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Outdoor Wedding Reception Ideas

Deepa Kartha Sep 29, 2018
The warm hues of natural light pouring in, a relaxed ambiance, quaint yet eye-catching décor; if these are all the things that you hoped for your wedding reception, then an outdoor reception may be just what you want.
Worried rain at your outdoor wedding will ruin the day? There is a silver lining. According to Hindus, rain on a wedding day is considered good luck.
Planning an outdoor wedding brings with it a whole bunch of what-ifs, maybes, maybe-nots, how-I-wishs, and simply-must-haves. It's all about the loving detail that goes into planning every aspect of the event that makes it the most perfect day ever.


Before you finalize the venue, make sure you take the following points into consideration. An outdoor reception may or may not call for a tent, but it's always a good idea to have one.
Yes, we know that it's absolutely delightful for you as a bride to have the warm summer breeze on your face and revel in the 'love in the air'. But imagine having to spend 4 hours (minimum) in the same sunlight, plopped in a chair, doing next to nothing.
Always have an indoor backup plan. That way if the weather decides to play spoilsport by raining, you can just have the guests guided to the indoor arrangements you've made.
A very commonly overlooked aspect of an outdoor wedding is the availability of parking space. This can not only annoy your guests, it can also tire them out. Picture yourself walking for ten minutes in high heels and a fancy outfit just to get to a venue that does not even have comfortable seating.

How You Can Save on Venue

If your house has a backyard that can serve as a suitable backdrop for the wedding and reception, capitalize! Save on rent charges and just have a gorgeous backyard wedding!


For an outdoor wedding reception, keeping the décor minimalistic is best. There's a reason you chose an outdoor wedding over an indoor one. Let nature do the talking as far as décor is concerned. Just complement it with pieces that enhance its grandeur.They're simplistic but they do wonders to enhance the already gorgeous ambiance of an outdoor wedding.
Just make sure that hazardous decoration like candles or lamps are well out of reach of children. Wires are a tripping hazard. Make sure they are out of sight.

How You Can Save on Décor

Instead of buying all the décor in bulk, raid flea markets and the like to buy mismatched stuff.

Lamps for an outdoor wedding

Directions to the wedding venue

Flower decoration for an outdoor wedding

Food and Drink

Food is a very subjective element of any wedding reception. There can be suggestions over suggestions, but it's finally up to you and your budget (among other things) that finally dictate what you'll be serving your guests.
However, there are a few points that must be kept in mind regarding food. Keep it simple. It's true that people do tend to judge a wedding by the food served, but that doesn't mean you have to go overboard with extravagance.
Keep the weather in mind and plan the menu accordingly. Besides, lighter food means lighter guests. And lighter guests means more fun and dance! Wanna keep the kids at your wedding happy? Plan a separate menu for them with foods that are popular with kids these days. Don't forget loads of candy and chocolate!

How You Can Save on Food and Drink

Drinks can make your reception budget go for a toss. Save on this by having a BYO (Bring Your Own) cocktail hour.


Surprise your guests. Do something different with the seating arrangement. Make people who know each other sit separately. Your guests can meet new people this way.
Experimentation is fun! You won't know the joys of it till you try it. So instead of having a conventional round table seating with 4 to 5 people, make it something quirky like just 2 at a table. Even those don't need to face each other. They can both face the central area where all the magic of the reception will take place.
Another convenient and thoughtful idea you can incorporate is letting kids have a whole section of the reception area. Cordon off an area and let them decide who sits where. They'll be out of their parents' hair and there are lesser chances of disturbances this way. Of course you have to make sure that they're under regular (if not constant) supervision.

How You Can Save on Seating

If your guest list isn't too long and your wedding is a low-key affair, you can borrow chairs from friends and family. If it's a really private backyard wedding with just your family and closest friends, you can ask them to bring their own chairs!

Seating options for an outdoor wedding


Entertainment of guests is another important aspect that is often ignored. It is for some reason taken for granted that guests will be pacified with a bunch of songs that the DJ thinks fit for the occasion. Try something more fun at your reception.
Send out for song suggestions with your save-the-dates. Your guests can answer when they RSVP. This way you'll have an interesting playlist with songs that your guests love. You can also have a photo booth at the venue where guests can click some ridiculous pictures of themselves.

How You Can Save on Entertainment

Who needs a DJ who charges by the hour? Just rent speakers and play the playlist your guests help you make on loop!


Nothing thanks your guests for their presence on the happiest day of your life better than little somethings as they leave. Your wedding favors don't have to be boring and cliché. You can give your guests creatively thought-out keepsakes that will remind them of the wonderful time they had at your wedding.
Something for the kitchen perhaps, like herbs packed in little pouches can be a refreshing change. Another idea: remember those ridiculous pictures they clicked at the photo booth? Hand them a couple of copies along with a neatly wrapped favor of your choice. Fortune cookies with handwritten thank you messages are also an idea you can try out.

How You Can Save on Giveaways

Again, the best way to save on wedding favors is to make them yourself.

Favors for an outdoor wedding

Something Offbeat

Want to dazzle your guests beyond their imagination? Try out things like the ones depicted in these images. If it's an evening reception, have a sparkling display of fireworks.
If it's a winter wedding, have glorious ice or snow sculptures to enthrall them. Serve them wedding cake with a sparkler in it. And to take in their reaction, have them write you a little note in a vintage-looking book on their way out. Doesn't get more awesome than this!

Something offbeat for an outdoor wedding


An outdoor wedding screams for having all sorts of photographs to be clicked.
Nature in its splendor is the best possible backdrop for memorable wedding pictures.

Ideas for outdoor wedding pics

Exit ideas for outdoor wedding

Poses for an outdoor wedding

These are some unique ideas that you can implement at your wedding reception. These innovative tips will not only enhance your wedding reception but also help you save some bucks. Go on and follow them as they are or customize to your preferences to have the best wedding reception ever!