If you’ve been reading our blog and training content for a while you’ll know that I’m rather a fan of encouraging more venues to really tap into the HUGE (and growing) trend for the use of the outdoors at all points of a wedding day. Millennial couples love embracing the British outdoors whether it’s waterside, countryside or any sort of natural scenery and are planning an increasing number of components of their wedding day in the open air.
With this in mind I asked Simon Fearnehough of The Hideout House Company (who design, build and install bespoke gazebos) to share some of his experience of how outdoor gazebos work really well for his venue clients and some considerations for how you can plan to make the most of this lucrative addition to your venue’s offer.
Over to you Simon:
Since the introduction of the Marriage Act back in 1994 (where couples no longer have to get married in a church or registry office), there has been a steady increase in the proportion of marriages taking place in approved premises such as hotels, golf clubs, stately homes and civic halls. This has therefore coincided with the rise in the number of approved venues licensed for weddings and civil partnerships.
This has undoubtedly been the driving force in why so many venues nationwide are now offering wedding gazebos for outdoor ceremonies (and adapting to the growing informality of weddings and the popularity of the outdoors). However, you need to first have a license to conduct weddings and civil partnerships in these type of buildings (normally licensed through your local authority) and they are usually where the Registrar, bridal couple and witnesses need to stand during the actual ceremony.
Wedding gazebos can represent a lucrative venture and offer a very good return on investment to a wedding venue. Here’s how:
- Gives you a distinct competitive edge over other venues if they are not already offering a similar facility. We often hear about how our venues now prominently feature their outdoor ceremonies as a principal element of their overall package and see a significant amount of increased business as a result.
- With an outdoor wedding you have less restrictions and more freedom – you are not limited by the confines of a room for example and usually have a lot more space to work with. Therefore perfect for bigger weddings and receptions.
- We love being outside in this country and if the sun is shining, there is nothing better than exchanging vows on a warm sunny day with the sound of nature all around and the smell of fresh air wafting through your nostrils. Always provides for a calming and relaxing atmosphere.
- If your venue or grounds has the natural benefit of an amazing setting or backdrop, make the most of it and leverage that asset!
- Provides an excellent setting opportunity for those all-important wedding photos – you have natural sunlight and backdrop scenery to work with. For example, a wedding gazebo beside a tranquil lake goes a long way to making wedding photographs spectacular. A wedding gazebo will provide a picture-perfect backdrop and provide protection from rainy weather (if so required) during the wedding photographs.
- An outdoor wedding gazebo need not be just limited to the actual ceremony itself. These gazebos and buildings can also double up and be used as a bar/drinks reception area, a music venue bandstand, an outdoor meeting space, a tranquil seating and relaxation area or can be used for parties and celebrations…or even quite simply to provide welcome shelter from the British weather!
- An outdoor wedding has very romantic overtones of course and provides for an intimate atmosphere – rather than a large cold church or a functional registrar’s office, a garden is a warm place that people enjoy being in.
- Save money on floral decorations – because of the beauty of the natural setting, you will not need to add many floral decorations unless of course you want to. The charming surroundings and garden setting will have already done this for you.
With regards to sizing, you need to have a wedding gazebo which is at a minimum of 3m x 3m or equivalent and is capable of hosting six people including the registrar’s table and chairs.
The most popular choice, however, seems to be the octagonal version and these are available in sizes of 3m, 4m, 5m and 6m. Options include an attractive two-tier roof, colour choices of either white or the standard natural timber and decorative side panels. Oval and square shapes are also available.
As long as the minimum space requirements are met, the size and specification of the wedding gazebo is usually dictated by space and budget.
Thank you Simon for your advice. If you are considering installing a gazebo at your venue I’d strongly suggest consulting with your Registrar’s office in advance of committing just to ensure they will be happy to legally license it – they are likely to need to see details of the design and build. And don’t forget you can still host symbolic ceremonies via independent celebrants in any structure or in the open air too.
If you’d like to know more about this particular trend, then you may find this blog post helpful here, alternatively, if you’d like to have a conversation about your special venue and its unique spaces then do get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org