Here’s everything you need to know, plus some handy tips and tricks for planning a wedding outdoors.
When the weather is good, there really isn't anything more picture-perfect than an outdoor wedding. The sound of birds chirping and dancing as you say "I do" against the backdrop of a stunning summer's day, seeing your guests smile and laugh as they wander around your private patch of the great outdoors and the chance to have your first dance beneath a breath-stealing sunset. They really are special affairs.
And that's why we've spoken to some of the best wedding planners in Norfolk and Suffolk to help you better understand everything there is to know about planning an outdoor wedding in the UK.
Is It Possible To Get Legally Married Outdoors?
The big question almost all brides and grooms have when it comes to planning an outdoor wedding is whether it's legally binding or not, and the answer is yes, as you are legally permitted to be married in any licensed venue. That said, under current laws, you cannot get married in a completely open space, but don't let that put a damper on your plans because there is a loophole of sorts because you can conduct almost all of your wedding ceremony outside at the Thursford Garden Pavilion, except the signing of the register. So as long as you sign the register in a licensed structure, you can technically host a wedding ceremony outdoors in England.
Always Consider Your Venue's Outside Space
The secret to a forget-me-not outdoor wedding is to find a venue with the dreamiest outdoor spaces, something the Thursford Garden Pavilion has plenty of. Hiding in the breath-snatching countryside of North Norfolk, we have two of the most idyllic spots to exchange your vows in an al fresco ceremony.
We have the manicured lawns at the front of the Pavilion, which are absolutely perfect for any couples hoping to host a lavish wedding surrounded by the gorgeous outdoors, and we have a private wedding garden that boasts a traditional cottage-style for a truly secluded setting that's bursting with intimate romance. And last but not least, we have an outdoor play area for your kids to entertain themselves while you enjoy the best day of your lives.
Shelter Will Be Your Saviour
One of the best things you can do is accept the English weather is unpredictable, so make sure you take this into consideration, even if the forecast says there won't be a single white cloud in the sky. That's why we recommend you add a shelter of some sort to your outdoor wedding, whether that's somewhere everyone can rush to if it starts to rains, or somewhere people can go for a bit of shade.
Alternatively, you could look for a venue like ours, which has a permanent garden pavilion to make the most of the beautiful outdoor setting while also offering you and your guests all the inside space you could dream of.
Let Your Guests Know It Will Be Outdoors
If you're considering an outdoor wedding, chances are you're planning either a spring or summer bash when an an al fresco ceremony and reception will be more welcome than a Mr Whippy with a flake. But even though your guests may be expecting you to have a wedding of this kind, especially with the current social distancing guidelines in place, it’s essential that you let your guests know this with plenty of time before you walk up the aisle. We would even recommend stating this intention clearly on your invitations so that your guests have ample time to plan their outfits accordingly.
Get Your Outdoor Lighting On Point
Atmospheric lighting is one of the most romantic parts of any decorating any venue, but it's even more special when you're celebrating the new chapter of your love story in an outdoor ceremony. There's also much more to think about too. From setting up lights that lead the way to the car park and toilets and other essential facilities, to filling the space above your heads with string lights dancing in the trees, this is your chance to have a lot of fun and create a breath-taking atmosphere. Luckily for you, the Thursford Garden Pavilion is decorated with over 500,000 fairy lights, so this pinch-yourself setting is already for you to enjoy.
Of course, you’ll also want to think about how to embrace both the natural light to make your wedding photos look sensational. As such, consider doing a recce with your wedding photographer prior to your big day so that they can get a better understanding of where the lighting is come your ceremony.
Creative Seating Plans Are Your Friend
One of the best things about an outdoor wedding is your chance top get creative with the seating plan. You could go with long banquet-style tables across the manicured lawn or your could opt for beautiful semi-circles that use rug-covered hay bales as chairs, or you could go with round tables dotted about here, there and everywhere -- whatever you want, knowing you're not limited by walls.
Whichever you choose, though, this is your chance to make your wedding feel that much more creative and inclusive and intimate, which is what 2021 weddings should be all about. After all, you’ve invited your guests because you want them to be with you on your big day, so keep that in mind at all times.