their bridal party at a night wedding. Each member holds a sparkler firework.

The Ultimate Guide for an Outdoor Nighttime Wedding Ceremony

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It's time to get down to business and start planning your wedding! There are many things to consider, so this guide is designed to help you get started. When it comes to an outdoor nighttime wedding ceremony, spring and summer are two of the best seasons, with flowers in bloom and lovely, warm breezes. Whichever season you prefer, a nighttime outdoor wedding is perfect for anyone who loves getting married in nature, by the water, or surrounded by trees. This ultimate guide for a nighttime outdoor wedding ceremony will cover everything from picking the venue, catering options, and entertainment choices; all the way down to flower arrangements and table settings.

Let's get started!

An outdoor night wedding arch is lined with wooden fencing and glowing white lights against trees.

How to Prepare for Outdoor Nighttime Weddings

Planning is key. Timing, weather, and venue are all important factors to consider when planning a nighttime wedding ceremony. If you have a venue of choice, make sure it's available during the time of year that works best for your big day. You'll also need to consider whether or not your guests will be able to easily access it at night. If they're traveling from afar, consider hiring transportation services or chauffeur options instead of leaving guests to rely on personal transportation preferences. Private travel plans could slow things down and come with additional concerns like traffic and weather delays.

A bride and groom lean on a wooden fence in front of a forest at sunset.


You should also consider how long it takes daylight savings time to change so that you don't end up with an extra hour thrown into your schedule! This will help keep everything running smoothly throughout the evening and reduce any stress associated with last-minute preparations before sunset hits each day.


When planning an outdoor nighttime wedding, consider a professional event coordinator experienced with different styles of ceremonies and receptions. This will help keep things running smoothly throughout the evening and reduce any stress associated with last-minute preparations before sunset hits your day.


A basket of flowers sits next to a sign comprised of several different arrows points wedding visitors to different wedding activities. A park setting is in the background.


Essential Venue Preparation Factors for Nighttime Weddings

To make an outdoor night wedding a success, you must prepare the venue. The bride and groom should visit the chosen location beforehand to get ideas about how it will appear during their big day. The following are important factors in selecting an outdoor venue for nighttime:



The venue should be well-lit so guests can see what's going on and not trip over anything in their way.


Decorations can enhance the atmosphere at any time of day, but they're especially important at night when they help people feel welcome and safe and set a romantic mood.  


Your guests should have enough space around them so that they aren't crowded together like sardines; however, there shouldn't be too much space between tables because that could lead some people to feel lonely or isolated from others while eating dinner (which would be sad!).



The chairs should be comfortable enough for everyone who sits down during dinner because it would suck if someone complained about being sore after eating only one meal! Also, consider having additional seating available if needed by placing extra folding chairs throughout your outdoor area so those who don't want something more elaborate can simply grab one instead.



The food should be delicious and fresh, as well as something that everyone can enjoy. Don't forget to have lots of it so that no one has to wait around for their meal! An outdoor wedding means that it's warm enough to eat outside during springtime; however, if you want to avoid bugs eating off of plates before guests arrive, then consider hiring caterers who specialize in serving meals indoors as well as outdoors so they can do both seamlessly without having any spills or messes occur during service time!

The menu should be varied, too, so everyone can find something they like. You may want to consider having vegetarian options and other types of cuisine, such as international dishes. It's also important that the food is fresh and not frozen or canned because it won't taste nearly as good if it's been sitting around for a while! If you're having a lot of guests over, then make sure to have plenty of extra food on hand just in case some people eat more than others; this way, there won't be any fights over who gets served first.

You should also have plenty of napkins and utensils available for your guests too. If you're having many people over for a backyard night wedding, consider setting up extra tables, so there's enough room for everyone to relax!



You should have plenty of drinks available at your nighttime wedding ceremonies, such as lemonade, iced tea, and water. If you have a barbecue, burgers and hot dogs are likely to be served (or maybe even just hot dogs since they're easy to make), so it's important to have items like ketchup and mustard on hand. If people want something fancier, consider adding wine or champagne to drink with dinner.


A wedding cake sits on a small wooden table in between draped fair lights at a nighttime wedding.

Outdoor Nighttime Wedding Photo Opportunities

The daytime ritual of celebrating your marriage with family and friends should be cherished. But nighttime photos are some of the most unique and beautiful ones you can capture at your wedding, whether captured during sunset, twilight, or nighttime. There's something magical about a photo shoot after sundown: it adds an element of romance and whimsy to your photos. The venue will transform into a place where anything is possible—a fairy-tale setting for magic and mystery!

To create this kind of ambiance on your wedding day, consider these tips for taking some gorgeous nighttime photos:


Nighttime Wedding Photography Tips

The silhouette of a bride and groom  face each other against the night.

    • Have your photographer take pictures at different times of the day. Don't just have them come right before sunset and then leave once it gets dark. Take some time to enjoy the outdoors while they are still light enough to see, so you can capture some great daytime shots to use as backdrops for nighttime photos.

    • Take pictures during sunset, twilight, and nighttime. With a bit of planning, there are plenty of opportunities to take gorgeous photos at each of these times.

    • Use silhouettes in your photos.

    • Take pictures with different backgrounds—like stars or moonlight.
      Two white candles in glass sit beside one another with many fairy lights in trees in the background of a nighttime wedding

  • Create a fairy tale atmosphere with strings of fairy lights all over the area where guests will be seated (or even hanging from trees). This can create a magical backdrop that makes any photo feel extra special!

