‘Tis the season for a beautiful outdoor wedding! And with all of the overall pleasant weather we have had thus far in Spring, more Brides are getting more and more gutsy about hosting an Outdoor Wedding. Whether it be an Outdoor Ceremony with an Indoor Reception or Dinner by starlight, Couples are incorporating the Outdoors one way or another.
While planning for your Special Celebration, the Season can affect the entire look & feel of your Wedding, so it is important to plan accordingly and… dare we say…for the worst. For example, if you’ve been looking at wedding chapels in Gatlinburg TN and you’re not sure which to book, consider which venue would be better if it rained. Hopefully, your wedding day will be sunny and beautiful, but it’s not always guaranteed!
Whether it’s a golf course with a view, a small, urban garden, or a section in a park, there are many advantages and disadvantages to having a wedding outside. For this reason, a bride and groom should always take the time to visit different locations for the event, and when doing so, you should consider the following factors when the time comes to choose a site for an outdoor wedding.
One thing to think about when you start your search is that you aren’t the first couple to want to get married outdoors in your area so there are no doubt many couples in your town or city that have done the exact same thing as you and many have also written or posted about it online, so before you start your search of venues go online and search for outdoor wedding venues Virginia, or wherever you may live, I have just used Virginia in this instance as an example, when the search results pop up look out for blogs or posts by people not actual venues as they will have not only written about their special day but have also taking loads of photos including many of the venue, which will most probably be a lot more than those on the actual venues websites, you’ll get to see it being used and not just staged to look perfect for photographs.
Here are some tips to help you get started when considering your Perfect Outdoor Location:
1. Think about the Weather –First, and foremost.
Weather affects the entire Outdoor Wedding experience, but it always doesn’t have to “rain on your parade.” One thing you should know about Ohio, especially if you are an out-of-town Bride or Groom, is that the weather can change several times throughout the day. If you are having your wedding in the middle of Summer, you don’t want to expose your guests, and your food to the extreme heat & humidity. In early Spring or late Fall, day-time temperatures can be warm, but also remember that once the sun sets, so do the warm temperatures. During the Spring and Fall especially, we suggest renting Patio Heaters to make sure your guests are comfortable if dancing under the stars is your plan. Prepare for windy days also which can affect table linens, decorations, and immaculately dressed dinner tables. Make sure you plan ahead so you don’t get soaked! You don’t want to have been to countless bridal shops in houston to pick out the perfect one to have it ruined by the rain!
For day-time events, always consider a Location that offers shade, either with trees or a covered area. Another option would be to put up a tent to create shade. And be sure to visit your Ceremony or Reception space several times, and at different times of the day. While a nice spot may offer cooling shade around 11am, you must remember that that same shady spot may be the sunniest part of the area at 4:30pm, when the ceremony actually begins. Also, consider the sunset, and be sure to work with your Photographer on finding the right spot for beautiful photo opportunities.
Follow the Weather Report on the day-of the Event.
Monitor the weather report day of your event and plan your back up according. It may not be raining at noon but the local weather report say’s rain by 7:00pm just at the start of your event – plan that it will rain and move to your rain plan. Be sure that you and your Vendors have a clear understanding of who is making the Rain Call, and the Phone-Chain to inform everyone-If it is your Wedding Planner, he or she will be sure to inform your Vendors. But if you don’t have a Wedding Planner, your Venue & Caterer should be the first to know. And don’t think that your Special Day is not as special because of the Weather-Have back up options, should the weather hold out just a bit– move the main dinner inside and keep your option open for the cocktail hour outside instead of the entire event. And, as you obsessively check the Doppler all week, if you do see some rain in your future, go with it! Pick out a fun umbrella and some galoshes that match your Wedding theme or color. Give your photographer the heads up that you may want to do a few “rainy-day” shots so they can be sure to prepare, as well. Its also important to consider how your wedding entertainment will fare if the weather is rainy. For instance, if you had a DJ, it might be a good idea to give them a heads up if rain will be present so they can make sure their equipment is protected for the weather.
*Fun Reception Idea! Offer your guests an assortment of fun blankets to keep them warm during the evening, perhaps around a bonfire, or overlooking a beautiful lake. This fun snuggle-up idea is sure to spark some extra romance for your guests, too.
2. Consider Human Needs over Human Wants-And, be Realistic.
Choose a wedding reception location that offers some type of Function to satisfy the everyday human needs, such as using the restroom, or having a cold beverage to satisfy thirst. When hosting an Outdoor Wedding, you must consider your guests’ well-being as a very important factor to your Special Day. Will the tent be close to Restroom facilities? If not, you may consider making arrangements for portable a Restroom facility-which offer very nice options nowadays. Will we have close access to Ice, should we require more due to the Heat? Also be sure to consider your Guests’ personal garb, as this may be a forgotten element. While it may have rained a few days prior to your Wedding, you may have lucked out with having your Reception area protected. But be sure that all pathways leading to your Reception is as clear and clean as possible-You don’t want your guests scraping mud from their shoes, for example. Also consider appropriate attire for the appropriate season. Black-tie in the middle of July can be tricky if your outdoor space has no climate control, such as a tent with sides and a cooling unit.
Choosing a Menu for outdoor events needs special consideration. In the heat of the summer light and refreshing options help keep your guests cool. For late Spring or Fall weddings, we suggest heartier options that will offer your guests a sense of comfort and extra warmth.
3. Let there be Light! –And let it shine.
Lighting can make a big difference in guest comfort and overall Wedding experience. When considering outdoor space for your Special Day, be sure to keep in mind that, while you and yours just had the perfect Sunset Ceremony, your guests don’t want to be left in the dark. Consider an outdoor space that has some type of electric capabilities to string lights in and around your tent. Create fun vignettes using Light as pathways-such has luminary bags to create a unique path to a fire pit for late-night s’mores and snacks. Use candles for table centerpieces, but perhaps you may consider having the candles at different heights for more glow and variation. Make sure to visit your event site during the time of your event to experience what the lighting will actually look like. Don’t always take the word of the venue that there will be plenty of lighting-see for yourself, as your idea of ‘perfect lighting’ may differ from that of the Venue’s. *Fun Wedding Idea: Release Sky Lanterns during a special First Dance or just after a dusk Ceremony. Have guests write well wishes to you and yours as they release them into the night sky.
4. Consider your Outdoor Environment and the Nature it surrounds:
While outdoor weddings are indeed unique, you will want to be sure to choose an area that is not prone to mosquitoes or other annoying pests. Birds may also be an issue in some areas also, so make sure you ask the wedding location coordinator about such concerns. Although you just have to have that ‘perfect shot’ that you saw in a bridal magazine, you will need to remember what happens in between each captured photo. You must accept that if you host an Event in the middle of a field or near water, you will have natural bugs and dander throughout the air. Be sure to speak with your Caterer or Facility Coordinator about trash removal and frequently. The longer you have trash cans full, the more friendly pests they will end up attracting. And, yes still consider Bears, too! There have been reports of more and more bears in Ohio, especially in the northern part of the State. *Fun Reception Idea! A lot of citronella candles are being made with a much tamer odor to humans. Consider including one or two on Guest Tables, around Food Buffets, Cake Tables, and perhaps in traditional or modern torches around the perimeter of the outdoor space.