You may not know exactly what your perfect wedding will look like yet, but you do know one thing — it’s got to be outdoors! Nature-loving couples have more options than they may think when they start researching outdoor wedding venues. Here’s a list to help you find the perfect type to fit your personality and the natural vibe you want for your wedding day.
The Wooded Wonderland
There’s something incredibly peaceful about spending time in the woods: the sunlight filtering through the trees, a brook babbling softly nearby, the fresh smell of leaves in the air. If you and your fiance are the relaxed, nature-loving type, a woodland wedding might be a great option for you. You might consider hiring a company that will set up a tent and tables in the forest, or book a wooded venue that specializes in weddings.
The Laid-Back Beach
Craving sand between your toes and salty breezes caressing your skin? Choose one of the many laid-back beach destinations throughout the U.S. From beachfront restaurants overlooking the water, to bayside golf clubs, to all-inclusive resorts, you’re sure to find a variety of outdoor wedding venues that suit your tastes and personalities.
The Mountain Top Lodge
A mountain wedding is a fantastic option for the adventurous, outdoorsy couple. In the summer, the mountains can offer a welcome respite from the heat and humidity found elsewhere — and with an abundance of outdoor activities, your guests certainly won’t be bored! Choose a Colorado mountain top ski lodge, a sweeping alpine overlook in the Smokies, or a National Park like Acadia, Olympia, Grand Teton, or Yosemite.
The Public Park
For the couple hoping to wow their guests on a shoestring budget, a public park is a beautiful (and affordable) option for the bride and groom who love the outdoors. Look into renting a space by the water (think lakes or rivers), or in a gazebo in the middle of a meadow. Don’t forget to visit the park on the same day of the week in the same season as your wedding so you how busy it can get. And make sure to research what permits you need before sealing the deal!
The Desert Oasis
There’s something so romantic about the desert. Maybe it’s the quiet stillness, the unbelievable night sky, or the strange and dream-like landscape — However you look at it, it’s the perfect choice for the couple looking for a unique and unforgettable setting! Before you book your ideal desert venue, make sure to check the seasonal temperature averages. Destinations like Joshua Tree National Park or Moab, Utah can swelter in May through September.
From the lush green landscape to the amazing local wine selection, a vineyard might be the ideal wedding venue for the cosmopolitan couple looking to escape the city and provide a destination feel (while staying closer to home for their guests). Whether on the West Coast, East Coast, or somewhere in between, wine country is usually speckled with orchards and farm stands, making it a great choice for foodies and farm-to-table enthusiasts.
If you’re looking for rustic charm, the farm wedding is the way to go. You’ll have a more private experience (no strangers that might wander by like on the beach or in a park) and space to spread out for an energetic celebration. Picture live music, kids playing, lawn games, a bonfire — farm weddings can be as casual or fancy as you’d like! You can also consider a dedicated wedding barn instead of a traditional working farm to take advantage of some wedding amenities (rentals, bathrooms, etc.) that a “normal” farm may not offer.
The Family Backyard
For an intimate and budget-conscious wedding, the family backyard is the perfect choice. If you know a family member or close friend who has a great piece of property and adequate parking, you’ll be able to have total flexibility in planning the wedding of your dreams. You’ll be able to choose all of your vendors and decor with no rules and no site fee — score! The family backyard may hold an extra sentimental factor if you grew up there.
A word of caution: you may be tempted to go into DIY overload with this venue choice, so be sure to organize your ideas in advance for a cohesive (and realistic) event.
Of course, each venue is unique so you’ll need to ask plenty of questions before you sign on the dotted line. Ask about contingency plans for weather, bathrooms, parking, and other amenities that are included with the total cost.
Don’t forget to let your guests know what to expect, too. Will they need to bring sunscreen, bug spray, or sunglasses? Should they pack an extra sweater for a chilly evening? Include this information on your wedding website, or on an insert card in your invitation.
Once you’ve decided which type of outdoor wedding venue suits your personality, you’ll be one step closer to a wedding you’ll love!