With the government announcing their plan to remove some of the red tape on outdoor weddings, we talk to wedding planners and people who celebrated their marriage outdoors about how to create the perfect day.
In this article for LV= life insurance, we cover 15 recommendations for couples considering an outdoor wedding ceremony. The first thing you need to know? Well, it’s not the most romantic, but it’s kind of important: the law.
‘Currently, if you want to legally get married outdoors in the UK then it still has to take place under a roof and the venue needs to have a licence specific to that structure (such as a bandstand or small outbuilding). You can’t just get married under a tree or in the great outdoors anywhere,’ explains Andy, who got married in a licensed structure at Elmley National Nature Reserve in Kent last year. Although there are exceptions for some religions.
Many people who choose to have their wedding outdoors actually go through the legal process in a private ceremony beforehand at a registry office, or church.
However, before the Autumn Budget 2018, the government announced that they will consider ‘reducing unnecessary red tape and lowering the cost of wedding venues’.
So whether you’ve got the venue licence, or already gone through the legal process, how can you make sure your outdoor wedding is picture perfect? We asked some people who’ve done it to find out.
‘Our clients generally want something different, unique and that reflects their personality, but also will fit within their budget,’ says Lisa. ‘When it comes to the venue, people are more restricted on where they can hold their function, which seems like a shame when there are so many great locations that would be suitable, but which they currently can’t use.’
Of course, although you can’t go through the legal process of getting married at these locations, you may still be able to hold a ceremony there. And great outdoor locations can be made even better with the right personal touches.
‘Consider how you’re going to personalise and decorate,’ Andy suggests. ‘Plants, tree stumps, arch ways, bales of hay and flowers can all transform the space.
‘Especially think about the bridal party entrance,’ he continues. ‘If the bride has to walk half a mile down a dirt track where everyone can see them, this might ruin the magic and suspense – plus, it’s awkward.’
If you have your heart set on an outdoor wedding, you could find a venue that costs less than anywhere indoors – but the extras can start to add up, so it helps to find ways to save.
‘We’ll always look, where we can, to make the décor items transportable; we’ll take them from one area to another, so the clients don’t have to pay for additional items,’ says Lisa.
‘We try to get the things that can add drama,’ she adds. ‘What you get from £300-400 of uplighting for an evening function versus £300-400 of flowers for a day function is very different. We just try to be very smart with their budget, so we can get the greatest effect.’
And don’t be concerned about getting help – sometimes the benefits outweigh the costs.
‘It’s a common misconception that having an event planner will cost more. It never costs our clients more, not just in terms of stress, but also because we can negotiate special rates from suppliers thanks to the relationships we have, and because we know all the special tips and tricks,’ insists Lisa.
For more tips on wedding budgeting, read our article on wedding admin tips to help you plan ahead.
If you’re budgeting for a wedding, Lisa recommends thinking about what’s most important to you, and then proportioning budget to those elements. That way, whether outdoors or indoors, it will truly be your wedding.