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  • Writer's pictureSian Chaplin, Chaplin Events

Top five tips for planning an outdoor wedding

Outdoor weddings are becoming even more popular and we know why!

Your day can be tailored to you and you have the freedom to really get creative with your venue, such as going for something unique like our yurts! It can be as laid back as you like, often you don't have any curfews so you can party all night and you can even glamp with your guests afterwards.

We thought it'd be useful to share some top tips for planning your outdoor wedding and invited Sian from Sian Chaplin Events as our guest on the blog. Sian is an experienced wedding planner in Yorkshire; who actually had a yurt at her own wedding!

Sian's Top 5 Tips...

1) Plan for all weathers

You've probably decided on an outdoor wedding because you envisage a gorgeous sunny day, but we must remember that we live in the UK so being realistic and having plenty of shelter is key! It's a good idea to choose a structure that's big enough to accommodate all of your guests without having to move much or any of the furniture that will be in place for the wedding breakfast. If it rains on the day of your outdoor ceremony then moving chairs inside to a space that is already available is much easier and quicker than moving as many as 15 tables along with all of your beautiful styling elements, crockery etc. If your ceremony is at a different location then having indoor shelter for the drinks reception already planned out just in case is also one less thing that you need to think about in the lead up to the day.

It's not just wind and rain you need to be mindful of either. A hot sunny day can mean that you and your guests end up sweltering inside your chosen outdoor space. When researching and contacting suppliers be sure to ask about ventilation and whether the sides can be lifted to create a nice cool breeze. Sun cream is a great option too for your guests!

2) Hire an experienced wedding planner to manage your day

Planning an outdoor wedding takes a lot of work with often 15-20 suppliers involved during set up and on the day. Having an experienced event coordinator who has a background in outdoor weddings can make a huge difference and prevent you from worrying about anything on the day and during those last few weeks when you need to be finalising timings and overall arrangements with suppliers. They will manage your suppliers, the overall timings, get stuck in with moving furniture and above all else - ensure your day runs smoothly. Most planners will also support you with the logistics beforehand too and create a full schedule which is honestly a godsend and something you'll definitely appreciate when the time comes.

3) Limit your suppliers

Outdoor weddings are beautiful, they're a blank canvas for creating a day that is purely unique and personal to you as a couple. With that in mind you'll find that it means you'll need to invest in more suppliers than say a traditional wedding as you'll need to factor in furniture, lighting, a generator, heaters, toilets, crockery, glassware etc. When researching marquee/teepee/yurt providers it's worth asking what else they can help with before moving onto the next stage of supplier sourcing. This can save so much time and research during the planning and also make your wedding logistically more smooth sailing in the last few weeks when it can all seem a little hectic.

4) Ensure your guests are comfortable throughout the day

I would say the perfect weather for an outdoor wedding is partly sunny skies with a temperature of roughly 24 degrees and clear skies in the evening, but obviously you can't plan for that! Notifying your guests ahead of the wedding is essential so that they can plan their outfits (heels don't work too well on grass!), bring a jacket and perhaps an umbrella just in case. Providing a basket of blankets, sun cream, insect repellent and umbrellas is a great way to ensure your guests remain happy, dry and warm throughout the day. Even an evening in summer can get cold, particularly for those who don't have a drinking jacket on ;)

5) Arrange transport or recommend accommodation for your guests

Outdoor weddings are often in remote areas where signal is difficult to reach, not ideal at midnight when you have a group of drunk friends and relatives who need to get home. Arranging transport for your guests both before and after the wedding prevents guests having to leave their cars or worry about how they're going to get home. For those who choose to drive, make sure you have a parking area that's specifically for your guests and separate from your suppliers. It's also worth asking your wedding planner or a relative/groomsmen to facilitate parking when guests arrive to prevent anyone getting blocked in. Make sure parking is a good enough distance away from your marquee/teepee/yurt so that you can't see it in photos but not too far that guests have to walk for what feels like miles through a field!

Your other option is to suggest some local accommodation or even better; supply it. You can create your own glamping village with bell tents kitted out with double beds and cosy bedding. You can then continue the celebration with your guests in the morning over breakfast.

Outdoor marquee wedding with bell tents
Outdoor Wedding with Bell Tent Glamping | Photo Credit: Nicola Jenkins Photography

Along with full wedding planning, Sian also offers an 'on the day' co-ordination service - check out the testimonial below from one of her clients.

"We booked Sian for ‘on the day’ coordination for our wedding on the 1st June and she was a dream! The name doesn’t do the service justice as she got in touch at regular intervals during the planning process to see if we needed help with anything, she then got in touch with all of our suppliers 6 weeks before the big day to confirm power requirements, timings for the day etc. On the day Sian was great. She arrived at the marquee early and set up a few last minute things for us, ensured that all suppliers knew where they needed to be and when, and stopped the timings from over running like they always seem to do at weddings. She even made sure the toilet roll was kept full at all times and rolled the sides of the marquee up for us when it was getting too warm! We would without a doubt recommend her for anyone planning a DIY wedding".

Sara and Dan, June 2019

Thanks for reading and if you have any additional tips - let us know in the comments!

We're always on the look out for other guests on our blog, so get in touch if you'd like to get involved.

Becca & Charlotte, North Sky Yurts


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