A guide to plan an outdoor wedding
Outdoor weddings are romantic and scenic, but there’s a lot that can go wrong. Here’s your guide to planning a great outdoor wedding.
Outdoor Weddings – Things to Consider:
Who will officiate? Some officiants will only perform ceremonies within a house of worship, so you’ll need to check with yours in advance before planning your ceremony outside.
Inform your guests – Guests need to know they’re attending an outdoor wedding so they can dress appropriately. It’s also a good idea to send weather information to out-of-town guests who may not be familiar with the climate.
Be prepared – Combat potential outdoor issues by having the following items on hand:
* Bug spray
* Water bottles
* Paper fans
* Cell phone
* Tissues/paper towels
Securing your Outdoor Wedding Location
For an outdoor wedding, the draw is the setting, so finding the right spot and coordinating the event around it is the most important task on your to-do list. Your setting options are as limitless as the great outdoors itself. But before getting your heart set on a specific spot, these are some key questions you’ll need to ask:
Is There Privacy? – keep in mind that if your location is a public space – or even near a public place (like a street or sidewalk), you may have to contend with onlookers. Try to reserve your space in a secluded spot to prevent unwanted guests or distractions.
What’s The Backup Plan? – obviously you’ll need a plan in case of inclement weather. If your location doesn’t have indoor facilities to accommodate your event should the skies open, you’ll need to rent a tent.
Can You Hear? – will guests have to compete with roaring waves, gusting winds, honking cars, or screaming children to hear your vows? You may need to rent a sound system and lavalier mics for the officiant and yourselves. Your band or DJ should be able to provide this for you.
Get even more advice on finding unique and scenic settings for outdoor weddings.
All in the Details – Ideas for Outdoor Weddings
* Let the setting speak for itself – don’t compete with Mother Nature; rather, subtly enhance your background – whether a sandy beach, blooming garden, or thick forest – with a complementary color palette and décor elements.
* Natural elements – depending on your setting, natural items like shells, pinecones, berries, vines, leaves, and grasses provide great décor inspiration.
* Blooms – an outdoor wedding calls for flowers that can brave all sorts of weather. Look for sturdier blooms like mums, alstromeria, calla lilies and sunflowers.
* Style – keep your containers and arrangements natural looking, as an intricately designed, elaborate pedestal centerpiece in a tall candelabra just doesn’t fit. Instead, use loose arrangements in urns, wooden boxes, crates, or pails.
* Keep it simple – even an elegant outdoor wedding calls for simpler fare that can withstand varied temperatures, so avoid items like mayonnaise or dishes which must be served cold. If yours is a casual affair, consider a traditional outdoor barbeque.
* Keep guests refreshed – especially if your outdoor wedding will take place in a warm environment. Have plenty of ice and water, along with teas or lemonades. Alcoholic beverages like sangria, mojitos, or mint juleps will also keep your guests refreshed.
* Make it last – wedding cakes can melt outside. Opt for fondant icing over buttercream, which doesn’t keep well in heat or humidity. Stay away from mousse and ice cream cakes.
* Dare to go casual – outdoor settings allow for breezy fabrics and shorter hemlines
* Do elegance right – you can still plan a formal dress code, just consider what’s best suited for sun, sand, or grass. Lace and organza are good outdoor fabric options.
* For the Girls
- Silhouettes – you may want to forego the giant ball gown skirt. Instead, stick to a romantic empire or a-line. (same goes for your bridesmaids)
- Hemlines – Keep your hemline clean from the grass or dirt. Consider going knee- or tea-length. Or raise a floor-length gown it to the ankles or at least a half inch higher than you would for an indoor wedding. Avoid a train.
- Shoes – Opt for a wide, flat heal, as stilettos may sink into the ground.
* For the guys -
- Unbuttoned affair – consider losing the tux and dressing the guys in khakis and sport jackets or crisp oxfords.
- Neat in back – if they do wear a tux, get a vest with a full back – which will look better when their coats are off.