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Decoration Ideas for Outdoor Weddings

Uttara Manohar Dec 31, 2020
In case you're planning an outdoor wedding, you need to remember that you'll have to put in extra efforts to ensure that your decorations are in place throughout. Even though you pick a public area for your wedding, make sure that the spot is in a private enough patch so that your wedding does not become a tourist attraction for passersby.
Remember Phoebe's wedding in Friends? Every bride-to-be must have watched that episode with dreamy eyes, as Phoebe and Mike walked down the aisle amidst heaps of snow. Unexpected snowfall might not have deterred Phoebe's will to have the wedding, but then again, not everyone is as spontaneous and adorably weird as her.

Backyard Wedding

A backyard works in so many ways as a great venue for a wedding. If it's the home you grew up in, then there's the sentimental attachment. Plus, it brings your wedding budget down quite a few notches. Then, there's always the convenience factor. It's super easy to get your hands on something that you forget 'cos it's 'just down the hall' rather than going all the way back from another venue.
At the entrance to the yard or the house, place baskets of flowers for guests to pick up from as they enter the venue. Try to get your hands on a piece of like the one in the image. This look is quite popular these days, so you can't go wrong with it.
You can go as casual as you please with the décor in backyard wedding. Pay heed, causal does not mean trashy. Even using the good old checkered table cloth can make your table look so gorgeous! All you need to give it that bit of panache is matching glassware and some greens.
All it takes is an assortment of carefully selected hanging decorations like the paper lanterns and hearts to transform your backyard into something out of a fairytale. Assuming that your yard is going to have a fair amount of greenery, using white hanging decoration is your best option. It's neutral and it stands out perfectly against the green.
Seating in a backyard wedding can be quite tricky. But it's something you can be totally creative with. As you can see in the image, choosing a totally different color for the seating can work wonders.
Even if your yard is not as big as the one given here, scour flea markets for single chairs of different colors, sizes and styles. There's nothing like mixing and matching your furniture to add that personal touch to a wedding, especially one in your own backyard.
This is going to be the center of attention as far as décor at the wedding is concerned. One of the best ways to decorate it, is to use the natural greenery in your backyard around it.
White is the color to go for the major decoration elements in a backyard wedding, especially if it is lush green. Punctuate it with color here and there, but let white and green be the dominating colors.

Beach Wedding

Aah! The golden sand, the orange sun, the gentle breeze, the playful waves and the smell of the sea! There can hardly be a more romantic setting for a wedding. If you're planning to be a beach bride, more than half your work is done in terms of décor. The magnificence of a charming sunset is the only thing you need. But the challenge is to make the place look a little better than a weekend beach picnic.
At random spots, make mounds or castles of sand and deck them up with bright paper flowers. You can also use bright beach sets to break the monotony of the sand. Plus, it adds a playful and fun element to your beach wedding.
What says fun at the beach better than tableware screaming of the ocean! You'll be surprised at how easily you can make your tables look chic and cheerful without spending a bomb.
Gather your bridesmaids and go shell hunting a few days before the wedding. Find a bunch of shells in assorted shapes, sizes, and colors. Have them properly cleaned and sterilized. Use these on plain white, cotton or linen napkins as table décor.
This is probably the simplest thing to take care of at a beach wedding. All you need is flower petals in the color of your choice (read, in keeping with the colors that you've picked for your wedding).
You can scatter the petals in shapes of your choice. You can draw a heart or you can have your names spelled out along with the date. This arrangement might last only a short while, so have all the photographs clicked while the petals are still in place.
Regular seating for a beach wedding can get boring. Plus seeing that all the other elements in your wedding have that dash of quirkiness, why not inculcate it in the seating as well?
You can dig up big but shallow holes. Place huge mattresses and cushions in these holes. Have a long table with a simple white table cloth. Punctuate the area with. Ah! Heavenly!
OK. You can go a bit old-fashioned with this aspect of your beach wedding. Since you're going to spend the most important moments of your wedding here, you need to make sure that you look your best.
Beach winds can be harsh on a bride. So it's always a good option to be sheltered under a suitably protective canopy-style arch. Have palms with coconuts or ferns flank the arch to make it look all the more breezy.

