Outdoor Wedding: 10 Things to Remember
This one is a bit obvious but it should stay at the forefront of your mind during the entire planning process. If it will be cold, plan heaters and possible bonfire items into your budget. If it will be warm, consider providing hand-held fans for guests. Is there a place for older guests to go inside to take a break from the weather? If rain is in the forecast, will you have enough time after it clears to set everything up? Is there enough room in the tent to have both the ceremony and reception if necessary? Do any of your vendors have certain policies when it comes to inclement weather? There are so many more questions but these were some of the top items I dealt with when planning our wedding.
This may have been the most overlooked item on our list. These kinds of technical things are not generally on my radar but our wedding wouldn’t have been possible without adding extra outlets (and without a few really nice family members who were willing to install them!). Of course, if your wedding is being held at an established venue rather than a private residence, extra outlets may not be an issue.
Stringed lights are the way to go here. Not only do they add a nice touch aesthetically but they give off more light than you would expect. Look for all-weather strands like the ones we have here so you can hang them a few days in advance! We also hung three chandeliers inside the reception tent which was more than enough light.
For the ceremony, it is important that the officiant, at the very least, is miked. Every couple will feel differently about the importance of the guests hearing their every word but be sure they can hear something during the ceremony.
For the reception, check local noise ordinances, especially if you have a band and if you are having your reception in a residential area.
Apparently, neighbors called the cops during our reception (even though it ended around 9:30pm!) but they were kind to us. We didn’t even know they stopped by until we got back from our honeymoon!
Since our wedding was at my husband’s grandmother’s house, we wanted to respect her home as much as possible. We chose to rent a bathroom trailer for the wedding. These trailers range in price according to the size and amenities you are looking for. Most are relatively discreet (they are bathrooms, after all) but plan for an out-of-the-way but accessible place for the trailer to be set. The last thing you want is a restroom in the background of your ceremony photos!
This really depends on the location and the weather. For a beach wedding, the sand is part of the charm. Guests can dig their toes in and get comfortable. Our reception area would have been muddy if it had rained the day of or the day before the wedding. My husband’s grandmother generously laid sod a few weeks before the wedding so we didn’t have to take that chance. If laying sod is not an option, most tent rental companies can provide flooring for the reception area.
We built our own dance floor out of pallets which worked well with some of the other rustic details at our reception. Check in with your tent rental company or even a local DJ if you want something a little more sophisticated.
Flooring is one of those not-fun details that may end up costing more than you would like but it’s a fairly important piece to keep in mind.
Catering Prep Area
No matter the menu, your caterers will likely need both electrical outlets and a working sink at some point during the event. Most will bring their own tables for their prepping surfaces but be sure to check beforehand just in case. If they do not, you will need to budget for the table rentals. Plan for their prep area to be as close as possible to the buffet or serving area. As a former catering server, I can promise that thoughtfulness is well-appreciated.
Tent or no tent: That is the question. A very difficult question to answer, as it turns out. A tent is no small expense so you basically have to weigh the risks (Is it a rainy time of year? Do you have a sound alternative for an indoor space? Etc.) and go with the option that works for your budget. Some tent rental companies will require a non-refundable deposit to hold the date but will allow you to cancel close to the event if you decide you do not wish to have a tent after all.
If your ceremony will be held in the afternoon/evening, it’s important to know exactly when the sun will be setting the day of your wedding. We made our ceremony a little earlier to avoid the sun shining directly in our guests’ eyes.
Admittedly, this is something I thought of many times during the planning process and then completely forgot about! There are plenty of cute Pinterest-inspired options like this one:
Hopefully this list is helpful as you plan your outdoor wedding. When everything falls into place, it is well worth the headaches to get there!