Wonderful woodland weddings

Wonderful woodland weddings

A woodland wedding can be a magical thing. Dappled light and the special hush you get when surrounded by trees will create the perfect atmosphere for your ceremony.

If you’ve always dreamed of getting married in a woodland, then a humanist ceremony is for you. When you book a humanist celebrant you can have your wedding ceremony in a location which is special to you.

A Humanist Ceremonies woodland wedding, captured by @Simple Tapestry

Why choose a woodland wedding?

For us as humans, forests are full of meaning and hold much significance.

To some they signal adventure, scrambling over tree roots or riding through on a mountain bike. For others, the woods are a place of stillness and reverence for our natural world, a place to reconnect with something wild and feel rejuvenated.

Sir David Attenborough, unsurprisingly, is a fan. He told Call Of The Wild podcast: ‘Sit down, don’t move, keep quiet. You’ll be very surprised if something pretty interesting didn’t happen within 10 minutes. Doing that in a woodland, if you haven’t done it, is extraordinary.’

In Japan that activity is known as forest bathing and research has shown positive health benefits for those who do it.

Where to hold your forest wedding?

A magic moment for Chloe and Josh at their woodland wedding. Image by Alex Miller.

Here in the UK we are blessed with a wide array of woodland spaces, from ancient groves to more recently planted copses, there’s something to suit every type of wedding.

We suggest starting with places which have special meaning to you – perhaps somewhere you like to go for a walk on a Sunday, or a favourite childhood haunt.

Find a suitable area that will be big enough for you and your guests and be mindful about the route to it. It may be the most beautiful spot, but if your guests have to fight through brambles to get there, it’s probably not ideal!

Remember that some of your guests might not be as adventurous as you and some might not be as mobile, so make sure you give them all the information they need in advance, to set their minds at rest.

Chloe and Josh’s humanist wedding ceremony. Image by Alex Miller

Here are a few key questions to bear in mind when planning a woodland wedding ceremony:

  • Do we need permission to use the space?
  • Are there any restrictions on what we can do?
  • Is the location accessible via public transport, or in a car?
  • What facilities are available – will your guests need parking, toilets, chairs?
  • How do you want to decorate your space?
  • How will you prepare for the weather?
  • Where will you hold your reception?

If you don’t have a specific spot in mind, then have a look online. You can find forest wedding venues which answer these questions for you, offering packages which take care of some of the organising to make life (and wedmin!) a little simpler.

The benefits of a woodland wedding

A young Black bride and groom walk outside, their arms around each other's backs

A wedding in the woods is a very special thing. It gives you and your partner the opportunity to affirm your love immersed in nature. When nature is a big part of your life then making your commitment with trees and birds as your witnesses is a wonderful idea.

As well as offering a sense of seclusion and privacy, a woodland wedding is certain to have a beautiful soundscape of birdsong and rustling leaves. The scents of the forest around you – the rich earth and vibrant leaves – will help keep you grounded and in the moment as you say ‘I do’.

One big benefit we can’t forget is that you will have some truly stunning photographs of your ceremony to enjoy long after the day itself. When thinking of decorations for your space, consider your photos. Things like macrame hangings, rugs or paper decorations can help create a beautiful focal point.

You might need to do a little bit more organising to have your wedding in the woods, but having your ceremony outdoors has the potential to offer cost savings too.

The location of your ceremony sets the tone for the whole day and getting wed in the woods will make yours very memorable.

Planning a forest wedding

A young lesbian couple in wedding attire with autumn leaves behind them

We’ve touched on some of the key questions above, but there are some other important planning elements for you to consider when thinking about getting married outdoors amongst nature.

Make sure you plan to have some preliminary visits and fact finding missions. This can help you visualise the day and think through all the arrangements you’ll need. This is especially useful for thinking about any Health and Safety issues you and your guests might encounter.

Think about specific roles for people on the day so you can relax and enjoy yourself. This might mean asking your groomsmen to be guides through the woods, or putting one of your bridal party in charge of the umbrellas.

Which brings us to… Wet weather contingency plans. These are obviously an important part of any wedding planning in countries with as much weather as ours!

Think about options for if the weather doesn’t go your way on the day. This might mean you have a back up venue, or you provide wellies for guests. Also consider how high temperatures or wind could affect your ceremony too.

Whatever the weather, you can plan ahead so you don’t have to worry on the big day.

Ask a celebrant

Rachel and Harvey with celebrant Hannah Bryant at their wedding in the woods. Image by Roo Stain.

If you’re a little daunted about how to pull off a forest wedding, why not speak to one of our celebrants? Humanist wedding celebrants deliver bespoke and beautiful ceremonies in all sorts of locations so they might even have been the officiant at a woodland wedding before.

As well as talking to you to learn your story as a couple for your ceremony, they can also offer the benefit of their experience, tapping into Humanist UK’s long history of leading ceremonies for families and couples all over the country, in many different outside locations.

We always recommend contacting celebrants early in your wedding planning process because they often get booked up in advance.

It’s especially helpful to book early for an outdoor wedding as they may be able to recommend venues and help with suggestions for how to make your woodland wedding ceremony perfect.

Enjoy your day!

Whether you choose to wed at a venue with an outdoor space, or in the woodlands near you, we hope you have an enchanting (and dry!) ceremony.

Simple Tapestry Wedding Photography. Humanist Wedding Photographers Northern Ireland.

Thank you to all the couples, photographers and celebrants who shared their images with us.

Next Steps

If you would like to start organising your woodland wedding then a great first step is to find a celebrant near you and talk about your options. Head over to our easy-to-use map and contact some of our trained and accredited celebrants. You can have introductory conversations with different celebrants, to find the person who is right for you as a couple. Then it’s time to talk venues and plan your forest ceremony!

'My humanist ceremony was the most special day of my life. All my family were blown away. Both my parents said that they'd never been to a wedding that was more personal or heartfelt.'
Madeleine, 34

Read our wedding blog for feature ideas, inspiration, top tips, and real-life humanist wedding stories.

If you're planning your wedding now, then contact a celebrant as early as possible.