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We’re joined by experts Humanist Ceremonies who are going to share just how to plan your outdoor wedding to perfection… Hooray!

How To Plan An Outdoor Wedding

December is the most popular time of year for couples to get engaged. And January is the busiest time for venues and celebrants to take bookings. For some, 2022 is already fully booked, so you need to act quickly if you have your heart set on a specific date.

But don’t despair. If you have an outdoor wedding conducted by a humanist celebrant, you will have greater flexibility on dates, because you won’t be relying on the availability of a venue.

Planning Plan Outdoor Wedding

Photo: Igor Demba


A Word About Wedding Venues

Couples who choose to have a civil ceremony need a venue that is licensed for weddings.

If you choose a humanist ceremony, you don’t need an ‘approved venue’. In fact, you don’t need a venue at all. You can get married outdoors! So, if it sounds appealing to say your ‘I dos’ alfresco, a humanist wedding could be right for you.

Humanist Wedding Locations

You can have your outdoor ceremony on a beach, in a field, beside a lake or river, on top of a cliff, or in a woodland glade, dappled with diffused light.

Outdoor Wedding Plan IdeasPhoto: Roo Stain


Or how about an intimate wedding in your mum and dad’s garden?

Wedding Planning OutdoorsPhoto: The Humble Photography Company


As for indoor weddings, humanist ceremonies indoors don’t need to be in an approved wedding venue either. You can literally get married at home.

Plan Wedding Outdoors UKPhoto: SiraStudio


Humanist Wedding Ethos

With a humanist ceremony, everything is about personal choice. You set the tone, the theme, the dress code, and the overall vibe.

Top 5 Tips For Planning An Outdoor Wedding

1. Avoid Diary Clashes

A good place to start when planning your wedding is the date. Make sure you research the dates of the most popular sporting events and music festivals to avoid diary clashes.

Here’s a ‘heads up’ for 2022:

2. Weatherproof Your Ceremony

If your wedding is going to take place entirely outdoors, you’ll need an all-weather plan. Take account of rain, puddles and mud: have wellies and umbrellas on standby. (Wellington boots are available in white, for this very reason!)

Plan Wedding Outdoor UKPhoto: Sawyer and Sawyer Photography


From outdoor decor to your hairstyle, ask yourself if your bunting/arch/chignon would withstand a downpour or high winds. Make plans accordingly.

Outdoor Wedding Planning IdeasPhoto: Debs Alexander


If it’s going to be a scorcher, make sure you and your guests won’t be squinting into the sun when you make your vows. Think about the time of the ceremony in regard to the position of the sun. Trees provide natural shade, and a gazebo and parasols may also be useful.

Your wedding photographer will be mindful of avoiding harsh light and deep shadows. They should be able to give you ideas about an outdoor set-up that’s ideal for you, your guests, and your photos.

Wedding Plan OutdoorsPhoto: Simple Tapestry


3. Accessibility

With an outdoor ceremony, you’ll need to think about the best way for you and your guests to access the location. Is there vehicular access? Does anyone need access for their wheelchair or walker? Will you need to provide transport?

uk outdoor weddingPhoto: Alex Miller Photography


And seating? How easy is it to get chairs, benches, or hay bales to your chosen spot? Or will guests need to bring blankets or be prepared to stand throughout the ceremony?

Outdoor Wedding PlanningPhoto: Simple Tapestry


4. Food and Drink

If your guests will be dining alfresco, you’ll need to find a caterer with experience in outdoor events. Festival-style weddings are very popular and have the catering to go with it — fish and chip vans, ice cream vans, and mobile pizza ovens — anything goes!

Outdoor UK Wedding PlanningPhoto:Creative Flux Photography


5. Evenings

When the sun goes down, the temperature may drop several degrees. It might be a good idea to have pashminas and blankets on hand. Fire pits are popular at outdoor events. Don’t forget to stock up on marshmallows for toasting!

And, as the light begins to fade, fairy lights, and candles are ideal for marking pathways. Beautiful and practical too! And sparklers will always add a sparkle to your big day.

Outdoor Wedding PlanPhoto: The Humble Photography Company


Next Steps

Humanist Ceremonies celebrants have been conducting non-religious, personalised ceremonies since 1896. With more than 300 wedding celebrants as members of the celebrant network, there should always be a celebrant available for your big day.

If you’d like a humanist wedding, you can find your ideal celebrant via the Humanists UK website.

Humanists UK

Humanists UK is a charity with a long history of campaigning on human rights issues, including legally recognised same-sex marriages. Humanist Ceremonies celebrants have been conducting same-sex weddings for over forty years. Since the law changed in Northern Ireland, their celebrants have been conducting legally recognised same-sex humanist weddings since 2020.

Campaign For Legal Recognition of Humanist Marriage: How You Can Help

You can follow the campaign on Humanists UK’s website, and on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. You could also write to your MP, explaining that the existing marriage laws discriminate against humanist couples, and ask them to raise the matter with Ministers. (Click here to find your MP.)

Further Reading

Why You Should Consider a Humanist Wedding Ceremony

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