask them to accompany you to the venue as the natural light is all important. This allows you to place the chairs etc for the actual ceremony in a position that allows your guests to enjoy the experience rather having to squint. They will invariably want to take their own photos and this also ensure they get you and your partner is full vibrant colour and not bathed in shadows.