Unique Outdoor Wedding Ideas & Advice for Planning an Outdoor Wedding Reception

The most unique outdoor wedding ideas start with the perfect ceremony and reception locations -- outdoor wedding locations are all about the view. Start Planning Outdoor Weddings by Brainstorming.

What do you want to be the backdrop of your wedding?

  • A cityscape?
  • A garden?
  • The woods?
  • Water -- the beach, lake, river, marsh, pond, pool or fountains?
  • Rolling pasture or farmland?

The list of specific outdoor wedding reception ideas can be endless.

outdoor wedding ideas a ceremony in a stone amphitheater

Come up with something creative that suits your personalities.

Where do the two of you feel most at peace, or happiest?

The most creative outdoor wedding ideas are often very personal.

Examples of Unique Outdoor Wedding Ideas:

Make your wedding reception a rooftop cocktail party. 
Look up. Small town or big city, check for rooftop and balcony outdoor wedding locations by driving around and looking up. Don't forget to check out museums and private arts buildings, often not in your downtown area (we have a gorgeous vintage plane museum located way out in the country).

Throw a secret garden wedding reception. 
If the event is at night, hang lanterns in the trees and put strings of white lights everywhere. Find the best little known gardens in your area by contacting local garden clubs and historic preservation societies -- they will know where all the most beautiful gardens are.

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unique outdoor wedding ideas a wedding reception by a fountain

Got water?
Plan a summer pool party, a beach wedding or a nautical themed marina wedding. Drive around and really look at all the waterfront wedding venue possibilities in your area. From beaches, rivers and ponds to lakeside boathouses, pools and park fountains, consider everything! The best venues for unique outdoor wedding ideas may be hidden out of sight.

Get away from it all
Have an enchanted forest wedding in the fall or a western wedding complete with chuck wagon and a bonfire. Check out city, county, state and national park for unique wedding venues, as well as any private parks in your area. City, county and state government websites will have links to their parks commissions. In a country state of mind? Throw an afternoon BBQ on a farm wedding reception, or old fashioned picnic with badminton and croquet. Look for farms and ranches that are open to the public, as well as country museums. Or keep it simple and plan a backyard wedding.

The 411 on Planning an Outdoor Wedding Reception
Outdoor weddings are absolutely beautiful if the weather is good. They create a friendlier environment for wedding guests to have fun. But outdoor wedding venues need to be reviewed very carefully before committing (some unique outdoor wedding ideas are just TOO unique for the comfort of your guests):

Unique outdoor wedding ideas, a city park with a view
  • Is the area free from nature’s less desirable critters?
    True story -- wedding guests have been stung by scorpions who decided to cozy up in a dinner napkin!
  • Is the terrain rocky or hilly? Will it be difficult for disabled or elderly guests to maneuver? Always consider parking and basic access to the location
  • Will the weather be good? Check weather history to see average temperatures for your location as well as when the rainy seasons are

The beginning of a season such as spring can be very cold and rainy. Summer can be really hot, and autumn can be cold depending on the area where you are marrying.

More below...

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Search the weather in your area:
Weather.com has a nice sunset calculator and monthly temperature and rainfall averages worldclimate.com has rainfall averages for weather stations around your city by month. Garden weddings are beautiful, but keep the weather in mind when considering the comfort of your guests. Tenting with solid side panels that have fans, or portable air conditioning or portable heating greatly solves this problem.

An outdoor wedding reception under a tent

A tent is always a good idea - even on sunny days your guests will need shade - and a huge safety net. Not having a wedding tent is a large gamble. These types of tents take a day to set up and cannot be put up in the last minute. If you are renting a wedding tent, you will need to reserved it well in advance, the same as the wedding venue.

See wedding tents, white light strings, lantern strings, Moroccan lanterns, garden hooks, hanging silk flower pomanders, outdoor curtains, wedding arches, pool orbs, floating pool flowers, luminaria, hanging solar garden lights and outdoor fire pits on Amazon.

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No tent? Choose an Outdoor Wedding Venue with an Indoor Option

  • Certain wedding locations like vineyards typically do have the ability to use spaces either where the wine is aged, or where the wine is sampled, in case of bad weather on your wedding day.
  • When searching for unique outdoor wedding ideas without the additional cost for a tent, look for these types of options. And make sure it is spelled out in the contract that you can use this space if the need arises!
  • Another solution is to choose an indoor wedding space with outside access, such as a hotel banquet room with doors that open onto a terrace.
  • Be sure to add to your contract that if the weather is good, you want the reception set up outdoors.
  • If you live in an area with endless possibilities, start by choosing your wedding theme, this will narrow down all the unique outdoor wedding reception ideas you have to choose from.

More Articles:
Garden Wedding Ideas & Themes
Summer Wedding Ideas & Themes
Spring Wedding Themes & Ideas
Backyard Wedding Ideas & Advice
DIY Wedding Decorations Ideas
Wedding Ceremony Decorations Tips & Ideas
Beach Theme Wedding Ideas
Five Tips for Cheap Beach Weddings
Choose Wedding Venues That Are Right for You
More Wedding Venue Ideas & AdviceWinter Wonderland Wedding Ideas & Themes

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