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Outdoor Weddings

Types of Wedding Venue

Outdoor Wedding Photography by York Place Studios

A Photo & Video Guide for Getting Married Outdoors
Over the years we've photographed weddings in some incredible venues, from stunning cathedrals & temples to some of the world's finest historic houses, to castles, chateau's, incredible hotels, and so many made even more beautiful by their connection to the couple. Yet to us it's pretty hard to beat the simplicity, awe and beauty of getting married in the great outdoors.

And with changes in UK wedding licensing laws, there's never been a better time to choose an outdoor ceremony for your wedding. In April 2022 the rules changed to allow weddings anywhere in the grounds of a licensed venue, meaning you no longer have to get married under a permanent structure, opening up a world of new opportunities to create your dream setting.
Of course, if there's a particularly meaningful spot to you that doesn't happen to fall within the grounds of a licensed wedding venue, there's also the option many of our couples choose, of settling the legalities in a private ceremony before the wedding day and therefore having the full freedom to choose whatever outdoor setting you'd like. Many of the most meaningful, emotive and personal wedding ceremonies we've photographed and filmed have taken place in the back garden of a family home, filled with inside stories about the couple and led either by a fantastic humanist celebrant or even by a close friend or relative. But whether you have somewhere highly personal in mind or simply somewhere spectacular, outdoor weddings create their very own (and very special) tone and atmosphere that we simply love to capture.
Newby Hall outdoor Jewish ceremony. Bride and groom smiling during the ceremony.
Pump House Gallery Battersea Park Weddings
Bride and groom's wedding entrance in the outdoor ceremony

Top Tips For An Outdoor Wedding From a Photographer's Perspective.

Over the years we've been a part of hundreds of weddings of every kind and setting. And with different organisers arranging each one, we've seen such a huge variety of ideas that we thought it might be helpful to share, from experience, some of the things we've noticed have been important or worked particularly well at outdoor weddings.
  • 1. Always have a back up plan!
    Whether it's a quick-build canapy or a building you can move to, NEVER trust the weather, particularly in the UK! Whilst outdoor weddings are absolutely beautiful, ultimately the most important thing is that you share those incredible vows with your family and friends, so put a bad-weather option in place and, if you have to use it, try to go with the flow. Weather can't spoil your day, only your feelings towards it can.
  • 2. Issue your guests with (waterproof) parasols
    Ceremonies in the sunshine can be both bright on the eyes and hot on the skin, so offer your guests some shade by issuing your guests with parasols. Make them waterproof too in case of unexpected showers. Parasols are not only practical, they look fantastic in the photographs and video and provide a prop for the guests to interact with, creating more spontaneity - perfect for our documentary wedding photography style.
  • 3. Colourful sunglasses & paper fans
    On a similar note to the previous point, matching colourful sunglasses both help your guests in the sun and simultaneously add colour and interest to your photographs. Another great way to help your guests whilst simultaneously enhancing the photographic opportunities is to issue your guests with paper fans.
  • 4. Haybales and blankets
    Lean into the rustic, outdoor feel by replacing chairs with haybales and offering your guests blankets either to sit on or stay warm with. Haybales look great and kids love to play on them afterwards, again creating more opportunity for fun, spontaneous moments and different height levels in the photographs.
  • 5. Epic backdrop? Consider the light.
    As a purely photographic point - if you're wanting to get photographs featuring an epic backdrop then, just in case of super bright conditions, try to make sure you and your backdrop are under the same level of shade. If you stand in the shade but your background is brightly lit then either you will be silhouetted in the photographs or your backdrop will be overly bright. Both can look great (and, as documentary photographers, whatever we're given we'll make work!) but if you're looking for that particular feature in your photographs do you best to ensure the light is balanced.

View some outdoor weddings on the blog

bride holding a white fan and an elderly gentlemen in the background at Voco Oxford Thames

Voco Oxford Thames Wedding Photography // Lina & Rob

Micro-Moments for Micro-weddings
Big wedding or micro-wedding our vision never changes: we want to make big images from micro-moments. Voco Oxford Thames Wedding Photography by York Place
the bride leaving the chelsea physic garden ceremony with guests cheering and bubbles

Chelsea Physic Garden Wedding Photography // Charlie & Lucy

The Push To Make Better Art
Colour, bubbles and the beautiful surrounds of Chelsea Physic Garden. Whether we're shooting documentary weddings or studio portraits character and personality is everything.
Bride and groom's wedding entrance in the outdoor ceremony

Unposed Candid Wedding Photography // Paula & Chris

Controlling the Uncontrollable
A relaxed rock n' roll Yorkshire wedding full of opportunities for personality-driven unposed, candid wedding photography.
West Reservoir Centre wedding reception, wedding guests drinking

