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5 Tips for Planning an Outdoor Wedding

Welcome back one of our favorite guest bloggers, Chelsy! Today, she’s talking all about how to plan an outdoor wedding. Enjoy!

Outdoor weddings are absolutely beautiful and make for amazing photos as well as a soft romantic feeling for your guests to experience and look back on. The unpredictability of an outdoor venue is what causes a lot of anxiety for brides, but having the ability to be flexible with the irregularity will be the key in rocking an outdoor wedding without being overwhelmed with issues regarding weather and comfort for you, your wedding party, your guests, and your vendors. By working with the weather, providing plenty of light, making your guests comfortable, providing the extras, and thinking about your vendors you’ll be able to plan your outdoor wedding without issue and take advantage of the backdrop that Mother Earth has created for us.

For some, there is no better backdrop for your wedding than the backdrop Mother Nature has created. Whether it’s city lights, a mountainous landscape, the ocean, or acres of plains, it’s incredibly hard to beat the view that surrounds us. Some brides can’t imagine having their wedding inside and would rather take advantage of all that an outdoor wedding has to offer and the natural décor of the landscape around us. Being outside involves all of the senses, and can create such a sensual and intimate wedding atmosphere for such a romantic day. However, there are downsides to an outdoor wedding as well. If you’re planning outdoor nuptials you’ll want to plan for weather, provide lighting, remember the importance of comfort, provide extra amenities, and consider your menu.

Work with the Weather

Perhaps the most nerve wracking aspect to planning an outdoor wedding is the unpredictability of the weather. Will it rain, will it be too hot, or will it be windy? You really don’t know the answers to those questions until the day of your wedding, so it’s best to prepare for everything. Have tents set up regardless of the weather – it will provide cover for rain as well as shade from the sun. Have a backup plan, do the ceremony outside and the reception inside, or decide to be flexible with the weather and don’t let it stress you out. With the right mindset to work with the weather you’re given instead of assuming bad weather will ruin your event, you’ll feel more at ease throughout your big day and the days leading up to it.

Provide Lighting

If your wedding is going into the evening hours you’ll need to provide appropriate lighting for your guests. Luckily there are so many fun ways to utilize lighting at your outdoor wedding. By utilizing rope lighting, white Christmas lights, or a variety of candles you can offer a soft lighting in your outdoor wedding that will help your guests see while still keeping the romantic mood. Focus on good lighting around key areas like the bar, tables, buffet, and the cake. Your photographer will appreciate lighting and so will your guests.

Guest Comfort

By having a wedding indoors you are controlling a lot of your guest’s comfort – once you are outdoors you have to work harder to provide comfort for them. This includes normalizing temperature as one of the biggest concerns. If you’re concerned about heat consider turning your ceremony program into a fan, providing shade, or sunglasses as a wedding favor. If you’re concerned about the cold, you can utilize outdoor heaters, full tent coverings, or blankets stowed in a decorative way in various areas of your reception or ceremony. Make sure you and your wedding party are dressed for your outdoor wedding as well and make sure your venue is still handicap accessible. You don’t want you, your wedding party, or your guests to feel uncomfortable at all.

Extras

In exchange for an amazing outdoor extravaganza, you’ll need to offer some extras for your guests. This includes table weights to keep place cards or table cloths down in case of wind, perhaps some outdoor bathrooms, bug spray, sunscreen, umbrellas, a phone charging station, or Popsicle hors d’oeuvres in the heat. Water and lemonade, cold towels, portable A/C units, and frozen drinks at the bar will all help comfort in more subtle ways that your guests will really appreciate. There are plenty of ways to make your outdoor venue comfortable, but ultimately you’ll want to be in the mindset to roll with the punches and appreciate the unpredictability of an outdoor wedding.

Think About Your Vendors

It’s not only your guests that will be affected by your outdoor wedding, your vendors will be affected as well, regardless of the time of year you’re working with. Your vendors will need electricity and cords will need to be covered to reduce tripping. Your photographer will need lighting, your flowers and cake will need to be kept cold, your caterers will need cover, and your DJ will need their own dry and shaded area as well. Talk to your vendors about what they need from you – they’ve done this plenty of times and will know exactly what they need from you to do their best job for your outdoor wedding.

In short…

Outdoor weddings are absolutely beautiful and make for amazing photos as well as a soft romantic feeling for your guests to experience and look back on. The unpredictability of an outdoor venue is what causes a lot of anxiety for brides. You don’t want to be overwhelmed with issues regarding weather and comfort for you, your wedding party, your guests, and your vendors. Having the ability to be flexible with the irregularity will be the key in rocking an outdoor wedding. By working with the weather, providing plenty of light, making your guests comfortable, providing the extras, and thinking about your vendors you’ll be able to plan your outdoor wedding without issue and take advantage of the backdrop that Mother Earth has created for us.

Author bio: Chelsy is a writer from Montana who is now living in Boise, Idaho. She graduated with her journalism degree from the University of Montana in 2012. Chelsy also enjoys traveling with her husband, David, drinking white wine, and throwing a Frisbee for her dog. She and David got married on October 1st! Don’t forget — you can follow her on Twitter!

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Happy Planning!

– The Gala Pal Team
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