Hosting a great outdoor wedding

Outdoor weddings can be romantic and beautiful, when well planned. Whether you are considering a garden, a vineyard, or a remote Texas beach, here are some tips for hosting a fabulous outdoor wedding.

 

Plan for the possibility of inclement weather.
Certainly, you'll be checking the weather in the days prior to your wedding day. Depending on the season you've chosen, you can plan to provide appropriate items to keep your guests happy and comfortable. In warmer months: mosquito repellent, citronella candles, sunscreen, bottles of water and paper fans or umbrellas will make everyone more comfortable. In cooler months: ensure there is adequate shelter from wind and potential rain. If you are suddenly faced with rain, a heat wave or extreme winds you'll most likely need to provide another area where guests can congregate. Organize weather-appropriate accessories for the bridal party and parents such as gloves, scarves, and umbrellas.

Consider the wind.
If wind is a possibility (and it is in Texas), double check that all of your decor can withstand a strong breeze. Sturdy centerpieces and props are a must for outdoor events. Design centerpieces with a low center of gravity that can withstand those unexpected wind gusts.

Determine guest accessibility.
Not every celebration needs to include dancing until 2am. A mid-morning wedding followed by a celebratory lunch is an approach that can often times save some costs. An outdoor wedding held at dusk is incredibly romantic. Is there parking nearby? Be sure your guests are aware of the best way to get to and from your event. You may like to organize a mini-bus or golf carts to collect people or pre-arrange for transportation to arrive at the end of the event so guests are not left stranded.

Make your guests comfortable.
Make your guests’ comfort top priority by making sure your site is well-equipped with things like fans, outdoor heating units, well-lit paths or signs to the bathrooms, refreshing non-alcoholic drinks, and citronella candles. Develop a plan for renting or buying the things your venue doesn’t offer as early as possible. 

Facility accessibility
Ensure bathroom facilities are easy accessible, you don't want your guests trudging miles to get to a questionable public toilet. If guests are using your home bathroom, continue your decorating theme by lighting candles and having fresh flowers, hand towels, toilet paper and special soaps available.

Sound & power
During the ceremony and speeches you'll want to make sure everyone will be able to hear you. A microphone and sound system and are essential. You may even want to consider a backup generator. No one wants to strain to hear your vows or the toasts. Depending on how open your space is, you may want to hire someone to set up audio equipment.

Dancing
Planning on doing some dancing? Make sure you have a stable surface to dance on as uneven surfaces, grass, and high heels can be hard on the feet. Consider providing some inexpensive but fun, dancing shoes such as flip-flops. 

Photography
Talk to your photographer about where the sun will be during your ceremony. Plan the ceremony and seating arrangements accordingly. You don’t want to realize the morning of of your wedding that you’re going to be squinting into the sun or hidden in shadows in your photos.

View the property and consider how you will decorate.
Outdoor weddings lend themselves to decorating with fresh flowers, potted plants, whiskey barrels and such.

Make certain that the grounds are ready.
Make a list of all the jobs around your outdoor area that needs doing like painting, flower planting, hedge trimming and weeding. These tasks should be done well in advance of your wedding day.

Permits
If you are having the wedding at a private residence, be courteous and let the neighbors know before hand. Check with your local governing body for any noise restrictions for the area. If you are planning the ceremony in a public garden, check to insure that you have the correct permits and that your area is booked for the day. In some areas, tents require a permit.