Wedding Series: ‘I do’ al fresco style

On the back of a scorching summer last year, one of the big wedding trends for 2019 is for an outdoor wedding or reception. This month’s blog outlines everything you need to know about planning al fresco nuptials

Location, location, location:

This is the most important decision you’ll have to make, and one that will dictate everything else that you do. If your dream is to say ‘I do’ on a beach, beside a river, in a wild flower meadow, at a country house, in your own back garden, or in the grounds of an historic venue, there’s going to be that one special place that will capture your imagination and match your vision.

At this stage, you do also need to consider the legalities. At the moment, the marriage and civil partnership regulations state that a wedding can only legally take place in a venue that has been given a full marriage license by the local authority. But you can still host your reception or cocktail party anywhere you so choose…within reason!

It pays to remember that if you visited and secured your venue on a beautiful springtime day, with an abundance of daffodils, bluebells, cherry blossom and other seasonal treats in bloom, it could look completely different in another season. 

This is where you also decide if you want to hold your ceremony and wedding breakfast in a marquee. From a practical point of view, a marquee works best for a sit-down meal, the dancing, and can also act as a rainproof shelter!

Come rain or shine:

Your next big consideration is the great British weather! We all know how changeable it can be, and there’s no guarantee of sunshine, even in the summer. Bad weather is one of the top five fears for couples when planning their weddings, so it pays to have a back-up plan.

You may also want to have lots of umbrellas on hand for your guests, you can even have these personalised as a keep-sake.

Eating al fresco:

Whilst you most likely won’t serve a three-course banquet outside, it’s a perfect setting for champagne and canapés, a barbeque, picnic, or hog-roast. Certain foods won’t fare well in the sun, so it’s best to avoid things like cheese and fruit, which are also magnets for insects.

The décor:

Greenery is another big trend for 2019, and what better way to incorporate it into your big day than surrounding yourself with it. By using nature as your decoration, you can enhance the beauty of your natural surroundings by choosing seasonal flowers for your bouquet, buttonholes and wedding flowers.

The back-up plan:

We would advise having a two-plan wedding – one for sunshine, and one for rain. That way, you’ll be able to adapt quickly on the day with minimal fuss or stress.

If you choose a venue that is geared up for outdoor events you can almost tick every back-up plan box on your list. It should be easily accessible, offer all of the facilities you require, and have an indoor space to host your guests should the unthinkable happen.

If you’ve chosen a field or a more remote location for your reception, you’ll need to factor in toilets, car parking, shelter for your guests, heating or air conditioning, catering, and the all-important electricity and lighting.


It’s important to check on your chosen venue’s noise policy, opening and closing hours, and any other restrictions that may prevent you from planning the perfect day.

It’s the little things:

It’s always lovely to be able to offer your guests some added extras. If its’ hot you need to keep them hydrated and cool them down with shelter or air conditioning, or even a sweet summer parasol. You could also give them some comfortable footwear, and sunscreen to combat the rays from the hottest part of the day. It can turn a little chilly on a summers eve, so blankets can be a nice touch.

Top five checklist:

1) What outdoor wedding areas does the venue have to offer that are licensed? Can they accommodate your numbers and dates?

2) Will the location work with the overall wedding day experience that you want, and will the price work within your budget?

3) Does the venue have a wet weather plan that matches your own?

4) What is the access like?  Can guests get to the location easily, park, walk to the ceremony and reception? Can your caterers access the site and have space to set up?

5) Do you need extra facilities, toilets, car parking, sheltered areas for guests to shelter from sun, rain or wind, air-conditioning, heating, etc.

outdoor wedding

Our award-winning garden is available to hire for wedding receptions. We can organise a marquee, and can accommodate up to 700 guests.

For more information contact