How to Prepare for an Outdoor Wedding

Getting married outdoors is really beautiful for photos and also helps you connect with nature on your special day. There are things you do need to consider in order to be prepared for your and your guests' comfort. Weather, permits, accessibility... normally all things not worth stressing about, but it's just nice to be prepared.

Getting married outdoors with nature is the dream.

Updated March 16, 2024

1. Choose the Right Location:

Provide clear directions to the venue, parking instructions, and any other important details in advance. If you do not make this, so a 5-year-old could read it, you could get many messages on the day trying to figure out where to park.

You can definitely create an epic outdoor wedding in all circumstances, you just need to be prepared. Don't let the thought of rain get you down because without the rain, there would be no rainbows ;)

Make it worth it! Choose the most beautiful and meaningful place you know, and get married there. Because why not? Just make sure it's accessible to whoever you're inviting and not harming any animals or the environment.

But you don't have to get married (or elope) at your local park, you can literally do it (symbolically) anywhere in the world. So what are you after; Mountains? Beach? Forest? The choice is yours. Find a natural backdrop that inspires you, and say your vows there.

2. Weather Considerations:

Have a backup plan in case of bad weather. Rent a tent or marquee to provide shelter in case of rain or extreme heat/sun. Consider providing fans, heaters, or blankets depending on the weather forecast, and just prepare for everything if you live in one of those 4-seasons-in-one-day kind of places.

If you're eloping or having a destination wedding, you have a lot of flexibility. You can choose a destination where you know there are better chances of ideal weather. But perhaps you're getting married in a place where it looks beautiful, despite the weather conditions.

3. Permits and Regulations:

Check local regulations and permits required for outdoor events, including noise permits, alcohol licenses, and venue-specific rules. These are important and normally in place to protect the land and/or not disturb neighbours.

4. Guest Comfort:

Rent comfortable seating and provide ample shade/cover from the rain. This can be super important, you don't want your guests to feel like they have to leave early because they are uncomfortable. Also make sure to rent restroom facilities if the outdoor location lacks proper facilities.

5. Decor and Ambiance:

Enhance the natural beauty of the outdoor setting with minimalistic decor that complements the surroundings. Usually you don't need much more than string lights, small floral decorations, and candles to make it look nice.

Try to use sustainable decorations that won't harm the environment around you. I've written an article on how to have a more sustainable wedding. You should definitely apply Leave No Trace rules wherever you go.

6. Attire and Footwear: 

Inform your guests about the outdoor setting so they can dress appropriately. Encourage comfortable footwear for walking on uneven surfaces, especially on grass or cobblestone, as those can be particularly difficult in high heels.

7. Catering and Beverages: 

Choose a caterer experienced in outdoor events who can handle food safety in varying conditions. Make sure they have a way to bring the food to the tables without it getting wet in case of rain. Ensure there's an ample supply of water and other beverages to keep guests hydrated, especially in warm weather.

If you're up for a vegan wedding, here are all my top tips.

8. Lighting: 

Ensure there is enough light for guests to see when it gets dark. Make sure pathways, food and drink areas, and toilets are well lit. Elderly people should be able to find their way without having to use the light on their phone.

9. Sound and Music: 

Hire a professional sound system to ensure everyone can hear the ceremony and speeches, and make sure it's weather proofed. Ask your rental company how much bad weather it can sustain, and if your insurance will cover it. Also, don't forget to consider any noise restrictions that might apply to the outdoor venue.

10. Photography:

Work with your photographer to plan for optimal lighting conditions. Make sure your tent is evenly lit by a single colour (as in, do not mix warm and cool lights, just pick warm). Make sure to have undercover location ideas for part of the photo shoot in case of heavy rain, and bring a clear umbrella to still be able to get some gorgeous photos with those uncovered locations.

11. Insect Control: 

Address bug concerns with citronella candles, bug spray, or fans to keep insects at bay. Have an area with a basket with bug spray, and perhaps sunscreen and blankets as well. Which leads me to my next point...

12. Emergency Kit: 

Prepare an emergency kit with essentials like first aid supplies, sunscreen, umbrellas, and basic tools.

13. Guest Communication:

Ensure all vendors are aware of the outdoor setting and any specific requirements. They may need a certain amount of electricity to operate, or at least plugs nearby. 

14. Waste Management: 

Arrange for waste disposal and recycling bins throughout the venue to maintain cleanliness. Better yet, try to have a ZERO-WASTE wedding as much as possible!

15. Campfire: 

If you will have a campfire, make sure there are no fire bans or it is done safely and under regulations of the law. We have too many forests burning down these days, let's not add to it!

16. Transportation: 

If the venue is remote or lacks parking, arrange transportation options for guests. Chat with the venue to see what is normally done by other guests.

17. Vendor Coordination: 

18. Wedding Party Preparation:

Inform your wedding party about the outdoor setting so they can choose appropriate attire and footwear that will be comfortable and match one another, if that's how you wish them to dress.

19. Backup Power: 

Consider renting a generator to ensure you have a reliable power source for lighting, music, and other equipment. Keep in mind generators can be very loud, but could be very necessary to keep the party going.

20. Enjoy every moment: 

Don't forget to enjoy your day! Don't stress, hire a planner to stress for you. Just relax, enjoy, and go with the flow, however the weather turns out.

As a wedding & elopement photographer, I am very happy to share my years of expertise with you and give you more tips and tricks to help you make your perfect wedding come true.

Need more information?

Reach out

Thanks for the message, I will get back to you ASAP!

Send me an email or fill out the form below!

Are you interested in going on a well-documented adventure with me? Then fill out the form with any questions you have or send me an email. I do my best to reply within 48 hours, although I could be out shooting a session or hiking in the mountains with no reception, so I do apologize for potential delays in my response. The best way to get in contact is definitely here or via direct email!