Are you planning an outdoor wedding?
Choosing to have your wedding in the great outdoors is an amazing way to celebrate your nuptials. Nature provides its own beautiful atmosphere and “decoration” and can make a gorgeous backdrop on your special day.
On the other hand, an outdoor wedding does come with its own share of challenges. You may have to think outside of the traditional wedding box to plan your big day and make sure the possible pitfalls of an outdoor event don’t interfere with your plans. Of course you’ll want everything to go perfectly, so a Plan B might just be as important as a Plan A. When the weather and other outdoor factors don’t go according to plan, you’ll still want to be organized and ready to take action to avoid last minute stress.
We’ve compiled a handy list of possible pitfalls you should be aware of when planning an outdoor wedding, and we’ve provided solutions to help combat each one!
You can plan every moment and every detail of your wedding, but no matter how hard you hope and wish and pray, the weather forecast just isn’t in your control (Believe us, we’ve met enough brides who have done every possible rain dance and no matter how much they try, it doesn’t work!).
Solutions: Have a poor weather back up plan. Period. Waiting to check the weather forecast a week before your wedding isn’t enough time. Consider putting a deposit down on a tent from a rental company much earlier to make sure that it will be available.
In case of extreme thunderstorms, think about the option of delaying the ceremony by a half hour or longer to forgo guests having to arrive in a thunderstorm, or having the noise disrupt your ceremony. You might also include the cost of umbrellas for your guests in your budget.
No matter what possible Plan B you devise for your big day, staying flexible might be your best weapon against the forces of nature. You might not be able to control the weather, but you can control your reaction to it. And besides, don’t they say that rain on your wedding day is good luck? Embrace it!
You might be envisioning happy, sunny wedding photos of you and your guests on a clear summer’s day, but you might also need to consider the reality of hot temperatures at an outdoor wedding. On a scorching hot day, you and your guests might start to sweat and wilt in the heat. In the worst case, sunburn, dehydration, and sunstroke can set in, and even in the best case scenario, people can become very cranky and impatient when the weather is hot.
Solution: When planning a summer wedding, plan for heat and humidity to ensure that your guests and wedding party will be comfortable. That means lots of shade and refreshments. There’s nothing that tastes as great as an ice-cold glass of lemonade, ice tea, or infused water on a steaming hot day.
Consider renting a tent for shade or offer fans for guests so that they can cool themselves during the ceremony. You could also incorporate big umbrellas over tables scattered throughout your reception area, or even provide parasols, which do double duty by adding charm and character to the outdoor affair. Having sunscreen available to your guests is also a considerate touch to add to your event.
While an outdoor fall wedding might call for special care to keep your guests warm, cold snaps can also surprise us in the middle of July and August. You don’t want to get caught with shivering guests on your big day!
Solution: It can get chilly when the sun goes down so you’ll want to plan ahead so your guests are shaking their groove thing on the dance floor instead of shivering at their tables. Consider renting space heaters near the tables to keep your guests warm. Another option is offering pashminas or scarves—this makes for a great wedding gift to your guests as well!
Being outdoors also means accounting for natural occurrences like wind. While a nice, gentle breeze to cool off guests is lovely, you might end up with gusts of wind that will bluster hairstyles and knock over your nice decorations and centrepieces.
Solution: Be sure to tell your hairstylist that windy conditions might be in store for your wedding day so they can plan fabulous hairstyles for you and your bridal party that won’t look mussed if the wind catches hold. Make sure your tent or other rented equipment is properly weighted down and can stand up against windy conditions. For your centrepieces and other decorations, make sure they’re following industry guidelines for weights so that they won’t blow over.
Nobody wants to be bothered by bugs and other pests on their wedding day and hosting your special day outdoors might require some additional work to make sure your guests enjoy the affair pest-free. Keep in mind that your bouquets or your centrepieces might be particularly alluring for some kinds of bugs such as bees so choose wisely when designing your bouquets.
Solution: Don’t choose flowers that are known for attracting pests like baby’s breath, peonies, and scabiosa. Use natural bug repellants such as sprigs of rosemary, lavender, mint, or thyme. Definitely include citronella candles or torches so your guests aren’t swatting at the air when they should be celebrating.
Being outside, especially for your wedding, is a wonderful thing… except for people who suffer from allergies. You wouldn’t want your guests “achoo-ing” while you’re “I doing”!
Solution: Try to secure a location that’s closer to water as wind coming off lakes and oceans tend to have a lower pollen count. Another option is to stock your restroom with allergy medication just in case your guests forget to bring their own.
You Must Rent Everything
Unlike with an indoor venue, when you’re holding a wedding outdoors, you really are dealing with a blank canvas. Don’t forget about details that you might take for granted. Unless you’re using an outdoor space that’s fully managed by an event company, it’s easy to forget about rentals and costs that you’re going to need on your big day.
Solution: Remember to make a list and check it more than twice of everything that you’ll need to rent. You need to think about everything: tents, chairs, tables, port-o-potties, dance floor, catering, place settings, decor, etc. Beyond the grass and the trees, really take the time to imagine the step by step process of your wedding, what you want it to look like, and what you’ll need to achieve that goal.
With these possible problems and solutions, we hope your outdoor wedding is a total success! Have you noticed a pitfall of having an outdoor wedding that you think we’ve missed? Leave us a comment to help future outdoor-brides plan for your experiences.