5 Amazing Outdoor Wedding Ceremony Ideas

5 Amazing Outdoor Wedding Ceremony Ideas

Many people think of the wedding ceremony and the reception as just two halves of the same package, but the truth is that they can be quite different. Wedding ceremonies tend to be more private, simpler gatherings of close friends and family at a designated location. Children may or may not be invited. Wedding receptions, however, are celebrations with a larger guest list and more amenities. If you plan to hold an outdoor wedding ceremony separate from your reception,or maybe opt for no reception at all, here are some ideas to make your ceremony an unforgettably beautiful experience.

Designate a Pet as the Ring-Bearer

Who said that the ring-bearer always has to be a young relative? If you or your significant other has a pet, or if you don’t want children at your ceremony, an animal can be a charming alternative for fulfilling this traditional role. They’re so photogenic, you know that the pictures will turn out adorable. Plus, they’re perfect if your ceremony is taking place in an outdoor wedding venue.

Dogs generally make the best animal ring-bearers because they’re easy to train and tend to do well in crowds, but if you’re willing to get a little more hands-on and designate a handler for the animal ring-bearer, other animals can be used. Cats, birds, and even lizards may be an option. If you like farm animals, maybe you’d prefer a horse, cow, or goat. We don’t recommend a fish in a bowl, however.

If you decide to use an animal as the ring-bearer, make sure to train the animal beforehand, or at least accustom it to the situation it will be performing in. You don’t want it to freak out at the last minute and run (or fly) for the hills! That being said, it’s a good idea to take other precautions like only giving the animal fake rings, just in case. And after the ceremony is over, be sure to give your ring-bearer a well-deserved break by having someone transport them home. Being ring-bearer is a tough job!

Hire Live Music

Let’s be honest — playing your favorite song from a Bluetooth speaker just isn’t the same as walking down the aisle to the serenade of live music. Most people think of classical music when they think of music for wedding ceremonies, like a vocalist, grand piano, or string quartet. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If classical isn’t music to your ears, then there’s no rules that say you can’t use a different genre to set the mood for your special day. Whether you love 80s rock or country, you can probably find a specialty band that focuses on that genre.

Make sure you listen to the band before you hire them. For best results, it’s a good idea to interview them as well. Ask them questions, such as:

  • Will you work with us on the song list?
  • How many are available to perform?
  • What type of wardrobe do you wear during performances?
  • Do you provide ceremony and cocktail hour music?
  • Do you perform at more than one event a day?

This will help ensure that there are no unpleasant surprises on the day of.

Get Creative with Guest Seating

A big part of your guests’ experience with your wedding ceremony will be what they’re sitting on. And depending on the length of your ceremony, that may be a while. Plus, that seating is going to show up in a lot of your wedding pictures, and outdoor wedding venues offer the unique opportunity of plenty of space to work with. So you may wish to consider getting a little more creative than the usual two rows of folding chairs.

They don’t have to be folding chairs. Here are some alternative ideas to stimulate your imagination:

  • picnic blankets
  • benches
  • tree stumps
  • couches
  • bleachers
  • truck beds

Take a moment to think about your seating configuration, too. Would you rather have the chairs surrounding the platform the ceremony will be taking place on? You can even try fun shapes like a spiral. Just make sure that all of your guests will be able to have a clear view.

Some other touches you may wish to include are shade and chair decor. If you’re getting married in the middle of the day, shade of some kind is a must. But traditional event tents obscure the beautiful scenery that you’re getting married in, so consider using elegant beach umbrellas instead. And as for the chairs themselves, it’s okay to pretty them up a little bit! Ribbons and flowers are always popular options.

Frame Your Vows

There’s no point in going all nine yards with your guests’ seating if you neglect the ceremony space itself. There are going to be a lot of pictures taken of you and your future spouse during the ceremony, so it helps to add a little something extra in the background, aside from the marriage officiant.

Most couples opt for some kind of trellis or archway. Flowers are the most popular option here, but you can also use leaves, ribbons, balloons, or whatever you like best. You can even leave it bare to show off lovely wrought iron or weathered wood.

In traditional Indian weddings, couples get married under a mandap, or a covered canopy that symbolizes prosperity and the bond of the family. This canopy has four pillars which represent the love and guidance of the couple’s parents. This may be a more comfortable option if you anticipate hot, sunny weather.

Some other ideas for creating the perfect backdrop for your vows:

  • flower wall
  • gazebo
  • curtain
  • doorway
  • written marriage advice from guests

Get Hitched on Horseback

Do you and your significant other love horses? Lots of equestrian couples choose to incorporate their horses into the ceremony, whether the bride is riding down the aisle or both people say their vows while in the saddle. This makes for some incredible photos, and it’s definitely a nontraditional approach that your guests aren’t likely to forget!

Make sure your horse is comfortable with crowds, as well as with music, if it will be playing while your horse is on the scene. Also ask the outdoor wedding venue about horses beforehand — not all venues are horse-friendly. It’s also a good idea to make sure that they’re comfortable with standing still for however long it takes to go from the beginning to end of your ceremony. If your horse is easily spooked or generally high-strung, it may be best to leave them at the barn.

Some other ways you can help prepare your horse for participating in the ceremony:

  • Make sure they have peed before walking down the aisle.
  • Give them a good spraydown with fly spray.
  • Designate someone to be in charge of making sure the horse is perfectly groomed beforehand (and stays that way).
  • If you are using a fake tail, make sure it’s well-secured and that it’s not your horse’s first time wearing it.

Middle Ranch offers a truly romantic wedding ceremony space for your special day, with lush forests and breathtaking panoramic views. Book a tour today!