(Closed) Need advice for forest wedding- logistics of really outdoor weddings

posted 7 years ago in Venue
Post # 3
2775 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2010

A wedding in the woods sounds lovely, but you have many logistical issues to work through.

The walk: Personally I wouldn’t mind it, but I’d want to know in advance so I’d know not to wear heels. I don’t want to walk uphill or downhill in the dirt in heels.  Elderly guests may find the walk burdensome.  Is there any way of driving them down the dirt road to the ceremony site before all the other guests make the walk?

The seating: You definitely need a seat for every butt.  Given the walk to and from the ceremony, even with a short ceremony people will be ready to sit down in between.

The bathroom situation: Fine if all you’re doing in the woods is a short ceremony, then going elsewhere for the reception.  If people are going to be in the woods for hours, a ~15 minute round trip to the bathroom is too long.  You would need port-a-potties if you intend on having the reception there.

The decor: The nice thing about having a naturally beautiful setting is that when it comes to decorating, less is more.  You’ll need some kind of wedding arch and aisle to define the ceremony space, but you really don’t need flowers, fancy lighting, etc.  I think that would take away from the setting, actually.

The music: I would not ask your mom to play the flute.  Let her be a guest and enjoy the wedding.  Ipod is fine, but you would need speakers and a way to get power.  Live music would be your best bet (just not your mom).

The photos: If you are hiring professionals, they should be prepared to handle shade and whatever lighting conditions they are presented with.

The food: While I do like the idea of individual picnic-style meals, I think you need to have tables and chairs.  As a guest, I don’t want to sit on the floor in a dress to eat.  Actually, I would not recommend having the reception in the woods at all – find a venue with tables and chairs.  And a convenient bathroom.

What is your rain plan?

Post # 5
46609 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

– The walk- Do you know anyone who has a golf cart you could use to shuttle the older people? I think it might be a bit much for them. You could also use it to take things to and from the site.

– The seating- There really shojuld be a seat for everyone. I have been to a casual picnic wedding where everyone was asked to bring their own folding chair.

– Lighting and decor- Other than something to define the cerremony area, you really don’t need to do anything. If you want it to be magical, you could hang battery operated mini lights and upside down umbrellas from wires strung between the trees.

You could do something very natural for your ceremony backdrop- not the typical arch

– Music- do you live anywhere near a college that has a music program? I would also check local high schools and music instructors to see if you cand find a musician, or a trio or quartet that you could hire for the day.

– Food- I think the individual packaging is a great idea. Be sure to have a few extra for the hungry people. Gable boxes would be perfect. If you have chairs for everyone, I think people can manage their meal on the chair just fine. Otherwise I would suggest that you set up tables and chairs in the nearby meadow.


Post # 6
1715 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

Ok for the walk place benches along the way for your guests to sit and rest as they walk. I would also just send waves of people every little once in awhile when they arrive. The washroom is definetly too far if your having the reception in the same spot. It is unethical to put a nail in a tree if you care about those thigns. As soon as you go through the bark you are exposing the tree to possible infection (same as a wound on a human… big or small if you go deap enough you can catch something bloodborn).

Post # 7
611 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

I know this is not what you want to hear, but this whole thing sounds really, really inconvenient for everyone involved, including you. In short: yes, it is too far to make your grandparents walk. Yes, serving food out there will be a disaster. Yes, you need a chair for every guest and not just the elderly ones. I hate to be a wet blanket, but it really sounds like forcing your wedding in this spot is likely to be a gigantic headache–for you in planning it, and for your guests in half a mile up and down a hill on a dirt track in the nice clothes they wore in order to show respect for your occasion. And not to mention, what happens if you have bad weather?

Is there nowhere else in your area where you can find a beautiful natural setting that is a short walk from a parking lot or drop-off point? If I were a guest attending a wedding ceremony like this, I would never complain to you about it, but I would privately find it a little self-indulgent. Can you keep looking for a setting that reflects your love of the outdoors but doesn’t sacrifice your guests’ comfort?

Post # 8
1715 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

Oh blankets…. Im not sure if anyone else has seen this but I fell in love with a ceremony set up that was blankets and pillows on the ground and chairs around as well for the guests who couldnt get to and from the grown. 

Post # 9
9053 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2010

I had my ceremony about a 10 minute uphill walk from the parking lot, but had the option to borrow a golf cart, (which I didn’t take, but wish I had!) and had a couple wheelchairs on hand that a couple people used.

As for music, I think just ask around and you might be surprised at someone who will play for a nominal fee, or contact a local music school.  I thought of it too late, and a lot of the selection was gone, but they had lots of people who wanted to do weddings, some more expensive than others.

I did have a chair for everybody, which I always think is nice.  We had a short ceremony (about 15 minutes), but lots of people arrived 30 minutes early, which is a long time to stand.

Decor, I did nothing, and just let nature speak for itself.  I think just a little arch would be perfect!

I wouldn’t recommend having the reception out there though.

Post # 10
1844 posts
Buzzing bee

I think this is a lovely idea and it fits you guys so go for it. the most important question is where and what time of year. 

We are having our wedding ceremony a 3-ish hour hike up a mountain. people are aware and prepared and really excited about it. I woudln’t worry about an 8 minuet walk on a trail if most of your people are in good shape, but I would put on your invites to wear good walking shoes so your friends won’t show up in heels. 

If its only 8 minuets and you have a wagon or wheel barrel why not take a few trips and have more chairs avalible just incase(enroll the help of an energetic highschool age cousin prehaps?)or the blanket idea….. Also most parks and places have wheelchairs you can borrow or rent for the day, DO have them on hand for your grandparents for sure. 

Is this too far from a bathroom?How long is your ceremony. if you keep it under 30 minuets or so I woudln’t worry about it. A few minuet walk is how far away you would be from a bathroom at a beach or any place else if you really think about it. 

Lighting, if its daylight you arn’t going to see it anyways, even in the shade, why over complicate things. 

Decorations… you are allready in spectacularly beautiful nature! Why over complecate it… There are a few ideas floating around pinterest with a simple one piece of rope hanging between trees and ribbons hanging from it to make a back drop, simple, you can pack it up in a bag not have to worry about hiking up the hill a dozen times to cary pomanders (do you really want to deal with carying all those pomanders?!>)… think about practicality. 

Music? one solo classical guitar. you could easily have a string quartet if you wanted, i would shy away from anything electrical though, ipod means you need speakers and extention chords etc. 

Photography- Your photos won’t suck and most photographers actually prefer slightly over cast so they don’t have to deal with shadows. They have flashes, let them deal with it. 

Food-Is your reception going to be here too or just the ceremony, if it is just the ceremony you can just have lemonade and finger food while people are mingeling and do the reception some place else, (remember that if you think an 8 minuet walk is bad down a hill that it is going to be worse carrying trays of sandwitches and coolers of lemonade, not to mention the table to put them on and all those cups, might want to just skip food?) but the ammount of noise you are going to be making I wouln’t worry about wild animals. 


Post # 11
282 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

My sister had her ceremony in the woods.  The walk in sounds similar to what you’re planning, and it wasn’t too much for our elderly guests. There was a bench for the grandparents, and everyone else didn’t mind standing.

The forest where she had her wedding was part of a state park, and they had very strict requirements.  No music, no food (she had her reception elsewhere), no decorations, limits on the type of flowers, number of guests, and timing.  This may not apply in your situation, but it’s definitely something to look into if the location you are thinking of is part of a state or national park.

Despite the limitations, my sister’s wedding was lovely & the pictures turned out beautiful.  I think less can be more (in terms of decorations, music etc.) when you’re in such a naturally beautiful setting.

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