wedding seating

How To Have An Outdoor Wedding In Ireland

They say that when the weather is good in Ireland, why would you want to be anywhere else, and when it comes to outdoor weddings, the same is true. The country is packed with a myriad of incredible outdoor wedding locations, such as clifftops, ancient castles, lakes, beaches, lush forests and green fields, and if you’ve always wanted to say ‘I do’ outdoors, then there can be no better place to do it in.

However, it is Ireland and of course that means changeable weather conditions, where a summer’s day in July or August can be a complete deluge. That said, it’s still possible and indeed getting more and more popular to have outdoor wedding ceremonies in Ireland; all that’s needed is a little planning and expertise.

I’ve planned and co-ordinated dozens of successful outdoor wedding ceremonies and if you’d like to chat about this, or any other aspect of your wedding day décor or planning, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me directly.


Have a Backup Plan

This is the most important part of having an outdoor wedding ceremony in Ireland or indeed anywhere. Having a backup plan for inclement weather, even in the height of summer, is crucial. Look for venues that have both outdoor areas where you can have your ceremony, but that also offers an indoor area where you can move to if the weather looks like it’s not going to play ball. Often venues will offer beautiful outdoor areas that may even have some kind of covering such as marquees with open sides, large gazebos, or areas with large awnings in case of rain. And have enough large umbrellas in case there is some drizzle mid ceremony.


Be Flexible

Understand, that while you might be dreaming of an outdoor wedding ceremony, the weather might make it impossible, so be prepared for the fact that you may have to compromise. Consider using a tent or marquee that is open on the sides but covered on the top so you still get that outdoor feel. Similarly, if you want something really atmospheric what about finding and old castle or church that is partially open to the elements, yet still provides cover for the guests.



Keep it Casual

By their very nature, outdoor wedding ceremonies tend to be a little more causal or informal, so think about doing away with set sides for the bride and grooms family and encourage them to sit where they wish. Don’t forget to experiment and have little fun with the seating set up. Forget stuffy church pews and have chairs arranged in a spiral with the couple in the middle, or why not have bales of hay dotted around for guests to sit on.


Have Fun

Why not keep the outdoor theme running and consider having your food outside too? Think food trucks, BBQ’s and informal dining. Or if you want to have your food indoors in a more formal set up, then why not have some outdoor games set up for after the meal. Think giant Jenga, boules, ring toss and even life-size chess.



Free Seating Vs The Table Plan

There are certain aspects of wedding planning that can cause some potential headaches for the couple and the seating plan tends to be right up there with the best of them. There are many reasons why a seating plan can cause problems – family politics, personality clashes, groups or individuals who are shy and don’t know many other guests, where to put children and venues being strict on maximum numbers at tables. Plus as you chase those last RSVP’s and get later cancellations, it can all become a little overwhelming.

But don’t panic. The table plan doesn’t have to be a chore. Indeed, in recent times it’s becoming more and more popular to have your guests sit where or how they wish for your wedding reception, which removes the hassle from your shoulders completely and allows natural groupings to sit where they wish. Of course, this method is not without its own quirks. Indeed both approaches have lots of pros and cons, but both are worth considering. Never feel under pressure to choose either one and only go for what you know will feel right for you and your guests.

If you’d like to chat about this or any other aspect of your wedding day décor or planning, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.


Free Seating –
The Pros –
• Ideal for smaller, more intimate weddings.
• A great choice if you’re having long tables or a more laid back style of wedding such as a glamping or festival themed wedding and works really well for a BBQ or buffet style wedding too.
• If you’re unsure as to whether completely free seating will work, then just assign guests to tables, but allow them to seat in whichever seats they wish.
• It allows natural groupings of people to come together.
• Leaves you without the headache of completing a seating plan.

The Cons
• Bear in mind that having no table plan can lead to chaos among the guests as they try to dash for a seat and some shuffling may be required to have all the tables filled.
• You may need to have extra seats or indeed tables on standby as guests may try and overfill some tables to sit with their friends or family members.
• Having no table plan can end up leaving guests feeling a little awkward if they end up being unable to sit beside people they know and are left sitting with strangers. It really depends on your guests and whether they are the sort of people who are happy to mingle with people they don’t know.


The Table Plan
The Pros
• The seating plan option works well for more formal style weddings with traditional table set ups.
• Often you and your husband or wife to be will know your guests well and you’ll know best where they should sit and who they would prefer to sit next to and a table plan allows you to do this.
• A table plan gives you complete control over the layout of the wedding. It’s the safe choice and you can minimise any possible situations where family politics, personality clashes or fiction might occur.
• This traditional option works well where you’ve got lots of mixed groups and leaving seating free may lead to some awkwardness.
• If you’ve got lots of children coming to your wedding a table plan allows you have control over whether to have a dedicated children’s table or whether you seat them with their family.
• If you like playing matchmaker and have some single friends coming to your wedding a table plan allows you to seat these singletons next to each other.

The Cons
• Some can find a table plan cuts off sections of guests from others and that groups don’t get truly to intermingle as much as with free seating.
• It can be a headache to put together a seating plan if you have some possible personality clashes on the cards and your venue is being a stickler on having a set number of people per table.
• Table plans can come across as quite formal and if you are going for a more laid back vibe at your wedding, then it may not be for you.
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