Perhaps you and your spouse-to-be have decided on an outdoor wedding, or maybe you’re tossing the idea around. A ceremony outside turns your special day into a serene event. Whether you’ll go rustic, fairytale, minimalist or another fabulous theme, an outdoor wedding can suit it.
Before you decide on an outdoor venue and decor, it helps to have outdoor wedding tips in mind as you plan. Find inspiration for your ceremony and reception with the outdoor wedding ideas below.
Outdoor Wedding Ideas
An outside wedding is an excellent opportunity to get creative with your decor and your ceremony. You can fill your event with unique outdoor wedding ideas or go for classic elegance. Whatever suits your preferences, use these outdoor wedding ideas to help you decorate and plan your nuptials:
1. Use Plenty of Lighting
If your outdoor celebration will last past sundown, light up your event space. Use different lights that reflect your wedding’s aesthetic to provide anything from a soft glow to something brighter. Display a combination of these lighting ideas for outside wedding venues or pick one for your space:
- String lights over the dance floor
- Lanterns lining the aisle
- Fire pits, watched by a responsible adult
- Stake lights lining the path guests take to leave
Particular venues could have restrictions for what sort of light you can use for your wedding. If you use candles for your lighting, consider battery-powered ones for safety. You should also look into available electrical setups for your venue and see if you need solar or battery-operated lighting instead of electrical.
2. Cut Down on Floral Decor
If you want to save money for your wedding or keep decor minimal, consider this outdoor wedding tip. Use minimal floral decorations, and focus on the nature around your venue. With a small floral decor budget, you can put more into arrangements like:
- Floral crowns or accessories
You may want to include floral centerpieces in your reception, especially if it’s indoors. In that case, cutting down on outdoor decor can free up your budget for the centerpieces. Choose flowers and greenery that tie in with the outdoor portion of your venue to use inside.
3. Incorporate the Natural Scene Around You
You’re looking at outside wedding ideas for a reason, so why not incorporate the outdoors into your decorations? Whether you go with fewer flowers from the previous tip or add your decor to the outdoor venue, you’ll have a gorgeous, natural result. Use these ideas for incorporating natural scenery into your outdoor wedding:
- Instead of setting up an arch, choose an outdoor ceremony space under a large tree.
- If you’ll hang lights, banners or floral chandeliers, string them between trees around the venue.
- Use natural plants and paths to designate where the aisle should go.
- Nestle your ceremony in a clearing among the trees and greenery.
If you do incorporate the natural scenery, consider a couple of things about your ceremony setup. Think about which way you, your partner, your officiant and your guests will face. If there’s no shade or covering, someone could potentially end up with the sun in their eyes. If you can, orient your ceremony space so your guests don’t have to squint into the sun to see you get married. You should also make sure the area doesn’t have any roots, rocks or tripping hazards for you and your guests.
4. Drive up to the Aisle
An outdoor ceremony is a great opportunity to drive up to the aisle in style. It’s also a convenient way to get from where you’re preparing for your wedding to the aisle. Be sure to check with your venue to see if this is allowed — some may even offer this service. You should ensure the weather is dry leading up to the ceremony so your vehicle doesn’t end up stuck in the mud.
Select a mode of transportation that suits your venue and theme. There might even be a vehicle that has significant meaning to your relationship, which could be the perfect addition to your special day. Need ideas for what you should use to drive up to the aisle? Consider these options:
- A limo for a Hollywood vibe
- A vintage car for an antique aesthetic
- A vintage truck for a rustic feel
- A horse and carriage for a storybook wedding
- A golf cart at a golf course venue
- A motorcycle if you want a daredevil entrance
Decorate your transportation with theme-appropriate decor. Flowers, a banner and other accents can make your ride even more appropriate for your wedding. You can then park it near your ceremony or reception space. If your guests have far to walk from where they park to the ceremony space and the reception area, consider having more themed vehicles to transport them.
Outdoor Wedding Venue Ideas
With all that inspiration for your outdoor wedding, you need to think of possible venues. Outdoor wedding venues provide anything from a tranquil setting to an overgrown, whimsical backdrop for your ceremony. Where you have your nuptials will depend on you and your partner’s preferences, along with your budget and location. Consider these outside wedding venues for inspiration:
1. Local, State and National Parks
There are so many beautiful parks around, so why not choose one for your outdoor wedding venue? From peaceful lake scenes to canopies of abundant trees, these settings create beautiful outdoor wedding backdrops. Take walks around nearby parks with your spouse-to-be and find the perfect location for your wedding. Look for features that’ll contribute to unique outdoor wedding ideas, like small bridges over water and pathways to use as your aisle.
You’ll likely need a wedding permit to have a ceremony in a local, state or national park, which will vary in cost based on the one you select. The permit may be more inexpensive than a venue, but you have to consider different factors before choosing a national park:
- While the cost for a permit could be low, you’ll also have to factor in the cost of rentals.
- You’ll need to transport the furniture rentals or hire a crew to do it.
- You may not be able to guarantee privacy for your wedding since it’s in a public place.
- You’ll have to travel between one location to get ready and the park for your ceremony.
- You might need to have a separate reception venue and use the park for the ceremony only.
A backyard wedding is charming and convenient. It gathers your closest loved ones together in a special place as you say your vows in an intimate ceremony. You control many aspects of your wedding when it’s in your own backyard — or a friend’s or family member’s. You’ll just have to find rentals and make arrangements as you would for a national park wedding.
