Choosing Outdoor Wedding Venues

Which of the outdoor wedding venues is right for your wedding day?

Before you go rushing out to book that picturesque beach location or hire that quaint little pub garden there are a few things you’ll need to think about before parting with your hard earned cash.

Take a little time to come up with your own unique outdoor wedding ideas and in doing so consider the following:

  1. Marriage licence – not all outdoor wedding venues are licensed to allow you to legally get married so it’s worth speaking to your local registrar at your local council offices. They’ll be able to advise you which of your local outdoor wedding venues are licensed to allow you to legally get married on the day.

    If however you’ve your heart set on a particular venue that doesn’t have a license, there’s still another option which will allow you to have your wedding at your chosen venue.

    It will involve a little more hassle but it’s pretty straight forward. All you need to do is get legally married at your local registry office a day or two before your “wedding date” which will get the legal part of your wedding out of the way and then you can have your actual wedding day (for your guests etc.) at your venue of choice and simply renew your vows in your chosen venue.

    No one even needs to know if you don’t want them to, (apart from your witnesses who’ll have attended your legal ceremony at the registry office). As far as the rest of your guests are concerned the “actual” wedding service would look just like any other. 

  2. Parking – make sure your chosen outdoor wedding venue has enough parking for whatever number of guests you’ve invited and how are you going to organise the parking. A traditional car park is easy as there are white boxes for guests to park in.

    As soon as you move to a non-traditional parking area it can quickly descent into carnage. My personal advise in this situation is get a few friends to act as parking supervisors for an hour or so until all your guests have arrived safely.

  3. Outside (if you're confident about the weather) – this is a dangerous one here in the UK as our weather is less than dependable. If however this is your chosen option you should really consider some sort of backup option such as a fall back venue or a wedding marquee if the weather forecast is predicting rain.

    Keep your outdoor wedding decorations as simple as possible so that they can be moved easily. The same goes for catering and the other aspects of the day. Make sure you have discussed all eventualities with your suppliers so that they are aware of what is to happen in the event of a change to the back-up venue at the last minute.

  4. You could always abandon the UK and get married abroad or a cruise, in the carribbean or maybe even in Vegas.

Some examples of cheap outdoor wedding venues:

  • Yacht club, Golf club, School hall, church hall, community centre – these are all great options that normally have an outdoor area and are available to all of us as most towns or villages will have at least one of them. They’re also usually available to hire at very reasonable rates, certainly less than the “traditional” wedding venues.

    When making your enquiries, try to avoid saying that you’d like to have your wedding there as they may increase the price as soon as they hear it’s for a wedding. Instead call them and just ask for a price for a family function for 100 guests etc. Once you’ve got a price it doesn’t matter if they know it’s for a wedding so you can freely talk about it with them.

    As always try to get at least 3 different quotes before you make your decision and make sure you’re comparing like for like.

  • Pub beer gardens – this is one of my personal favourites as a well-chosen pub with a beer garden will be full of atmosphere and offer a very social environment that’s made for intimate weddings. If you’re planning a large wedding you may need to consider pubs with larger beer gardens where you could provide additional cover for your guests such as a marquee.

    Another advantage of pubs is they are already set up for providing food and drink for your guests and you should be able to negotiate a good price as the pub will also be making money from the drink it sells to your guests.

  • Marquee – these are great as you can erect them pretty much anywhere. However be careful as there are a few things you may not foresee when making your decision.

    Consider what the ground conditions are likely to be like. Is the ground likely to be wet and muddy once you add 100 guests. If so you’ll need to cost in additional flooring.

    Also consider how your guests will get to the marquee over potentially wet and muddy grass etc. You’ll also need to consider toilet facilities for your guests and don’t assume two toilets will be enough. Plus who’ll make sure they’re clean throughout the day and evening?

    The beauty of a marquee is that they will work even if the weather isn't perfect. You can remove one, two or all the sides if it's a glorious summer day or leave them on if the weather isn't perfect.

Also remember to ask the usual questions of your wedding venue supplier at the initial meeting. That way you'll know what to expect and if you'll need to get additional items to finish the venue yourself

Bear in mind outdoor wedding venues are usually pretty basic so you may feel that you need to spend more decorating them. Personally I’d advise keeping your outdoor wedding decorations as simple as possible. Try to use wedding decoration that are affordable yet cover large areas such as Voile or Tulle to cover walls etc.

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