A completely outdoor wedding (weather permitting) is becoming a more viable option in the UK due to the adaptations in the Civil Licence law, so gazebos and solid outdoor structures can now be licensed for ceremonies.

An outdoor wedding will always be a gamble here in the UK and you should always have a ‘plan B’ to utilise indoor space if the weather is inclement. If you can create a design that can work indoors as well, you can rest easy.

An outdoor wedding falls into two stages — one that requires light and one that doesn’t. It is pointless having any candle decoration until night falls as it won’t be seen. This means you can create two different looks, and this will keep your reception visually interesting. So, here are my tips and ideas for outdoor wedding styling…

Be Practical

Even a slight breeze is sufficient to scatter petals, so don’t have décor such as a petal lined aisle. Also avoid very ‘light’ arrangements, such as small vases placed on the ground or tables, as they can easily blow over. Have weighted decoration lining your aisle or, better still, posies or similar tied to the side of chairs. Think stability.

Flowers Tied to Wedding Chair

Embrace the Fact You Are Outside

Include aspects such as edible flowers floating in your reception drinks or included in the dishes served. You could serve canapés on logs or in ‘flowering tubs’, or have a naked wedding cake decorated with flowers and foliage.

Ice Cream Stands

I have had ice cream stands at some of the outdoor wedding receptions I have organised and they go down a storm. Ones where guests can add their own toppings such as marshmallows, sprinkles, sauces etc are particularly popular.

Ice Creams with Toppings

Lawn Games

Lawn games are fun for both young and old. Think giant Jenga, croquet, quoits, giant chess…

A Swing

Decorated with flowers, a swing makes a lovely photo spot.

Swing Decorated with Flowers


Ribbons tied to trees are pretty and effective outdoor wedding styling. You could also hang your place cards from them.

Outdoor Bars

Outdoor Bars look great. A wooden bar with an illuminated ‘bar’ sign in front of it will look dynamic once darkness falls.

Outdoor Wedding Bar

Tree Lights

Once it gets dark, switch on lights to illuminate surrounding trees. This is inexpensive, atmospheric and striking outdoor wedding styling.

A Lounge Area

If you want to have a ‘lounge area’, think of day beds and cushions. Place coloured vases with storm candles and sand on the tables to create bright glows, and place blankets on the day beds in case anyone feels a little chilly.

Guest post by Siobhan Craven-Robins

Images from…

Flowers Tied to Chair: Neil Griffiths Photography

Ice Creams: David Schwartz Photography

Swing: Venetia Norrington Photography

Outdoor Bar: Anna Morgan Photography