{Dear Diary}: Tips for Planning an Outdoor Wedding

Photo Credit: Jessica Claire

Outdoor weddings are romantic and beautiful. And not to mention that they come out so natural in pictures. However, they aren’t as easy as they may look. Outdoor weddings come with additional caveats and pitfalls. So be sure to read these tips before you plan an outdoor wedding.

  1. Think of your guests first. Think about what the weather will likely be at the time of day and month of the year of your outdoor wedding. Check the weather for conditions that could be expected. If it’s hot, don’t leave your guests melting in the sun. Rent a tent to shade your event.
  2. Have a backup plan. While it may not be your ideal plan, make arrangements for ‘plan B’ in the event of rain or other hindering weather. Select an outdoor wedding venue that also has an indoor location waiting just in case. A tent is another option to shelter guests from light or scattered rain showers. Be prepared for the chance of rain the night before your wedding. Heavy rains will soak the ground underneath, leaving guests on soggy soil and muddy shoes.
  3. Plan for wind. If your wedding may encounter windy conditions, avoid lighter fabrics like chiffons and silks in dresses that will take of with a gust of wind. Plan ahead with your hairstylist, so your wedding day hair will be all set for the elements of an outdoor ceremony. And of course, make sure your tent will stand up to gusting winds or find an indoor backup plan.
  4. Can everybody hear? When you picture your dream wedding at the beach, you’re probably not hearing the roaring of the waves, the rushing wind, or the local kids running and screaming around you. Look into renting a sound system with clip mikes for the bride, groom and officiant. Your DJ or band may be able to easily arrange this for you.
  5. Decorations. One of the bonuses of an outdoor wedding is the natural beauty around you, lessening your need to decorate. Visit the site a week before your wedding to make sure the landscaping on site is in good shape. Accent the natural decor that’s already present.
  6. Make things tasty outside. Make sure your caterer knows you’re having an outdoor wedding, so that things won’t melt and that food and beverages keep while in the outdoor temperatures for an extended period of time.
  7. Don’t leave your guests parched. Since alcohol is dehydrating, consider serving a variety of lemonades, teas and punches. Be sure to have plenty of ice and water around as well. For a fancy cocktail, why not serve a classic mint julep or a mojito? The mint will refresh and cool your guests.
  8. Share details. Don’t be afraid to share information and assistance to your out-of-town guests about travel plans, hotel accommodations, and seasonal weather. Offer your guests a courteous mention about appropriate dress on your invitations. This means your wedding party, too. Let your crew know what to wear to the rehearsal dinner and any other wedding weekend events. Well-informed guests are happy guests.
  9. Here comes the sun. Consider timing your outdoor wedding for sunset where your guests will see you take your vows surrounded by the warm glow of the sun. Those having a daytime outdoor wedding should orient the ceremony so that the sun will be on guests’ backs rather than in their eyes.
  10. Give all sorts of outdoor favors. Have custom printed ice-cold bottled water available to guests too keep cool and hydrated. Print your wedding program on a paper fan, and place one on each seat. Place a bundle of complimentary sunscreen bottles in the restrooms or elsewhere for the taking. If your ceremony takes place on the shore of a beach, give your guests flip flops to walk in the sand

Images from Martha Stewart

One Comment Add yours

  1. Thanks for the tips on the outdoor wedding. Another thing to consider is the photography. It’s very very challenging to get good images under bright noon sunlight. Plan the wedding in the late afternoon, early evening and make sure there is some sort of shaded area (trees, covered venue area, etc).

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