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How to plan an outdoor wedding in the UK

Having an outdoor wedding in the UK requires a lot of planning, there's so much to think about so let me break it down for you!

outdoor tipi wedding venue in sussex

Choosing your venue

Unless you're having your wedding in your garden or on family land, you will need to find some land to hire or a venue. A good starting place is Google, you can search 'outdoor wedding venues in (insert county)' or 'tipi wedding venue near me' etc. My go to is Coco Wedding Venues, they are an amazing directory for wedding venues. Their wedding finder allows you to choose the area and the venue type so they will be able to give you some great options.

Shelter / Cover options

You will need shelter either from the rain or the sun. Popular options include Tipis, Marquees, Yurts, Stretch Tents and Sailcloth Tents. These will usually be used for your wedding breakfast and dance floor. Tipi's are very cool but they can be expensive and dark inside, if you chose a tipi think about having a light coloured material. Yurt's are great, they aren't as tall as tipi's but they let in lots of light and have a cool interior. Marquee's are usually the cheapest option but can look really nice when they're styled well. For the drinks reception a stretch tent will work really well, it will give your guests somewhere shaded to relax and have their drinks.

tipi wedding in sussex
yurt for outdoor wedding in the cotswolds

stretch tent for outdoor wedding, at Haylands barn wedding venue in sussex
wedding yurt from cheltenham yurt hire, outdoor wedding in the cotswolds

Furniture Hire

Having an outdoor wedding means you're starting with a completely blank canvas. Once you've got your tipi/marquee booked you will need some furniture to put in it. The furniture you need to hire will be chairs for the ceremony, tables for the wedding breakfast, a table for the cake, a table for the guest book and gifts, a dance floor, and maybe some sofas/chairs/ hay bales to create a relaxing area for the drinks reception.

relaxing seating area for outdoor tipi wedding in sussex

You Need Power

This is one of the most important things you will need to hire - a generator! If you're in the middle of a field you will need electricity for things like lighting, caterers, fridges, heating, music, PA system, toilets, a photo booth etc.

Catering and Drinks

For outdoor weddings, a relaxed buffet usually works the best because you won't need to hire lots of staff as the guests can serve themselves. For the drinks, I would recommend hiring a mobile bar, they will serve drinks for you all day so it's one less thing for you to worry about. If you're having canapés during the drinks reception then the catering team should be able to serve them for you. Alternatively, you could have a food truck or ice cream bike so guests can get the food themselves, it also adds to the laid back vibe of the wedding. Some food truck examples would be pizza, crepes, tacos, ice cream, fish and chips, or burgers.

tin roof pizza, pizza truck for outdoor wedding in sussex
bbq wedding caterers for outdoor weddings sussex

chin chin mobile bar for outdoor tipi wedding in sussex
mobile bar for outdoor wedding in the cotswolds

vegan wedding caterers for outdoor wedding in the cotswolds
ice cream bike for weddings in the cotswolds


It will probably (fingers crossed) be quite hot in the summer so I would recommend choosing an outfit you're going to be comfortable in. Having a lightweight dress or suit will keep you cooler so keep the material in mind when you're searching for your wedding outfit. If you're wearing a suit you will probably take your jacket off after the ceremony, I would suggest keeping the wedding relaxed and letting people take their jackets off so they don't get uncomfortable. Also, if you are spending most of the day on the grass high heels may not be the best option, consider wearing chunky heels, flat shoes or trainers.

summer wedding at Haylands barn in sussex

outdoor summer wedding in the uk


Assuming you're planning a summer wedding, you will have to think about if there's a shaded area for your ceremony as sitting in the blazing sun can be really tough for your guests. If there isn't any shade at all at your venue then you could think about buying some hand held parasols for shade or fans to help people cool down. You will also need a back up plan incase it rains, so make sure you have an inside / sheltered space available for the ceremony or at least some umbrellas.

Unless you're hiring a venue with an outdoor wedding licence then you won't be able to get legally married. This is nothing to worry about though as you can have a celebrant, they can completely personalise the ceremony to you which is why I prefer them to a legal ceremony. They can tell your love story, you can have readings, a group song, ring warming, hand fasting, or anything else you want.

outdoor wedding ceremony at Haylands barn in sussex
summer wedding ceremony in sussex

bride and groom under umbrella at rainy woodland ceremony at wildwood bluebell venue
wedding guests in rain coats at outdoor woodland ceremony


Lighting is something you may not initially think of but it's something you'll definitely need in the evening. Festoon lights are great, they give a nice atmosphere whilst keeping it quite dark. Fairy lights will have a similar effect. You could also use up-lighters around the inside of the tipi / marquee. If you're having a band or DJ they should be able to provide lighting for the dance floor. You may need to consider having some pathway lighting leading from the venue to the car park so people can find their way back to their cars in the evening.

bride and groom under festoon lights at wildwood bluebell wedding venue


Not the most glamorous part of your wedding planning but hiring toilets is necessary if your wedding is in a field or on some land with no available toilets. You don't need to get ugly port-a-loos, there are some nice looking toilet trailers available to hire.

toilet trailer hire in sussex

I hope this has helped! If you need a photographer for your outdoor wedding please get in touch.


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