Park Wedding

Ooh! You've decided to take the green road and have your wedding at a park! You go girl! The breathtaking greenery along with the tranquility that a park can offer is one of the most perfect atmospheres a wedding can ask for. So, how are you going to transform this lush locale into the fairytale wedding you've been planning since you were a little girl? Easy peasy!
Get over-the-top mushy! It is your wedding day after all. Have cute little boards to label all the 'couple' things at the wedding. It's cute, romantic, and makes for great wedding pictures!
Bare is beautiful. So you don't need to cover your tables with linen. Use the abundance of nature to your full advantage at your park wedding. Have big flowers in varying colors placed in mismatched vases. Hunt in local antique stores, flea markets, garage sales, and websites to find the perfect assortment of vases, each completely different from the other.
A park is already one of the most beautiful places to have a wedding. All you need is sporadic color to balance out the green expanse. Rent a few small hand carts and tie brightly colored balloons to their handles. You can also fill up the cart with balloons so kids can pick one from them when they feel like.
Indulge in color. Use brightly colored chairs for your guests. Have them seated at quaint. The chair and aforementioned flower vases will more than make up for the lack of color.
This idea is way better than a conventional arch. If the park you've picked has one of those little bridges in it, then you can have the ceremony conducted on it. Decorate the railing with a bit of tulle and ribbons or flowers and you're good to go! Way more romantic than under a simple arch, isn't it? Just imagine the gorgeous pictures you're going to have!

Ranch Wedding

So, it's a ranch wedding you have your heart on. Brilliant! A rustic wedding is intimate, gorgeous and as easy to decorate as any other wedding venue. All you need are some fabulous ideas.
What's a ranch wedding without a few rural influences here and there! Something like a cart with wicker baskets and colored glass containers can be used as a great decoration idea. It adds to the authenticity of the location you've picked to get married at. And let's face it, we all like a little oddity now and then.
A rustic ranch wedding is all about indulging in the abundance and bounty of nature. And your table décor can portray that to the T.
All you have to do is pick flowers and fruit or even grain stalks in a color that is in sync with the rest of your décor. You can use artificial fruit and paper flowers. There are more chances of getting the perfect color combination this way.
Gold and deep brown are the perfect colors to consider for a rustic wedding. Use plain yellow bulbs, but it's the mesh cover that gives them that dash of elegance. Use such elements in your ranch wedding to make it as classy an affair as ever.
Now here's where you bring in the fun in a barn wedding. You can use adorable seats with wheels. Even if you can't get your hands on something similar, work with the concept and you're sure to come up with awesome ideas for seating. Hay bales, logs of wood, wicker furniture: you have so much to choose from!
Having an altar at a ranch wedding may not really be necessary as you can use the gorgeous barn as a backdrop for the ceremony. However, you can use an archway at the entrance to the venue to welcome the guests. Fool them by using dreamy fabric on the arch. Imagine their surprise when they see the rest of the venue in shimmering and deep tones!

Waterfront Wedding

Another great outdoor venue that more and more brides are opting for is a waterfront wedding, and understandably so. The still water gives a sense of calm and peace, two very important requirements at a wedding. And it's not difficult to decorate it either.
Give your guests something to talk about. In a corner of the venue, perch a rugged-looking bike. This bike can serve two purposes. One: it can be a great spot for guests to get some crazy pictures clicked. Two: once the ceremony and the party are over, have your friends decorate it and keep it ready as your getaway vehicle!
Minimalistic table décor is always a winner at an outdoor wedding. See how beautiful a simple arrangement of tea lights in glasses looks. You can use anything small and heart-shaped as an accompaniment for these. Pretty leaves and flowers are a fail-safe way of introducing elegance into table décor, especially at a waterfront wedding.
Using the natural grandeur of a waterfront is the best thing to do in terms of décor. Subtlety is the key. Use small but noticeable elements like floating tea-lights in glass holders. They light up the venue AND make it look like something out of a fairytale!
Simple and sweet is the way to go even for seating at a waterfront wedding. Notice how refined and gracious the simple tables-for-four look in the image above. Wicker or bamboo for furniture is great. It's light and is just perfect for a day wedding in the outdoors.
If you've picked the grandness of a waterfront as the backdrop of your wedding, it only makes sense to have the ceremony take place in an elegant gazebo. Don't go overboard with the décor though. Keep it simple with just a few floral arrangements here and there. Let the water in the background do the talking.

Forest Wedding

A wedding ceremony in the midst of a million whispering trees is simply splendid. The green foliage, the sunrays filtering through the leaves, the foggy-misty atmosphere, and above all, the fragrance of fresh green life! With all this already handled by Mother Nature, there's hardly much you need to do to enhance the beauty of this stellar wedding venue.
If you can manage it, get a fancy, Cinderella-style carriage to be a makeshift photo booth for all the guests at the wedding. Once the party's over, it can double up as your getaway vehicle. Who wouldn't want it to be a part of their wedding, right?
If you're not the picnic table type, and are looking for something more polished, white is the color you should use on your tables. Nothing will make the décor stand out better in a completely green wooded area than pristine white tables with dashes of deep color here and there.
We know what you must be thinking: if the woods are so darn beautiful, why do they need to be decorated? Well, you can never have too much pretty at a wedding.
So, a few miniature lamp-posts here and there won't take away anything from the splendor of the woods. If anything, they'll add to the romance at your wedding. And no one can complain about that, can they?
Let your guests have a truly outdoorsy experience at your wedding. Rent multicolored picnic tables and have them sit picnic-style. Nothing spells woodsy fun like this. Plus, the kids will be super-excited about a picnic, so you have one less thing to worry about: grumpy kids.
We know you can always just stand among the trees for your ceremony, but a gazebo in the woods will give you some much-needed elevation and can serve as the focal point for your wedding venue.
Use natural material like leaves and flowers to decorate the gazebo. Alternatively, you can use ribbons in colors that go with your wedding color scheme to drape around the pillars.

