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5 Things You Might Not Have Considered When Planning an Outdoor Wedding

Planning an outdoor wedding

2020 has undoubtedly shaped and changed our weddings. We are experiencing a range of new wedding trends set for 2021 and have found specific trends that have emerged as a result of the lockdown.

Planning for an outdoor wedding has become increasingly popular and we couldn’t be more pleased! We love outdoor weddings and don’t think they are opted for often enough. There is a whole variety of reasons you may be looking at planning an outdoor wedding at the moment; lower risk of cancellation as there are no confined spaces, less risk to your vulnerable guests, more time outside has made you appreciate nature... we could go on…!

If you’re considering planning an outdoor wedding, you’re probably wondering how different it will be to an indoor wedding. We’ve put together a guide for planning your outdoor wedding, including a few of the most important things to consider for the big day.

1. Outdoor Wedding Licenses

To get married outside in the UK, the law states that the area must contain a fixed and permanent structure for the couple to stand under whilst saying their vows. This is why venues outdoor ceremonies are usually under a variation of a gazebo or pergola.

You may be thinking that you can apply for a temporary wedding licence for my gazebo in your garden - we hate to be the bearers of bad news, but to receive a legal licence, the approved venue or area must be intended for regular ceremonial use by marrying couples. So, unless you’re planning to turn your home and garden into the next big wedding venue, you'll need to rethink your plans and find somewhere else to host your ceremony.

Luckily, there is an easy solution! A wedding blessing is the perfect option and is highly personal and unique.

Blessings can be so similar to the legal wedding ceremony that you may not have even noticed attending one in the past. A blessing is not legally binding, and can be performed by literally anyone of your choice - although hiring a wedding celebrant is usually the best option. Hosting a blessing ceremony can actually work out to be significantly cheaper than a regular civil ceremony, especially if you're considering a peak wedding date.

Planning an outdoor wedding

2. The Weather

Okay - if you live in the UK, you might have thought about this one! We know you’d love us to have a magic solution to stop the rain in its tracks, and so would we! We can control most things, but the weather isn’t one of them. There are two possible routes around this eventuality:

Option A: Plan to have a marquee. Marquees can add to the theme for the wedding wonderfully, coming in all shapes and sizes such as tipi, clear span, glass etc. You could opt for a design with a simple structure with the possibility for sides to be added if the weather turns.

Option B: Have a plan B! This may mean including an outdoor structure in your budget and making the decision a week before based on the forecast. Another option is to include this up until when it’s due to be built in a day or two leading up to you and making the call then. By leaving it that close, you should have a pretty solid idea of if it will be required or not.

Another thing to consider is what happens if it rains in the week leading up to your wedding. If you have a heavy downpour of rain in the week leading up to the wedding, you will need to consider what this will do to the ground on your wedding day - even if it's dry.

Any structures such as marquees will require the ground to be accessed before installation. If the ground is too soft from heavy rain you may need to add a flooring level or come up with a new solution to avoid the marquee sinking into the ground and becoming unstable. This is also the same with tables and chairs that are planned to be directly on grass - although this sounds wonderful, it can actually be quite messy in reality. Have a plan for heavy rain the week leading to your outdoor wedding and put flooring on hold just in case!

But what about hot weather options?! Believe it or not, this is very important to consider if you’re opting for an outdoor wedding. Being outside in the direct sunlight all day is enough to exhaust even the fittest of people, and you don't want people getting dehydrated (especially with all the alcohol that's likely to flow!).

It is vital to ensure you have some shade for guests around the wedding venue, and ensure that you have plenty of water on hand at all times. Your wedding coordinator or caterer should make sure these are filled with fresh water and ice all day long, and you can even include fruit slices or mint to make the jugs look more instagrammable. You may even consider having personalised water bottles as your favours so that each person can keep their water topped up at all times. Handheld fans (in your colour scheme, of course!) will go a long way with your guests; these can be picked up in bulk and placed on tables or seating.

Along with the heat comes the rays. No one wants to lose half their wedding guests to sunstroke and sunburn at 4pm. As well as keeping them cool and comfortable, we highly recommend providing your guests with sun cream which can be put in your toilets for people to help themselves to. Smothering on sun lotion at a wedding isn’t exactly glamorous and given the recent pandemic, you may want to consider sun cream towelettes such as mywipe or sunX, which come in handy individual sachets, or alternatively you can get small aerosol sprays which guests can spritz on over their makeup.

Finally, consider the effects of hot weather on your food - our recommendation is that you don't leave your wedding cake out all day (bring it out 30 minutes - 1 hour before you plan to cut it!) and that you avoid using edible favours.

3. Bugs, Bees and Knats

If you’re getting married outside, then insects are inevitably going to be part of the day, but they don’t have to ruin it! Try these three tips to minimise the impact of insects on your big day...

Firstly, cover your wedding cake and any sweet treats with a light mosquito net (you can usually pick up the material in any haberdashery store). Wasps love wedding cake, and by covering yours with a thin net you’ll save your cake from becoming their lunch and your beautiful cake will still be visible to your guests.

Secondly, citronella torches are elegant and simple and great for warning off the knats! They will also help to add to the ambience of the day and look wonderful at night in glass holders or lanterns.

Finally, ensure you have insect repellant wipes available for your guests to use. Getting all dressed up and then spraying yourself with bug repellent doesn’t sound like the most appealing thing, and can actually damage certain fabrics which isn't ideal if your guests are wearing expensive outfits! Instead, provide wipes for your guests such as Xpel and these towelettes from Avon.

Planning an outdoor wedding

4. Sound for your speeches and ceremony

Forgetting to arrange microphones and speakers for your ceremony and speeches can be a curtail mistake if you’re having an outdoor wedding. Even the slightest wind will carry your voice off in the wrong direction and leave your guests struggling to hear you, especially the ones at the back!

During the ceremony, you may want to wear a lapel microphone which can discreetly clip on and be hidden to avoid anyone noticing. Add a few handheld microphones for speeches, as it will be simpler for those speaking to operate.

5. Things that Brides need to know...

Weatherproof your hair

One thing that even we can’t control is the weather! Speak with your hairstylist and let them know your wedding is outdoors. They will be able to work wonders to keep each strand in place and hurricane-proof your hair.

Another approach to take is to choose a hairstyle that is designed to be let down for the evening or to a style that looks better with wispy loose hairs. A more natural hairstyle is perfect for an outdoor wedding - think loose boho waves and floral accessories for the perfect outdoor festival vibe.

Ditch the trail

Wedding dresses end up filthy in the most pristine of venues. For outdoor weddings, we advise considering a dress that has fabric around the bottom. This doesn’t mean your dress can’t be floor length, but rethink a long train that will trail along the floor behind you.

Most dresses can be hooked up underneath for later on in the evening. Check with you seamstress or wedding dress shop that your dress has this option - if not, it can be easily adapted to include it.

Your wedding shoes

Even on the most solid ground, heels have a tendency to sink into the mud! Pick up some heel stoppers which can be purchased from Asos. You can get these from most online clothes stores now, and they come in a range of colours to match your heels.

Another option is to ditch the stiletto and choose and chunkier heel which will be more stable whilst still providing that 60's style elegance. Some Brides opt for personalised Vans or Converse for the evening dancing, which could be particularly useful if you are opting for an outdoor wedding.

Each wedding is individual and considerations will differ depending on the time of year and location of the wedding, as well as the individual couple. If you would like more advise from our expert team or have any questions, then get in touch and we would love to help!

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