Here at Northside Farm, we work hard to create the perfect setting for your wedding. The Barn is one of the most popular choices for our couples, but more and more are opting for a ceremony al fresco. By doing the ‘legal bit’ beforehand, you can make your wedding vows anywhere you wish. If you think our stunning views across the Northumberland countryside could be the perfect backdrop, here are the things you need to consider when planning an outdoor wedding ceremony…
1. Venue Rules and Restraints
If you’re opting for a civil ceremony, currently your venue must have a permanent structure with a licence in order to perform a legal ceremony outside (these rules are changing, so check with us when you visit).
However, if you choose a celebrant wedding, you can marry anywhere outside, as long as there’s space for your guests. A celebrant can help you create a truly unique ceremony, but it won’t be legally binding, so you’ll need to visit your local registry office to sign on the dotted line. In this case, Northside Farm won’t be listed on your wedding certificate as the place you got married.
2. Whatever the Weather
When it comes to the weather, getting married outside in the UK is always going to be a gamble, so be prepared for rain or shine. Provide parasols or sunglasses for shade, blankets, pashminas or wraps for warmth, and umbrellas (and possibly even wellies) for the inevitable downpour.
It’s also worth having a Plan B just in case the weather really does throw everything at you. Talk to us about other options on site and don’t forget to inform your guests so they can be prepared with appropriate footwear and clothing. Forewarned is forearmed!
If you want all the magic and beauty of an outdoor weddding without the weather worry, our new Gin Gang ceremony space could be perfect. With glass on all sides of this circular structure, it’s easy to forget you’re indoors! You can read more about this unique building in our latest edition of Notes From Northside.
3. Access All Areas
Consider how you’ll arrive and leave the ceremony. Do you need to lay down matting to make it easier to walk? Do you need to consider wheelchair users or children in pushchairs? Remember, high heels and walking sticks don’t do well in grass and woodland. Provide heel protectors or request that your guests bring outdoor friendly footwear for the ceremony.
If your ceremony is some distance from the rest of your celebration, you may need to provide extra transport. A vintage bus perhaps, or a decorated trailer on the back of a tractor?
4. Frills and Thrills
Think about natural ways to enhance the beautiful surroundings you are in. You may want to create your own aisle to walk down or construct a backdrop to stand in front of. Wooden doors decorated with floral displays, hoops of flowers, macramé, arches of Pampas grass – the options are endless.
5. Take Your Seat
If you have a theme for your ceremony, you may want to explore other ideas for keeping friends and family sitting pretty during the proceedings. Hay bales are an easy way to create rustic charm but will snag tights and more delicate materials, so cover the tops with blankets, cloths or cushions.
Wooden benches or vintage chairs are another possibility. Deckchairs and big fat cushions are also a fun alternative but not for the faint-hearted. The challenge is to extract yourself from said seats without showing underwear or having to roll on to all-fours first!
6. Sound, Heat, and Light
Make sure you can be seen and heard by your guests. Consider the time of day, and if you’re getting married at dusk, ensure your ceremony has suitable lighting. Think festoon bulbs, candles in hurricane lanterns, fairy lights or glow sticks.
Depending on the time of year, you may want to provide extra heating for your loved ones too. You could opt for portable heaters, fire pits (with suitable safety measures met), or blankets to encourage cuddling up.
Being outside means you’ll also need to be aware of how your voices carry. Facing your guests and speaking loud and clear will help you be heard above the elements.
We’d love to hear your ideas for an outdoor wedding ceremony. Why not head over to our Facebook page and join the discussion?