Forest weddings are whimsical and beautiful. There’s nowhere better to declare your everlasting love than in an enchanting forest surrounded by birdsong and the beauty of nature.

But hold on tight, because planning a forest wedding isn’t just about picking a location and calling it a day! You need to balance the practical details like finding a venue, choosing a photographer, and inviting your beloved guests to your beautiful, nature-inspired backdrop.

So, whether you’re planning an intimate, elven ceremony tucked away under a canopy of trees, or a fabulous flower-strewn soirée, this article will be your go-to guide for turning your dreams into a magical reality.

Ready to learn how to have a wedding in a forest? Let’s dive in!

What is a forest wedding? 

Photo © Two Woods Estate | See their Bridebook profile

A forest wedding is either a full wedding ceremony and reception in a forest, or simply a wedding reception hosted in a forest. It’s a beautiful and unique way to celebrate your union amongst the sights and sounds of nature. 

Forest weddings offer endless possibilities for personalisation and creativity. Whether you’d like delicate, natural-inspired decor or a full-blown alternative wedding or eco-warrior wedding, you’ll have full control with a forest wedding.

⭐Did You Know: If you want to be legally married at your beautiful venue, double-check that the location of the wedding venue is an Approved Premises under the Marriages and Civil Partnerships (Approved Premises) Regulations 2005. If not, you may need to have the ceremony elsewhere and move to the forest for the reception. 

How popular are forest weddings?

Photo © Applewood Weddings Ltd | See their Bridebook profile

Forest weddings have become increasingly popular in recent years. Many couples are drawn to the natural beauty, tranquility, and enchanting atmosphere that forests offer as a wedding backdrop. 

In fact, according to our 2023 UK Wedding Report, over ¼ of wedding ceremonies took place outside. This includes the nearly one-in-five couples married in 2022 who opted for a “unique location or venue”, such as a boathouse, forest, or scenic loch. 

But while outdoor, alternative, and forest weddings are growing in popularity, they certainly won’t feel overdone. The peaceful vibe and privacy of a forest wedding are second to none, and with thoughtful planning, you can create a memorable and enchanting experience for you, your partner and your guests amidst the beauty of nature. 

Planning your dream forest wedding 

Photo © Wilderness Wedding Venue | See their Bridebook profile

Let’s check out some of the key steps you need to take and elements to consider when planning your forest wedding:

1. Pick your dream venue

Picking a venue is likely one of the first things you’ll do. It will be the backdrop of all your photographs and determine the size of your wedding. Make sure you visit lots of venues, chat with in-house wedding planners and discuss budgets before committing to a location. 

With our wedding venue search tool, you can filter by venue types such as ‘Outdoor’ and styles such as ‘Rustic’ to see exactly what’s out there. This tool will also give you an approximate price, number of bedrooms and how many guests the location can hold. These approximations can help structure the rest of your planning and help you decide where to have an enchanting forest wedding.

We’ve also hand-picked our favourite forest and woodland wedding venues in the UK, so that you can find the perfect one for your special day. 

Note that it may be difficult for external suppliers to make it to a wedding in a forest. So be prepared to factor in additional transport costs or pay for wedding insurance add-ons in case their stock is damaged.

2. Embrace nature-inspired decor & styling

Wedding decor can include anything from flowers and bouquets to tablescapes and fun photo booths. Incorporate wildflowers, ferns, moss and rustic wooden accents to create a whimsical and organic ambiance. 

Twine, dried flowers, moss, burlap and other natural elements from the forest are often free or low-cost and look beautiful. You could also use eco-friendly paper options or consider seed paper that guests can plant afterwards! Leave a little note with the seed paper explaining the symbolic gesture of your growth as a couple and your connection to nature.

The cost of this decor will depend on your vision and how much you’re willing to do yourself. The great thing about forest weddings is that you can often use natural elements like foliage, dried flowers and rustic elements in your decorations. This decor is easy to DIY, and there are tons of tutorials online. Doing it yourself can help reduce costs, while hiring a professional wedding stylist or florist can increase expenses.

To keep costs down even further, you could create your own invitations using dried flowers, cardstock and twine. This will contribute to the rustic theme and add a personal touch to your big day. If the task feels like too much to do on your own or you aren’t very handy, ask a trusted friend (with nice handwriting) to join you in a craft evening. Then, spend some time creating your wedding invites – you’ll be surprised how much fun you have!  

3. Don’t forget the essentials

This includes chairs, tables, lighting, sound systems and any necessary permits or license fees. Check with your venue whether they offer a package that includes these essentials to minimise costs.

If they don’t, look out for companies that offer plastic or polished wood furniture. These will be easier to clean and will contribute to the fresh, woodland theme.

4. Craft a woodland-inspired menu 

When hosting a forest wedding, try incorporating nature-inspired elements into your food offerings to create a memorable and cohesive experience for your guests. 

For example, try hosting a vegan buffet with farm-to-table ingredients. Alternatively, host a barbecue or rent food vans. These interactive catering experiences will contribute to the laid-back environment of a forest wedding and allow guests with different dietary requirements to manage their plate. Plus, you won’t need to print place cards reminding everyone what they ordered! 

