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Complete Guide To Planning An Outdoor Wedding

Have you decided to have your wedding at the outdoors? Well done! These kind of weddings are beautiful and romantic, but to some extent they are difficult. Additional pitfalls and caveats come along with the outdoor weddings. If you want to shine on your wedding day, follow the tips discussed below.

Complete Guide To Planning An Outdoor Wedding

Can you legally get married outdoors?

Generally, a majority of outdoor weddings are not legally binding. For this reason, to formalise this kind of marriage, you will have to perform a legal civil ceremony elsewhere. Regarding religious celebrations, different rules apply if there have to be a legal element. A Jewish Wedding Blessing is an exception to this, as you can set up a Chuppah anywhere and have the popular option of outdoor blessings.

In Scotland, the rules are different because Humanist celebrants often provide outdoor ceremonies that are legally binding. Do you want to know more about options and laws in England and Wales? Read on.

A Humanist Ceremony

When you work with a humanist who is well-accredited, your ceremony will be highly meaningful and personalised. However, you will have to perform a legal ceremony separately to finalise your wedding, as a humanist ceremony is not legally binding. It can make you fabulously use unusual venues because you can easily conduct your ceremony in an unlicensed venue at any given time.

A Humanist Ceremony
A Civil Ceremony

A Civil Ceremony

There is an option of having a ceremony in the outdoors if you want your civil ceremony performed by registrars. In most cases, registrars frequently make more creative and flexible rules on certain inclusions that can be made on a ceremony. Many outdoor weddings include live music performances, ring warming ceremonies, and traditional readings among many other activities, which offers a chance of personalising your ceremony.

How do you plan an outdoor wedding?

Below are some tips to consider when planning your outdoor wedding. With all the emotion of the big day ahead it is easy to overlook something that can cause panic when the wedding day arrives. The following things need to part of your planning process: Choosing a tent, providing catering, ensuring a power supply, personalising the venue, adding lighting, choosing the music. Planning ahead of time will help things go according to plan.

Choosing a Tent

You can pitch a tent anywhere such as your favourite park, estate, or just outside a gorgeous mansion. Regardless of being casual or formal, tents are of different sizes, shapes, and made from different materials. Ensure the tent you choose from your local rental company works the surface of your ground such as grass, sand, pavement and so on.

You also need to bring some extra touches because the tents are simply blank canvas. But there are many options of rental designs available. This includes colourful cushions, funky chandeliers, as well as textured tiebacks and curtains. You need to choose the elements that most significant and fit this to your budget.

Do you require a silent generator for your wedding?

Bristol Event Generators offer a wide range of silent generators for outdoor weddings. We provide super silent generator rental throughout Bristol, Cardiff, Bath and even as far afield as Gloucester. Call today if you are planning an outdoor wedding in Bristol or Gloucestershire.

We Asked Local Marquee Experts For Some Tips:

"The first question people usually ask is 'what size marquee do I need?' As a basic rule you can fit two people per square metre when they're standing so that's one way to work it out. The best option however is to list what's happening in there. 

Are people dancing on a dance floor? Will there be a bar? How about a stage? What sort of furniture do you want in there? A formal dining experience or a few hay bales and people eating off their laps. Round tables take up more space than square trestles and benches for example.

Once you've decided a few basic ideas then get in touch with a reputable company and they'll be able to advise you based on scaled drawings, measurements and experience. Be cautious of anyone who doesn't provide decent detail about how it's all going to fit because the last thing you want is to turn up on the day to find it's a tight squeeze. Also keep an eye out for really cramped designs and drawings – sometimes a supplier might try and fit more people in to put you in a smaller tent and keep the cost down. Again, you'll potentially regret it on the day." 

Elise from  Big Top Weddings

"Many sites and venues have features which will dictate the types of marquees that can be used. Things to consider are site surface, access, obstructions and most importantly, what is going to really compliment the area and look amazing?

Traditional marquees offer that classic English country wedding look and feel. They can be made from real cotton canvas, canvas effect PVC or standard PVC and all look amazing with and without a lining.

Frame marquees are hugely versatile and can be set up on hard standing and over flower beds and trees.Stretch tents offer a new approach based on the Bedouin style with a floating roof and beautiful shapes.

Giant Hat Tipis offer a nomadic approach that can really add to the atmosphere with rustic furniture and fire pits.Speak to a company that can offer a full range and help you work out what is best for you if they offer more than one option you will be able to make a decision based on the merits of each marquee." 

Gabe from South West Marquees

"Our top tip for an outdoor Marquee wedding is a good hardwood floor system. Hardwood floors create a raised accessible flat surface which is clean, dry and easy to use for guests with strollers or buggies as well as with walking aids used by elderly or infirm family members. "  

Mike from  Marquee Elegance

Personalising the Venue

You need to make your chosen spot comfortable and more inviting, regardless of whether it is a small backyard, grassy lawn, or even a rustic spot in the woods. If the available space isn’t sufficient to accommodate plush chairs and couches, arrange 4-person reception tables at the dining area to create a more intimate feel and look.It should not be assumed that guests will easily find their way around. 

