Our 9 Top Tips for Planning an Outdoor Ceremony

by Owen Relfe

Our 9 Top Tips for Planning an Outdoor Ceremony

Planning an outdoor ceremony in the UK is a great idea as generally we get fantastic weather in the summer and making your vows with friends and family in a beautiful natural setting is something everyone will remember. In some cases it might even save you money if you don’t then require a venue for the ceremony.

We have put together our top 9 tips for an outdoor ceremony to get you started.

1 . Suppliers

First of all ask them for advice, after all they are the experts. Once you have a plan make sure your suppliers know what it is and they know what the back up plan is. If you have picked the right suppliers they will make it all happen for you.

2. Weather plans

OK so it might rain. If you have booked a Tipi/Sailcloth talk to us about having a large enough set up to accommodate a ceremony on the dance floor and surrounding area as a backup plan. Alternatively a separate structure that either is on standby or erected over the seating area can be a good idea if budget allows.

This additional cover will also come in handy if it’s really hot and sunny as guests might be looking for a spot of shade before, during and after the ceremony.

3. Guests

Let your guests know the ceremony will be outdoors so they can dress appropriately. This will help them to know whether or not to wear heels, flats, boots, coats, or lightweight fabrics – all dependent upon weather for the location and time of year.

If it is hot or near water advise everyone to wear insect repellent and consider taking antihistamines in the morning to help with hay fever symptoms.

Keep your guests updated so they can be prepared with umbrellas, coats, wellies or sun cream.

4. Dress accordingly

Talk to your bridal boutique about your plans so they can make sure you are comfortable.

Also think about hair and make-up. A wind proof hair style and make-up that doesn’t run if you get too hot or damp.

5. Seating

You might decide seating is not required (we have been to a beach ceremony where everyone stood in a arc around the ceremony. Traditionally though seating either side of an aisle is both nice for your guests (especially the grandparents) and adds a visual focus for the ceremony.

We provide benches and chairs for ceremony areas regularly but perhaps some hay bales might be in order? We always recommend wrapping hay bales to avoid snags in dresses or guests covered in hay. Also if it’s a bit breezy you can end up with hay strewn everywhere so this helps with that.

6. Walkways

Consider having a matted walkway as both an aisle for the ceremony and a practical consideration for people in heels etc.

7. Decor

Floral arrangements can look lovely with your outdoor wedding area but be mindful when planning that it could be hot or windy and that appropriate care should be taken to secure them from falling over on any uneven ground. Talk to your florist to discuss your plans. Do you want to have a backdrop? We have seen lots of beautiful arbors, moon gates and tipi structures, with or without flowers. They can also make the most of your chosen view.

8. Pre and post ceremony refreshments

Getting married in a colder time of year? Offer hot cocoa or coffee before the ceremony! Or during July and August, you may offer ice water or tea to your guests as they arrive. It’s not only a nice gesture, but it’ll keep them comfortable while you say your vows. It’s always nice to have a glass of fizz on hand after the ceremony to celebrate the nuptials.

9. Be Flexible

Having a back up plan you love means whatever happens you won’t be disappointed. If you need any advice on how marquee back ups might work then we can help.

The Future of Outdoor Ceremonies

The government is currently consulting to allow legal ceremonies outdoors with less caveats. Outdoor Ceremonies has written the following information about what the proposed changes could mean:

Regulating the officiant, not the location – so it’s the registrars, celebrants and ministers who are licensed to oversee the legalities during the ceremony, as opposed to the current requirement for the building or structure in which the ceremony takes place to be licensed. Location, location, location – The ‘officiant system’ outlined above would mean a wedding would be legally permitted to take place anywhere, including outdoor locations like fields, woodlands and beaches (hooray!) and private venues such as people’s own homes and gardens. No more red tape – There would also be no requirement for the location of a wedding to be pre-approved by the state, eliminating the unnecessary regulation in the current law. The location of a wedding would be subject to the officiant’s consent. To give consent, the officiant would be responsible for considering safety and dignity, with guidance on how to do so coming from the General Register Office. The law commission has put together a paper which will be reviewed and submitted to government at the end of this year. More information here.


If you are planning an outdoor ceremony then we recommend checking out:


For more excellent tips.

Good luck with your plans and we look forward to helping you plan your dream outdoor ceremony!