You want to have an outdoor wedding ceremony and reception, to use the fresh beauty of nature as the backdrop for your event, rather than some stuffy banquet room…
Perhaps you want to have more of a “simple” feel to your wedding, or maybe you want to take advantage of some spectacular local scenery. Or maybe you just think it will be great fun to have an outdoor wedding in your parent’s backyard!
Whatever the case, there are a few considerations you need to think about…
Of course, the weather is the “biggy” for an outdoor wedding. If you live in an area that experiences inclement weather, you will definitely need to have a back-up option. This means either renting tents or having an indoor option that you could move to at the last minute.
If your outdoor wedding will involve celebrating into the night, you will need to consider how chilly the evening air will be for your guests. If you’re worried about the temperature at your outdoor wedding, make sure to tell guests to bring a wrap or jacket. You can also rent heat lamps or even fire pits, depending on the style of your wedding.
On the other hand, if your outdoor wedding will take place during a particularly warm time of year, you may want to consider ways of keeping your guests cool. Make sure there is some sort of shade available for guests on a hot day – whether it’s from trees, tents, or umbrellas!
The ground beneath your feet!
One consideration that couples often overlook when planning an outdoor wedding is the ground. If the ground is gravelled, uneven, or moist lawn (into which high heels can sink!), women will have trouble walking in their high heels. In consideration of your guests, young and old, think about whether the ground is easily navigable in formal wear.
PLUS, if you’re setting up chairs on uneven ground or moist lawn, you’ll have to watch out for wobbly seating!
On a similar note, you may need to consider renting a dance floor for an outdoor wedding. Uneven ground, moist lawns, or gravelly, rocky terrain are tough to dance on. Your friends and relatives – especially the elderly ones – will appreciate some attention to the dance floor!
Direction of the sun
If your outdoor wedding will include a ceremony under the noon day sun; saying your vows in the late afternoon; or champagne toasts over speeches at sunset, think for a moment about how the sun will shine on your guests. If guests need to stare into the glare of the sun to try to make out the bride & groom’s silhouettes, you may want to rethink the timing or positioning of the different elements of your event.
Now here’s a topic that doesn’t spring quickly to mind when you’re planning your romantic outdoor wedding in a beautiful natural setting… BUGS! All too many summer evening wedding receptions are plagued by pesky mosquitoes; some parts of the world have an even worse time of it with black flies, wasps, and other nasty critters.
So what can you do to prevent a buggy invasion on your special day? Well, dotting a few citronella candles here and there can’t hurt. Discreetly placing a bottle of bug spray behind a the centrepiece on each table isn’t a bad idea, either! Another great way to keep the bugs at bay during your outdoor wedding is to strategically place a few fans at the perimeter of your reception seating to blow those bugs away.
When you’re having an outdoor wedding, one thing you’ll definitely have to expect is… the unexpected!
Unexpected heat: Will your wedding cake melt in the noonday sun? Will your grandmother get heat stroke?
Unexpected noise: Will a city parade, jet plane air show, traffic jam, or neighbourhood game of kickball create unexpected noise at your event? Ask your neighbours to refrain from using their leaf blowers during your ceremony; consider dropping off event notices around the neighbourhood asking people to respect your event.
Unexpected bad weather: What will you do if the wind picks up and starts blowing everything away? What if a massive thunder and lightning storm decides to roll in just as everyone is sitting down to dinner?
When you have an outdoor wedding, you simply have to be a little more prepared than you would for an indoor event. But it can certainly be worth it! A beautiful garden, a sandy beach, the backyard of a childhood home… all of these outdoor wedding locations can be meaningful, romantic, and spectacularly beautiful.
Of course, another great option is to find a wedding venue that offers an outdoor space – plus an indoor reception area that can be used as your back-up option. Some wedding venues will even set up tents and take care of all the outdoor wedding details FOR you!