5. Capture the magical moments

After putting so much work into your big day, capturing the special moments of your forest wedding is essential. 

Holding a forest wedding will allow for truly breathtaking wedding photography. With an ample supply of natural light and a beautiful backdrop, your wedding photos will be something to behold. Ask your photographer if they offer:

  • Wide-angle lenses. To capture as much of the beautiful forest as possible.
  • An indoor set-up in case of weather changes. Mother nature can be unpredictable, so opt for an experienced photographer who will be prepared for every eventuality. 
  • A candid photoshoot session. Candid moments convey genuine emotions and create a more authentic story of the wedding day. 
  • Retouching at the standard price. Although a forest backdrop makes for beautiful photos, the untameable foliage is likely to produce a few outof-place leaves or twigs. A talented photographer should be able to edit these out using software. However, you should check that this won’t come at extra cost. 

Not sure where to start? Check out our guide on expert tips for choosing your wedding photographer, and some key questions to ask before booking them for your special day.

🧠Pro Tip: Check out the photographer’s social media accounts as well as their portfolio when considering your options. Often, photographers will include behind-the-scenes information, their editing process and their favourite angles to use on their social media accounts. This will help you understand whether they’re the right fit for your wedding or not. 

6. Combine practicality with style

When considering what to wear to a forest wedding, it’s important to consider the landscape. For example, if you live in an area that has a lot of rainfall, you might want to choose a shorter dress to ensure no mud catches on your hems.

If you really want to lean into the floral, boho theme, look for materials that have flower appliques or lace fabrics. In addition, breathable, flowing fabrics will keep you comfortable all day. Oh, and maybe leave the heels at home!

7. Don’t forget the rings

Wedding rings are one of the most important details of your wedding and an investment piece you’ll wear for the rest of your life. Be sure to pick wedding rings you love and ensure someone reliable has them on the big day.

If you’re looking for something bespoke, there are jewellers who can combine natural elements into your wedding bands. For example, sand from a beach, flower petals, or clay from the forest floor. This material is usually sealed in resin to create an unusual contrast with the metal of the ring. Or, consider having hand-crafted wedding bands – we particularly love Eco Wood Rings, lovingly made from sustainably sourced or salvaged wood and recycled precious metals. 

How much does a forest wedding cost?

Photo © Royal Forest Weddings | See their Bridebook profile

The cost of a forest wedding can vary greatly depending on several factors. This includes your location, head count, wedding attire, the decor and your personal preferences. 

Did you know that the average cost of a wedding in 2023 is £19,184, or £24,069 including the rings  honeymoon? Average wedding spending has increased in almost every category since 2021!

If that figure makes your eyes water, the good news about a forest wedding is that a lot of the decor and styling is DIY-friendly. It’s easy to make a forest wedding either budget-friendly or extravagant. It totally depends on your preference and priorities.  

Top tips for planning your forest wedding

Photo © Cheshire Woodland Weddings | See their Bridebook profile

Here are our top tips to help you plan your forest wedding:

  • Location, location, location: Research and visit potential forest venues to find the perfect location for your wedding. Although aesthetic appeal is important, consider factors such as accessibility, capacity and available facilities. Look for a venue that aligns with your vision and offers the necessary amenities for your wedding day. In addition, ensure that there is an accessible route for caterers, entertainers and other suppliers to help with set-up. A solid track leading into the forest can make all the difference for small wheels and big carts!
  • Consider the weather: If you opt for a forest wedding, the weather will make a big difference. Try to steer clear of cold and rainy seasons. However, if this can’t be avoided, cover all bases and rent a marquee to protect your guests from a potential downpour.
  • Dress to impress: You want to look your best on your special day. Unfortunately, looking your best can come at a price. The cost of your wedding outfit will include the price of a dress, shoes, veil, hair and makeup. For budget-conscious or eco-friendly couples, consider renting your wedding attire. This will reduce costs significantly and ensure your dress isn’t single-use.
  • Consider the lighting: Although a forest wedding will have ample natural lighting, that beautiful sun won’t last all day! If you intend to party into the wee hours to celebrate your love, consider adorning the trees with some lanterns or fairy lights to tie in with the whimsical theme. 

The bottom line on planning a forest wedding

Photo © Stourton Woods | See their Bridebook profile

Although it might feel overwhelming at first, planning a wedding is one of the most exciting times of your life, and planning a forest wedding is an opportunity to create a particularly magical and unforgettable celebration. 

There may be a lot of logistical concerns when planning a wedding surrounded by nature’s beauty.  However, with careful planning and budgeting, you can design a one-of-a-kind experience for your and your guests.

Embrace the magic, infuse your personal touch and plan ahead to ensure a truly enchanting celebration that will be cherished for a lifetime.

There you have our guide on planning a magical forest wedding ceremony! Get started on Bridebook to discover plenty more inspiration and expert advice.

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Happy Planning!