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Top Tips for an Outdoor Ceremony

Wednesday 19th June 2019
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Outdoor weddings are becoming more and more popular within the UK but how can we, in a country with not exactly the most reliable weather, make sure that we have our big day all planned out? Well, provided you have your logistics and contingency plans worked out, your outdoor wedding can be a glorious, memorable affair.

Choosing a location
As with any location, you want to choose something that is meaningful but also practical. There needs to be an easy way in and easy way out– don’t forget to take into account elderly or handicapped individuals in your guest list. The main problem sometimes with holding your wedding outdoors is the Law. Unless you live in Scotland where outdoor weddings are legal, it isn’t actually legal to get married outdoors in the UK unless you do so under a fixed roof like a pagoda. It doesn’t need to have walls, but must have a fixed roof, which is why you see so many band stands being used for weddings. Fortunately, here at Thornton Manor we have multiple areas around our estate that are great for legal outdoor ceremonies. Take a look at some of the photos below:


Top Tip: It’s down the discretion of the registrar marrying you on the day as to whether or not the temperature is suitable for you to go ahead with your pre-planned outdoor wedding ceremony set up. If the temperature is not deemed warm enough then you may need to forego your original plan and bring everyone inside.

Inform your guests
Make sure you let your guests know the ceremony is outside in plenty of time so they can dress appropriately. You don’t want to have guests shivering with bare legs and getting high heels stuck in the grass! Simply detail your outside theme on your invitations and give guests an idea of how to dress accordingly.

Prepare for the weather
Be as prepared as you can for the weather. Of course, choose your season correctly and don’t subject your guests to the depths of winter, but even in summer it can rain so make sure to have an indoor backup plan and prepare for the worst because rain or shine the show must go on. You may want to have umbrellas on standby, warmer clothing at the ready for the bridal party and plenty of sun cream if it’s a hot day! Since guests will be seated for an extended period of time during your ceremony, it’s nice to protect them from any uncomfortable outdoor elements. Consider providing parasols to keep them shaded in the sunshine, hand fans or chilled water to keep them cool in the heat, or blankets or shawls to keep warm in chilly weather. Unfortunately, unlike other parts of the world, we are not blessed with the most reliable of weather, which doesn’t make outdoor ceremonies as simple as we would like.

Think about lighting
If it’s a sunny day, you probably won’t need any lights but if it’s dull or cloudy, adding some string lights or lanterns to your outdoor setting can add a romantic ambience. One of the bonuses of an outdoor wedding is the natural beauty around you so try not to go over the top with decorations. Flowers wrapped around an outdoor pagoda always look beautiful, as do ones placed on the aisle end. You need to also think about where the sun will be during your ceremony. The last thing you need is for you or your guests to be squinting into the sun during the ceremony.

Contingency Plans
The one thing about outdoor weddings is that as soon as you pick your dream location, you need to pick your plan B location
If you have to make changes before your wedding, your guests will never know you had something different planned. They will just attend a beautiful wedding. Your wedding planner will discuss this with you so you know exactly where you’ll be on the day. Should the weather take a turn for the worst, try not to let it put a damper on your day, stay positive and embrace it – this is your wedding day!

Enjoy it!
It cannot be denied, outdoor weddings can be stunning. You are surrounded by natural beauty and the sounds of nature provide the perfect backdrop for your vows. If an outdoor wedding is the fairytale you’ve been dreaming of, the team at Thornton Manor are more than happy to assist you in making this dream come true.

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