The Essentials of Planning an Outdoor Wedding
Guest Blog Post: Stephanie with EventSource
An engagement ring is on your hand at last and you are ready to begin planning your dream wedding. In your mind, it is the best day of your life. But now – the work begins. An outdoor wedding can be a beautiful setting for your special day – if planned correctly. Here are 8 tips to begin planning your dream outdoor wedding:
- Location, location, location!
There are many places to choose from when picking the location of your outdoor wedding – a sandy beach or lakefront, on the banks of a river, in the midst of a grove of budding trees. Or perhaps you are tending more towards an old barn on a country farm, or on your favorite hole on the local golf courses. Whichever the location, there are a few key points to keep in mind:
- Amount of guests – Make sure the location you choose can accommodate the amount of guests you would like to have witness your marriage.
- Alcohol Policy – If you would like to serve alcohol, check with the location’s policy. Some locations hold their own license, while others require you to obtain one.
- Parking – Is there a place nearby for guests to park? If it is a rough walk from the parking lot to the location where you will be saying your vows, give your guests fair warning, so that they can wear appropriate shoes.
- Remember the Weather
Although the significance of your wedding cannot be altered by mere “details,” the weather can make or break an outdoor experience. Take these precautions to ensure that neither rain nor wind will distract your guests from the main focus: you.
- Tent – An integral part of an outdoor wedding, to protect attendees from excessive sun or rain. Many tents come with side flaps that can be fastened down, in the event of wind or rain. Bonus: tents can be decorated with burlap, lace, flowers, and other items, making them a beautiful accent to your wedding décor.
- Excessive Heat – If there is any chance of extreme heat on your wedding day, take precautions on behalf of yourself, your wedding party, and your guests. Supply a cooler filled with water bottles, directions to the nearest air conditioned space, or even personalized hand-held fans!
- Wedding Favors
Individual guest favors are actually not a requirement when following proper wedding etiquette (although many brides and grooms are convinced otherwise). However, they may be the perfect accent to an outdoor wedding. Some fun ideas include:
- Bug Spray – A useful, practical gift that your guests will thank you for! Tie a ribbon around the bottle with a unique message .
- Sunglasses – Pick up an appropriate number at the nearest party or dollar store. Ranging from $1-10 apiece, they are a fun addition to a sunny wedding day.
- Water bottles – Ok, not a super classy wedding favor. But hey, if you have a large number of expected guests and not a lot of time to dedicate to wedding favors, decorated water bottles (or mason jars, coffee cups, etc.) may be the perfect, practical way to go.
An outdoor wedding carries its own style of entertainment. Additional ideas for helping your guests stay occupied during the down time includes: yard games (croquet, bocce ball), cards, or maps of nearby walking trails. Think about if you need to be renting AV equipment that might be required for dancing, speeches or more.
- Have Fun with the Details
Décor options are nearly infinite. The rustic nature of an outdoor wedding gives you the freedom to pick and choose what details go where. Keep in mind that all decorations should be fastened to a solid object (in case of wind), and be somewhat water resistant (in case of rain). Also, keep in mind that breakable decorations will be more at risk in an outdoor location of being knocked over and broken (from uneven surfaces, weather, and guests).
- Rustic is as Rustic Does
The idea of rustic is great. But will the rustic nature of your wedding sacrifice its level of comfort?
- Bathroom – Are restrooms within walking distance of your wedding location? Make sure guests know where they are located.
- Refreshments – Especially during summer days, guests may want to know where they can purchase snacks and drinks. If your wedding is in a country location, offer refreshments at the site, or inform your guests where they can go to buy them.
- A site for inclement weather – There’s no need to decorate two places, but have a location in mind for inclement weather. Heavy thunderstorms and flash flooding are often possibilities. Reserve a nearby indoor gathering space a few weeks in advance, in case the worst happens. (I’m sure the worst won’t happen….but in case it does, you can pat yourself on the back.)
- Dress to Impress
As a guest, it is difficult to dress for outdoor weddings. Give your attendees some direction in the invitations whether more formal or more casual is desired. (Regardless of how they dress, your guests attendance at your wedding is a statement of the importance of the events.
- Enjoy the Experience
Remind yourself of this every day. Weddings can quickly become a stress-factor, when they should be the point of bonding between two people in love. Let go of the details that cause stress, embrace the ones that do not, and have fun planning the first day of the rest of your life!
Author Bio – Stephanie:
Ever since I could walk I was a sucker for the ultimate love story. Sorting through wonderful and surprising gowns, shoes, center pieces and such, popping into EventSource hardly feels like a job. If I’m not surrounded by these special moments, I’m living some adventure of my own with my husband and the sweetest baby boy.
I spent years in the photography world, falling slowly in love with design and the little details of each wedding. The passion transferred perfectly to weddings and events. I feel that one great event inspires the next, the appreciation for details leads to a new craft or art.
You tend to be a happy person when you spend your days with these little details.
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