One potential downside of a backyard wedding is limited backups in case of bad weather. You’d have to rent canopies at the last minute because having everyone go inside likely isn’t an option — unless you only have a handful of guests.
Backyard weddings may not be for every couple, especially if you’re having a large ceremony. Unless you have the space and the budget for plenty of rental tables and chairs, you might need to consider another outdoor venue.
Beach weddings are classic for the summer, and for good reason. The beautiful scenery, rolling waves and soft sand create an ideal setting for your ceremony. If you want an outside wedding on the beach, you should also remember to:
- Have guests prepare for sun and wind.
- Find wedding party outfits that are easy to wear on the beach.
- Book a venue off the beach for your reception.
- Use minimal decorations for an easier setup and cleanup.
- Have an audio setup to fight the sounds of the wind and waves.
Fill a beach ceremony with unique decor to personalize your special day. Pick a wedding theme to use that you wouldn’t expect to see at the shore, like rustic or fairytale. Or, have a unique shape at your altar, like a heart or circular arch, to keep everyone’s eyes on you during the ceremony.
4. Golf Courses
Golf resorts often specialize in weddings, providing a lush green space as the setting of your ceremony. With special areas for wedding ceremonies, many golf courses are ideal for couples who want privacy for their event. You could also have the convenience of these services with certain sites:
- Many golf resorts feature accommodations, which are great to have for traveling guests.
- Some sites have indoor venue spaces to use for your reception.
- Particular resorts offer catering possibilities on-site, so as long as you like the option, it crosses another task off your to-do list.
If you want a more manicured outdoor wedding rather than a lush and wild feel, a golf course could be for you. They’ll have trimmed lawns and planted landscapes around the ceremony space to create a beautiful wedding backdrop.
Outdoor Wedding Tips
With a beautiful outdoor wedding venue in mind, you need a few final touches to make your special day perfect. An outdoor wedding may come with challenges, but a bit of preparation will help you overcome those possible hiccups. Follow these outdoor wedding tips to plan for an outside ceremony and reception:
1. Keep Your Guests Comfortable
Emphasize that your ceremony will be in an outdoor wedding venue so your guests can dress appropriately. Guests with long hair may want to wear it up, and most guests will consider wearing light layers, depending on the weather. They should also avoid wearing shoes with tall, skinny heels if they need to walk through the grass. While the way guests dress is ultimately up to them, you can keep them comfortable at the ceremony and reception with:
- Cold water and drinks, especially for summer and beach weddings.
- Sunglasses as practical favors for the ceremony if there isn’t much shade.
- Fans as practical favors for the ceremony if it’s a hot day.
2. Have Covering at Your Venue
Covered areas in your venue will be great to let guests step out of the sun. They could also be a smart place to keep food and drinks if your reception is outside. Some coverings create unique outdoor wedding ideas, but certain ones will depend on what’s available at your venue. Try to find a venue that has or allows you to:
- Use a gazebo for your altar.
- Rent a wedding canopy or tent for your reception.
- Hold your reception under a pavilion.
Try to find covering that also features a solid floor or rent a runner, dance floor and other options. Your guests will appreciate the sturdy ground and protection from the sun.
3. Have a Backup Plan
Most couples plan their weddings so far in advance that it’s practically impossible to predict the weather for that day. You want your ceremony to be as special and successful as possible, and that requires a bit of preparation. Consider these outdoor wedding tips to have backup plans:
- Choose a venue that reserves an indoor space for a couple on their wedding day in case you need to move inside at the last minute.
- Have outdoor coverage rented in case you need it, or set it up anyway.
- Use a sturdy aisle runner in case it rains leading up to your ceremony and the ground is soft, wet or muddy.
- Get insurance to cover you in case of severe weather.
4. Secure Decorations and Other Items
Wedding decor features flowers, ribbons, fabric and lightweight items. For those and other accents, the wind could pose a problem. Keep everything secure and prepare for breezy nuptials with these tips:
- Use heavy vase fillers to keep your flowers in place, and if you’re decorating with clear vessels, use decorative yet weighty filler.
- Tuck flowers snug in their vases to keep them from blowing away.
- Designate a close friend or family member who can keep an eye on decor and wrangle anything if it gets away.
- Consider breaking away from tradition and skipping the wedding veil if it’ll be a windy day.
5. Pick the Right Dress
With an outdoor ceremony, your dress is an essential consideration. You don’t want it to be too long or too lightweight, but it should still look and feel like a gorgeous wedding gown. Consider these features for a wedding dress that suits the outdoors:
- An ankle-length hemline so your dress doesn’t touch the ground
- A tea-length or knee-length hemline, suitable for beach weddings
- A multi-layered skirt that won’t blow up in the breeze
- A solid fabric, like jersey, to give your dress some weight and wind resistance
If you find your dream dress but the length is a bit long for an outdoor wedding, don’t worry. You could always discuss alteration options for a shorter hemline or the possibility of bustling your dress. That’ll transform your dress from one with a train to one without, ideal for brides walking down the aisle on a runner.
Find the Perfect Dress for Your Outdoor Wedding
If you need to find the perfect wedding dress for your outdoor wedding, look no further than Alexandra’s Boutique. When you visit our boutique, you’re doing more than dress shopping, and we understand that. Finding the perfect dress is a life moment that you celebrate with friends and family. Our full-service appointments will make you feel special even before your special day.
Schedule your appointment today with Alexandra’s Bridal Boutique. Come explore our wedding dress collections and find what you’ve been dreaming of wearing for your big day!