With non-essential shops opening this week, many people being back at work and talks of bars and restaurants opening in a matter of weeks, things are getting back to a ‘new normal’. So why do I feel a little bit like the band on the Titanic that played on whilst everyone else scrambled around them?
Whilst the lockdown restrictions are easing slightly in England, we are still a long way from social gatherings, large meetings and events. This does not, however, mean that we are not still wanting to get together with friends and colleagues and there are lots of different activities that you can put together to keep you thoroughly entertained for a few hours. Here are my Top 5.
Over the past few years, the rise of people wanting to get married in the gorgeous British countryside has been immense. Whilst it may seem that the British weather does not lend itself to such events, the industry has adapted and so long as you have the right location and structures then an outdoor wedding can be a success whatever the weather.
So what’s the appeal?
Whilst there will always be a place for the traditional indoor wedding venue, whether that’s a hotel, stately home or other buildings, more and more couples are wanting a relaxed feel to their big day with more choices and flexibility that a traditional venue can offer. There are some restrictions and challenges to an outdoor venue but a lot more can be accomplished with a blank canvas such as a field or grounds of a house than within a permanent building. Want to arrive on horseback? Sure. Want all your guests sitting on hay-bales for the ceremony? No problem. Want an ice-cream van, VW bus photo booth or chill-out room decked out as a Moroccan Bedouin tent? We can sort that for you. Wedding planners love things that are a step outside the norm and your guests will too. Everyone wants their wedding to be special and to be remembered so anything that means that in years to come people can say “I was at a wedding once where they…” is awesome.
Surely there are downsides?
Absolutely. Every venue of any kind has it’s pros and cons so think carefully about what really matters to you before deciding on an outdoor wedding.
Cost – The first thing is that many people think that a marquee in a field is a cheaper option than a hotel but it isn’t. A hotel has everything in house – tables and chairs, kitchen equipment, electricity – whereas an outdoor venue needs to bring all of that in. Whilst all good suppliers and wedding coordinators are experienced in this and can arrange it all for you, it does come at a price. In addition, you may need to think about having a contingency budget for bad weather. For example, if you’re planning an open-air element to your big day but there’s rain forecast, you may need to hire in a last-minute stretch tent to keep everyone dry.
Licenses – Another element to consider is the legal ceremony of marriage. Most outdoor wedding venues are not licensed. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, only permanent roofed buildings that are immovable are deemed suitable for licensing (Boats that are permanently moored are an exception). This means that temporary marquees and other non-fixed structures cannot be granted a licence so unless the outdoor venue has a barn or other permanent structure, it is unlikely to be licensed. Rules in Scotland are different and a lot more flexible.
This does not mean that you cannot have a ceremony on the land as part of your big day but you will need to do the legal bits either before or after at a registry office or church.
If you are not using an established outdoor venue then you will need to get the appropriate events license. This should be fairly straight forward via your local council but do get in touch with us for more info and advice.
Accommodation – The rural nature of most outdoor venues can also prove a problem in terms of local accommodation. Some sites allow camping which is great if you want to create a festival themed atmosphere but might not be so suitable for your great-aunt who may not fancy bedding down on a roll mat for the night. Most venues will have links with local hotels, bed and breakfasts or holiday lets that you can utilise or there is also the option to provide transport for your guests from the nearest larger town where they could be more accommodation options. It is something that can be overcome but do bear it in mind.
Other restrictions or things to think about – Some outdoor venues may not allow fireworks if there are animals nearby. Some may not allow firepits or have other restrictions. Talk through all your ideas and plans with a venue before you sign a contract in case there is something that you have your heart set on that cannot be done at your venue. The other thing to pay particular attention to is what each supplier is providing. Outdoor weddings can be a bit of a juggling act as there are so many suppliers you need to balance – structure, caterer, toilet hire, landowner etc. This is where a coordinator can come in handy so please do get in touch if it’s something you want some help with. That said, it can be done on your own but just make sure you know where every element that you need is coming from. It’s important that you have enough power, water supply and tables, chair, plates etc. or the wedding could get a bit awkward!
To summarise, outdoor weddings are amazing and really let a couple’s personality shine through. It’s no surprise that they are becoming much more popular and taking on a big market share when it comes to venues. If you are thinking about having an outdoor wedding but have any other questions about it, please get in touch for an initial free chat on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07765067306.
PS At The Events Executive Ltd we also represent and manage outdoor venues on behalf of the landowner so if you are looking to host events on your property but don’t have the experience or the time, please get in touch.