Renting a beautiful hall or an event space for your ceremony or reception is often one of the most expensive parts of planning a wedding, so why not skip that part and get married out in nature? Picking a naturally beautiful space will help you save quite a bit on decorations and most likely on a rental fee as well. Here are some of the best outdoor spaces to plan your wedding at, and tips on how to use nature to your advantage.
Get Married at a National Park
If you live near a national park or you’re willing to plan a destination wedding, they can create beautiful scenery for the ceremony and reception. Say your vows in the middle of the giant trees in the Redwood Forest in northern California, or walk down the aisle with stunning views of the mountains in Glacier Park in Montana. If you’re in Texas, Big Bend National Park gives the perfect backdrop for a bohemian desert wedding.
Whether you choose to just have the ceremony or both the ceremony and reception, you will need to apply for a permit to have your wedding at one of the national parks. To get a permit, visit the National Parks website and search for the individual location’s contact information. Then, ask the representative what you need to do to obtain a permit to have an event at the park.
Additionally, if you plan to have the ceremony and reception in a place like this, you will need to check with park guidelines to ensure that you are not breaking any of the rules with the décor or food you may bring in. For example, you may not be allowed to tie anything down (like a tent rental) to the ground for preservation reasons. It’s best to see if you can work with local vendors or a hotel nearby, as they likely have worked in the park before and would know the ins and outs of what’s allowed.
Get Married at the Local Beach or Lake
When you’re lucky enough to live near the beach or a lake, you would be crazy not to take advantage of the most beautiful setting of all: the water. All you need for a waterside wedding are a few chairs, an officiate, and of course, the two of you. The breeze, the sunset, and the water will be the picture perfect background in all of your wedding photos. Remember that most beaches and lakes are part of a city park system, and you will need to reserve the space to ensure that there aren’t any other events scheduled when you want to have your wedding.
Use the park’s amenities like gazebos, grills, and boardwalks to your advantage, too. And, though you certainly don’t need many decorative items, a bamboo wedding arch would make a nice frame for the wedding pictures. Light some candles, hang some string lights, and maybe release some paper lanterns in the evening to get some gorgeous shots as well.
Get Married in a Backyard
Are you dreaming of a small wedding in the outdoors? You may have everything you need right in your backyard. This is especially ideal for anyone who has a family member or friend with some land and the willingness to lend you their house for an evening. Think about it: you will have a nice, green space to use that doesn’t require portable bathrooms, you can have whatever kind of food you want, and the rental fee will most likely be zero (minus the amazing gift basket you’ll give the generous person, of course).
If the space is big enough, get a large, white tent, hang some lights, and rent a dance floor so you can dance the night away under the stars. Plus, we can guarantee no cuter wedding photos than the two of you walking around a neighborhood all dressed up in your wedding garb.
Remember that even though you are hosting an event on someone’s private property, you may still need to get a noise permit with the city and information on where your guests can park so that they won’t get in the way of your neighbors. Each city has different ordinances on noise and parking so just be sure to ask about it before so you don’t get a citation (or a really angry neighbor calling the cops).
Remember: Always Have a Backup Plan
Getting married outdoors is always a gamble. Though it can turn out perfect and beautiful most of the time, inclement weather can potentially wreak havoc on your wedding plans. Make sure that you have a backup plan just in case the weather takes a turn for the worst.
If you book a reception area that’s indoors, ask the coordinator if it would be possible to hold the ceremony there as well. If your ceremony and reception are completely outdoors, see if there’s an awning space or a tent rental that’s available just in case everything gets rained out.
Also remember that even if your big day suffers from a little bad weather, it can’t possibly ruin everything. If it’s rainy and cold, the pictures of you in your wedding dress or suit with an umbrella and your new spouse will be extra charming and a fun memory to look back on.