Things to Consider

Your brain's probably all fuzzy with ideas whirring around right now. But before you get down to the planning of your big fat awesome wedding, there are some nitty-gritty that every outdoor bride needs to take into consideration when she's planning her wedding.
Weather: The first and foremost factor you need to keep in mind is the weather. According to the season and area your wedding is going to be in, you absolutely must keep an indoor backup plan ready. Tents are one of the best ways to ensure your wedding if the weather plays foul.
So make sure the venue is well-equipped with a tent or another indoor arrangement big enough to accommodate the whole crowd.

Permits: Another very important thing that you need to make sure of is the various permits, ordinances etc., that you need to use the venue for a wedding.
If it's a public area you're using, you need to obtain the permits from the necessary authorities. If it's a privately-owned venue, then make sure it meets all the inspection requirements to safely hold your wedding there.
Safety: Once you have the legalities in order, the next thing you have to ensure is the safety of everyone present at the wedding. What is going to be the main power source for the equipment and lighting at the wedding? Will you use a generator or battery-operated machines?
New York City lighting specialist Bentley Meeker suggests that you "Have a licensed electrician do the wiring". This way you can be assured that it's been taken care of by an expert. When using candles, always place them in votives or holders. Keep them in areas that are sufficiently away for children to reach.
Aesthetics: Don't make the mistake of thinking that just because a piece of decoration is going to be used in your wedding, it can't be an eyesore. Sometimes, this can lead to over-adornment and make your venue look like a cacophony of bizarre décor. "Complement the surroundings, don't compete with them," - Hair.
~ It is an al fresco wedding, so focus on using as much of the natural beauty as you can.
~ The décor does not necessarily have to exactly match the hues of the bridesmaids dresses and shoes, but should definitely complement them.
~ Always confirm what kind of decorations are permitted by the venue you have chosen.
~ Also, if they have interesting pieces like candelabras or fountains, take permission to use them. You're paying good money for the venue; why not use as much of it as you can.

Material: If the weather plays spoilsport, your décor is going to suffer. So, you need to plan and use suitable material for the decoration.
~ Avoid paper if you expect rain or heavy breeze.
~ If you expect a shower, it's always better to use natural décor like flowers and leaves which can withstand it.
~ If you've picked fabric for décor, avoid very light material as it can get damaged or blown away in windy areas.
Comfort of Guests: No one wants to see their guests grumpy at a wedding. Uncomfortable guests are grumpy guests. So, to have your guests smiling throughout the wedding, make sure they are extremely comfortable through the event. Simple things can go a long way in making them feel cared for.
~ If it's bound to be chilly, have a rack with some stoles, shawls and throws for the women. Have mufflers for the men.
~ If you're expecting a light drizzle, have a small umbrella at every seat.
~ If you expect it to be hot and sunny, hand each guest a pretty hand fan with a small tube of sunscreen as he or she enters.
~ If you expect that insects might cause a bit of a menace, hand each guest a tube of insect repellent lotion as he or she enters.
~ Have a small play area for kids.
~ Have extra comfortable seating for the elderly.
Such small things show your guests that you thank them for coming and that you promise to take good care of them while they're there. So don't forget these little niceties.

General: Now here's a bunch of very general things you need to keep in mind to avoid mishaps and confusions at your wedding.
~ Use microphones during the ceremony for the benefit of the guests sitting in the back. Collar mikes are the best option as they won't take away from your attire.
~ Make proper lavatory arrangements for your guests.
~ The general rule of thumb is to have one bathroom or stall for every 35 guests. - TheKnot. Make sure the loo stalls are placed downwind, just in case.
~ To be on the safer side, try to use battery-operated lights. This saves on electricity too. Remember to keep plenty of batteries handy.
~ The equipment you use at the wedding can have a lot of wires.
Make sure you conceal all the wires properly. This prevents tripping hazards and avoids a mess on the ground.
~ It's always a good idea to use citronella candles at an outdoor wedding. They keep the bugs away and have a pleasant fragrance too. Your guests will thank you for it.
~ If using a generator for power, makes sure that the power is enough to operate all the lights and equipment at the venue. Else you'll have lights dimming while the band is playing or the music softening during the wedding dance and things like that.