Ensure there is a flow especially if the site will house the cocktail hour in addition to the ceremony. Add signs to direct guests to the reception from the ceremony, clearly pointing out the restrooms. 

Add Mood Lighting

Set the occasion’s mood, add attractive things such as paper lanterns, stately chandeliers, pins pot lighting, and so on. The surrounding walkways can also lighten up using small up-lights and luminaries. Tea lights and mason jars can also be hung from surrounding tree branches.

Before lighting up your tent, ensure to contact an electrician to check on your space. In addition to helping you succeed through all the correct inspection laws, they will also give you a proper recommendation of possibly renting a backup generator, as a blackout is the least that should happen in such an occasion. 

They will also assist you in safely securing the fixtures of your lighting. If need be, to make sure everything remains perfectly in place a well-lit throughout, a lighting pro with prior wedding experience is important.

Choose the Music That Suits the Surroundings

The music you decide on depends on the location of your ceremony. For a beach ceremony, the steel drums are perfect. A bluegrass group or folk is good for a backyard reception. 

An extra generator in the ceremony could be important to ensure your DJ or Band have sufficient power for their equipment and also ensure the lighting is maintained. 

Last, but not least, you need to select the position of the dance floor, as well as that of the DJ or band. Ask them beforehand to tell you what they require for setting up at the site.


Outdoor Wedding Checklist

Currently, outdoor weddings are very popular. An outdoor wedding can be less formal, more laid back, not to mention the romantic aspect. However, an outdoor wedding can take as much if not more planning than one inside. This outdoor wedding checklist is created to ensure no detail is looked over.

Alternate Location Planning

It is essential to have a back up in case of rain or other unforeseeable events. Include with the alternate location the time by which you will announce if there is a switch in locations.

Communication Plan

If you have a wedding planner or coordinator, discuss with them early on how guests and vendors will be kept current on a location change or any other pertinent information they may need.

Tents and Shade

Once you know the ceremony will be outside, decide whether to use tents to provide shade or shelters from the rain. Inform your vendors early enough in planning to allow them to prepare as well.

Staging Area

If your wedding or reception is outside, find out well before the time where you will be dressing. This will need to be inside of course.

Musician or DJ

Ask any musicians, DJs, or other entertainment what their requirements are concerning shade and temperature control.


If your wedding reception continues into the late night/early morning what are your lighting needs?


If your wedding or reception is outdoors, you will want to provide plenty of non-alcoholic drinks to keep guests hydrated. If your start is delayed and it is sweltering outside, even you will be grateful that you have the hydration available, not to mention those that may be nervous, possibly hungover, or just need something to hold.


Include in your wedding invitations a brief description of the food to be offered and what will be offered at the bar if one is to be open. This is considerate in many ways. Many want to know if what they drink will be available, some have drinks they avoid due to allergies or other reactions, and others like to be prepared if a family member has a problem and doesn't want to be tempted.

Power Supply

An outdoor wedding often requires a silent generator. Its size and power will depend on your unique event’s needs. Don’t forget that food prep, lighting, and DJ/entertainment will all require electric power.

Dance Floor

A portable dance floor is a must have when your reception is out of doors.

Do you require a silent generator for your wedding?

Bristol Event Generators offer a wide range of silent generators for outdoor weddings. We provide super silent generator rental throughout Bristol, Cardiff, Bath and even as far afield as Gloucester. Call today if you are planning an outdoor wedding in Bristol or Gloucestershire.


We asked a local wedding planner for tips on outdoor weddings: 

"The beauty with a marquee or tent wedding is the possibility to choose your dream site. It can be built up and transformed to suit any style, be it luxury, bohemian or rustic. I always suggest a visit to the location at the exact times the ceremony and reception will take place as this gives an idea of how the natural light falls and where the best backgrounds are. Bring the views and nature inside by using similar colours, flowers and materials in the design. 

When planning the layout and setup it is important to consider accessibility for both guests and vendors. There should be at least one back of house area for staff, and more importantly sufficient facilities. If the budget allows, hiring well-equipped toilets with heating system, water, proper mirrors and electrical light will turn out to be well-invested money. 

Look up what is happening in the surrounding area to see if there are any festivals, public events, manifestations or stadiums nearby which may cause unwanted noise, delay traffic or use of parking space. If the wedding is on the grass a great tip is to inform your guests about this beforehand so they can make responsible shoe choices. You can also provide the ladies with heel stoppers to avoid sinking down in the soil." 

Karolina from KWH Weddings

What is the best month to have an outdoor wedding?

The weather in the United Kingdom is fickle at best, yet certain trends are consistent year after year. These trends can be helpful in deciding if an outside wedding or reception would be successful. Let's not forget the price of venue hire changes throughout the year.

The traditional months to marry are May, June, July, August and September. A full 50% of all weddings occur during these five months. Most couples plan their weddings wearing rose-tinted glasses. It is common to share a vision of beautiful sunshine on their special day while Mother nature tends to have other plans.

