Outdoor weddings are beautiful for letting nature join the celebration. Plus, they can be as memorable as an indoor location, especially if the bride or groom grew up there or spent time in the area.
As pretty as they are, though, outdoor locations can be tricky. Any wedding requires a lot of work—and an outdoor wedding has a few more issues to consider. Read on for some helpful tips when planning an outdoor wedding.
Think About the Weather
Mother Nature comes first on any outdoor wedding task list—the season and weather significantly impact the big day.
Brides must consider the season when picking a wedding venue outdoors. For example, a clifftop wedding might be perfect in summer but not right any other season due to fresh winds. And an open field might work for spring but be scorching by summer. Think about sun direction to keep guests from squinting, shade cover in summer or heat lamps in winter, and what to do if rain threatens. Bridal style is also essential!
Read all rental contracts to make sure the vendor allows equipment usage in potential rain. Plus, let the caterer know that it’s an outdoor wedding.
Don’t Forget That Backup Plan
Apart from a reception area to match the outdoor ceremony, a permanent indoor space must be on standby in case the weather fails. Plan B could be anything from a tent to a separate on-site building. If the venue comes with an indoor reception, that space could also become the ceremony location.
What if venue plans do change? Don’t stress. Brides should stay positive—to prepare mentally, consider a few things that make the backup location special, and hold onto them.
Share Updates on a Wedding Website
A wedding site is an easy way to keep in contact with guests. It also lets brides get creative with photos and individual quotes. Wedding sites have a practical purpose, too—they give guests access to location maps, event times, lodging ideas, dress codes, and a wedding registry.
These sites are also helpful for venue or weather updates. Tips on what to bring—umbrellas, extra shoes for muddy conditions, or lap blankets or shawls—can help guests stay comfortable on the big day. Free wedding planning sites like Zola or The Knot won’t even add to the budget.
Ask About Insurance and Permits
Here’s something a bride and her fiancé might not think about: what permits or insurance will they need? While some venues include liability and event insurance, not all do.
Couples planning to marry in a public park should contact their city or county office—permits are necessary! Even a backyard wedding might have special rules or need a permit, especially if using a tent.
Make Sure the Officiant Agrees
For a bride dreaming of a church wedding in an outdoor setting, she’ll need to make sure her pastor, minister, or other church leader is on board. Some religious leaders won’t officiate outside of a house of worship. Even with a nonreligious ceremony, whoever leads the wedding has to agree to the location.
Get the Right Supplies
The bride or her wedding planner can hire tons of wedding vendors who bring their supplies—but will this be enough? Possibly, but extra stuff is always a good idea—think generators, clip-on mics, bug zappers or citronella candles, or even hand fans. Plus, don’t forget to rent extra bathrooms. A rental bathroom trailer will look just like the real thing.
Outdoor Weddings: Are They Worth It?
Check out these pros and cons of an outdoor wedding.
- Can be an intimate tie to the land
- The pretty backdrop can mean less decor needed
- Works for larger guest list
- More family-friendly
- May be cheaper than a luxury indoor venue
- Weather may change unexpectedly
- Natural lighting can sometimes be tricky for wedding photos
- May cause problems for guests with pollen allergies
- Can have extra expenses for set up
In the end, the right decision is what works best for the bride and her groom.
Got a beautiful outdoor wedding venue in mind? Great! Just review the tips above to ensure the dream day is a complete success. We wish the bride and her groom many happy years ahead!