Are you thinking of getting married outside? Exchanging your vows in the sun, then dancing the night away under the stars?

Gone are the days of simply choosing between the church or the registry office, nowadays people can get hitched almost anywhere they wish and many are opting for the open air. Fairy lights, picnic blankets, wild flowers, vintage rugs and hay bails, there is so much romance in an outdoor wedding it’s easy to see why so many people dream of one.

Due to an old English law which says ceremonies must take place in a building with a roof (canvas doesn’t count) many people mistakenly think they can’t get married outside. However by keeping the legal side separate (signing the paperwork at a registry office) then having a blessing on the big day, couples are able to have the outdoor wedding they’ve always dreamt of.

So where to hold the big day? Here in Sussex we are truly spoilt for choice with the rolling South Downs, stately homes, beaches, woodland and acres of fields to choose from.

Along with the outdoor setting the other main consideration is how to keep yourselves and your guests protected from the weather (either rain or sun). While there’s every chance you will have a beautiful summers day, the English weather cannot be relied upon so some form of shelter is a must.

Tranquil and traditional or quirky and original there are outdoor weddings to suit every style.

So to stop your head spinning with the myriad of different options we’ve put together this guide of five of the best ways to say “I do” in the great outdoors…

  1. Beach weddings

Outdoor bride

Who doesn’t love a seaside wedding? Sand or stones, the beach makes an idyllic summer setting and Sussex has plenty of coastline to choose from. From classic coastal towns like Brighton and Eastbourne to more rural retreats like the Witterings in West Sussex, getting married beside the sea makes for a fun and memorable day.

Beach huts and ice cream vans can give the day a fun vintage twist.

Ideas: Ice cream vans, buckets and spades, painted pebbles, beach huts.





  1. Barn weddings 

The beauty of a barn is you get that rustic atmosphere without having to provide a structure as it’s already there! It’s also a good option if you’re having a winter or spring ceremony but still want a gorgeous rural setting. While a barn wedding is probably the most traditional of the five options, once you’ve booked the barn you can get as quirky and creative as you like – it’s all in the styling!

Ideas: Wooden crates, vintage suitcases, tree trunks.



  1. Festival weddings

For a more playful feel why not opt fWaterside coupleor a festival theme? Festival weddings are a fantastic way to tie the knot but definitely not for the faint hearted. Give your big day the vibe of Glastonbury (without the mud) by creating a chilled out fun atmosphere during the day – a great idea is to hire some walkabout entertainers – then give everyone a night to remember by hiring a live band or even a burlesque show.

Ideas: Flower crowns, vintage picnic blankets, walk about entertainers, festival food.



  1. Glamping

Many people have friends and family spread across the globe these days making accommodation an issue for those who have travelled from far flung places. Putting your guests up in a tent may not seem the obvious answer but camping has come a long way from a leaky canvas tent in a wet field. These days you can camp in style – bell tents, yurts, tipis and shepherd huts are just some of the options. Friends and family can drink and dance the night away then crash out for the night (or the weekend) in luxury, while not having to leave the outdoor location.

Ideas: Bell tents, colourful vintage blankets, sparklers, sweet pea flower posies.

Take some inspiration from Guy Ritchie’s wedding:


  1. Tipi weddings


Would you love to get married in a woodland, by a lake or in a flower meadow? Continuing with the laid back festival feel a tipi can be a brilliant way to house your guests for a reception in any of these locations. Tipis can give your big day a bohemian atmosphere but can also look quite classic – style to look homespun and rustic or twinkly and enchanted.

Ideas: Hay bails, fairy lights, bunting, vintage rugs.