Planning an Outdoor Wedding: Everything You Need to Know

With the threat of coronavirus still lingering, and weddings starting to take place again with reduced capacity, it’s only natural that couples will seek to celebrate their weddings outdoors.

Read more: Coronavirus guidelines and your wedding


We’ve rounded up everything you need to know about planning an outdoor wedding, from the legalities to the practicalities, as well as tips on decorating your outdoor wedding space.

Bride and groom at an outdoor wedding

Can we get married outside?

You can be fooled by watching cheesy rom-coms into thinking you can get married wherever you want, but it’s not always that straightforward. It’s not currently legal in the England and Wales to get married outdoors unless it’s under a fixed shelter that is registered for ceremonies, such as a gazebo or a bandstand.

In Scotland you can marry anywhere, providing the person who is conducting the ceremony is licensed to do so.

Read more: Where you can’t get married in the UK

What if we want a ceremony outside but our venue doesn’t allow it?

There is a loophole, kind of. You can have your legal wedding ceremony indoors, at your chosen ceremony location, be it a register office, religious building or in a licensed room at your venue, but then have another ceremony outdoors with your guests in attendance.

It won’t be legally binding, but you will have done the legalities separately, and it gives you much more freedom to be creative in your set up!

Read more: Everything you need to know about humanist weddings

How to Decorate Your Outdoor Wedding Celebration

If you’re planning an outdoor wedding celebration, there is so much you can do to make the setting fabulous, even without walls and ready-made décor. We asked Assumpta Victu, Founder and Lead Planner at AVE Creations, for her top tips on transforming an outdoor space to make it wedding-worthy.

Use Your Surroundings

Whether using your garden or the outdoor space at a venue, start with the end in mind and use what is already there i.e. trees, furniture, brick walls, flowers etc.

Think about the style you would like to achieve and then look at the space you have to work with in order to assess the feasibility. For your styling to work, it needs to be both pretty and practical.

Outdoor wedding ideas

Flowers and Foliage

Use flowers and foliage to embrace and enhance the beauty of the outdoors. In addition, flowers can be used to showcase your colour scheme and not only can some varieties scent your day, but they also give a luxurious or whimsical feel dependent on your design choices.

Read more: Beautiful floral arches to dress up your wedding

Light Up

Lighting is very important. As the sun sets, and night falls, you still want your guests to be able to see! Festoon lights, candles, hanging lanterns or chandeliers will all help to create a romantic yet fun atmosphere.

decor at an outdoor wedding

Read more: Beautiful ideas for your woodland wedding

Play with Height

Hanging fabric or string lights overhead or using outdoor chandeliers creates a ceiling of sorts and gives your outdoor space a greater sense of being filled. Opting for tall centrepieces and candlesticks can achieve the same effect as well as adding levels and visual interest to your space.

Plan for the Weather

Finally, ensure you have enough seating for everyone and don’t forget to have a backup plan in case of showers or to accommodate a very warm day. You don’t want your guests to get wet, so you could have a mini marquee on standby and also hand fans and parasols in case the sun is blazing.

Read more: 35 extra special ideas for your summer wedding

Essential Details for Your Outdoor Wedding Celebration

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Steel Fire Pit

This steel fire pit from Not on the High Street is an ideal addition to your outdoor wedding celebration – especially if you are planning a garden wedding reception. Cosy up with your partner and toast marshmallows as the sun goes down!

Steel fire pit

Dried Eucalyptus

Dress up your outdoor celebration with some beautiful arrangements of dried eucalyptus. This cute bouquet from Anthropologie will look beautiful positioned on a table outdoors.

Palm Print Gazebo

Provide shelter in the coolest way possible with this amazing palm print gazebo from Oliver Bonas. You can re-use it as a memory of your special day in your own garden for endless summers to come too!

Hanging Champagne Bucket

No one wants thirsty guests! Hang a few of these hanging champagne coolers from Wolf & Badger around your party so your select crowd of guests are never more than a few steps away from a top-up.

Set of Four Slate Place Cards

The thing about having a smaller guest list means you can invest more in the little details – slate place cards for 150 guests? Crazy! But for just 30, it’s a nice touch and if you’re feeling creative with a liquid chalk pen, it can also double up as a cute favour. We love this set of four slate place cards from Joy the Store.

Outdoor Beeswax Candles

Candlelight is so atmospheric and romantic, so dot these outdoor beeswax candles from Not on the High Street around your outdoor space to give it a whimsical feel.

Number Kubb Retro Garden Game

Keep your guests busy and entertained at your wedding with this Number Kubb garden game from Oliver Bonas. Watch out though, it’s bound to get competitive!

Read more: The best wedding entertainment ideas

Tartan Blanket

As the temperature drops when the evening begins, make sure everyone is cosy by providing snuggly blankets. We love this lambswool tartan blanket from Wolf & Badger – you can keep it in your home after as a keepsake from your big day.

LED Cactus Lights

Couldn’t get away for your wedding abroad? Bring the tropical feel to your garden with these cute LED cactus lights from Joy the Store. They’re battery powered, making them perfect for dotting around on your tables.

Carnival Bunting

Nothing says ‘let’s celebrate’ like brightly coloured bunting! This colourful rainbow bunting from Not on the High Street comes in a variety of lengths too so you’ll find it easy to dress up your space.

Wooden Ring Toss Garden Game

All good outdoor weddings need a selection of garden games – the wooden ring toss garden game from Oliver Bonas has a cool retro feel to it.

Six Mini Serving Trays

If you are celebrating at home, make catering easy on yourself with these six mini serving trays from Joy the Store. If you fit five treats on each one, there’s enough to go around all the guests!

Three Firefly LED Jars

Make it look magical after dark with these beautiful firefly LED jars from Not on the High Street. They come in a set of three, and will look just as beautiful clustered together as they will dotted around the place.

Traditional Croquet Kit

Make the most of that British garden party feel with a croquet kit! We love this colourful traditional Royal York croquet kit from Oliver Bonas.

Personalised Party Drinks Bucket

You might not have a bar at your outdoor wedding celebration – but that’s not a problem! This personalised party drinks bucket from Not on the High Street allows you to keep all your bottles chilled and will become a fab memento of your wedding. It’d also make an amazing gift for any newly engaged friends.

Set of Two Tealight Holders

Dot these delicate and pretty tea light holders from Oliver Bonas around your outdoor space and light scented tealights for a cosy glow that smells dreamy as the sun goes down.

25 Biodegradable Petal Wedding Confetti Cones

If you’re celebrating outside, you need to make sure you don’t damage your surroundings. Scatter confetti for your photos the eco-friendly way with these biodegradable petal cones from Not on the High Street – the fact there’s 25 means there’s enough for the majority of your guests to grab one too.

Pineapple Smash Game

Add all the fun of the fair to your outdoor wedding celebration with this fun pineapple smash game from Oliver Bonas – your guests won’t be able to get enough!

Make sure you read these 11 questions every couple needs to ask their wedding venue before you really get stuck in with the planning.

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