There are a few things to consider if marrying outdoors is on your wish list. These moments are central:
- Reception of the guests
- Wedding ceremony
- Aperitif or reception time
- Outdoor dining
- Outside party
Check out some handy tips and ideas below so you know what to consider when getting married outdoors.
1. Receiving the (day) guests
Many venues have the option of receiving guests outside anyway. Whether you are getting married outside or inside, the guests will first stay in another “space” or environment, so that the ceremony site remains completely perfect. Often, the guests go to the ceremony place. After a few moments it is your turn. We know of few locations where an outdoor reception is not possible.
Tip: do you have a wedding location with beautiful green surroundings? Then see if it is possible for parts of your wedding to take place in different places. So every part of the day has its own (green) environment.
2. Wedding ceremony outside: what to think about?
Think about what time you want to get married. My advice is to opt for a moment later in the afternoon. The problem with summer weddings is that people are less comfortable during hot moments of the day. And in the summer you also have very bright sunlight, around noon. That’s not good for you or your guests. Also in terms of photography, it’s often not the prettiest option because all the guests get shadows under their eyes. This is because the sun is so high.
Tip: the ideal wedding moment? A few hours before the sun goes down. Not ideal in terms of the day’s schedule, unless you’re getting married in the spring or fall.
Getting married in the afternoon
So is it possible to opt for a ceremony in the afternoon? Or maybe even the early evening? We would definately go for this moment… The added benefit is that you don’t have to rush so much during the morning.
What you really need to arrange (or have arranged) is sufficient protection from the elements. You also need sound amplification for the officiant and/or musicians and of course chairs for you and your guests. This can also incur extra costs, as the wedding venue has to put the chairs outside and clean up afterwards as well. But… it’s often worth it!
Permission of the municipality
The answer to the question of whether you can get married outdoors is not always very clear. On the website of Alle Trouwambtenaren it says that a marriage has to be celebrated officially at the town hall.
Tip: A possible solution may be to have a ceremonial wedding ceremony, rather than an official one. Discuss what is possible with your wedding officiant.
Rain or shine
At the ceremony, as at the dinner, you sit in one place for a long time and so it is important that people are out of the (bright) sun or rain. If necessary, you can have a stretch tent installed in advance.
Tip: if you want to place a tent: choose a light colored tent, the light in the tent has an effect on your wedding photos and atmosphere.
3. Outside drinks and/or reception
Also the moment after the wedding ceremony can often be held outside. Assuming for the moment that your location has a garden or at least a lot of green around the building. Often after the wedding ceremony there is a place ready (possibly where the reception was) for guests to have a drink. This moment is then the perfect time for congratulations, a toast and sometimes also the opening of Champagne bottles.
Keep in mind that the outdoor location is not too far away from, say, a restroom. An open location in the woods can be beautiful, but when guests have to walk far to the restroom, it is seen as uncomfortable. We also notice that ladies with (high) heels are not always happy with grassland. So if you want to do a lot outside, let everyone know in advance.
Tip: indicate on the wedding invitations that you are having a country wedding, so that guests can think about what clothing to wear.
4. Outdoor dining on your wedding day
Outside dining is fantastic. It’s atmospheric, nice tables, the feeling of being outside everywhere… but it can also have its drawbacks. I’m naming these disadvantages so you can take them into account.
When the kitchen is located far from the dining area, it is an extra challenge for the catering. It may involve extra high prices for the deployment of additional staff. They often have to do a lot of walking and this takes up a lot of time. Food needs to be transported from the kitchen to a distribution point. Often there is a way around everything, but keep in mind that not every wedding venue gets excited about the most remote romantic dinner spot.
Guests may have to walk an extra distance to the restrooms. If you have to travel a long distance, make sure there is enough lighting so that people can find their way around. Or possibly arrange (for) a restroom truck. Think for example of a luxury restroom wagon, you know best if this suits your company or not.
Rain and heat during dinner
Have you come up with a plan B? What if the whole wedding day was nice and dry, but in the evening they predict rain? Can it be solved with a few umbrellas or a few sunshades or is there a chance that your guests really have to go inside? Check with your wedding venue what they recommend. For example, is it possible to prepare for an extra room inside and what are the costs for this?
Tip: rent umbrellas if necessary. This can also often be done through a styling agency.
The same, of course, applies to extreme heat. Try to avoid that some of the guests have to sit in the full sun (at 30+ degrees) by arranging in advance with the location that there is sufficient shade.
Dining in the cold
At least let guests know it’s an outdoor wedding. This way you can be sure that they take it into account in terms of clothing. Or hand out blankets during dinner.
Tip: IKEA has handy little rugs that aren’t expensive. You can also rent blankets via many stylists.
Also make sure there is sufficient lighting. This can of course be done with candles on the table (if it is not too windy), or with lighting of the wedding location. Sometimes you can rent prickly cables with those cozy lights through styling companies. This also ensures that you automatically get a kind of “space”: the light creates an environment.
Other inconveniences during dinner
We once experienced that during a photo shoot in the evening we were completely attacked by swarms of mosquitoes. That night was quite a challenge… I’ve never been stung so many times! It wasn’t great for me, but certainly not for yourself or your guests!
Tip: You might want to think about giving your wedding guests a bottle of sunscreen and a bottle of anti-mosquito spray. Add some fun sunglasses and everyone is ready to go!
5. Wedding party for when you get married outside
Dancing under the stars… what could be more romantic? I wish there were more parties outside! However, this often turns out to be quite a challenge, because you have to take noise restrictions into account. Please check with your wedding venue if it is allowed to have (amplified) music outside. In any case, you will need to arrange power for the DJ/band, lighting, a bar and rest rooms.
Tip: before you start looking forward to something, check with the location what’s possible… Wouldn’t it be fun if they couldn arrange a great outdoor party!
Tip: is amplified music not possible? Then consider arranging for acoustic music. Maybe a bit more “picnic” than festival, but very atmospheric and intimate nevertheless. Some live acts can walk around so everyone can hear the music.
6. Our favourite outdoor wedding venues
When I think of our favorite outdoor wedding venues, the following venues immediately come to mind. Examples include Landgoed near Heino, Landgoed Groot Warnsborn near Arnhem, Domaine Heerstaayen in Strijbeek, the Trouwen in het Bos concept, Landgoed Rhederoord near Rheden, The Duke in Nistelrode and Het Roode Koper in Leuvenum.
Tip: do you want to get married in a certain area and you don’t know which location is convenient? Just send us an email and we will email you a number of outdoor wedding locations.
All of the above are locations where you can get married outside. There are also great alternatives in case you do need to go inside. Do you have a good suggestion? Leave a reply in the comments.