West Reservoir Centre Wedding Photography // Harriet & Phil

What keeps us inspired after all this time? 
We talk often about what it is that keeps us coming back again and again when it comes to weddings. After over 16 years of shooting what drives us to continue to make images of this same tiny subcategory of photography week in, week out? What is that magic bit of fairy dust that keeps…

Nantucket Wedding Photography, USA // Shelby & Creagh

An unforgettable experience
It’s difficult not to drift away into nostalgia and talk of career highlights when looking back at Shelby & Creagh’s wedding in Nantucket USA. When we first received their lovely email back in September 2018 asking whether we would be willing to travel for their wedding we were excited for three big reasons: firstly we…

The Triton Inn Wedding Photography, Yorkshire // Molly & Jake

People being people
People being people. This is the most important thing for us in wedding photography and, in fact, in photography in general. We are passionate that our couples get to spend time with their friends and family and that we don't take them away from the action on the wedding day...
Leeds Wedding Photography by York Place Studios. Bride, groom and wedding party gather outside, in front of a british red telephone box

Leathley Village Hall, Leeds Wedding Photography // Hannah & Jamie

Family & Connections
For us a wedding is a playground of possibilities, a chance to capture unposed candid images with real emotion, heart, humour and connection with the bride and groom and the people that matter the most to them in the whole world. How often do you have all your friends and family in one place at…

Back Garden Wedding Photography // Emma & Chris

Your wedding doesn't have to be a photo shoot.
We never direct documentary moments. Ever. We never move people, we never ask you to redo something you have just done. We never remove you from the real moment in any way because we passionately believe that the best photographs on your wedding day happen when you live your wedding.

Finca Son Salas Mallorca Wedding Photography // Juliet & Rich

Nothing staged. Nothing posed.
Finca Son Salas Mallorca Wedding Photography by York Place. Cocktails, sun, pool parties and a killer dance floor: It's fair to say this one had it all!

Krakow Wedding Photography // Aga & Paco

A wedding photographer's wedding
Dom & Liam jetted off to Krakow Poland to capture some documentary moments and create some York Place style wedding photographs for two amazing wedding photographers!
Top Outdoor Wedding Tips continued ...
  • 6. Consider using a PA System
    With nothing for sound to bounce off, voices don't carry as far outdoors and so a PA system is often the best way for your guests to hear you. If arranging the audio system yourself try to position the speakers closer to the guests than the microphone to avoid to feedback problems.
  • 7. Lean into the outdoor theme
    If you plan to get married outside, why not theme the whole day around the outdoors. Festival style weddings, beach themed weddings, even holding a back-garden wedding with lots of personal elements - planning around being outdoors as much as possible can help to make your wedding really stand out.
  • 8. Festoons and Lanterns
    Festoons and lanterns can be incredibly atmospheric as the evening draws on and keep people going outside - the darker it is in outdoor spaces the less people tend to go outside, and the more gentle the lighting the more pleasant it is to be out there.
  • 9. Indoors Outdoors
    Putting sofas and other typically indoor fixings outside adds a fun element and great talking point for your guests. It also looks great in the photographs!
  • 10. Glamping
    Glamping tents offer the chance to keep your guests on site to continue the celebrations the next day, whilst also providing a beautiful wedding backdrop and extending the outdoor theme.
Hambledon Vineyard Wedding Photography Waterlooville. Bride and groom standing together, guests sitting on garden furniture in foreground.
Get the best photos & videos with a coordinated team.
From a photography / videography point of view one of the best things about an outdoor wedding ceremony is that it opens up more angles to shoot from. The last thing we want during any ceremony is to become a distraction, but with no walls to restrict us it's far easier to change position and create a wider range of shots outdoors without drawing attention or getting in anyone's way.

That can be hugely beneficial to your photographs and films, however with more options of movement comes more possibility for confusion when there is more than one person with a camera during your ceremony. If there are two photographers or both photographers and videographers shooting your wedding ceremony then any movement can affect the others shot which could, ultimately, be detrimental to your coverage even if that one shot was amazing.
So when getting married outdoors it's particularly important to ensure that you have a team of photographers and videographers that work in a similar way. The more coordinated they are, the fewer problems you are likely to experience.

At York Place we always have two photographers (Liam & Dominique) present rather than one but, having worked together for nearly two decades (and being brother and sister!) their movements are always coordinated and always in service to the best possible photograph. Combine that with Matt & Alex, our two videographers (and fellow family members) and you have one fluid team who always know what the other is thinking and work together to ensure you get the best out of both your photography and your videography.
Like what you see?
If you're planning a barn wedding and are looking for relaxed, creative wedding photography & videography we'd love to connect and see if we could be the right fit for your wedding.
"The reportage approach of your work stood out to me. I'm very much not into the plastic, over-indulgent (typical) wedding photo look. Hopefully, the day will be casual, warm and friendly, without being too fussy over "things being perfect". We just want to have fun with friends and family, and capture that atmosphere organically."