Alfresco-style weddings are becoming increasingly popular amongst brides and grooms, and is it any wonder? You’ll be surrounded by nature, scenery and wild flowers, and you’re guaranteed plenty of photogenic backdrops.

Linzi Barford, organiser of The Unconventional Wedding Festival knows a thing or two about planning an epic outdoor wedding. Taking place next month at Stanford Hall in Loughborough, this fabulous wedding festival is guaranteed to inspire your very own celebration. With tonnes of quirky, creative suppliers and plenty of wedding action, you’ll find everything you need for an unforgettable day. With that in mind, Linzi is here with her tips and advice for organising an outdoor themed wedding…

Pick a colour palette…

First things first, it’s time to pick a colour palette that compliments your outdoor wedding theme. We suggest choosing one main colour and then one accent shade, such as green, with subtle hints of grey. The choice is completely yours – opt for something that you love, but also something that works wonderfully with your venue.

Create a photobooth…

Make the most of your outdoor space and keep your guests entertained with a themed photobooth. Not only is it a great ice-breaker, buckets of fun and offers lots of fabulous photographic memories, it’s a great way to compliment your setting. Photobooths work really well under trees, where you can hang photo frames and props from the branches. If your venue doesn’t have a vast number of trees, you can use wooden crates, wicker baskets or hessian bags to hold the props.

Photo courtesy of Peter Macleod Photography

Choose your decor wisely…

Opt for props, decorations and details that perfectly reflect your theme. For instance, if you’re having an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ wedding theme, decorate your venue with outdoor signs that say, ‘This Way, That Way’. You can have some real fun and get utterly creative with your wedding décor, so let your personality shine through!

Hire in “extras”

For couples who are going down the fully themed route, but your guests aren’t feeling enthusiastic about fancy dress, don’t fret! You can hire themed actors to add the wow factor to your wedding day – both the younger and older guests will love them. You can also use them throughout your wedding photographs, just imagine Storm Troopers!

Photo courtesy of Imperial Icons

Entertainment

An outdoor wedding is a good excuse to get some extravagant entertainment. As long as it ties in with your theme, you can really go to town with it. Perhaps you’re having a medieval style wedding? Then opt for birds of prey, archery, a court jester or even knights. There are so many ways you can create an unforgettable experience for your guests!

Photo courtesy of Wedding Birds of Prey

Pick a fitting playlist.

Let’s talk about your wedding music. Choose a playlist that fits in with your theme, such as a movie soundtrack for that all-important first dance. If you want live music, choose a style that suits your theme. An acoustic band is the perfect match for a bohemian-inspired or rustic setting. For couples who want a magical vibe for a fairytale themed wedding, a harp playing in the background will offer an ethereal feel.

Photo courtesy of Rob Ward Photography

Food

It’s time to talk about food. If you’re having an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ wedding, a tea party with vintage china, quirky place settings and finger food will look scrumptious. Having a Games of Throne or a Harry Potter themed wedding? Then consider a medieval-style banquet or a grazing table will be a delicious feast for your friends and family

Photo courtesy of Bubble Bar

You don’t need to use fresh flowers…

We love nothing more than a themed buttonhole or alternative bridal bouquet for an outdoor wedding. Fresh flowers aren’t compulsory and by using quirky ideas, you’ll have oodles of options for your wedding theme. We’re talking mini Lego characters, lightsabres, vintage brooches and so much more.

Photo courtesy of Nicola Dawson Photography

Stationery

If you’re stuck when it comes to your stationery for a themed outdoor wedding, Vaishali Shah, Stationery Designer of ANANYA can help. See Ananya’s top tips below.

 

  1. Your invitation is the first experience that your guests will have leading up to your day, so will set the scene for everything else to come. If you have a favourite movie or character, you can include visuals from that movie into your stationery. You could include quotes from the movie into your invitations or menus, as well as for your wedding favour tags. You can also name your tables with your favourite movies/characters e.g. Disney characters or James Bond movies. Your dress code on your invitations can reflect your theme e.g. black tie for a James Bond themed wedding. There are many ways to creatively theme your wedding.
Photo courtesy of ANANYA

2. If you are having an outdoor themed wedding in Spring, your stationery can embrace all the new pastel colours of the countryside, the botanical revival, and the world in bloom – with lots of florals all round. Pink remains a firm favourite for the season, in both its dusty and more vivid shades.

Photo courtesy of ANANYA

3. Continuing with the movie theme, ANANYA shared inspiration from their tulip themed suite (insert tulip images), inspired by the movie ‘Tulip Fever’, featured delft blue and white tulips, and was paired with Perspex décor and a canopy of crisp white tulips. With a crisp colour palette in centre stage, the effect was fresh, clean, and perfect for an outdoor wedding.”

Photo courtesy of ANANYA

Bernadette Chapman, founder of The UK Alliance of Wedding Planners and Dream Occasions has over a decade of planning weddings. “I have organised many themed weddings before including a ‘Tim Burton’and ‘Midsummers Dream’and of course numerous themed parties as most of my parties have a theme.

There are two ways to organise a themed wedding, either little touches of it within the design or go all out!

Hire musicians to play music from the film, imagine everyone’s reactions if the ceremony or drinks reception music includes film songs.

Hire themed actors to either be standing still or walk around. Ask staff to wear something that complements the theme, in the past I’ve been in pirate crew fancy dress, worn Minnie Mouse ears, worn theme appropriate neck scarves etc. Name your tables key moments or places from the films. Ensure signage throughout the day is on theme

Photo courtesy of Flint, More and Byrne

Consider hiring in props to complement the theme, for example I hired props  for this Pirate of the Caribbean party and even transformed their woodland into a beach. You can hire in furniture and table settings to suit the theme as well, for this pirate party I hired in bamboo plates and metal jugs for the water.

Grazing stations could be perfect for themes like Game of Thrones that resemble banquets. I think for all the themes you mentioned wooden tables, benches and thrones for the couple make the most sense.

 The couple should pay special attention to their outfits, they do not need to be in themed outfits but the accessories, hair, makeup, jewellery etc.”

If you need your next fix of outdoor wedding inspiration, swing by The Unconventional Wedding Festival to be inspired. Tickets are being snapped up, so you’ll need to be quick!

 

Much Love

Emily xx

P.S. If you are looking for suppliers to help you with your own themed wedding then be sure to head over our directory page!