Planning An Outdoor Wedding

Outside wedding ceremony set up | Essex Wedding Planner

Photo Credit: Terri & Lori Fine Art Photography & Film

If you’re considering planning an outdoor wedding, or are part way through planning an outdoor wedding you will no doubt be aware this is a task not to be taken lightly. Whether you are thinking to hold your ceremony outside, your reception or both, there will be a number of challenges which will require careful consideration to ensure all runs smoothly.

Outdoor Ceremony

There is something very magical about an outdoor wedding ceremony, so it’s easy to see why this is top of many couples wish list. However, if your wedding is taking place within England or Wales your ceremony will need to be conducted within a licensed permanent structure. Which in short means your ceremony will need to take place within a venue which holds a licence for outdoor ceremonies. There is no need for your guests to be seated within this structure, so most couples choose to seat their guests facing the ceremony location, whilst the bride, groom, registrars and two witnesses are just a few steps away. If however you would prefer that your ceremony is truly out in the open with no limitations, you may prefer to choose a celebrant led ceremony which gives you the freedom to choose a location of your choice. The latter option does require you to complete the legal side of your ceremony on another date, with many couples choosing to attend their local register office in the days leading up to their special day.


When planning an outdoor wedding you will need to give consideration to the unpredictable British weather. You shouldn’t let this put a damper on your plans, instead embrace the elements, consider each scenario and have a suitable back up plan.

If you are marrying within a wedding venue check they have a rainy day contingency plan in place, and that it is flexible enough to allow you to make the final decision on the morning of your wedding. If you have chosen a celebrant led ceremony then you may wish to consider having a supply of umbrellas on hand, or making sure there is room within your marquee for your ceremony to be moved inside at the last minute should there be a sudden downpour.

Your guests will also appreciate thoughtful touches such as heel protectors for the ladies and a supply of blankets for the evening incase things turn a little chilly towards the end of the night.

Colourful wedding food on a rustic trestle table | Essex Wedding Planner

Photo Credit: Terri & Lori Fine Art Photography & Film:

Feeding & watering your guests

Many couples love the idea of their guests dining outside, whilst this is achievable it is also a good idea to provide shelter of some description. Traditional pole marquees, sail cloth tents, tipis and yurts all come with sides that can either be removed or rolled away, making them the perfect choice for outside weddings.  Of course, the dining experience you offer your guests will depend on the style of wedding you are planning. The possibilities are endless from a traditional three course wedding breakfast right through to a casual dining experience in the way of sharing platters, grazing tables, a relaxed informal barbecue or even street food served direct from food trucks. Whichever option you choose, be sure to speak with your caterers to discuss their requirements such as a catering marquee and whether or not they require access to water and electricity.

You should also consider how you will serve beverages to your guests. If you are going down the traditional catering route, then most caterers will serve drinks to your guests during your drinks reception, throughout wedding breakfast and you can also ask that they run the evening bar for you. If however you are choosing a more casual style of dining then you will need to consider hiring a mobile bar company, or staff to run your bar. You may also consider offering your guests a DIY bar. However, this is not as easy as it sounds, so please do take a look at my previous blog post which offers advise on how to ensure this runs smoothly.


If you are planning your outdoor wedding within a field or similar and there is no power supply, you will need to hire a generator to provide power for lighting and to each of your suppliers. In addition to this, you will also need to consider hiring mobile washrooms, if they are not supplied by the land owner, or the existing facilities are not adequate for your guest numbers.  You should also check as to whether or not there is access to running water, which will be needed by the majority of caterers.

Wedding Ceremony Gazebo with pink peonies and foliage | Essex Wedding Planner

Image Credit: Terri & Lori Fine Art Photography & Film

Styling your outdoor wedding

Many couples choose an outdoor wedding as they are attracted by the idea of a blank canvas which they can style in a way that truly reflects their personalities. The possibilities are endless from romantic fairy lights, breath taking floral installations through to impeccably styled tablescapes. There are however a number of points that you should consider when styling the great outdoors. Common challenges being petals lining your aisle blowing away and candles blowing out, even when placed within candle holders. Instead, consider lining your aisle with pew ends which can easily be attached to the end chair of each row and replace candlelight with led candles,(not as pretty, but definitely easier to protect from the weather).

I hope this blog post has provided you with a helpful overview of planning an outdoor wedding. If you would like to learn more, you may find other blog posts of mine helpful, such as “Planning A Marquee Wedding” & “Organising A DIY Bar“. If however you require further assistance and are planning your wedding within Essex, Suffolk, Kent, Hertfordshire or Cambridgeshire, why not get in touch to discuss the planning services I offer.

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Outdoor Wedding | Essex Wedding Planner

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Essex wedding planner Hayley Jayne Weddings & Events in garden

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Hayley Jayne Weddings & Events
Brentwood, Essex

01277 226785
07889 171453

About Hayley

With a keen eye for detail, organisational skills that are second to none and the love of a “to do” list it was inevitable that Hayley would become an events planner. She started her career within the legal profession and was a Personal Assistant for 14 years before training with the UKAWP to become a professional wedding and events planner and then going on to launch “Hayley Jayne Weddings & Events”.

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Hayley Jayne Weddings & Events trained with the UKAWP