Things to Consider When Planning an Outdoor Wedding
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Monday, April 30, 2018
By Shakar Photography
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The ideal outdoor wedding is something along the lines of clear skies, soft light, and a comfortable temperature. The vision is beautiful, but the potential obstacles can be a deal breaker. Uncontrollable details such as weather are intimidating. However, couples shouldn’t be afraid to say their vows in the great outdoors. It is no different from an indoor wedding. Know what you’re dealing with and plan accordingly.

It is imperative that you know what is and isn’t available at your venue. At some point, someone will need a bathroom. If there aren’t any available on the property, that is a priority item to rent. Trash cans should be placed throughout the reception area to alleviate the post-wedding mess. Even if food isn’t being cooked on-site, it will need to be properly stored in a kitchen, on ice, or over a flame. You don’t want it sitting out in the open and being contaminated. Soft, uneven surfaces such as grass or sand can be a hazard, especially to guests wearing heels. Seating is a great solution for the ceremony and meal, but don’t forget about the dancing. Either rent flooring that is sturdy or tell your guests to bring appropriate footwear.

Getting married in the heat or in bright sunlight? Why not have shades for your guests?

Getting married outside unfortunately means uninvited guests. Bugs are less likely to show up if it’s cold, but most outdoor ceremonies take place during the warmer months. Your first lines of defense are location and timing. Avoid breeding areas such as small bodies of water, and plan your ceremony when the bugs native to your venue are the least active; these variables will depend on where your wedding is held so ask the right questions before deciding. If you own the property or receive permission, hire an exterminator and have the venue sprayed a few days in advance. A natural option is using bug repellent in the form of candles and plants within your decor (citronella, lavender, rosemary, etc). You could also take the direct route and hand out mini bottles of bug spray or just have a bottle out for guest to spray before they sit. Make sure it is kid-friendly for the smallest of your guests.

In a public space, there is only so much you can do to control the noise. However, there are measures you can take to reduce it significantly. If the venue is big enough, reserve a private area with little or no public access. If distractions during the ceremony are a concern, use a microphone so the vows are loud and clear. With permission, post signs along walkways politely.

Generators will be needed as a power source. The temperature will have to be moderated by air conditioning, fans, or heaters. If the ceremony or reception is scheduled to continue after dark, lights will have to be turned on so everyone can see. If an indoor kitchen isnt available, appliances will be needed for cooking and storage. Whether your music is being performed by a live band or DJ, sound equipment will be required for amplification. If the venue does not provide this service, hire an eletrician to help you figure out your needs and how to meet them.

Weather has a reputation for being the biggest nemesis of outdoor weddings. There are actually many ways to work with the elements instead of stressing over how to resist them. Leading up to the wedding, stay informed about the forecast. Out of courtesy for everyone involved, plan the wedding partys wardrobe accordingly and inform guests of what to expect.

To avoid direct sunlight, hold the ceremony in a shaded area and the reception inside a tent. Serve ice cold beverages and hand out fans as wedding favors to beat the heat.

If the temperature is frigid, ask guests to B.Y.O.B. (Bring Your Own Blanket) and serve hot food around a bonfire. In the event that high winds kick up, make sure the decor and tent are weighed down.

If rain is expected, have a backup plan for moving indoors. If you want to stay outside, embrace the moisture and get married under the shelter of umbrellas.

Don't let nature stress you out on your wedding day, be prepared and go with it! 

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