If you're a nature loving couple who dreams of a canopy of trees framing you as you pose for wedding photos a rustic forest or woodland wedding offer charm and beauty in bundles.
There are though additional considerations for an outdoor weddings that don't apply to indoor weddings, so ensure you book a wedding venue with management that is experienced in woodland, forest, garden, outdoor wedding ceremonies and receptions.
How to plan your woodland wedding
Search engines are your best friend when it comes to finding a forest or woodland wedding venue in your area that has permission and is equipped to host weddings and wedding receptions. Anywhere else and you would likely have to apply for a special permit.
Check with your venue what they provide and what you need to provide yourself.
Woodland / Forest wedding - things to consider
- Permit - do you need one
- Waste disposal - you must leave nature as you found it and ensure nothing is left for animals
- Toilets and washrooms (can guests access them from where you are)
- Wet weather provision- always have a plan B when hosting a wedding outdoors incase of rain.
- Ground cover (consider there might be muddy paths, waterlogged walkways)
- Screening - have cover and protection against biting insects is welcome
- Wheelchair access (ask your venue host about this).
- A flat cleared area for seating, tables and more. The ground will need to be even or your tables and chairs will wobble!
- Vehicle access - to transport chairs, tables, tents, guests as necc.
- Drinking water - the usual facilities might not be within reach so you have to cater for basic comforts for guests.
- Lights in the trees - you will want lighting in the evening and you might need to bring your own, safety first so ensure they're fit for the purpose
- Fire precautions - if you have lanterns, candles, bbq, hog roast, grill fire safety in a wood is essential.
- Bug spray for your guests - biting insects will enjoy your party, be prepared!
- Animals - what is the local wildlife and how might they impact your wedding? You don't want an uninvited bear or deer joining the party!
- Heating - forests and woods can be chilly due to a canopy of tree shielding you from the sun and more so as evening sets in so you will need some form of heating and guests should be advised to wrap up warm. Warm drinks served in the evening is also a good idea.
- Wedding Dress - consider the length and a train and how it will be affected potentially dragging around in soil, leaves and even mud!
- Shoes - woodland and forest walks in heels are not much fun and can lead to your heels becoming caught in the ground so consider your footwear and that of guests.
- Photographer - hire a photographer experienced with the particular light, shade and perspective requirements for shooting photos and video in a woodland, forest setting. You want to make the most of this beautiful environment and capture it in photos for future generations and yourselves to enjoy.
Mountain and Lakeside Weddings
If your woodland/forest wedding is situated in the mountains or in view of them, with a lake nearby then you have the best of all worlds regarding what nature has to offer. Invest in a fantastic photographer to make the most of the stunning scenery and capture the enigmatic light and perspective required for great photos. Once the wedding is over your photos (and perhaps video) are all that you will have to show future generations your special day, so of all expenses related to weddings, I believe this is one to give a good amount of consideration to.
If you have a family member or friend that is up to the task or who can supplement your professional photographer images, all the best.