This guide is for couples who are choosing amongst outdoor wedding venues in NH. Or for those deciding whether to do their New Hampshire wedding outdoors.
What is an Outdoor Wedding?
First, let’s be clear on nomenclature. An outdoor wedding can come in lots of forms. For example, some New Hampshire venues allow couples to have all their wedding events outside. Like at the Horse & Hound, you can have your ceremony, cocktail reception, and wedding reception outside. Most barn weddings, in contrast, at least have the reception inside.
When’s the Best Time to Get Married Outside in New Hampshire?
Next, let’s start with the basics, when can you actually get married outside in New Hampshire? The best times to get married outside in New Hampshire is in the summer and early fall. You can sneak in a wedding in the late spring or late fall if the weather gods are on your side. But you will likely need heaters and siding for your tent for the colder weather. For example, in Franconia, NH at the Horse & Hound, the average temperature in November is in the 40s. And you should definitely have a rain (or snow!) backup plan.
Also note that the most rainfall happens during the three summer months, so also good to have a rain plan then too!
Backup Plans at Your NH Outdoor Wedding Venue
You should have a backup plan for all of your wedding events. But your ability to move something inside will depend on the event and the venue. Usually, ceremonies can more easily be moved to a different location. Because during a ceremony, some guests can stand if you have less space. Similarly, cocktail hours can also be moved more easily because guests can mingle almost anywhere. But receptions, especially with sit-down dinners, are harder to move. Most outdoor wedding venues in NH make you have a tent, or at least a tent backup plan if you have an outdoor reception.
Pros and Cons of Outdoor Wedding Venues in NH
There are obviously pros and cons for doing your New Hampshire wedding outdoors. Uncertainty is the big downside. If you’re a couple who wants to know exactly what to expect on their wedding day, then an outdoor wedding in NH may not be for you. An outdoor wedding also limits the time of year that you can have your wedding.
There are also some amazing benefits to having your wedding outside. Couples getting married outside at the Horse & Hound get to choose a perfect tent that fits their guest count and wedding style. If you want more tips on searching for NH wedding venues, head here.
Wedding photographers also love it! Below are thoughts from actual photographers who shoot outdoor weddings in NH.
Danielle at Little Redd Photography says: “Having an outdoor wedding is the best! It guarantees to set the scene whether that be with fall foliage or watching the sunset. With all the excitement from your wedding day the colors surrounding you will feel vivid and can only add to your perfect day.” More from Danielle here.
Rachel at Rachel Buckley Weddings adds: “As a photographer I love outdoor weddings, whether an outdoor ceremony or a tented reception, because the natural light is always so beautiful. It results in natural skin tones and soft colors that are true to life. I also find outdoor spaces to be ideal because there aren’t as many restrictions on where a photographer can go. It adds to a lot more variety and possibility when it comes to creating your photographs.” More from Rachel here.
Nora & Cory at Solare Wedding Photography are equally excited about outdoor weddings. They say: “We love outdoor weddings because they give a sense of place. Most couples choose a venue for the location, so why not incorporate that scenery into all of the photos during the ceremony or reception? Plus, you definitely can’t beat natural light when it comes to beautiful wedding photography!” More from Solare Wedding Photography here.
The Different Types of Outdoor Venues in NH
Most New Hampshire wedding venues that offer outdoor reception space do so in a tent. Venues either have one permanently on-site, or more often, couples choose and rent a tent specific for their wedding. There are many NH venues that provide space for outdoor ceremonies even if the reception is indoors.
Tips for Getting Married Outside in New Hampshire
General Tips for NH Outdoor Weddings
As we note above, make sure you have a contingency plan if the weather is bad.
Plan for the wind! Wind can affect hair, dresses, decorations, and tablecloths to name a few! It also can affect whether guests can hear the vows.
Prepare your guests. You should also prepare your guests for the various weather scenarios. If you want to be extra helpful, then proactively update them before the big day to know what to expect.
It can still get hot in New Hampshire, even the White Mountains where the Horse & Hound is located. If the temps get high, you’ll have to worry about dehydration. So make sure you have water for your guests that’s easily accessible. Temperature can also affect the food. For example, if it’s hot, your caterer should have a menu that can withstand the heat.
Where is the sun?! Know who will be affected by the sun and when. It could be your guests or the wedding party, depending on the sun’s location. Sunglasses also make great wedding shwag!
Ask your outdoor New Hampshire wedding venue if they have an electrical and water hookup. The electrical hookup is important at the ceremony location if you want to amplify music or the vows. Water hookup is necessary for a reception if the caterer needs it, or if you require a portable toilet.
The Perfect Conditions for Photos at an New Hampshire Outdoor Wedding Venue
The sun (or lack thereof) can also affect wedding photography. Ashley of Ashley Olafsson Photography told us: “Although I can handle any weather or lighting situation, the perfect conditions for photographing a wedding outside would be overcast early fall day! Fall is my favorite time of year and surprising to some, but most photographers hate sunshine due to harsh shadows and uneven light! A slight overcast day allows for much more even light and skin tones and you can’t beat the fall crisp weather!” More from Ashley here.
A Wedding Planner’s Tips on Outdoor Wedding Venues in NH
Juley Riley of Something Bleu Weddings shared her thoughts on outdoor weddings in New Hampshire. “When planning an outdoor tented wedding there are many factors to take into consideration. Weather and the season will play a really large factor. In New England most outdoor tented weddings typically happen between mid May to mid October. There can be a lot of fluctuation in the weather during this time.
As a wedding planner I always recommend starting to keep track of the weather about 2 weeks out and then the week of your wedding date check the weather every day. If it looks like it could be rainy on your wedding date at a week out I would recommend purchasing some umbrella’s so there are extras for your guests in case they don’t have any of their own. This will help keep them dry and comfortable as they navigate around the property during the wedding.
Another recommendation is welcome drinks for your guests (which will be provided by your venue or the caterer pending if your venue has an on-site caterer or if you are using a different catering company.) In the warm weather having a water/lemonade/ice tea station as they are arriving is a great idea. This can help them cool down as they arrive and get seated for the ceremony. In the cooler months having a tea/hot chocolate station is great for guests arriving so they can warm up as they wait for the ceremony.” More from Something Bleu weddings.
Our last tip is to enjoy yourself during your outdoor wedding in New Hampshire, no matter the weather!