DIY Festival Weddings: Don’t Forget Your Wellies!

Before we start, here’s a little about the legalities of getting married outdoors in the UK: 

England & Wales

It is legal to hold a ceremony outdoors in England & Wales, but it has to take place under a fixed structure, and that structure has to be licensed and available to the public – a gazebo, marquee or yurt is fine.  The ceremony would have to be held by a church minister, Registrar or Assistant Registrar.  Religious ceremonies cannot be held in the open air, but humanist ceremonies, which are classed as neither civil nor religious, can.  This is set to change as part of a new ‘belief’ plan, so all weddings will be able to be held in the open air once the legislation is passed.  So, if you live in England or Wales, currently you can either licence your marquee or you can hold the wedding ceremony prior to the festival and use the festival to bless the union. 

Scotland & Northern Ireland

In both these countries you can hold your wedding in the open air, so long as it is held by a church minister or celebrant.  Unlike England and Wales, the venues don’t have to be licensed. 

Legalities over, here’s a summary of what may be useful to know when considering holding a festival wedding.  It assumes you are holding the festival outside as opposed to indoors and is by no means exhaustive. 

You’ll need a marquee for the ceremony (see the legalities above) or as a beer/cider tent.  If you can find a friendly farmer who still uses small hay bales, use them for seating.  They’re a good, low-cost alternative to chairs, albeit prickly. Find some brightly-coloured blankets for comfort.  As an alternative to standard marquees, how about a yurt or a teepee?  That would be more festival-like!  In the evening the yurt could double-up as a stage for the band. 

Talking of tents, you’ll need an area for hardy guests to camp in – it is a festival, after all!  You don’t need to supply the tents as the guests can do that – or perhaps bring their own camper van.  Less hardy guests can book into a local B&B or budget hotel.  

Some sort of electricity for the site is a must, if only a few generators.  You’ll need electricity for the lighting in the marquee as well as for any lights you may want to string across various parts of the site.  You’ll also need it for the band and for refrigeration in the marquee for vital things like beer, cider and champagne (although you can find condensing fridges that don’t need electricity – you just pour water on them).  Oh, and in the WC, although you may find they come with their own supply.  Some sort of string lighting across various parts of the site adds atmosphere. 

We’ve mentioned a band, but it doesn’t have to be a band, it could be a duet or a solo singer – and it doesn’t have to be whoever is headlining at this year’s Glastonbury.  A tribute band of some sort normally goes down well, or a folk group.  Word-of-mouth recommendations are useful here.   

A chill-out area is useful for relatives who are overdoing things and need a bit of a rest before lurching into another bout of Dad dancing. 

High heels are all very well if you’re going straight from the church to a hotel, but for festivals the footwear of choice, especially in Britain, is wellies.  Wedding wellies are readily available and come in many pretty patterns or floral prints.  They save the bridal party aerating the field and possibly falling flat on their faces, and are fun! 

From one end to the other!  Wear a floral head-dress instead of a tiara.  Floral head-dresses for the bride and bridesmaids really add to the festival look. 

A necessity none of us can do without – the conveniences.  See if you can get one of the posh ones for that special touch.  

Of course, all good festivals have signs so the festival-goers don’t get lost.  Obviously, it’s only going to be a small area, but it adds a bit of authenticity – as does issuing your guests with an All Access Pass to either hang round their necks or in the form of a wristband! 

As the afternoon turns to dusk, what’s more fun than glowsticks?  You could have sparklers, but glowsticks are a bit safer. 

We hope this has been of some help – enjoy yourselves!