Planning an outdoor wedding: advice from an events graduate

As Scotland seems to be getting used to the idea of (apparently, we’re still hopeful) warmer summers and the occasional heat wave that actually lasts longer than a couple of days, an increasing number of couples are opting for outdoor ceremonies and even reception parties when feeling particularly optimistic. Planning for an outdoor event can be difficult though, particularly for those who live in an area where the climate does not usually permit outdoor events. Here are our ideas to ensure your outdoor party lives up to your expectations.

Perhaps the most obvious of the advice for planning an outdoor wedding is have an alternative! Try to avoid venues which only offer outside space and instead opt for one which offers a bit of both. Spaces which are easily adaptable are great for this, offering an alternative for your guests in case of, dare we day it, rain.  We love GIN71 in Merchant for this kind of venue. Situated in the quaint and charming Virginia court, GIN71 actually run their bar across the court yard but have an indoor, easily accessible function suite too (not to mention toilets!). What could be more charming than taking over a court yard for the day? A tepee or stretch tent is another great alternative to a completely outdoor wedding, the offer all the comforts of an outdoor venue, but with the feeling and opportunity of being outside.

Another important aspect of planning for an outdoor wedding is considering the catering! It is not uncommon to forget about the logistics of catering when planning an outdoor event. Things to consider are electricity points, water facilities and cleanliness. Having a buffet can be a good idea at first, but do you really want to leave your Salmon basking in the summer heat? Didn’t think so. Luckily, there are clever business’ out there which specialise in catering for outdoor event. Gone are the canapes and industrial looking food trucks and in are smaller, boutique and quirky food alternatives. With everything from gourmet food to curries there is surely a food van for you.

The last thing we recommend before planning an outdoor event is parking.  For many couples the lure of an open field can be alluring – why don’t we just pitch a tepee there? Well, firstly it you don’t own the field you will need permission and secondly, where are your guests going to park? Parking for the average wedding reception- which is usually about 70-150 people- needs a lot of space. It also needs a lot of organisation. When left to their own devices people will park everywhere and anywhere making for a lengthy and slightly embarrassing situation when your guests try to leave at the same time.