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How to Plan the Perfect Outdoor Wedding

By Helen Pentith  //  Fri 20th January 2017
How to plan the perfect outdoor wedding.

Here are a few pointers that may help you with the starting blocks of planning an outdoor ceremony and reception.  We hope future couples find useful!

Why outdoor?
Using an outdoor venue provides you with much more flexibility and planning freedom. and with very little restrictions on timing and early music cut-off times and often your party can continue into the early hours. It really does give you the greatest option to plan your day, your way - without too much interference.

The Venue
This is the starting place, once you have found your perfect venue, be it a field, barn or woodland, you have started the process.  This is usually an instant decision and you will know when you have found the right place, if you get a good gut feeling for a venue, this is a great indicator!  

Do remember to ask the venue lots of questions;
How many days hire do I get and what are the access times?
Do I have to have an alcohol licence?
What are the time limits on the day?
Can I use my own caterers, marquee providers?
Is there a deposit and if so, when is the balance paid.
Can my guests camp overnight.

The Ceremony
You may wish for a traditional Church wedding, Escrick Park is lucky that it is located very close to a beautiful church and the minister is very happy to marry couples from outside the parish.  However, if you are looking for something a little bit different, then there are many options available to couples.  For civil weddings, there are many licenced buildings and structures, check out the list of licenced premises on the NYCC or York City Council websites.  For the true outdoors, a woodland ceremony can offer you a really unique experience as well as something extra special for your guests to enjoy.  Imagine saying your ‘I dos’ under a canopy of ancient oak trees with the natural birdsong as your backing track!  At Escrick Park we have just this, with oak bench seating, beautifully carved arch and a pretty walk down for your guests.  If the weather is not looking clear, just have a basket full of colourful umbrellas or cosy rugs to hand out to guests.  The woodland at Escrick is used all year round and everyone who has held a ceremony there always gives amazing feedback.  Do remember that some ceremony areas are not registered, this is easily got round by a visit to a registry office for the official signing of the register, if done mid-week, this is more cost effective.  The ring exchange and vows can then be left for your ceremony in the woodland.

Who officiates at the Ceremony
Some couples use a family member or a friend to lead the ceremony and set all the dialog themselves.  If this is too daunting for you, there are many celebrants who will help you write and present a really beautiful service, completely to your own style. See our celebrants list on the website and try Celebrations Ceremonies & Weddings 
Star Gazing Ceremonies.  Our recommended celebrants will spend time with you both to find out about you and how you wish your day to go, so it will be completely personal to you.  

The Date
Once your venue has been found, you can booked your date.  So what time of year do you choose? Between April and August is the traditional wedding season.  However, autumn, winter and spring can be just as lovely.  Marquee providers will often offer discount throughout the quieter months, so it is always worth asking.  Outside venues are not just for summer either, with cosy tents and toasty fires in some or modern heating systems, there is no reason to be cold and there is nothing better than battening down the hatches and having a cosy party in a marquee regardless of the weather outside. 

Marquee Providers

There are many companies offering tents, yurts and teepees.  We have worked with several companies over the years, but our favourite suppliers are all listed on our website, or ask to see our special list of suppliers.  Some of our favourites are Papakata with their Sperry & Teepees, Wills Marquees with their lovely shaped traditional tents, Your Marquee providing good sized traditional marquee, Yorkshire Yurts with their beautiful round structures and Funky tents for something a little bit different.  All will offer you packages to include everything you will need for your outdoor event.  

Watch out for their Open Days too, which gives you a chance to see the tents erected and in all their glory.  Our next open day with Papakata is 18th & 19th March 2017 and really worth a visit to see the tents in the Parkland and visit our woodland ceremony site, all will be dressed to perfection.

Next item to tick off is your catering company.  Think about how you want to present your food, you may be considering a BBQ or Hog Roast, rustic food such as sharing platers, a sumptuous buffet   Perhaps a silver service sit down meal is your dream. Or just a simply afternoon tea or informal catering vans.  There really is so much choice.  We have a raft of caterers to recommend on our website, most of these we have worked with, we have even been lucky enough to have taster sessions.  Most will offer this service, so it is worth checking.  Take a look at Blakefields, Friends for Dinner, The Thought of Food, Baba Ganoush, Food and Friends, Artisan Pizza and Hog & Apple.  All have an extensive range of options that will fit your event perfectly.  Remember your caters will usually hold an alcohol licence too or even run a bar for your event.

Added touches
An outside venues offer lots of space for all those added extra. Bale settees, pit fires, picnic benches, fairy lights, bunting and lanterns all add to the beauty of your outdoor structure and give a real welcome for your guests.

...and finally
If this is all too daunting, remember that there are plenty of wedding planners out there to assist.  Try LND Events, Eden and Eve & LW Events

We are happy to discuss all aspects of planning an outdoor event, so please do give Escrick Park a call and speak to Diane or Helen.

Happy Planning! 

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