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Outdoor Ceremonies at Dodmoor

Updated: Apr 20, 2022

Outdoor wedding ceremonies... Pretty, romantic, whimsical, and now fully legal in England (yay)!

Temporary legislation allowing outdoor civil weddings and partnerships for the first time has been in place since last summer, and it has now been made permanent! This is so exciting for the wedding industry, and will allow couples greater choice in how they celebrate their big day.

The barns of course look wonderful inside with their pretty wooden beams and fairy lights, and many of you may well still wish to get married inside them (especially during the winter months!), however we are really looking forward to being able to provide so much more flexibility and choice!

We might be a little biased, but we think that the grounds of Dodmoor are just as beautiful as the insides of our lovely barns, and we are so excited for couples to say "I Do" within our gorgeous outdoor areas over the summer. There's The Courtyard, The Drive and The Front Lawn, and The Catesby Lawn, which is intimately enclosed by trees covering the field behind and the stunning stone of the barn.

'Front of House' outdoor ceremony. Images by Aaron Collett Photography

We believe that wherever you find yourself in Dodmoor, it feels special, but now that ceremonies can take place in several different areas across the venue, there will be a little more magic in the air.

Not only is this wonderful news for us and our couples getting married at Dodmoor, it's also a great step in supporting the whole wedding sector, and gives more options to all couples in terms of how they celebrate.

"A couple’s wedding day is one of the most special times in their lives, and this change will allow them to celebrate it the way that they want."

So we have put together some information for you below, in regards to how these outdoor ceremonies can take place at Dodmoor, and everything you'll need to know! We hope that we have covered it all, but if you do have any questions about your own wedding and the possibility of an outdoor ceremony, please email us directly at

Top level of courtyard' outdoor ceremony. Images by Sophie Ann Photography

What are the capacities:

Catesby Lawn/The Drive/Front Lawn – We have 18 benches which seat 5 (6 at a squeeze) people each, so we are keeping our normal indoor capacity of 90-96 guests, which tallies with our sit-down wedding breakfast capacity.

The Courtyard – We can set up 12 rows of five chairs (2 and 3 either side of the aisle) in a traditional set-up, making a total of 60 guests. If you wanted a middle set-up, then this would reduce the maximum capacity to 30-36 people (for a ceremony in the courtyard, it needs to be guaranteed that there will be no chance of rain, as we cannot move all of the chairs inside at the last minute).

What if I have more guests for the ceremony (with an informal style meal):

We can squeeze a few extra guests on the benches (especially with small children) or add some chairs at the back. The total maximum capacity for this would be around 110 people so there could still be an indoor option.

Catesby Barn lawn' outdoor ceremony

Does it cost anything:

We are offering free set-up of the main outdoor ceremony area at The Catesby Lawn (with benches), or The Courtyard (with chairs).

If you wish to have a ceremony on The Drive or at The Front Lawn, there would be a £200 additional set-up fee payable in advance (which would be refunded if you let us know by 24 hours before if you no longer wish to have the ceremony outside, most likely due to the weather forecast - we can always discuss this on your 'drop off' appointment the day before your wedding).

What can I add to my outdoor ceremony:

You may wish to hire one of our wooden arch or moongate to help give the outdoor ceremony a stunning focal point - - and could ask your florist or venue dresser to add some extra decorative touches to these too.

Who decides if the outdoor ceremony can go ahead:

The registrars have the ultimate say on whether the weather will allow an outdoor ceremony, and while we will take an initial decision (with you) an hour beforehand if the weather forecast is uncertain, they have the power to over-rule this.

'Top level of courtyard' outdoor ceremony, with middle set-up. Images by Tim Hill Photography

What happens if the weather is bad:

We will set up an indoor ceremony as well, so we can simply revert to this plan if needed on the day. If you are planning for the ceremony to be in The Courtyard, you can only have this if there is no chance of rain on the day, as we cannot move 60 chairs inside if is starts to shower – this is the beauty of the benches as they can be left out and a last minute decision can be made.

Can we have confetti:

Confetti would be (and has always been) strictly banned anywhere except for the courtyard. There would need to be a £100 refundable confetti clear-up deposit for any outside ceremony here, whether or not it’s biodegradable. This would be on top of any set-up fee (and include The Catesby Lawn).

Main Lawn' outdoor ceremony

What about music:

We have a PA speaker system that can play your recorded ceremony music, while obviously any live music can be played outside.

What about drinks:

Guests are not legally allowed to consume alcoholic drinks anywhere close to the ceremony location (inside or outside) for around an hour before it takes place. The registrars prefer no drinks at all in this area (so there is no doubt whether there is a vodka in your coke!). The Dodmoor bar can still be open, but you would need to be careful about drinks not being consumed in the courtyard with an outside ceremony being held there.

'Front of House' outdoor ceremony. Images by Aaron Collett Photography

When do I have to let you know:

You would ideally confirm where your ceremony will be taking place (and the set-up for the back-up option inside) at your main planning meeting 2-3 months before your wedding, but you can update this up to around a week beforehand. We need an absolute final decision the morning before.

Can I get married anywhere else at Dodmoor:

We have so far cleared only these potential options with the registrars; we would be happy to discuss any other ideas with you, but they have to be on our property, easily accessible and safe.

'Top level of courtyard' outdoor ceremony. Images by Sophie Ann Photography

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