Top Tips for Outdoor Ceremonies from a Wedding Celebrant

Beaches, woodlands, farms, and gardens all make perfect settings for an outdoor wedding…

The only downside can be the English weather – or so you might think…

It’s such a treat to have an outdoor wedding ceremony, but we live in the UK and have certainly been experiencing some changeable weather of late. So what happens if it rains on your Big Day?!

Well the truth is (spoiler alert):

…everyone just has a fabulous time.

Of course it’s lovely to have blue sky and sunshine, and a gently wafting breeze. However, sometimes the weather just doesn’t play ball.

Will my wedding guests get the hump and go home?

Certainly not! They have come to help you enjoy the most important day of your life – as long as you’re happy, they’re happy.

They might be grateful for the offer of an umbrella and to have a dry seat to sit on. And, if the weather has been ‘iffy’ in the run up to the ceremony, they may be relieved to have been given permission to ditch the stilettos and wear flats.

What they will love is the added excitement, the camaraderie and the opportunity to put into practice that indomitable British spirit.

What about my beautiful wedding dress though?


Well it might get a bit mucky that is true. Though there are some beautiful shorter gowns out there, so if you’re planning to have an outdoor wedding – whether that on grass, or sand,  (or mud!), you might be wise to go for something that can be hitched up over a wellie-boot. (Did I mention there are some fab wedding-wellies out there too?!)

The photos will be ruined – true or false?

Definitely false.

I am no photography expert myself. However, a wedding photographer I met recently remarked that although he was sure the bride & groom would be disappointed if it rained, he would be happy since it created fantastic light for him to work with.  More flattering apparently!

Professional wedding photographer Gemma Chase has written a fabulous guest blog on this topic for me; which I will be posting up on my site next week; so watch this space.

What can I do to make sure I’m prepared? 

Outdoor weddings are my absolute favourite. The opportunity to be out in the open with a natural background against which to declare your commitment to your loved one, is golden.

Some additional consideration around different weather outcomes will help things run smoothly on the day.

Remember too that a steaming hot day can be a challenge for other reasons, (overheated guests, sunburnt shoulders, all hot and sweaty – you get the picture!), so don’t think of rain as ‘the bad guy’.



If you’re getting married in summer there are no guarantees about the weather so it’s helpful to think around all possibilities.

A clutch of matching white rain umbrellas will ensure that your photos look good whatever (better than a mis-match of different shapes and sizes). As always with umbrellas if you don’t have them you will need them! And, if you do have them they probably won’t even get a look in and then you can sell them on!

In case it’s tropical have plenty of sun lotion, bottles of water or even fans available for people during the ceremony. If you’re not under any kind of shade, and having a midday-ish ceremony, it can be in full sun.

One couple I worked with turned had all their order of services printed on a small A5 sheet of card, which they stuck on to willow sticks and make beautiful paddle-fans for everyone to use. Genius!

If it’s likely to be windy think about what options there are for some shelter, either against trees or other existing structures, or consider having the side of a marquee as a back-drop windbreak. There are some beautiful tenting options out there, that can look very natural.

Finally, if you’re working with a wedding celebrant, (which you most likely are if you’re having a bespoke outdoor ceremony), ask them for advice.

Wedding celebrants are made of tough stuff and will have survived ceremonies in gale force winds, hail, snow and 90-degree heat.

They’ll help you to get the most out of your wedding day whatever the weather.

If you’d like to chat to me about an outdoor wedding you are planning, or need any advice, please feel free to call me on 07780 708864 or email

You can find out more about my wedding and civil partnership services here


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