  • Use natural light. Nothing says romance like moonlight, so use it to your advantage.

  • Candles also make everything look warm and inviting. They also add some sparkle to the event in the form of candlelight dancing off glasses and silverware.

  • If you have a fire pit or fire feature at your wedding venue, then consider using that for ceremony lighting instead of candles. It creates a more dramatic look than candlelight. You'll have more pronounced shadows than softer ones—but it's still ideal for a nighttime outdoor wedding ceremony as it adds more romance and warmth as any dancing light source would (like an open flame).
    A bride and groom set a fire sculpture in the shape of a heart on fire at a nighttime outdoor wedding.

  • Flashlights, string lights, and lanterns are great options for nighttime outdoor weddings where there isn't much natural light. Artificial light sources can be used both indoors and outdoors, depending on where you plan on having your ceremony and whether or not there's enough light left after sunset. Once the sun disappears, you must have a source of lighting available to ensure your guests feel safe and your stunning decor is visible. 


Outdoor Nighttime Wedding Entertainment

Wedding guests dance and play at an outdoor nighttime wedding reception decorated with fairy lights.

Entertainment is an integral part of any wedding and can be one of the most fun parts to plan. There are so many options for entertainment at a wedding, but the two main things you need to think about are music... and fireworks!



Whether you choose a string quartet or a DJ, your music will set the tone for your event. A string quartet is great if you're looking for something more traditional and classic. At the same time, a DJ can help get people dancing right away by playing upbeat tunes everyone knows and loves.



If you want to be less traditional and include some fun activities at your wedding. Consider including dance contests or dance lessons! You could even organize a limbo contest—or have an outdoor dance party with a live band!



Close out your nighttime wedding or kick off your reception with a bang! Overcast or clear skies, the fall of night is the perfect stage for a fun fireworks show that will leave your guests talking for days. 


If games are more up your alley than dancing, why not try something like Twister? Or lawn darts? Another option is to play "pin the tail on the donkey,"—but instead of using real donkeys (and possibly injuring one), use pictures of donkeys glued onto cardboard instead. The possibilities here are endless!


Two bartenders perform a show at a nighttime outdoor wedding.

There's something liberating about the fall of night that really lets you and your guest let loose. If you're hosting a nighttime wedding event, take advantage of it. 

What to wear to a nighttime outdoor wedding?

A bride and groom gaze at one another surrounded by wedding guests with sparklers at an outdoor wedding.

You want to wear something that you feel comfortable in, that you can move around in, and that won't be too hot or too cold. You also want to ensure that your outfit is appropriate for the wedding theme and nighttime weather. Pick a dress or outfit that will not get dirty or wrinkled in the elements!


If you're planning on dancing at your outdoor wedding ceremony, choose an outfit with pockets to keep your phone handy. Make sure whatever shoes you're wearing are clean and comfortable as well (but avoid anything pointy). 


Appropriate Accessories for Weather Changes

Weather can change quickly. If it looks like rain for your outdoor ceremony, and there's no chance of lightning strikes, don't forget umbrellas for yourself (and anyone else who needs one)!


Comfortable Shoes 

It's crucial to be able to move around easily, so make sure that the shoes you wear are comfortable enough for a night of dancing and twirling. If you have an outdoor wedding in the spring or summer, remember that your feet will likely be exposed and wet from the dew or rain. Make sure you also have something dry in case it rains during your ceremony! Wedges are a great way to make your bridesmaids feel comfortable and stylish in their shoes! They're perfect for any outdoor wedding or if you have a lot of walking to do.


Outdoor Wedding Attire

Every bride wants their wedding day look to reflect their personality, so don't try too hard on this one-day occasion. Instead, focus on ensuring everything fits well and your outfit is appropriate for the nighttime weather or temperature changes as the night progresses. Consider offering guests warm pashminas or blankets as outdoor nighttime wedding favors. As the night goes on, you may grab one for yourself. 



A groom carriest the bride at a nighttime outdoor wedding surrounded by guests with sparklers.

We hope this article has helped you find the perfect wedding venue for your outdoor nighttime ceremony. However, if you need help deciding on a location or are looking for more inspiration, feel free to contact us. We're more than happy to help!

Nighttime Wedding Ceremony FAQ


What time should a night wedding start?

Weddings are one of the most important days in a person's life. They should be celebrated with family and friends who are close to you. The length of the evening is up to the couple, but the ceremony should start by 6 pm and end before midnight.


If I want a night reception, what time should the wedding start?

If you're looking for a late-night reception, your wedding should start at 8 pm. This gives guests time to arrive, eat and dance before the reception ends.


What is a good time to do a wedding at night to avoid serving dinner?

A good time to do a wedding at night to avoid serving dinner is when the party is over, and the guests are ready to leave. This way, you can serve drinks and appetizers right after the ceremony.


How do you take good nighttime wedding photos?

Surrounding yourself with a beautiful, natural backdrop is key to taking good night wedding photos. To get the best results, choose an outdoor location that reflects the personality of your wedding. For example, a garden or field can create a lovely atmosphere for your ceremony and reception, while a pier or beach offers an opportunity for scenic shots near the water.


What type of tuxedo for a nighttime wedding?

When in doubt, lean towards a more formal tuxedo for the groom and the wedding party. The time of day of the wedding doesn't really matter.


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