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  • bkirkham79

Planning an outdoor ceremony in Sussex (or the UK in general!)

Updated: Oct 11, 2023

If you are planning an outdoor ceremony in Sussex, then you are in luck – Sussex is a stunning part of the country and the county is brimming with amazing locations and venues, there is something for everyone.

Outdoor ceremonies are so special and are growing in popularity (partly due to our changing climate I expect and possibly also a positive impact of COVID?). But whether you are considering a beach wedding, a vineyard ceremony, a garden gathering, a woodland blessing or indeed any other outdoor setting, there are a few things that you need to consider:

Don’t ignore the need for a plan B!

I’m going in with the big guns here and it may sound slightly pessimistic, but I’m a planner and I like to be prepared…so it is always advisable to consider worst case scenario. If you are planning an outdoor ceremony at a venue, it might be possible to decide on the day to move inside to an alternative space. If you are planning a marquee reception, it is usually possible to put down a deposit on an additional structure that you can have on standby and make a decision close to the day, depending on the forecast. Plan B will very much depend on what your plan A is and this is something I’m always happy to discuss with my couples.

You can’t beat Mother Nature, so don’t go in to battle with her!

Now this will depend massively on the location you select, but let’s take a beach wedding as an example…. Do. Your. Research. Know your tide times – no one wants to have to start running up the beach mid-ceremony to avoid getting soggy feet! Other things to consider might include wind and guests’ ability to hear you, direction of the sun and guests’ ability to see you, daylight hours….

Keep your guests comfortable

This actually starts ahead of your day – make sure your guest know that your ceremony is going to be outdoors so that they can take some personal responsibility to be prepared. Then, depending on the time of year (or indeed any given day in this country) you might want to consider providing the following:

· Water – particularly important if it is hot, to avoid guests getting dehydrated

· Suncream – imagine all your photos with a load of sun burnt guests and then avoid it…

· Fans

· Blankets

· Hot water bottles!

· Wellies

Ceremony set up

The set up of your space is really important, and although some of the reasons have already been covered, they stand repeating:

· Consider whether there is any shade / cover available

· Consider access to the space for suppliers, your guests and yourselves!

· Direction that you AND your guests will be facing – try to avoid anyone being dazzled by the sun

· Will everyone be able to hear you – it may be that you need to consider hiring a PA system depending on the size and set up of the space

Make sure it is allowed!

The joy of an outdoor celebrant-led ceremony is that it doesn’t have to be at a specific wedding venue….which can open up so many choices (and often save a bit of money). However, keep in mind it may be necessary to gain permission from the land owner, depending on the location that you are hoping to use. In addition, keep in mind that if it is a public space then you may well draw a crowd!

This is not an exhaustive list by any means and there may well be additional considerations which are specific to your chosen venue / location. Get in touch for a no obligation chat, I’d love to hear about what (and where) you are planning!

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