The Wonders of a Woodland Wedding
If you have an affinity with the outdoors and nature then setting your wedding in a woodland could be the ideal way to celebrate your special day. All the ingredients are already on tap: the sounds, colours, smells, and the whole outdoors atmosphere. If this sounds like it could be perfect for you, here are some top tips to ensure you get your day just right.
The first thing to note is that not many woodland wedding venues are licensed for marriages. A few might be, but I encourage you to do your research first. However, this won’t be a problem if you use a Celebrant. The Enchanted Woodland Wedding Venue which I have included in my top 5 venues is not licenced, and I had the great pleasure of conducting Alex and Josh’s wedding there in August. I have two more ceremonies booked at this wonderful venue next year.
To help me put together these top tips, I spoke to Alex and asked her advice from the couple’s point of view on what worked and what to consider before the big day.
If you are on a budget, don’t worry. You can do so much yourself, such as organising flowers, arranging the food and setting up. Although you may want to enlist some friends to help out. It is quite a long day, especially when you factor in children and the attention and care they may need prior to your big day.
When thinking about the theme, consider the time of year and the natural flowers and colours that will be present. How amazing to incorporate the surroundings into your day.
The time of day you plan to hold your ceremony can be much more flexible in an unlicensed venue and when using a Celebrant. I would recommend visiting your venue at different times and days of the year before you decide when will be just right for you.
Plan, plan plan, especially your transport. Alex’s location at the Enchanted Woodland was quite remote, and hotels and accommodation may be some way away. If there’s an option at your venue, it might be an idea to stay over/camp out.
It could be quite a long walk from the car park on uneven ground so make sure that you warn your guests about appropriate footwear and provide assistance for older guests.
Also bear in mind that the seating provided might be quite low at the ceremony space. This particular venue has wooden benches, which fit with the natural surroundings, but older guests or those with issues may struggle. Alex’s tip was to bring some chairs down to the ceremony area and/or cushions. Then don’t forget about the weather. If it’s cold, maybe you could provide blankets for guests. And you should have a wet weather back-up plan to ensure you’re ready for all conditions. Brollies at the ready!
The ceremony area is quite a walk from the main tipi area at Enchanted Woodland and it may be that your chosen venue is deep in the woods. Factor in a rehearsal with your Celebrant if you can. Then, to get the entrance music just right, have someone check for your arrival.
Alex asked a good friend, who happens to be a compere by trade, to be their Master of Ceremonies. He was in charge of rounding up guests and keeping to some timings on the day. He was also great at the speech making time. You may need to appoint a friend or ask your Celebrant to help organise your friends/the day.
As the ceremony space is outside, and if you have more than about 40 guests, you may need enhancement/speakers. I brought a speaker to use, and Alex provided one for the music. Don’t forget these need to be battery operated – we are in the great outdoors after all.
There are plenty of natural sounds so don’t worry about music to fill in the gaps during the ceremony when tying the knot or signing a certificate.
As with most outside areas in the country, bear in mind that any live music may have to stop at midnight. Therefore, if you wish to party the night away do bring some form of music/speakers to use later.
If you are providing free drinks for your guests do be aware that they may take advantage of this and enjoy themselves too early in the day. Timing again is a factor. Many of Alex’s guests arrived by around 1pm and were then leaving quite early, especially the older contingent.
One of the absolute pluses is that a Woodland wedding is great for children of all ages. They can run wild safely, there is plenty of space and fresh air, and in Alex’s case there was a children’s play area so no need for paid entertainment. Bonus!
If you are DIY’ing your wedding you also may need to plan for the next day. As Enchanted Woodland is an adventure centre in the daytime Alex had to clear up by 12pm. Again friends and family may need to be roped in!
I hope these hints and tips are useful when planning your ceremony in the wonderful outdoors. I want to thank Alex for her fantastic insights.
If you have any questions when planning your day or would like any assistance do get in touch.
Thank you to Dominic for the fabulous photos – https://www.dominiclemoinephotography.co.uk