Updated: Apr 9, 2020
There are so many factors to consider when your heart is set on an outdoor boho-styled wedding. It's not just the venue, the dress, the cake or who to invite, it's a big operation and requires careful planning to ensure your special day is just as wonderful as you imagined. So where to begin? Let us provide you with our advice... :-)
As everybody knows, weddings are an expensive business so with that in mind, look at the funds you have available against your essential and desirable requirements, speak to venues and suppliers to work out what is possible and what is not within your current budget. Look at venues that are self-contained with set package plans against sourcing everything separately and weight up the costs.
Well for starters, the ground needs to be both flat and dry! It may require levelling, grass may need to be rolled and any nearby trees may need to be cut back dependent on where you want the ceremony, where to locate tipis, marquees or bell tent accommodation for yourselves or your guests. The location will also need to be accessible, especially for large vehicles bringing you your wedding supplies so bare this in mind. For our recommended venues, please visit our Venues page.
Some venues may provide facilities such as power or a generator, toilets, shower blocks, lighting, clear pathways and accommodation options but if you have your heart set on a woodland area or beautiful field without these attributes, you will need to organise them yourself. Please visit our Suppliers page for our recommendations.
An outdoor event takes time to set up and take down so ensure you ask all suppliers when they will need access to the grounds, how long everything will take from start to finish, and the expected costs. If you're a hands-on couple and want to style or organise the setting yourselves, ask around your family and friends for anyone that can help, share the load and halve the stress!
You're going to need structures, be it a marquee, tipi or large tent(s) for your celebrations. Size is going to be dependent on whether you want to set out dining or a dance space and how many guests you anticipate coming.
Regardless if it's a scorching day, here in gloomy old England our nights still get cold, it could even rain and the last thing you want is grumpy and wet guests so consider sourcing heating for your marquees.
Does the venue provide this, will you do your own catering or hire a company in? What space and facilities do they need? Will you have a sit-down meal then a buffet later on or provide meal vans for snacks if and when guests get hungry? Waste disposal will be a must too.
You have two options for licencing laws; hire a mobile bar or buy your own alcohol and supply free drinks but please always check with the venue/land owner first. In terms of glasses, will you opt for disposable or hire them in? Fridges, ice, ice buckets/tubs for bottles, rubbish bins, hospitality staff - don't forget these now!
Your wedding arch/gazebo, ceremony seating - be it chairs, straw bales, sturdy logs or blankets - tables, decor and flowers, what will you have, how much, and how will it be laid out? Is there enough space, are tents and facilities close enough to each other for the event but far enough from any guest accommodation or neighbours that could complain about noise? Set out a plan and check this is achievable.
This is key for outdoor events and creating the right ambiance, especially as the night approaches. It is required for everything (and let's not forget your wedding photos!) so again, the generator/power available is important.
If your wedding site is on public land that anyone can access, you will need security to ensure you don't receive any unwelcome guests or suffer any damages the night before and after when everything is being set up and taken down.
Will you offer your guests the option of accommodation, whether it is recommending nearby hotels and guest houses, camping or providing a bell tent village (which is where we can obviously come in - view our bell tents here)? Is onsite camping allowed, is there space for this away from the main party but close enough to toilet and washing facilities?
If you want music played when you are walking down the aisle, in the background, want to hire a band or DJ, you will require a PA system that carries over the spaces it needs to. Bands and DJs will provide their own normally however they normally will not be required until the evening celebrations so hiring in may be the only option if the venue does not have this facility. To view the bands we recommend, please visit our Suppliers page, they are at the bottom. :-)
ORGANISATION ON THE DAY
There are practicalities to consider 'on' the day, from welcoming suppliers, telling people where they can park and pitch tents, checking the power and everything else electrical is working, lighting fire pits, lifting the sides of marquees, the running times of the ceremony, the meal, the first dance, cutting the cake... and so much more! If the idea of organising this is daunting, consider hiring a wedding planner to manage it for you or enlisting your immediate wedding party with certain responsibilities.
Venues and landowners will be trusting you with their space so make sure you clear up after yourselves or hire in help to do so. Is everything you've hired in accounted for, are their damages? Check with suppliers what their policies are, whether they collect or you need to deliver them back, some may require damage deposits or charge post-event for missing/broken items.
So there we have it, just a few recommendations to ensure your dream outdoor wedding becomes a reality. We truly hope it is. :-)