Whilst winter is not the most obvious time to think about outdoor weddings, the trend for marrying al fresco has never been more popular and with an endless choice of beautiful woods, beaches, gardens, hilltops and more, available to use as your wedding backdrop, we have put together a helpful checklist if you are thinking of tying the knot outside, whatever the season.
Choose your venue. Take time to visit the beautiful places around where you live. The world is literally your oyster and there are some quite breath-taking venues that will be able to accommodate all your wedding day wishes. Here at the Great Barn Devon, we not only have the barn itself to cater for larger celebrations, we also have a beautiful arbour within our gardens, for those looking for an outdoors ceremony.
Opt for a celebrant. Is there anything more important, on your big day, than the ceremony itself? A wedding celebrant is the perfect choice for giving you a completely personalised ceremony. No rush, no standard issue set of vows just the wedding you want. Why not include family members, children or your pets in the celebration too? Your celebrant will be able to advise and accommodate your every wish.
Think about the access. Make sure that you and your guests can get to your perfect spot. It’s all very well picking a hilltop or secluded beach, but if you need a compass and walking poles to get to it, then it’s probably a little bit too isolated. Consider how you are going to get your guests there and back (perhaps lay on a vintage bus), think about how you will cater for them without the usual facilities or power supplies and, should the weather take a turn for the unexpected, how will you keep yourself and your guests warm, dry and sheltered.
Prepare for any weather. Make your wedding favours work for you. How about flip-flops for guests walking to your beachside ceremony? Or parasols to shade from the summer sun? Or sunglasses? Or blankets to snuggle under while you tie the knot in our beautiful autumn garden? It’s also worth having a Plan B if the weather tries to stop play. Our West Barn is the ideal space for that last-minute dash indoors, or for drinks and canapes while you are waiting for the dancefloor to be cleared.
Take your seat. Seating on grass or sand needs to be secure and sturdy. Venues that are used to holding weddings and events outdoors will already have what you need, but if you fancy something different, then perhaps hay bales covered with vintage cloths or blankets, or if budget and time allows, why not visit your local charity shops and flea markets to find unique ways to seat your guests – big fat cushions, chaise longue, stools, crates, wooden boxes – the list goes on and on.
Be seen AND heard. Exchanging vows with your partner should be the most romantic, personal, never-to-be-repeated moment of your wedding day. Make sure that, if you are outside, you can be heard above the elements, so your guests can enjoy the moment too.
Don’t be a stick in the mud. Prepare your guests in advance if you are choosing to get married outside. High heels and walking sticks can become stuck in the grass. Provide heel covers for those that need them and avoid a wedding day fashion disaster. Consider guests in wheelchairs and pushchairs too and make sure they can arrive and leave the ceremony with ease.
Finishing touches. If you are getting married in our garden, the arbour can be decorated with floral garlands, festoon lighting, bunting or even candles. You can also create your own aisle with more flowers and candles in hurricane lanterns to make sure they stay alight if the wind blows. Think about your ceremony backdrop, if you are choosing to tie the knot in your favourite spot. Keep it arched if you have a view to die for, use old painted doors, draped silks, flower garlands, ribbons, origami cranes – the possibilities are limitless.
We are really looking forward to our 2019 weddings and will be sure to share them with you, when we can. In the meantime, we’d love to hear your hints and tips on creating the perfect al fresco celebration. Visit our Facebook page today and send us your pics and suggestions.