I love an outdoor wedding… In fact, it was first choice for my own wedding day. Given the Irish climate, I’ll forgive you for not considering the option. However, this summer I photographed a few outdoor weddings, and I have to say these couples proved their brave choices were actually easy to pull off, the results of which were truly epic! So before you turn your back on this idea, I ask you to take just a few minutes to consider that this might actually be possible for your wedding day, with my list of 8 rules for an outdoor wedding!
Rule #1: Keep guests comfortable
If you’re getting married at home, keeping guests cool in warm climates probably won’t be an issue but if you’re planning a wedding abroad it’s definitely a factor to consider, but one which is easily fixed. All you need to do is ensure there’s a seated area which offers plenty of shade, have ice and handheld fans on standby and don’t forget the suncream!
Getting married in Northern Ireland offers the flip-side of this. While the summer months might not be all that sunny, the temperature does tend to be mild enough during the day, before dipping in the evening. Portable headers are definitely recommended and providing guests with blankets will be a warming gesture.
Rule #2: Have a back-up plan
Okay, so I know the main reason you’re probably opposed to the idea of an outdoor wedding in Northern Ireland is the high chance of a downpour and I’m not going to offer false optimism that it won’t rain on your wedding day, but I will say that you should be prepared with a back-up plan! Although there’s still a chance it will rain, having an outdoor wedding during the summer months is less risky and you’ll still need somewhere which offers cover. Now that doesn’t mean you need to hire an entire building in case of emergency. It might be a barn that you can move into or a tent you can dine in. A marquee is the most sensible option for your reception which offers the vibe of being outdoors while still giving necessary coverage in the event of rain.
Rule # 3: Have fun with your theme
One of the major bonuses of having an outdoor wedding is that you can make the most of the natural surroundings around you, allowing you to adore its authenticity or decorate as you wish. Your outdoor area can be easily brought to life and emblazoned with your chosen treasures to bring it in line with the theme and vision for your day. And if you’re a DIY bride who loves to get stuck in, add your own unique finishing touches by checking out my post on getting DIY for your wedding with Etsy.
Rule #4: Check rules and regulations
The good news is that with the agreement of the officiant, a religious wedding ceremony may take place anywhere in Northern Ireland, allowing you to say your vows in the open air. However, you will need to figure out if there are any rules and permits you’ll be subjected to before you start planning. Getting married somewhere with sentimental value might seem like a lovely idea but there could be more rules and regulations than you realise.
Rule #5: Consider your own comfort
Obviously your own comfort is important, which begins with what you’ll be wearing. Being outside all day can mean, especially in Ireland, experiencing all four seasons in one day. You’ll also encounter different surfaces including stones and grass so wearing footwear which can deal with this is something to consider. Thankfully, if you’ve started flipping through bridal magazines, you’ll have realised that when it comes to wedding dresses there are endless options available so you’ll easily find one which perfectly complements your personality and surroundings.
Rule #6: Rent the essentials
You’ll need to think about a few essential elements such as electricity and plumbing for your caterers and audio equipment. If you’re having live music, you’ll need an area for your band too. Toilet facilities are also obviously important and while festivals may have given portaloos a bad rep, they’ll definitely be needed. Thankfully, unless your wedding has thousands of attendees, they’re be much cleaner and can even be spruced up by adding a touch of your wedding festivities, such as flowers!
Rule #7: Speak to your photographer
As a photographer, I’m at my happiest when I’m doing what I love and for me it doesn’t matter whether I’m inside or outdoors. I relish the opportunity to tell the love story of your wedding day, wherever that may be. Remember, a good photographer should be able to work with any surroundings so let them know of your decision to host an outdoor wedding in case they air any reservations.
Rule #8: Tell your guests
It won’t come as a surprise that you should tell your guests of your decision to host an outdoor wedding. That way they can come suitably dressed and ready to join in the celebrations.
While it might sound like you have a little more to think about, an outdoor wedding can actually be easy to pull off and prove epic, meaning it’s a day you and your guests are likely to forget for a very long time, for all the right reasons!
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