Outdoor weddings have been made legal permanently after rules on permitted venues were relaxed during the pandemic.
The Ministry of Justice announced that there has been ‘overwhelming support’ from both the public and the wedding industry.
Rules governing where weddings and civil ceremonies could be held were relaxed last summer, making it easier for couples to get married during lock down.
Reforms to religious ceremonies will follow at a later date.
Before rules were relaxed last July, ceremonies had to take place indoors or underneath a permanent outdoor structure.
Under the new rules, which come into force in April across England and Wales, ceremonies can take place entirely outdoors or underneath temporary structures.
However, venues must still register to be come approved premises in order to host weddings.
In addition, the Ministry of Justice said that ‘the location for the ceremony must be assessed to be seemly and dignified.’
While ‘other requirements for public access and signage must also be met.’
Planning Your Outdoor Wedding
Following the move to make outdoor weddings legal permanently, more couples are now considering one for their own wedding.
You will of course, need to keep in mind that planning this kind of event isn’t as cut and dry as its indoor counterpart.
There can be a few unique challenges to outdoor receptions; specifically elements out of your control (like the weather!)
It’s paramount to take into account the time of year and to ensure that you have a contingency plan, even during the summer.
Outdoor Wedding Etiquette
When it comes to planning an outdoor wedding, guest experience should be of prime importance.
Frequently Asked Questions
How should we approach our suppliers with regards to an outdoor event?
It’s certainly advantageous to look for suppliers with outdoor events already under their belt.
You’ll need to have a clear understanding of what they will need (eg – Do they require amps? Can they run on a shared circuit?)
You should then partner with a reputable rental company that can provide generator power and other elements to meet their needs.
As it’s probable that they would’ve worked with such companies before, they might be able to make recommendations.
Dining outside – How should we handle this?
Finding a catering team that’s familiar with working outdoor events is very important.
Don’t be afraid to ask how many outdoor weddings they’ve done before and whether they are comfortable working in a catering tent, rather than a kitchen.
They may be able to recommend a rental company who can supplier all the catering equipment, such as cutlery, plates and glassware.
It’s also a bonus to find a catering company who has an alcohol licence.
Which food is best to serve?
Opting for passed canapes and plated meals for dinner will help to avoid any unwanted pests buzzing around a buffet.
Other popular choices include a wood fired pizza oven or a hog roast.
What about outdoor decorations?
The great thing about an outdoor setting is that it will be blessed with its own natural beauty.
If you’re looking for a more formal setting, then hiring a wedding tent is a great option.
Adding hardwood flooring will make it feel really formal, as will hiring some elegant dining chairs and tables, coupled with linens for dressing.
Should we have a weather contingency plan?
The unpredictable English weather will almost certainly be a concern for couples planning an outdoor wedding, so it’s best to have a wet weather contingency plan in place.
If you’re planning on having a tent for your wedding, consider one with side walls to protect your guests from the elements.
How do you keep any unwanted pests at bay?
Placing Citronella candles near to your tent entrance can help to deter bugs, as will choosing flowers that flies don’t like.
Lavender and rosemary will work wonders for this, as well as looking and smelling absolutely beautiful.
Is it possible to make port-a-loos more pretty for our wedding?
Hiring trailers with additional extras such as flowers, toiletries and candles will certainly help with this!
How should we prepare our guests for our outdoor wedding?
Ideally, you will want to mention that you are having an outdoor setting within your invitations and/or wedding website.
Preparing your friends and family for an outdoor wedding will help them decide on their attire and whether additional layers will be required.
If your wedding is taking place on grass, it will be worth mentioning to your guests to dress accordingly.
Providing heel stoppers to any guests wearing stilettos is also a nice touch.
Outdoor Wedding Top Tips
Consider a planner
A wedding planner will help you to ensure that everything is in place in advance for your outdoor event, therefore eliminating the potential for any stress.
Ask questions from the start
You’ll want to have a list of questions to ask when viewing prospective venues.
Discuss the outdoor options when you’re embarking on site visits or when composing those initial first contact emails.
Book your venue in plenty of time
Outdoor weddings have limited calendar space (i.e the summer months) and so demand will be high.
Book early to avoid any disappointment.
Manage your overall expenses expectations
Planning an outdoor wedding can be expensive when you consider all the different elements that need to be hired – the tent, flooring, lighting, tables, chairs, linens, power etc…
You may also need to consider elements such as guest transportation, parking, space for catering and other supplier set up.
If you are planning an outdoor wedding and are looking for a wedding photographer in Cornwall to capture your special day, please get in touch.
I would love to hear your wedding day plans.