31 Outdoor Wedding Ideas: Outdoor Locations and Decorations
Getting married outdoors is one of the most popular ways to tie the knot and it’s easy to see why this appeals to so many.
The right outdoor wedding location or venue can provide a gorgeous backdrop for a celebration, providing a unique, beautiful environment to make your wedding feel like a true once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Getting married in beautiful summer sunshine or beneath the boughs of tranquil woodland will bring a truly breathtaking sense of scale and authenticity to your wedding.
You may also choose to incorporate one of your favorite places or the place you first met into proceedings, for the romantically inclined.
Wherever you choose to hold this most special of occasions, an outdoor wedding will always add a special sense of festivity and excitement that can’t be matched by an indoor ceremony.
There are also practical advantages, for example, photographers will be able to take advantage of natural light, making your wedding photographs come out startlingly well.
If you choose the right location, you’ll also be able to revisit it, enshrining your place of matrimony in the memory of your partner, family, and friends forever.
- Beachside Weddings
- Garden Weddings
- Woodland Weddings
- Ranch Weddings
- Winery Weddings
- Historic Manor Weddings
- Lakeside Weddings
- National Park Weddings
- Botanical Garden Weddings
- Tented Weddings
The thought of a beach wedding immediately conjures up thoughts of gorgeous sunsets, tranquil seas, and the rhythmic lapping of waves, providing a classic and striking setting for your special day.
The beauty of a beach wedding isn’t just in the sensual beauty of this location, but also in the space that will be available for you and your guests. A beach wedding is also a flexible venue that can be done with taste or with a sense of fun depending on your preferences.
If a formal aesthetic appeals to you, pairing the colors of the decor and attire with the deep blue or pale sand of the beach you choose will provide a lovely aesthetic that marries your choice of setting with the other elements of your wedding plans.
You may turn the idea on its head however and go for a more casual beach aesthetic, this is the strength of a beach wedding. As long as the weather is on your side!
If you’re a homebody and you desire a cozy wedding ceremony, the backyard wedding might be just what you’ve been looking for.
While it may not sound as flashy and glamorous as some other wedding venues, the backyard wedding has many benefits that may well convince you to reconsider.
First and foremost, a garden wedding will enable you to create an intimate ceremony in a place that you have total control over. The comfort and ease that comes with this is both reassuring and highly flexible, allowing you to fully control the decor and arrangement of your day.
If you don’t have a garden, maybe a relative or close friend has a garden that would work well and add to the festive community atmosphere that weddings should encourage.
The main benefit of the backyard wedding is definitely the fact that you’ll be able to save a ton of money to put towards the honeymoon or other important aspects of your partnership beyond the wedding day.
This is a venue that might suit couples who have a mutual love of nature.
The woodland wedding has its roots in fairytales and historic ceremonies giving a sense of magic and wonder to proceedings, and pairs well with simple decorations and earthy, natural colors.
If you value the sound of birds and wildlife and how it would sound accompanied by your vows, this serene and tranquil location may be perfect for you.
Another bonus is the freedom and space you will have, and the ability to light some (controlled!) fires and to keep the party going.
When someone says wedding, I’m betting that ranch isn’t the first word that comes into your head. Ideas of a working environment cluttered with equipment and machinery come to mind, as well as farm life and all of its… odors.
However, there is more than one kind of ranch, ranging from the more rustic traditional style to highly finished venues dedicated to stunning aesthetics and amazing scenery.
This type of venue is great because it gives you a good amount of space and the benefits of a natural environment, with the ability to duck inside of the barn should the weather decide to christen your ceremony with a good dousing of water.
This is another venue that gives you a lot of scope to make it unique, and you can go super simple to play on the ranch setting or go for a very traditional style wedding – both work well in this environment thanks to ample space and ready amenities.
If you’re someone who enjoys nature but wants a little more structure then a vineyard could offer a distinctive scene as the backdrop of your wedding.
