As an independent family celebrant, I have a wealth of experience in conducting unique ceremonies in a variety of locations and I love helping fun imaginative couples create memories that last a lifetime. Outdoor ceremonies are wonderful, but it is important to think carefully about a variety of details that you might take for granted with a ceremony that is taking place inside.
- Location – perhaps you are planning on saying your I do’s on a beach, in a woodland or in the middle of a field. All wonderful picturesque locations for a wedding ceremony, just consider how are your guests are going to get to the location. Do any of your guests have mobility issues? Is it a long walk from where they can park? Will there be signage to direct them, or will all the guests walk together from a starting point?
- Weather – ceremony’s surrounded by nature are lovely, but you do need to take all weathers into consideration and have a backup plan should the conditions be less than ideal. You need to think about all extremes: rain and wind – and the guests need some shelter, or can they use umbrellas, and how much rain is too much rain? Too hot & the guests need shade and fans. Autumn weddings the guests might need blankets. Remember they could be sitting still for 30 minutes or more. Fan favours are a wonderful idea if you expect it to be a hot day & are always gratefully appreciated. I conducted a wedding on the hottest day of the year one year and all the guests were seated waiting for the bride’s arrival. I got word that she would be another 10 minutes, so I announced to the guests that they were free to move about and find some shade and they all got up and ran under the nearby trees to wait until it was time.
- External noise – is the outdoor location near any noise that might disrupt the ceremony? Perhaps the location is on the flight path? Living near Windsor in Berkshire I frequently have to pause during an outdoor ceremony if a plane fly’s low overhead – especially if it’s the A380 double decker which is very noisy! You also might be in the country, near a working farm and the harvesting machines are in operation (which could also mean that there are wood chippings or seed particles in the air). It might be worth chatting to the local farmer to find out their harvesting plans.
- Seating – what are you planning for your guests to sit on to listen to the ceremony? Or are you planning on them standing? Bales of hay are lovely and stable, but you might want to think about putting some blankets on them so that the straw doesn’t dig into your guests or snag their tights. If using chairs is the ground even, or soft underfoot as they might sink or tilt? (I fell off my chair on the beach once as it started to tilt to one side, and I had no way to stay up straight). Blankets on the ground are great for a casual setting but remember to consider if this will be suitable and practical for all the guest ages present.
- Sound – How is the ceremony music being played? Will your Celebrant need an amplifier system for all the guests to hear the ceremony? For small ceremony’s this might not be needed, but if you have lots of guests and multiple rows will the guests nearer the back still be able to hear without one? Or is your celebrant experienced in projecting their voice? Will they need access to electricity or have their own power for the amplifier (a lot of units are powered by rechargeable batteries, but it’s best to check in advance just in case).
I hope that this list has given you several things to consider in order to make your outdoor ceremony amazing.
Remember above all have fun and make your alfresco ceremony one to remember for all the right reasons!
Your choice, your voice, your wedding ceremony.