I love an outdoor wedding, especially amongst some of the beautiful countryside we have here in the UK. Whilst they may seem like a highly risky option, given the unpredictable weather, if you are willing to be flexible and you have the right planning in place, I'm a massive fan!
HAVE A BACK UP
The number one rule of an outdoor wedding is to have an alternative option in case of rain or other unpredictable weather patterns! Think of it like an insurance policy - if you have the back up in place, chances are you won't need it. But, you can place a bet that if you don't you will. If your venue has an indoor option available, great. If not, work with a marquee company to suggest a contingency option.
Umbrellas are a must. I find, when it comes to an outdoor ceremony, that most guests are comfortable sitting through drizzle and light showers if they have an umbrella covering (and it can make for a beautiful photograph). Brolly Bucket is my go to company for hiring in matching wedding umbrellas.
WEIGHT IT DOWN
Even on a beautiful day, a breeze can be for worst enemy. Think about how you'll weight important things down, particularly stationery (order or service, reserved signs, place names, favours). I've used stones as part of the styling to do this before. Glue dots also work a treat on the back of a piece of stationery!
BLANKETS AND HEATING
Providing guests with blankets can be a lovely idea (again Brolly Bucket are a fabulous option for hiring and we've used them before for custom made blankets that we've actually gifted to guests as favours). Speak to a local marquee company or your venue about hiring in heaters - visible flame heaters dotted about a reception space or dining area can look very pretty and there are plenty of options available. For a more rustic feel, add some fire pits (just ensure you check with your venue first in terms of what is/isn't allowed).
Most outdoor environments aren't perfectly level and grass is not kind to high heels. Make it clear with your guests in advance in the details slip of your invitations that the wedding will be outdoors, suggest that the ladies plan appropriate footwear. You might want to provide heel protectors on the day. If you are having an outdoor ceremony I always suggest some form of aisle runner or boarded aisle with carpet, to ensure that you can walk dow the aisle without mishap!
Candles placed outside will easily blow out, invest in clear glass candle protectors and ensure tea lights are in holders where the flame is protected. Lanterns also look beautiful and will protect the flame.
I am a massive fan of accentuating what you already have when it comes to outdoor styling. It is really useful to chat to your venue about any outdoor planting that they do and ask what colours/plants will be used at the time of your wedding. Sometimes you'll be able to influence this, if your venue agrees. Wild, organic natural floristry that works with the environment wins with me every time.
If you are the kind of couple willing to be flexible, if you have contingency plans in place, then I abolsutely and whole heartedly support the notion of an outdoor wedding - I've planned one in what was an overgrown woodland before and it was simply stunning, magical in fact!
Images with thanks to M and J Photography