There are vineyards all over and again as with a lot of outdoor weddings, they will offer plenty of space for guests as well as a wine cellar… what’s not to love!
A lot of wineries and vineyards are able to host events of this nature, and will likely be able to host your reception due to their infrastructure and readily available amenities.
Historic Manor Weddings
The stunning architecture and pristine grounds of a historic estate is a great candidate for those who want a very traditional wedding.
The symmetry and history available at these venues make them perfect for photographs and they offer a sense of gravitas to proceedings that will create a very regal atmosphere for you and your guests.
There are many different styles of estate that may suit your taste, and their extensive grounds allow you to bask in the sunshine and take beautiful pictures in a perfectly curated environment.
An added benefit is that these venues are capable of hosting guests overnight and also typically offer amazing catering services.
The lakeside wedding is one that isn’t as popular as you’d think because people typically think of beaches if they want water to be a part of their wedding scenery.
However lakes offer a great alternative and are located in some of the world’s most stunning natural environments, and if you already have access to a lakeside property then this could help save some money too.
Even so, lakes provide a lot of recreation and beautiful views, and their location in areas of natural beauty creates a tranquil environment for you and your guests to celebrate during and after the wedding.
National Park Weddings
If stunning scenery is more important to you than anything else, this may be the venue for you.
National parks offer some of the best, most unspoiled views in the world which will make dramatic, memorable, and striking photographs a certainty, preserving your special day and its importance forever.
This can also be a good destination for couples who are active and enjoy outdoor activities as there will be no shortage of access to these in national park areas.
National parks are also located all over the country, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find one nearby. However, if you are wanting to get away for your wedding and only have a small wedding party, you will be able to look further afield.
Always make sure to get proper permission during the planning process, especially when it comes to decorations and other aspects of your wedding. National parks can be very strict about what they allow to occur on-site, as well as what you can bring and take from them.
Make sure to double-check with the park authorities and your wedding planner to ensure nothing is overlooked.
Botanical Garden Weddings
This one blurs the line between indoor and outdoor, and largely depends on the setup of the garden you choose as a venue. If you love exotic flowers and vivid colors, however, then a botanical garden will be perfect for you.
The beauty of this venue is its exotic colors, you will be able to match your decor and wedding clothes with your favorite exotic flower!
The ready access of amenities also makes botanical gardens a very convenient place to host both a ceremony and reception and may be something very different that will make your wedding stand out from more traditional styles.
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The beauty of a tented wedding is in its simplicity and flexibility. You can be very flexible on the actual location of your wedding, allowing you to choose your dream spot or a place of special significance to you and your partner.
This flexibility will allow you to choose somewhere more creative than typical venues and can provide great value for money also.
Outdoor Decor Ideas
- Fire Pits
- String Lights
- Wooden Signage/Wooden Palettes
- Upcycled doors
- Upcycled furniture
- Old Wooden Barrels
- Natural nameplates
- Vintage Props
- Vintage crockery/cutlery
- Pop up catering
There’s something cozy and romantic about candlelight that can really elevate any venue particularly as the evening and festivities draw on.
Using vintage, upcycled, or rustic lanterns is a great way to add character to the scene, and candles can easily be placed inside old jars or glasses for safety.
As long as you make sure they are safely positioned and unable to cause a fire, candles, and lanterns are an amazing way to bring atmosphere to your wedding party.
Much the same as candles, fire pits bring a lot of romance and festivity to any party and can help us feel a sense of warmth and safety.
Just as with candles, however, don’t become complacent and make sure the fires are carefully lit and under constant supervision to prevent a disastrous accident.
Proper disposal of fire is also as important as keeping watch over it, to prevent it from relighting after the party is over.
If your venue allows for it, string lights can give an otherworldly appeal to woodland weddings, adding a sense of magic and wonder to the atmosphere.
String lights are much safer than candles but you are limited but how easily they are hung up and this can be difficult in certain venues.
If you want to start your wedding reception with a bang, fireworks may be a great way to add spectacle and excitement to your wedding.
