Let’s go outside for a beautiful British outdoor wedding

Venturing overseas to swap vows under a tropical sky with crystal waters lapping at your toes is nothing new, but how many couples have considered doing it outside in the UK? Well believe it or not, outdoor weddings in good old Blighty are becoming increasingly popular!

Couples can be forgiven for not knowing where to start with planning an outdoor wedding, given few venues have licences for them. Our inclement climate might seem like another barrier, but here Helen Davies, one of the UK’s leading wedding planners, urges all couples to consider saying I do outside in our green and pleasant land.

Connecting with nature

The British Isles are much admired for their beauty, and there are all sorts of reasons more and more couples want to get married outdoors. Some might feel a deep connection with nature, some might just not want any kind of religious aspect to their marriage, some might not like the formality associated with a traditional wedding in a conventional building and want a more relaxed, laid-back atmosphere.

The idea of exchanging vows in a beautiful or favourite outdoor location, even in your own garden, is becoming increasingly appealing. I think it also allows you to truly express yourself in a very creative way as there isn’t a set way of doing things, you have so many options.

It’s the things that people do to personalise their wedding that make it so memorable for them and their guests, and holding it outdoors is a sure-fire way to ensure it’s unforgettable.

 How to handle the legalities

It’s true, there is only a small selection of outdoor wedding venues where you can legally marry in this country – weddings in the UK have to be in a licensed building which must meet certain criteria.

But don’t let this put you off, there are ways and means to deal with the challenge! The simplest solution is to cover the requirements separately by visiting the registrar to obtain your marriage certificate. This is very low cost and you only need two witnesses present, they don’t even need to be people you know and this task could be ticked off at any time before your actual wedding.

You can then hold your celebration at your chosen location, with your guests in attendance. You will need a ceremony conductor and can get help with writing and designing your ceremony, it can be completely personalised to your wishes, including the words you exchange as you commit to each other.

But what about the weather?!

As with any outdoor event, there are a number of potential pitfalls to plan for, not least the predictably unpredictable British weather. It’s probably best to plan an outdoor wedding in our warmer, drier months. Nobody wants to see guests shivering in a sleety November and it’s unlikely the bride wants to be slipping around a wet, muddy field in February.

That said, it’s still possible to encounter an unexpectedly cool breeze or shower in the middle of August, so it’s about being prepared – do you need to provide rain ponchos, or even wellies? Or maybe pop some cosy blankets on the seating that people can snuggle into? Alternatively, if we are struck by a sudden heatwave, you might want to supply guests with insect repellent, sunscreen and bottles of water.

Other considerations to take into account include parking, toilets, access for suppliers such as caterers and entertainers, and hiring electricity generators. Think about the décor and lighting too, which can create a stunning effect in an outdoor setting. In terms of the reception following the ceremony, a marquee usually goes hand in hand with an outdoor wedding. Also, can you offer overnight accommodation for guests? Upmarket glamping or even old-fashioned camping might be a possibility.

I believe an outdoor wedding is the ultimate way to express yourself and create the most personalised experience possible, I really do love helping couples plan these very special days

Recommended outdoor wedding venues

Here are Helen’s current favourite venues for outdoor weddings:

Escrick Park

Bivouac

Yorkshire Arboretum

Camp Kátur

Skipbridge Country Weddings

Village Farm Marquees

www.villagefarmmarquees.co.uk

 FB: @villagefarmmarquees

Twitter: @VFMarquees

Photos: Camp Katur – photography www.annemarieking.co.uk; florist www.lucymacnicoll-flowers.com

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