Many people dream of having a romantic wedding on a beach or in a beautiful garden. It takes a considerable amount of planning and organisation to pull of a perfect outdoor wedding. Follow our tips to find out how.
Picking a venue: This is the most important decision you have to make when planning your outdoor wedding, and you have plenty of options – a beach, a forest, hotel grounds, a park or even your own back garden. Your choice of venue will impact everything else about your wedding.
Visit your venue before you commit, make sure your guest can get there & park, ensure that delivery vehicles will be able to access the site, check if you have a power supply and access to restrooms, and if it's a public place (like a beach), find out if you need permission and/or a permit.
Accessibility: Think about your guest who are elderly or have limited mobility. Make sure they don't have to walk too far from the car, put up signs to help people find the key facilities (ceremony, reception area, restrooms etc.) and make sure there is plenty of seating.
Adequate seating: We're not just talking about rows of chairs for the ceremony. Your wedding guest will need somewhere to sit down and rest throughout the day and somewhere to sit and eat – wooden picnic tables work great for this.
Logistics: Somebody is going to have to come in and set everything up before the ceremony, pack everything away after the reception, and move things around during the day. Get organised and have a plan in place well before the big day.
Weather: If you're getting married in a hot part of the world, bear in mind that the hottest part of the day is between 1-3pm. It may be wise to plan your wedding later in the afternoon in order to keep your guests comfortable. Make sure people can get some shade if they need it. If you are in a colder climate where it might rain, make sure there is plenty of shelter, and remember that it could get muddy.
Permits & paperwork: If you are getting married in a public place such a park or a beach, you may need to acquire a permit to hold a wedding. There may also be regulations around noise, consumption of alcohol, removing waste and so on. Do your research and contact the appropriate people way in advance.
Lighting: Lighting is incredibly important for an outdoor wedding, especially if you plan to carry on celebrating way into the evening. If you go for electric lights, you will need permission to plug them in in a nearby building, or you may need a generator. Open flames such as candles and tiki torches are great for setting a mood, but again you will need to get permission and check safety regulations.
Electricity: As well as lights, you may also need power for a DJ, speakers, disco lights and catering equipment. A domestic power supply may not be adequate for this, so consider using an extra generator – consult an electrician if you are not sure.
Insects & wildlife: Protect your food and wedding cake from unwanted pests by covering them until it's time to eat. Citrus candles are available that repel mosquitoes. You may also want to hire an exterminator and seek their advice.
Restrooms: One of the key things about planning an outdoor wedding is keeping your guest comfortable – and that included proving restrooms! Your venue may have some nearby (e.g. in a hotel), but if not you will need to hire some portable toilets.
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