3 Stunning Outdoor Wedding Themes

Whether set on a sandy beach, a lush garden or a sweeping ranch, a wedding framed by nature’s bounty is a beautiful thing to behold. Here, three stunning scenarios.

By: 
Rachel Griffiths

  • Garden Wedding

    Garden Wedding

    For this wedding on a private estate in Malibu, event planner Lisa Gorjestani of Details Event Planners wanted to showcase every inch of the stunning property. The result? A day of gardens, lawns and flowers— the ultimate outdoor do.

    Photo Credit: Amy and Stuart Photography

  • Garden Wedding

    Garden Wedding

    When guests arrived, they were greeted with a map of the property that had the events marked out — a taste of the day to come. First up, a small vineyard where rosé and prosecco were served.

    Photo Credit: Amy and Stuart Photography

  • Garden Wedding

    Garden Wedding

    Staff was there all along the way to make sure each guest knew just where to go. “Signs are fun and cute, but you also need staff to direct guests so everyone feels comfortable,” says Lisa. (Speaking of comfort: Lisa made sure guests were informed of the outdoor terrain — a good tip to keep in mind if grass, gravel or uneven grounds are in your game plan. That way, women can leave their stilettos at home.)

    Photo Credit: Amy and Stuart Photography

  • Garden Wedding

    Garden Wedding

    After a drink and a light bite, guests were directed across a bridge to the intimate lawn for the ceremony.

    Photo Credit: Amy and Stuart Photography

  • Garden Wedding

    Garden Wedding

    The area was green and lush, but Lisa brought in flowering shrubs and potted plants to create a riot of summer color.

    Photo Credit: Amy and Stuart Photography

  • Garden Wedding

    Garden Wedding

    When the I dos were over, everyone made their way over to the property’s small pond, where a jazz band played and waiters passed hors d’oeuvres.

    Photo Credit: Amy and Stuart Photography

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  • Garden Wedding

    Garden Wedding

    And then it was time for the event of the night — an elegant, decadently formal three-course sit-down dinner, held on a sunken tennis court with stone walls.

    Photo Credit: Amy and Stuart Photography

  • Garden Wedding

    Garden Wedding

    Lisa covered the court with a wood floor, created an open-air ceiling of tiny string lights, and dressed the tables with an explosion of peonies, hyacinth, roses and flowering vines.

    Photo Credit: Amy and Stuart Photography

  • Garden Wedding

    Garden Wedding

    She completed the tablescape with pewter chargers and, for an extra touch of elan, ruby red cut-crystal goblets. While the mention of an outdoor wedding often conjures up visions of casual, country affairs, this event shows that even white-tie formality is achievable in the great outdoors. Sometimes the best fairy lights of all are the summer stars.

    Photo Credit: Amy and Stuart Photography

  • Mountain Wedding

    Mountain Wedding

    Tucked into the hills of California’s Napa Valley is Calistoga Ranch, on a rolling stretch of land strewn with wildflowers — the setting for a wedding that seemed to capture the mellow summer sunshine. Alyssa Brown of San Francisco and New York’s Alison Events planned the day and tells us how to create that California feeling of effortless ease.

    Photo Credit: Paco and Betty Photography

  • Mountain Wedding

    Mountain Wedding

    Alyssa didn’t want to compete with the stunning surroundings, so she kept the ceremony site simple. “The environment spoke for itself,” she says. A clutch of flowers placed on a wooden stool served as the altar, and the couple stood before a Manzanita tree strewn with purple and lavender ribbons and strings of paper flowers. The ceremony seating was simple as well: dark wood chairs with cream cushions.

    Photo Credit: Paco and Betty Photography

  • Mountain Wedding

    Mountain Wedding

    A basket filled with parasols provides sun protection. (As for rain: “You should always have a backup plan,” Alyssa says. “Calistoga Ranch has an alternate indoor space.”)

    Photo Credit: Paco and Betty Photography

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  • Mountain Wedding

    Mountain Wedding

    Bite-size appetizers were served on porcelain spoons. Cocktails were held on a meandering path lit with luminaries, while preparations for dinner were made on the lawn. A favorite cocktail from the night? Champagne and elderflower liqueur, with a sprig of lavender.

    Photo Credit: Paco and Betty Photography

  • Mountain Wedding

    Mountain Wedding

    When it was time for dinner, partiers made their way back to the lawn to find it transformed. Alyssa had set two long farm tables for 40 people each, and strung bistro lights above.

    Photo Credit: Paco and Betty Photography

  • Mountain Wedding

    Mountain Wedding

    The tables encapsulated the evening’s aesthetic, with low centerpieces of dahlias, astilbe, scabiosa and wildflowers in glass vessels covered in mismatched wallpaper. Alyssa chose vintage silverware and formal silver-rimmed chargers and glasses to bring a dash of easy elegance.

    Photo Credit: Paco and Betty Photography

  • Mountain Wedding

    Mountain Wedding

    After dinner, guests enjoyed a photo booth and danced the night away under wrought-iron chandeliers. While each detail was fully considered, all was done with the lightest of touches. The bride created a wedding that felt as easy as falling in love, all by letting the beauty of the nature around her carry the day.

    Photo Credit: Paco and Betty Photography

  • Island Wedding

    Island Wedding

    The rings, the vows, the flowers, the...bathing suits? At this sun-soaked wedding in the Bahamas, Caribbean nautical chic took on a cheeky Vegas spin (the groom loves to gamble). 

    Photo Credit: Our Labor of Love Photography

  • Island Wedding

    Island Wedding

    The result was a wedding unique to the couple, utterly unforgettable for guests, and as playful as a pair of carefree hearts can be. 

    Photo Credit: Our Labor of Love Photography

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  • Island Wedding

    Island Wedding

    Event planner Cortnie Purdy of Canvas and Canopy in San Diego takes us through the day. The wedding started with a morning ceremony right on the beach, under a driftwood frame hung with sea glass, rope, ivy and flowers for a romantic, castaway feeling. 

    Photo Credit: Our Labor of Love Photography

  • Island Wedding

    Island Wedding

    After the ceremony, guests made their way over to an area that had been set with long tables, bright white linens, and rows and rows of vases in aquas and emeralds.

    Photo Credit: Our Labor of Love Photography

  • Island Wedding

    Island Wedding

    Cortnie set up a buffet of breakfast favorites including a cereal "sundae" bar with yogurt and toppings. 

    Photo Credit: Our Labor of Love Photography

  • Island Wedding

    Island Wedding

    The morning festivities soon segued to an adjacent beach. Guests kickedoff their shoes and changed into bathing suits for a full-on Gidget-style beach party. There was a bar right on the water, waiters circulating with appetizier menus and lounge chairs laid out with striped towels. "You're outside, so it's more playful," says Cortnie. "You can serve more casual food."

    Photo Credit: Our Labor of Love Photography

  • Island Wedding

    Island Wedding

    What the guests ran for were the games — bocce, volleyball and more, complete with scorecards. As guests splashed and swam, Cortnie brought in pizzas. The party wasn’t meant to last into the evening, but the day was such a beach fantasy no one wanted it to end. How much fun was had? The last guests finally left the sand at nine o’clock that night.

    Photo Credit: Our Labor of Love Photography