Just make sure they are handled and stored carefully and aren’t treated irresponsibly.
Wooden Palettes and signage are a great way to upcycle used components and add style to your wedding, particularly in natural environments like the beach of the forest.
They can be treated and painted to match your colors and can be quite versatile, functional, and cheap. The holy trinity for anyone planning a wedding.
Continuing down the route of wooden, versatile, and cheap, upcycled doors can add a lot of character to your outdoor venue, helping people to enter your party with a sense of awe and fascination.
Just make sure they’re sturdy enough and secured properly.
Upcycled furniture is another great way to find solutions to seating arrangements and other logistical issues that come with wedding receptions.
Despite its humble nature, upcycled furniture can look very attractive when used well and paired with other complimentary decorations.
Wooden barrels are another eye-catching piece of decor that can fill space easily while also acting as a table for drinks, food, and other decorations.
If you can find them cheap or get them included with your venue they will add a lot of character and charm to beach scenes as well as more traditional wedding designs.
While it may be tempting to hoist your partner into one and run off into the sunset, the wheelbarrow is often better used as a container for drinks and food, that can be easily brought around a large outdoor venue.
The convenience and relative ease of use make the wheelbarrow a useful and attractive addition to the decor.
Benches, particularly wooden benches are a simple, minimalist way to provide ample seating for large outdoor weddings and receptions.
Benches are also quite easy to move and reconfigure around a dancefloor, should the inevitable wine-fuelled dance-off require an audience.
If the weather isn’t a sure thing in your part of the world, a marquee provides a great mix of protection to the essential parts of the decor, from both sunlight and rain.
It provides this while remaining open and airy, allowing light in and giving you a space to secure lights and other electronics.
Parasols and Umbrellas
These again provide a good mix of protection, particularly from sunlight and you will be able to decorate them with lights and foliage to help them match your overall wedding theme.
Just make sure to take them down if the wind picks up!
Using natural nameplates such as upcycled wood or leaves can give a nice addition to your overall theme.
It’s these little bits of detail that can add up to create a truly stunning and unique venue.
Blankets are essential for outdoor weddings, as the night draws in temperatures can drop quite rapidly.
Having an ample supply of blankets can help keep older attendees warm and comfortable even as the mercury begins to drop.
No wedding is complete without an adequate and tastefully chosen flower arrangement. However, with outdoor weddings, you can get very creative with how you use flowers.
They can decorate tables, marquees, umbrellas, walkways, and paths as well as upcycled props and furniture such as benches. The only limit is your imagination (and budget!).
Vintage props are great because they can be used to match whatever environment you’ve chosen to host your wedding in, making them highly versatile and capable of sprucing up all kinds of venues.
Vintage cutlery and ceramics are a great way of extending your theme and adding a really quality feel to your wedding.
This level of detail will impress your guests and look amazing when combined with all the other decorations in your reception area.
Chalkboards don’t have to remain the tool of your old grumpy high school teacher anymore.
They can be a great way to label toilets and other parts of your venue to make sure nobody gets lost and that everyone knows what’s on the menu.
They are relatively cheap, look great, and can be changed quickly if needed.
No wedding is complete without a bar to help your family and friends celebrate with a little social lubrication.
A well-stocked bar can be decorated to match the theme you’ve chosen, whether it be a beach bar or a regal brewery, a stylish bar will look good as a centerpiece and give your more nervous guests the courage to get out on that dance floor!
Pop Up Catering
Some venues won’t come with catering, and in these instances, pop-up catering can be a lifesaver. They are great because you can choose your favorite cuisines and bring them wherever you want to go.
Their explosion in popularity recently means there’s a vast number of high-quality caters available who specialize in large events.
Last but definitely not least, a dance floor! You and your partner are going to need somewhere to have your first dance, and for your guests to embarrass themselves!
A dancefloor doesn’t need to be over complicated and can work well as decking or tiles for it to perform its function well. Just make sure it’s well lit so people can see all the action unfold.