Out of the Box
Check out these top tips on how to host the perfect outdoor wedding in any weather
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1. Make your guests comfortable – We all picture our perfect day and sometimes we are handed a climate that is less than ideal. It’s important that we put our guests number one here and if its 110 degrees outside it might be best to look at moving to the indoor option. You don’t want your guests uncomfortable so please make sure if you are going to go ahead with the outdoor ceremony you are providing them with water, possibly your program printed on a fan, and most importantly a pretty short ceremony. If you decide to go ahead with that ceremony in direct sunlight supply plenty of sunscreen for your guests as well as rent large fans to circulate the air. The same goes for those rare days that the temperature drops on the east coast. Have a back up plan to be able to rent portable heaters to keep your guests teeth from chattering.
2. Plan for wind – Picture this you spend hours getting your hair done at your salon. Make sure your stylist understands that you are having an outdoor ceremony. That hairstyle that looks fabulous inside in a church might not look so great when it hits the wind coming off the ocean. It’s also imperative to let your wedding party know this as well. You wouldn’t want your bridesmaids sporting a frizzy do because you forgot to mention where your wedding was taking place.
3. We can’t hear you? – A common mistake of couples is assuming that your guests will be able to hear your beautiful ceremony. They forget to account for the waves, the wind, or the kids running around in the background. Explore your options and work with your DJ or Ceremony musician to make sure you have a sound system for your couple as well as the officiant.
4. Decorations – Outdoor weddings provide some amazing décor that many times comes at no additional cost. Beautiful floral gardens, ocean scenery, and a gorgeous view of the sun setting are only the beginning of the options that the outdoors provides. When planning your wedding make sure you are maximizing these natural settings and not covering them up with a restroom or bar. By doing so you will help cut some of your floral budget.
5. Rentals – An outdoor wedding commonly requires a lot of rentals. It is not uncommon to have to rent everything from trash cans, to restrooms, to sugar bowls. This is when finding a quality rental agency is so important. Lastly, make sure when they make deliveries that someone is there to take an inventory of the items delivered. The last thing you want is to show up to set up Saturday morning and realize that you were short changed 50 chairs for your ceremony.
6. Notify your Vendors – This step is huge in making sure that your event flows flawlessly. If your DJ shows up thinking that he is going to have a power chord and does not this could cause a huge party problem. Make sure you know the limitations of your power and if possible have a back up generator on hand. Those lanterns hung throughout the tent, the dj, the blender and the kitchen staff could quickly drain you of your power needs and lead to a unplanned black out in the middle of your event.
7. Dress for the Occasion – When choosing your wedding gown and bridal party attire make sure you account for the weather and possible temperatures. Plan for temperature swings and possibly supply wraps to your bridesmaids and make sure you pick fabrics that won’t leave your bridal party sweating the entire day.
8. Yuck this tastes horrible – Work with your caterer on your menu. Yes I know you love those appetizers that are served cold but be prepared that they might not withstand the heat or even worse they taste horrible on that 90 degree day. Spend plenty of time with your caterer understanding your menu and making sure it works for an outside event.
9. Help I’m parched – When having an outdoor wedding it is a good idea to start serving lemonade or chilled water to guests upon their arrival. Having these drinks on hand upon their arrival will cool your guests and leave them feeling refreshed and ready for your ceremony.
10. Bugs, Bugs everywhere – No one likes to get eaten alive. So make sure you account for the time of year that you are having your wedding and set out Citronella candles or supply plenty of bug spray. I know I would hate to get my wedding photos back and all I saw was my guests swatting away those pesky Mosquitos.
11. Sun – Time your ceremony so that the sun falls on your guests backs and not in their eyes. Make sure you know the exact time of the sunset in your area by doing your research.
12. Permits – This is an aspect that there is simply no room to skimp on. Do not forget to contact your local city parks and government to get a permit for an outdoor wedding (yes tented weddings as well). Make sure you know about all the aspects that many seem to forget about like Trash Removal, Fireworks, Photography and open flames if you plan on having candles or those beautiful flying dream catchers. Call your town hall and be prepared to pay the fees. Skipping this step can lead to your special day coming to an end much earlier than you had planned or extremely large fees that might not have been in your wedding budget.
13. Have a back up plan – This has to be the most important step in planning an outdoor wedding. Yes sometimes the rain dance and all the prayers in the book don’t prevent that daytime rain shower. Make sure that your location has an indoor option or at least a plan ready to implement if the storms come rolling in. If you are renting a tent make sure you account for walkways, restrooms and walls. You wouldn’t want your guests staying dry during the reception but getting soaked on the walk from the table to the buffett or restroom.
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Stacie Shea is a wedding planner, event designer and soon to be vintage rental company. Known for her out-of-the box ideas and fresh event concepts she loves to make an event uniquely yours. Stacie believes the most important thing she can do is understand her client and their story. She is based in Fairfield County but available to work with events worldwide!
For more information contact:
Stacie Shea Events