Backyard and Outdoor Wedding Flower Planning Tips

How do outdoor weddings differ from indoor? Significantly, if you’re planning and installing the wedding flowers. Unlike indoors, of course, there’s sun, heat, rain and wind! Outdoor wedding floral design techniques | OASIS Floral ProductsWhile not every backyard is perfect for a wedding, the option is increasingly popular. Last year on Pinterest, searches for backyard weddings increased 441 percent! Which makes it safe to say you’ll see outdoor weddings—with their floral design challenges—continue to trend in 2019. This week, we share outdoor wedding floral mechanic and design tips from Smithers-Oasis Design Director Frank Feysa AIFD, PFCI. With photos of his arrangements from a 2018 midwestern outdoor ceremony and reception, you’ll get ideas for planning the floral arrangements for the outdoor weddings on your schedule this year.

What’s special outdoors?

Events planned at home can be especially warm and inviting. Some families choose to celebrate at home for sentimental reasons. The backyard can be a spacious place for guests to gather. Outdoor wedding floral design techniques | OASIS Floral ProductsTo decorate this lakeside gazebo, Frank filled a series of large floral cages with fresh white and blush roses, white and green hydrangea and salal zip-tied to the existing structure. He added white lisianthus and dahlias to the fresh flower mix to fill two garden urns in front. Having a backyard ceremony, rather than paying a facility fee elsewhere, helps the budget. In addition to backyards, natural settings, outdoor venues and public spaces are being secured for informal weddings. Outdoor wedding floral design techniques | OASIS Floral ProductsA local setting that accommodates only smaller guest lists can help with budgets. Any savings enable a couple to enjoy more flowers in strategic places like atop this barrel at the altar. Outdoor wedding floral design techniques | OASIS Floral ProductsFrank used a corso zip-tied in place to add flowers to the corners of the wooden arbor entrance.

Use a water source with bouquets

Water-saturated floral-foam bouquet holders were used as the base of the bridesmaids' bouquets to keep them fresh in the outdoor heat. Outdoor wedding floral design techniques | OASIS Floral ProductsFrank cut the excess flower stems into individual pieces the same length as the bouquet handle. He then covered the bouquet holder's straight handles with adhesive. Either UGLU or double-sided tape can be used. He encircled the handle by pressing the stems into the applied adhesive and covering it. Leaving the ends of the stems exposed, he wrapped and covered the tape in concentric circles of brown rustic wire. He attached a rustic wire to a green hydrangea to create a flower girl kissing ball pomander, then used floral adhesive to glue fresh flowers and foliage in the center of the hydrangea. Frank chose one of the longer-lasting hydrangeas, dipped its fresh-cut stem end into Quick Dip and misted it with Crowning Glory to ensure it would maintain its fresh appearance.

The wedding aisle

Outdoor wedding floral design techniques | OASIS Floral ProductsThe wedding aisle was marked by guest’s chairs adorned with flower arrangements. Frank took 6.5” galvanized buckets and punched holes in each side of each bucket. He attached a heavy wire as the handle: Mega wire can be used. Then he filled each bucket with flowers.

More attention to details

Planning an outdoor event requires more attention to logistics and flower care details than indoors, with uncertainties like temperature, direct sun, wind and rain. “It was so hot,” says Frank, “that we didn’t place the flowers onsite until about an hour before the ceremony.”

Michelle Perry-White AIFD shares how she and her team beat the heat one extremely hot wedding day – Don’t Wilt! How Fresh Flowers Can Survive Hot Wedding Days

As it really can rain on your parade, create a backup plan with the couple. Planning to serve food indoors helps avoid possible last-minute chaos and battles with uninvited insects.

Floral cages for placement flexibility

Outdoor wedding floral design techniques | OASIS Floral ProductsInside the barn at the Reed wedding, the same casual theme was continued in the reception area. “We used lots of floral cages to make the designs,” says Frank. “We weren’t sure exactly where we were going to place the arrangements so using the forms (with their plastic bases) gave us a lot of flexibility.” Frank used a series of flower-filled raquettes running down the head table. Raquettes come in 18, 27 and 36-inch lengths, which can be mixed to adjust the centerpiece to the table length. To create the evening’s starlight effect, “we strung a lot of fairy lights and used a bucketload of batteries,” says Frank. Outdoor wedding floral design techniques | OASIS Floral ProductsThe bride and groom’s chairs were decorated with flowers for their place of honor at the reception table. Outdoor wedding floral design techniques | OASIS Floral ProductsFrank enjoyed filling a collection of wood crates and tin pots with fresh flowers and grasses. He used these arrangements to mix and match with lanterns, wooden table markers and votives for the round guest tables.

Outdoor wedding floral design techniques | OASIS Floral ProductsConsider flowers in their season and climate

Flowers in their natural season and climate are often better prepared for the location than those naturally from another season, locale or climate. For example, delicate spring flowers grown from bulbs are less prepared for surviving intense heat than perennial wildflowers blooming in deep summer. Using readily available seasonal flowers can also be less expensive than imported flowers.

Plan for outdoor wedding requests

Outdoor wedding floral design techniques | OASIS Floral ProductsTo catch the eye of wedding couples in your area, visit each local site. Video a walk-through explaining how flowers can be used to highlight the area. Post it on your social media pages and website. Encourage each venue you visit to repost it on their site as well. Create menus of wedding designs that accommodate each site so you’ll be ready to propose new ideas when a potential client arrives for consultation. “The bride and her bridesmaids spent the day with us at the lake,” says Frank. “They were there to have fun, see how the décor was coming along and spend time with their family. It was a relaxed and casual day.” How can you plan, design and implement fabulous floral designs for backyard, garden and outdoor weddings?


These tips are really awesome and have a lovely wedding. Is that a rustic themed wedding? I really love to learn how to design rustic themed wedding

Christensen @ Flowerhub December 18, 2019

Thanks, Christensen! I’m so glad you enjoyed the blog. As to your question about rustic themed weddings – it’s all about the look! Rustic weddings are often held outside at farms, gardens, wineries, etc. Natural materials are chosen for decor (including flowers) with texture being the most important element. Recycled, repurposed, and reusable items are often incorporated. Flowers tend to have a ‘weedy’ or wildflower look. Styles and materials are chosen for their simple elegance in a very back-to-basics way. Nature is celebrated along with the wedding couple. I think you might enjoy our Floral Chandelier, Greenhouse Décor and a Kentucky Horse Farm Wedding as well.

Do any of you readers have other suggestions to share with Christensen about rustic weddings? If so, please comment here.

Sharon McGukin December 18, 2019

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