The rise of the back garden wedding – polytunnels et al!

Following a year of turbulence within the wedding industry, Premier Polytunnels has examined the rise of the back garden wedding in 2021 and highlighted a list of considerations for all couples looking to host their own.

The rise of the back garden wedding: Why we’re keen to say “I do” outdoors in 2021

Back garden wedding

After a year of being put on hold, the announcement of the new roadmap for the wedding industry reopening is a welcome sight for both those looking to get married and those working within the sector.

At the time of writing, weddings are limited to just six attendees, however from 12th April this guest allowance is expected to rise, and under the next phase of lockdown weddings parties of up to 15 attendees can start to take place, however hospitality venues are only allowed to open outdoors during this time.

Small back garden weddingSoon after, on the 17th May, weddings and outdoor social groups will be allowed to take place with up to 30 people and we’re hopeful that after June, restrictions will lift even further. However, couples looking to rebook their wedding may be facing a long waiting time owing to a backlog of bookings in the UK following the abundance of unavoidable cancellations in 2020, with an estimated 328,000 weddings now waiting to take place.

As such, following the announcement, venues up and down the country have seen a huge rise in demand as people try to reschedule their ceremonies, with some London venues said to be booked out until 2023 at the earliest.

Owing to several factors including the tight restrictions surrounding the number of guests, the waiting time for venues, as well as understandable anxieties when it comes to large gatherings, there has been a peak in interest amongst UK couples in hosting their wedding closer to home.

So much so, that social media channel, Pinterest has recently reported a 190% YOY increase in searches for “small back garden wedding” across the UK, USA and Brazil as couples opt for a more intimate, DIY ceremony to help speed up their wedding date.

We were keen to find out a little bit more about how the nation might approach weddings going forward, as well as exploring just how they would feel about hosting a DIY back garden wedding of their own in 2021, and so surveyed 1,000 UK adults to find out more.

Going to the garden, and we’re, going to get married

Garden wedding UK

Our study showed that 6 in 10 would be happy to attend a DIY wedding, and 56% would be happy to plan a DIY wedding in their own back garden, or that of a friend or family member.

When the wait is finally over and weddings are finally able to go ahead, 15% of the nation said they would be happy to attend a wedding of any size and more than a third (41%) of Brits would opt to attend a wedding part of 30 guests and below – which is perfect for any couples looking to get married before 21st June. Understandably, a fifth of UK adults (18%) feel they are not yet ready to attend weddings of any size in 2021, with women being more nervous than men about attending (21% vs 15%).

When asked about planning their own wedding, more than a quarter (27%) of people surveyed said they’d happily plan a smaller wedding in order to get married sooner.

In truth, a quicker wedding date isn’t the only reason people would reduce their guestlist. The restrictions on attendees means that couples can now cut out people they previously invited out of politeness, a reason almost a third of UK adults (29%) cite for why they would be willing to cut down their guestlist.

The legalities of saying “I do” outdoors

Unfortunately, for those looking to hold the legally binding part of their marriage ceremony in their garden it’s not technically possible at this time, with current UK law stating that couples are only allowed to legally marry in registered buildings such as a licensed venue or place of worship.

There is a potential light at the end of the tunnel on this front though, as the pandemic highlighted the restrictive nature of these laws which has led the government to consider altering the law to better reflect modern society. The new proposed law would allow couples to be legally married anywhere they wish (within reason), so watch this space.

For now, those who have their heart set on a garden wedding will have to hold the ceremonial side of their big day in an appropriate venue elsewhere. But don’t let this put you off, as the garden is still a gorgeous option for the less formal celebrations that follow!

DIY Garden Wedding IdeasIt’s a yes to a DIY wedding reported a 15% YOY increase in engaged couples signing up with their site since Christmas Day, and an estimated 400,000 weddings are expected to take place this year. 

With such a backlog of wedding parties and all of the aspects that come along with them, we were keen to find out more about the less generic aspects of weddings that Brits are keen to see introduced into their big day.

In terms of alternative venues, garden-based receptions were the most favoured amongst couples (56%), followed by holding the celebrations in a village or town hall (38%).

When looking to hold an outdoor reception in the UK, one of the most important things to consider is of course the weather, and subsequently the options you have for shelter.

As such, taking into account the chances of getting rainfall is job number one when it comes to planning your big day, and for those looking to celebrate their unionship al fresco, April was found to be the driest month of the year in the UK, making it one of the safer choices in which to hold an outdoor celebration.

Surprisingly, for those considering later summer months, they may want to avoid August as this month has the most rainfall out of all the spring and summer months.

Polytunnel Wedding VenueA polytunnel of love

A little while ago, we created a whole post about why a polytunnel could offer the perfect solution for those looking to host wedding festivities (or any type of festivity for that matter) in a their chosen outdoor space, and we still believe this to be true.

Dodgy British weather aside, using a polytunnel as a temporary structure in your garden can offer a plethora of uses for bride-and-grooms to be, the most obvious being as a means of providing your attendees with shelter, and offering an additional option when it comes to housing the chairs, tables and even dance floors you may wish to incorporate into your reception.

According to studies, the average couple spends anywhere between £5,000 and £6,000 on a wedding venue alone, however (space dependent), even if investing in something as large as a 90ft polytunnel instead would set you back just £2,923, saving you a minimum of £2,077 before you even make a dent in the rest of the essentials for your big day. Don’t worry, we have plenty of smaller options available for those who are a little tighter on space too.

Garden wedding ideasFor those truly looking to go handmade across all elements of their matrimonial merrymaking, a polytunnel could offer no end of opportunities to do so, saving you money along the way and enabling you to grow your own flowers for your bouquet and table decorations, or to harvest a percentage of the food you serve up during the wedding breakfast.

Similarly, the structure can then be used time and again once the wedding has come and gone, allowing you to carry on cultivating fresh produce to enjoy all year round. 

Handmade with love

Other aspects of DIY weddings popular amongst UK couples included homemade flower arrangements (36%) and a homemade cake (33%) as well as saving money on a makeup artist by doing it yourself (33%) and creating your own homemade invitations (32%) for a really personal touch. 

Top Wedding day ideas for Brits

By incorporating even a few of these homemade and DIY elements into your wedding, you can make some pretty noticeable savings when it comes to the final bill, as well as allowing you to really put your own stamp on such a personal day.

DIY Garden WeddingFor example, if you or a family member is a dab hand at baking, getting creative and making your own cake you could save you approximately £550 in labour costs, with the cost of wedding cakes reportedly soaring upwards of £750, depending on the designer.

As well as the homemade touches, planning a more intimate reception with a smaller guestlist can reduce costs significantly, allowing you to make savings on everything from food and drink, to seating and invitation costs too. 


We hope we’ve been able to illustrate that as we move back to some sense of normality, couples who are eager to get their wedding plans underway as soon as possible, and don’t wish to spend time waiting for venues to open up, do still have plenty of lovely options which will allow them to celebrate one of their most significant milestones with style.

By cutting down on numbers and instead opting for a more intimate ceremony in the form of a less conventional back garden wedding reception, they will not only be able to get married sooner rather than later, but they can also tailor the whole affair in a more careful way that will ensure it’s completely suited to their budget too.

Owing to our findings that over half the country are more than happy to attend or host a DIY wedding, this is a trend we may well be seeing more of going forward – just remember to check the weather and plan accordingly!

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