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Our checklist for your perfect outdoor wedding

Hosting a wedding outdoors can make for an extra special atmosphere, with the natural beauty of the great outdoors making for the perfect backdrop to say “I do”. The outdoor environment however, throws up a few different challenges to those which you would face having an indoor ceremony, but with just a little extra planning and consideration, you can have the wedding of your dreams without ripping your hair out in the planning process! We’ve got a conclusive guide here for you to ensure that everything goes smoothly and you tick everything off the list for the best day of your lives:

Dates – for an outdoor wedding, the spring and summer are usually the best seasons for warmth and good weather, however, with the right preparations you can host your big day outdoors in any season!

Guests – are you planning a small and intimate ceremony or to pull out all the stops for a grand performance with everyone you know? This will be a factor to consider when choosing your location due to size and other restrictions.

Invites – try to send out the invites as soon as you can after setting a date, this gives your guests plenty of time to plan, prepare and arrange.

Ceremony – often seen in films, an outdoor ceremony can be truly beautiful and special, making for stunning photographs and a calming atmosphere, but there are a few other factors to consider.

Officiating the vows – if you would like to take the step outside and have your ceremony there, you will need to be aware that in the UK it is not currently legal, so after having saying your “I do’s” outside, you will have to go and take your vows officially in another location such as a registry office.

Reception – a reception outdoors if the weather holds out can be a wonderful thing, however, you might want to consider hiring a marquee or tent just in case!

Photographer – don’t forget the wedding photographer! Although, you could make your guests the photographers too, equip them with disposable cameras and they will catch the most intimate laughs and silly moments that may have otherwise been missed!

Warmth – even on a warm summers day guests may feel a chill, so bring along a basket full of blankets or faux fur coats to keep them warm just in case!

Facilities – although this might be one of the last things on your list to think about, facilities such as toilets and baby changing areas are a must! Your outdoor venue will usually be able to supply these facilities for you, but it is always worth checking!

Attire – are you planning to have a theme or dress code for your wedding? Be sure to notify the guests in their invite of these plans, as they may need to re-consider the 6-inch high heels if the reception is in a grassy area or on the beach!

Seating plan – seating plans are being used less frequently these days, allowing the guests to find their own seats, but if you have a large number of people attending, a seating plan could save some hassle on the day!

Food – a sit-down meal is still possible outside, however, many like to consider alternative food options such as pop-up food stands or even hiring a food and cocktail truck as a quirky feature to the day!

Cake – when considering a cake, you can opt for a grand structural masterpiece, or even a simple tower of cupcakes, there is a whole world of cake out there for you to try so don’t settle on the first sweet treat you see.

Flowers – your outdoor location may already be surrounded with flowers, cutting down the costs of decorating, but don’t forget to equip the bride and her maids with a bouquet!

Dance floor – your outdoor dance floor could be marked out with flowers, fairy lights or any other beautiful decoration. Alternatively, why not make the marquee a disco haven?

Music – a DJ is always a great choice for a wedding, however, the outdoor environment means that a live band is all the better. Choose someone local that can play all of your favourite songs and the atmosphere will be simply perfect!

Lighting – as the sun begins to set you will need some alternative light sources, fairy lights and candles are perfect for this, creating a romantic and intimate setting as the day winds to a close.

Transport – when picking out your wedding location, you’ll need to consider how good the transport links are to the location so that your guests can get there with little hassle, or you may even want to rent out a party bus to take them to and from your wedding.

Plan B – although we hope that the weather does hold out for you, it is certainly worthwhile having a plan B, from an indoor alternative in a nearby location, or a bunch of ivory wedding umbrellas set aside so that you are all ready for any sudden downpours!

Kids – the outdoors is one big playground for big kids and little kids! Set aside a play area with a few forms of entertainment to keep them happy and safe, from colouring books to toys and a special kids disco, there are many ways that you can help them to enjoy the day just as much as you do!

Extras – to help your guests to remember your special day, why not add a few extra touches? A basket full of flip flops will ease sore feet, and props and accessories for a photo booth will ensure that the entire day is filled with giggles and happiness.

Wedding favours – take some inspiration from your outdoor environment for your wedding favours, dried flowers and leaves make for beautiful additions at little cost, or add a handmade touch by making your own sloe gin, bath melts or chocolate truffles!

Have fun – the most important thing to remember about your big day is to have fun and enjoy yourselves, make the most of the time all your family and friends come together and relish in the love felt all around, as you’re about to take the next exciting step in your lives together.

Image: Allan Ajifo under Creative Commons