Outdoor Wedding Ceremonies

We love outdoor wedding ceremonies here at Great Betley Farmhouse! They can be as formal or informal as you like. We’re not licenced for the legal part of the wedding which means that we have lots of lovely celebrants here. For the difference between a registrar and a celebrant you can read a previous post here. Basically a registrar conducts the legal part of the wedding which isn’t personalised. A celebrant writes and delivers a fully personalised ceremony that you have had full input into.

There are a few things to consider for outdoor wedding ceremonies.

The Celebrant

The celebrant is the first thing to consider – chose someone you really click with and who ‘gets’ you as a couple. You’ll be working with them over the course of a few months so that they can get to know you. This means that they can craft a unique ceremony for you and make some suggestions e.g. handfasting or sand ceremony. They’ll also help you to write your vows to each other if you want them to.

handfasting ceremony at sussex wedding venue
Laura and Nick had a handfasting ceremony standing on a stage and all the guests gathered around standing on the lawn rather than having seating.

Locations for outdoor wedding ceremonies

Whilst celebrant led outdoor wedding ceremonies can be conducted virtually anywhere, there are things to consider. Here at Great Betley Farmhouse we have various options including well kept lawns at either end of the semi wild pond. There’s also a cracking view to the South Downs and Chanctonbury Ring, or even the large back garden. If there’s a beautiful backdrop for outdoor wedding ceremonies then you won’t need much extra décor.

Logistics and accessibility

Is your chosen location accessible for all your guests?

Guests with limited moblity or older guests might struggle with some locations (e.g. a mountain top!).

What parking is available for guests?

If there’s not much parking available it might be worth hiring a bus or a few mini vans to ferry guests to your chosen location.Here you have access to approximately five acres spread over two connecting fields. There’s plenty of space for parking and camping/glamping in one field leaving the second field for the celebrations.

How will you create your ceremony space?

What seating are you planning on providing for guests to sit on? Benches, chairs, haybales – how will you get them to and from the location?

Rainbow ceremony arch on field at sussex wedding venue
Nicky and Kel had a stunning bespoke rainbow arch for their ceremony on the field

Décor and styling

Many outdoor wedding ceremonies have a focal point such as a floral arch. Are you going to create an aisle with the seating and have an aisle runner? Flowers in baskets or tubs at the ends of the rows of seating, or perhaps displays of large feathers can lift the space. If you’re having an evening ceremony you could go to town with fairy lights and flowers in lanterns.

Ceremony hoop decorated with florals
Ceremony hoop decorated with dried and fresh florals
Photo: bigbouquet.co.uk
aisle with petals at sussex wedding venue
This central aisle in the ceremony seating had petals strewn down it

Power and music/PA system

If you’re planning on having a PA system then unless it’s battery powered you’ll need to think about power for it. I do recommend having some sort of system as you want everyone to be able to hear the ceremony.

Plan B!

Outdoor wedding ceremonies always need a Plan B! The UK weather is notoriously tricky, even in summer. 2021 season here we had a wet summer, 2022 was blazing hot!

Ceremony in the tipi at sussex wedding venue
Ceremony set up in the tipi
Photo: jmcsweeneyphotography.co.uk

For Fi and  Josh’s wedding the decision was made to set up the ceremony area on the dance floor of the tipi. Whilst it didn’t look like rain, celebrant Stewart O’Sullivan was keeping a close eye on the weather systems. And sure enough, there was a hefty downpour during the ceremony!

After the scorcher of a summer in 2022 I decided to invest in 50 large white umbrellas for couples to hire. They’ll be great if there’s a drop of rain, but will also provide much needed shade from the sun.

I recommend viewing your chosen venue at the time of year you’re planning on celebrating. That way you will be able to see what flowers are out etc. To book a venue tour here at Great Betley click on the link here  – I’d love to show you around and hear about your plans!

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