Updated: Apr 22, 2019
Outdoor weddings have never been more popular and - with natural lighting, space to breathe and backdrops to die for - you can understand why. If you’d like an outdoor wedding - here in Cheshire, anywhere in the UK or further afield - your planning journey just got a whole lot easier, with the launch of a new online directory dedicated to outdoor ceremonies.
A one-stop-shop for outdoor wedding planning
Established celebrant Sophie Easton and her husband Eric have created the site. I caught up with Sophie and asked her where the idea came from.
“I hit upon the idea for OutdoorCeremonies.co.uk when I realised that more than 60% of the couples and families I was working with had chosen to hold their ceremony outdoors,” says Sophie. “After doing some market research I discovered that there were hundreds of outdoor venues operating across the UK, some licensed to hold outdoor ceremonies, and others unlicensed but promoting unique and personalised celebrant-led ceremonies. I was then surprised to find that there was no one place couples and families could go to find both licensed and unlicensed venues, along with other key suppliers for their outdoor event, and when a bride told me that she was having a nightmare sourcing suppliers for her upcoming ‘wedfest’ wedding, I just knew I had to turn the idea into a reality!”
The combination of listing licensed and unlicensed venues is a real game-changer for couples who don’t want their weddings to be restricted by the rules of the registry office. If you want a personal ceremony, written just for you by a highly skilled wedding industry creative - rather than standard wording read out by a state-employed administrator - then you’ll need a celebrant. Because celebrants don’t get involved with the legal side of marriage, there are no restrictions on where they can perform your wedding ceremony. So, while you can have an outdoor celebrant-led ceremony at a licensed venue, you might well prefer the freedom and endless choice that unlicensed venues can offer you - not to mention their prices, which can be lower.
OutdoorCeremonies.co.uk currently lists a wide range of outdoor venues across England, Wales and Scotland, along with marquee, tipi and tent companies, and of course celebrants, and the site is expanding all the time. Their ultimate goal is to be a true one-stop-shop for couples and families in their planning process, providing all the suppliers and all the advice they need to help them on the way to a beautiful outdoor ceremony.
Say 'I do' in a field, on a beach or even in your own back garden!
So why have outdoor ceremonies become so popular over the last few years? Sophie believes there are two major factors involved: “Firstly, there is a growing need for personalisation when it comes to organising key events such as weddings, given that we live in a society now where pretty much everything can be personalised to us. We want our special events to reflect our specific tastes and tell our own unique stories, and people are less inclined to accept an off-the-shelf, ‘insert name here’ style of ceremony. This demand has led an increasing number of couples and families to opt for celebrant-led ceremonies, and as a result of that they are no longer confined to licensed venues for their celebration; suddenly they have the option to hold their ceremony in their back garden, in a field, on a beach, the list goes on!
A greener wedding
“Secondly, the last decade has seen an enormous growth in our environmental awareness,” says Sophie. “People are beginning to consider the impact they’re having on the planet in everything they do, including planning events, so it’s unsurprising that occasions such as weddings are being taken back to nature. The industry has experienced a huge rise in eco-friendly weddings in recent years, where supplies are locally sourced, plastic is eliminated, and use of electricity is kept to a minimum by taking the celebrations out into the natural world.”
If you’re planning an outdoor wedding - or indeed any kind of al fresco ceremony or celebration, have a look at OutdoorCeremonies.co.uk. It's free to use and it's a great starting point when you're looking for suppliers who will embrace your ideas rather than wrinkling their noses and explaining why you ought to do things their way.
I’m always happy to talk weddings, whether you’re on a mission to get all your suppliers booked by the end of the week or you’re right at the start of your wedding planning journey and you’d just like a no-obligation chat to kick around some ideas and find out what your options are.
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