Getting Married Outside? The ultimate Guide To Outdoor Wedding Ceremonies

At a festival, have you ever been to see a band and been a bit underwhelmed by the experience? A lot of this can be because nobody helped them properly translate their sound and visuals for an outdoor gig. Some experiences work better inside, but not your wedding ceremony, so let’s make sure of that shall we?

The basic laws of the outdoors

Let’s get real – sunshine is great. However, not when it’s beating down in your face, or my face, during the most potentially important and potentially photogenic hour of your life. Ask your venue for advice on where the sun will be at the hour of your ceremony. Think about shade, shadows and squint risks when you are getting married outside. Experiment with fabric canopies and ceremonial bowers.

Do a sound assessment. Are you under a flightpath, a jackdaw’s nest, near a working farm, or surrounded by trees which toss the acoustics in the wind? I know these feel extreme, but if you’re worrying about crying babies drowning your vows out, then you should potentially think about passing tractors doing the same. You should use amplification if your venue allows.

Be directive with your ceremony space

Venues tell me that most couples go with the ceremony set up they are shown when they visit or see their brochure – don’t settle for this! There’s a reason no outdoor sport on the planet is spectated from just one angle, so why should your ceremony be? Be in the centre, or be surrounded on three sides. Sit down for some of the ceremony and breathe in the gorgeous location you’ve chosen. My couples love to do this. Siting down produces great images and it will give you a chance to be calm and close together. 

Bring your outdoor choices into your ceremony rituals

Celebrant weddings are about your love story and your life choices, so, if you’ve chosen an outdoor ceremony because you love nature, let’s make it a part of your union. Crown each other with flora and fauna when you meet at the altar. Use wildflower seeds as confetti (if you’re allowed) and leave your love to grow after you’ve departed. Use natural materials such as ivy, vines or flowers stems woven together for your handfasting. One tip from me – unless you’re marrying at twilight or evening, candles and outdoor ceremonies aren’t ideal. Unity candles are lovely, but not if the wind blows them out, or the sun melts them.

Go full festival

If you chose a festival wedding because it’s where you feel happiest, then for the love of Eavis don’t limit yourselves. Go big. Toast each other with your favourite cider straight from the can. Have a band tee dress code. Let your celebrant tell your love story in a timeline of gigs, festival holidays and messed up nights. You don’t go to a festival to be told what to watch and when, so don’t settle for anybody else’s agenda on your wedding day but your own. Getting married outside is the best decision you ever made, get in touch and let’s plan!

This article was first published in Issue 56 of Rock N Roll Bride magazine. Photography courtesy of Queen Bea Photography and the author, Eleanor Willock

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