Congratulations on your engagement and thanks for looking at my blog!

Congratulations on your engagement and thanks for looking at my blog!

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This blog is structured as a series of questions and under each posting, I've provided what I hope will be helpful advice for you in planning your humanist wedding. All of the posts are on one page, but each one has been condensed in size, so to read the full details, just click on the post title or 'read more'. When you get to the end of the post, just click on 'home' to get back to the full page of posts (or on older/newer posts). If you're interested in a particular subject, you can also click on the list to the left or you can do your own search by using the box below.

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Should we risk an outdoor wedding?



For many couples, an outdoor ceremony is their preferred option and it often adds a nicely relaxed air to the proceedings. If you have a particular affinity with the natural world, it might be really important to you to get married outdoors, with the sights and sounds of nature around you.

If you're in the grounds of a hotel, the venue may arrange to have seating and even a red carpet to create an aisle, but quite often the guests will simply stand in informal groups instead (perhaps with a few seats for elderly guests). An outdoor wedding always carries a risk though - what do you do if the weather is bad? You might be lucky and get a day like this at Shieldaig Lodge in Gairloch a few years ago:


We certainly needed the sunscreen that day and midge repellent comes in pretty handy in certain parts of Scotland (north and west mainly) and certain times of the year (summer months) too! Don't forget wasp swatting season either - some people are seriously freaked out by wasps!


The following wedding of Kelly and John at the Roman Camp Hotel in Callander was another lovely day and the sun sparkling off the water gave the whole wedding a magical quality.


(This wedding was also videoed by James at Strageworx Productions and if you follow this link, you can see a web version of Kelly and John's DVD: http://www.strangeworx.com/kellyandjohn/)

The Trossachs is full of wonderful locations for outdoor weddings and this stunning day at Loch Venachar brought with it another challenge. It looks spectacular, but it was quite windy and Laura's veil was a bit troublesome at times! Not that she minded and she and her new husband Graeme had a great day!


(Photo by Ed Smith)

That wasn't quite as challenging as the really windy day we had when Monica and Lars were married on the shores of Loch Lomond. But the sun shone for them, they laughed about it and it was a fabulous day!



By the way, during heavy rainfall, Loch Lomond can be a lot higher than normal, as you can see in this photo! Fortunately the marquee we held the ceremony in didn't get washed away and the lovely view and the sound of the lapping waves made a wonderful backdrop:




Of course, you might get a day of very heavy rain like this one, when Monica and Andy got married at the lochside at Glen Finglas in August 2007. We certainly needed the brollies that day (not to mention the thermal underwear!):


And how about this one at Leckmelm Gardens in Ullapool that brought a whole new meaning to the expression 'white wedding'! It was freezing, but great fun!


I also conducted the very first wedding ever to take place at Snow Factor at Braehead recently and it might have been indoors, but it's real snow of course and it was freezing! By the way, Karen and Mark ended the ceremony by blasting Billy Idol's 'White Wedding' over the venue sound system and I think the skiers and snowboarders loved it as much as the guests did!






Anyway, if you're considering an outdoor wedding, the following might be worth bearing in mind:

  • Have a good contingency plan - some sort of shelter or an indoor space that could be used for the ceremony if the weather is really bad. Don't forget that the weather can change really quickly too, as it did here at Kinlochard. We had one of those open sided canopies for cover but it was a bit leaky  and everyone at the edge got wet! Fortunately, the sun came out again in time for the ceremony - phew!





      • If you're still keen to have the ceremony outside, consider a more sheltered spot, under some trees perhaps
      • I have a few fabulous flowery or plain white wedding brollies that you're welcome to borrow
      • You could delay the ceremony slightly in case the weather improves - this might be possible if your guests and Celebrant are willing. Do bear in mind the comfort of your guests though, especially anyone elderly. If you leave them waiting in the cold for too long, they might need an extra large dram (or three) to warm up afterwards!
      • By the way, cold is one thing, but heat is another. Having an outdoor wedding on a really hot sunny day can be just as unpleasant and uncomfortable for everyone - so think sun screen, insect repellent, shade and keeping to time!
      • You could just go for it regardless of course, but you'll need to warn your guests to bring their waterproofs, brollies, sensible shoes and thermals! You'll still have great fun! This is a very happy Paul and Vikki getting married on Inchmahome Island - we all got very wet, but it was a wedding to remember!

      By the way, it is considered good luck for it to rain on your wedding day! And there's nothing wrong with a bride in wellies! This is Lynne and Adam after their wedding at the fabulous Monachyle Mhor near Balquhidder:



      As well as considering the comfort of your guests during an outdoor wedding, it's also worthwhile thinking about the following:

      • The venue staff - there can sometimes be a lot of work involved for the venue if you're deciding between an indoor and outdoor option at the last minute. Best to make a decision one way or the other in plenty of time for them to rearrange furniture etc...
      • The Celebrant - make sure that your Celebrant is happy to conduct the ceremony outside. Not everyone has a voice as loud as mine (!) and you might even need to consider some form of amplification. Having conducted many outdoor weddings over the years, I've found that it can be challenging to create the same warm and intimate atmosphere as for an indoor ceremony. I always feel that it takes something away from the romantic feeling of the ceremony when I have to belt it out to make sure everyone can hear me!
      • You - think about yourself too! It's such a shame when couples (let's be honest, it's usually us girls!) get all stressed and worried about the weather for a week before the big day! Try not to worry, give yourself a deadline  to make the indoor/outdoor decision (and stick to it) and relax - your wedding will be a wonderful happy occasion regardless of the weather! Above all, stop checking the weather forecast - it's usually wrong anyway!
      • The Registrar - whatever you do, warn the Registrar if the location could be subject to a last minute change because of the weather and ask their advice. It is vital that the wedding takes place on the date and in the location shown on the Marriage Schedule and any changes have to be agreed in advance. It's also important to ensure that the Schedule doesn't get wet or damaged in any way, so ensure that it's properly protected if you're outside. If you're going for an outdoor ceremony regardless of the weather, consider investing in a waterproof clipboard (Weatherwriter)

      Outdoor weddings are still possible even in cold and windy weather of course, such as this day when Paul and Karen were married on the stunningly beautiful Inchcailloch Island on Loch Lomond. The picture below shows the lovely wedding party on the summit (what a view!), but it was much too windy to conduct the ceremony there, so we retreated to the more sheltered beach on the other side of the island. And we managed to conduct the ceremony just before the first day trippers arrived with their picnics and BBQ stuff! It was a lovely wedding - relaxed and intimate, with only their friends (who acted as witnesses), their little girls, me and the photographers (Willie and Cara McGlaughlin) present.

      To return to the full page of posts, click on 'home' below or to go to the next post, click on 'older post': 

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