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10 ways to decorate an outdoor venue

Summer is the most popular time to host your wedding, and we’d take a bet that if you’ve set the date for the hottest months of the year, you have thought about planning at least some of your celebrations outside. However, with no walls or ceiling to box you in, decorating your venue might feel a little bit tricker! We’ve compiled a few great ideas to wow your wedding guests and put your own personal stamp on your outdoor venue.

1. Signage

Outdoor venues can be a little harder to signpost for your guests as they arrive – particularly for those arriving for the reception. We love the use of blackboards to make it easy for your loved ones to find all they need, usually food, toilets, and dance floors!

blackboards at a wedding

But don’t stop at directions – why not remind people of their delicious food choices with a hand-written menu, or bring a little tear to the eye of the soft-hearted amongst your wedding party with your favourite love poem.

wedding blackboard sign

2. Thirsty flowers

Keeping flowers looking lively after an afternoon in the sun is no mean feat – why not make a statement and line your aisle with these lovely bunches in bottles? Thirsty flowers will stay perky all day and it needn’t cost the earth, use recycled jam jars and hand-picked posies and attach them to sticks. Keeping them off the ground means they’ll make an impact and be out from under your guests’ feet.

glass bottle wedding flower arrangement

3. Rustic seating

It’s summer! You’re having a party! Outside! Roll with the down-home country theme and use hay bales for your seating. We all know that hay can be a bit…uncomfortable to those with delicate posteriors though, so throw some patchwork quilts over them to keep everyone comfortable throughout your ceremony. Party Bales have plenty of experience in this area, you could do a lot worse than to give them a call!

Party Bales

Here’s how an outdoor wedding aisle at Northumberland venue Doxford Barns can look.

Doxford Barns

4. Nets

We know you’ll have put a lot of thought into your menu choices. Keep less desirable wildlife off your canapes the stylish way, by using mosquito nets to protect your food tables.

5. Photo backdrops

One of the things people consistently report as bringing them the most joy after their wedding day has passed is having some gorgeous photographs to look back over. Make it easy for your guests to leave some playful images by creating a photo backdrop – whether that’s a full-on floral display, lace curtains hanging from a well-positioned tree or a simple picture frame suspended in mid-air.

green wedding shoes jenneferwilson-wedding

If you fancy booking a stunning woodland space for your special day (plenty of boughs from which to hang those picture frames), the Wise Wedding venue near Tonbridge, Kent, have all manner of secluded clearings in mature woodland, with illuminated pathways and the occasional treehouse from which to watch the festivities!

Wise Wedding Venue in Kent

6. Dancing shoes

Whether you are planning a sedate afternoon buffet accompanied by a string quartet or a full-on festival dance floor experience, you can guarantee that there will be at least a handful of guests feeling somewhat restricted by their footwear choices – especially on grass.

Basket of flip flops at a wedding

Why not embrace that summer feeling and provide a shoe rack for people to kick off their heels – with complimentary flip flops! Guaranteed to be a talking point and to encourage those ‘ambitious’ dancefloor moves…


For those keen to keep their party shoes on, you could also consider providing some pairs of heel protectors to prevent that sinking feeling on the lush lawn you’ve chosen with such care. High heelers do a good version.

7. Modern marquees

You may have an indoor space planned for your evening party celebrations, but if you’re intending on having an outdoor afternoon, consider using a marquee as your base. I’m not talking about your aunty’s garden-party staple with the faux-bay windows, mind. There are some really graceful open-sided options out there – keep the sun off your bubbly whilst letting the summer breezes in with a new capri or hex-style marquee.

hex marquee

Osmaston Park is a beautiful 3000 acre landscaped park set in the beautiful landscape of Derbyshire, near Ashbourne. They are THE marquee specialists, and a stunning venue to consider for an outdoor wedding. Take a look here for more

8. Umbrellas

It takes a particularly brave bride and groom to plan an entirely outdoor wedding in Britain – we all know the reputation (sometimes justified) of our British summers… Why not incorporate a tongue-in-cheek reference with a display of hanging umbrellas? They can look surprisingly beautiful en-masse and could be a really cost-effective way of providing some shelter from the elements – hopefully we’re only talking about respite from the scorching sun!

umbrella display

9. Candlelight

As daytime gives way to dusk, keep your lighting natural and ultimately romantic by using candles – liberally! There are as many ways to arrange them as there are engaged couples but we particularly like the look of masses of them stacked on a vintage sideboard (plus points if you can incorporate a mirror to enhance the effect). Also, light the way to the reception venue with candle bags – paper bags with green credentials that are treated to be flame retardant. CandleBags sell a wide variety – including ones that float!

Vintage brass candlesticks at an outdoor wedding

10. Fairylight!

Lacking mains electricity does not rule out the ultimate in romantic evening lighting solutions – outdoor fairy lights are readily available. Drape them over the greenery or around the supports in your marquee to enhance the warm glow that set in when you said ‘I do’, and ensure the festivities linger on long after the sun has set!


Header image: The Green Cornwall





With a history in events management and an eye for the unusual, Hannah is well placed to bring some insider knowledge to your choice of venues for your wedding.