For those couples watching their funds or those who prefer cooler temperatures, having a winter wedding when the days are shorter and the nights are crisp has become much more common in the last several years.

Spring Weddings


  • Gorgeous spring flowers
  • Sunset is long enough to allow full photography
  • The ambient temperature is warm but not hot
  • European and foreign honeymoon destinations available


  • More chance your special day may not be sunshine bright
  • More possibilities of rain
  • Early in the spring can be a bit nippy
  • Possible regret of no long summer evening
  • May require providing wraps for the ladies
  • Heat may be needed to be hired

Summer Weddings


  • Days are long (10 pm in June)
  • Days are warmest (up to 35 Celsius)
  • Least chance of rainfall
  • Flowers are at their best and landscapes are at their lushest
  • Honeymooning in European destinations


  • Costs the most
  • Suppliers/vendors need booking very early on
  • Possible sunburning if the bride is of light complexion 
  • Guests may be on holiday
  • Peak time for hay fever

Autumn Weddings


  • Overall less cost
  • The setting sun gives beautiful naturally romantic lighting
  • Shorter days have better light for photography
  • Foreign and European honeymooning
  • Beautiful fall colours for the background


  • Less sunshine and more rain in Oct. and Nov.
  • Possible sunburning in September
  • Higher chance of wedding being called indoors

Winter Weddings


  • Possible snow or frost as picturesque background
  • Between 4-6 natural romantic lighting
  • Overall less cost
  • Foreign destinations for honeymooning


  • Colder (3-10 Celsius) may require wraps for ladies
  • Rain is more of a possibility
  • Days end early, dark at 4-6 pm
  • Sunshine is less probable
  • Higher probability of requiring an indoor wedding

Do you require a silent generator for your wedding?

Bristol Event Generators offer a wide range of silent generators for outdoor weddings. We provide super silent generator rental throughout Bristol, Cardiff, Bath and even as far afield as Gloucester. Call today if you are planning an outdoor wedding in Bristol or Gloucestershire.


Outdoor Wedding Ettiquette 

When planning for a wedding, there are many factors you need to put into consideration to ensure that your guests are satisfied. You can either plan the wedding yourself if you know how to do it, or hire a wedding planner to do it for you. 

It is important to know that if you are going to have an outdoor wedding, some people will feel uncomfortable while others will complain. However, you should not be worried or get annoyed because you cannot please everyone. You can only do the best that you can. 

You should aim to please as much of your family and friends as possible while working to your schedule and budget.

Preparing for cold weather

When having an outdoor wedding and you are preparing for the cold, here are some of the things you can do:

  • Offer cider or hot chocolate to your guests before the ceremony
  • Lay quilts over your chairs because some guests might feel cold
  • If your budget allows, you can rent some heaters for use in the waiting area
  • You can consider having a cocktail hour in between the ceremony. If your schedule doesn't allow it, you can have a lobby to serve your guests with appetisers like grilled cheese and soup shots.
  • Have shawls or blankets in case some of your guests feel cold
  • Your bridesmaid should not wear sleeveless or short dresses. Therefore, you need to work hand in hand with your fashion designer to come up with the right attire for the ceremony
  • If the area is spacious, you can have a fire to keep your guests warm!

Preparing for hot weather

If you are expecting sun, here are some of the things you can do to prepare for the heat:

  • The fabrics you choose to wear to your wedding party should be lightweight
  • Consider having shaded areas in your outdoor wedding area. The areas should be shaded at all times to make the guests feel comfortable
  • You can have a cocktail hour for your guests to get refreshments. If that’s not possible, you can have a lobby where appetisers and cold refreshments can be served. 
  • You should have programs in between the ceremony where you allow guests to fan themselves
  •  You can plan with your photographer the ideal time when you can take photos
  • Consider having an ice water station
  • Place water on the guest’s tables. Also, you can have a self-serve station for guests who would like to have more water.
  • If the lobby is hot, you can rent fans or even hire an additional bartender to avoid wasting a lot of time while serving

Effective planning is very important when having an outdoor wedding. For instance, you need to consider having additional tents for your vendors and bands. These tents are used by the bands and vendors to prepare, gather, rest and put their things. Also, depending on the number of guests you are expecting, you can have additional staff because more guests can come to your event.

Furthermore, the more the staff you have in your event, the faster they will serve and take care of the needs of your guests. This will reduce confusion, crowding and time wasting. Finally, it is very important to determine how vehicles will be parked to economise on space while still facilitating moving in and out of the parking area.

Do you require a silent generator for your wedding?

Bristol Event Generators offer a wide range of silent generators for outdoor weddings. Our helpful team will be happy to answer any questions that you may have about hiring a generator for your wedding. We provide super silent generator rental throughout Bristol, Cardiff, Bath and even as far afield as Gloucester. Call today if you are planning an outdoor wedding in Bristol or Gloucestershire.