You’ve said “Yes,” the date’s been selected and you have your heart set on an outdoor wedding. You’ve scouted a few locations (including your own backyard) and made your decision. But, as beautiful as outdoor weddings are, they do take a bit of planning to come off without a hitch. Here are a few things you’ll want to think about to have the perfect outdoor wedding:
1. Make your guests comfortable. If your seating will be a bit uncomfortable, provide pillows. Might be too sunny? Have sunglasses on hand. Chilly weather in the forecast? Provide blankets, just in case.
2. Make sure your flowers stay moist. If your wedding will be in the heat of summer, warn your florist so that they can take steps to keep your bouquets and decorative flowers looking their best. Misting flowers before the ceremony starts can keep flowers fresh and beautiful.
3. Hydrate your guests as well. Have lots of water on hand, just in case it gets hot. Make sure you have plenty of other drink options, both alcoholic and non alcoholic. And, think “outside the cooler” when it comes to containers — decorate galvanized buckets, wine barrels, wagons or wheelbarrows with your wedding color scheme.
4. Watch out for wind. Wind can wreak havoc on hairstyles and light fabrics like chiffon and silks so plan accordingly.
5. Make sure everyone can hear. Whether your dream outdoor wedding is at the beach or in the backyard, remember that it can be noisy outside. Look into renting a good sound system and mike the bride, the groom and the officiant so everyone can hear you taking your vows.
6. Warn guests about wearing appropriate footwear. High heels sinking into grass and mud is a messy business. So, let your guests know if your ceremony will take place in an area where flat shoes would make more sense. Even better, provide everyone with a pair of wedding flip/flops to keep!
7. Don’t forget about lighting. If you plan to dance until dawn make sure to have plenty of appropriate lighting. Supplement regular lighting with lanterns or bonfires for even more fun.
8. Work with, not against, the natural beauty. If you are getting married in a public park, make sure it is properly mowed before your big day. Plan your wedding photography around areas of special architectural or natural beauty and give your photographer a preview of your outdoor space before the wedding.
9. Show your guests how you came to be a couple! Wrap a tree or two with some string lights and photographs to display some of your favorite pre-wedding memories. It will make a great conversation piece and photo op!
10. Have a back-up plan. Make sure you have a plan in case of a downpour. The ideal outdoor location has an indoor “back-up” location nearby. Many couples opt to have their ceremony outside and their reception inside, for that very reason.
An outdoor wedding is an especially memorable way to go. It does require a bit of extra planning to make everything go smoothly, but, if you do your homework, you’ll have a wedding to remember!