So you set your wedding in the great outdoors, huh? Well, the good news is very little effort is required to create a beautiful setting for you and your loved to say “I do.” You and your guests will enjoy the tranquility of the outdoors, taking a step away from the chaos of life and retreating to a natural location for a special event.
The slightly less good news is that the choice to have an outdoor wedding comes paired with a couple obstacles. These obstacles are generally based around the unpredictability of nature and its refusal to be controlled. While these characteristics make the outdoors what it is, they require some forethought when trying to plan events. But with the correct preparation, your outdoor wedding can be all you want it to be and more!
1. Make the seating comfortable
When you are creating your outdoor wedding, you probably want seating that reflects the natural qualities of the setting. You may opt for lawn chairs, hay bales, or logs in exchange for more traditional seating. Make these seating more comfortable with blankets, pillows, and cushions.
2. Account for the sunshine
Depending on the exact location of your outdoor wedding, sun will probably be a factor. The sun can cause guests to squint and blind them from watching the bride walk down the aisle, the exchange of vows, or the first kiss. Provide suitable supplies for guests to combat the sun. Sunglasses, hats, parasols, or additional shading will all assist in reaching this end.
3. Remember the temperature
During the whirl of excitement that is your wedding ceremony, you may become momentarily unaware of the temperature. But as the officiant rattles on and the vows take forever, your guests will become painfully aware if the temperature is less than optimal. If your wedding day could be a bit chilly, provide blankets, gloves, scarves, or hand warmers. If your wedding day looks to be warm, set out paper fans, handheld spray bottles, or wet towelettes.
4. Hand out water
No matter what the temperature, staying hydrated is always essential. Being outside and out of a controlled climate will make dehydration more likely. Set out tubs or dispensers of cold water not only for guests, but also for your bridal party, officiant, and yourself! The last thing you want is someone fainting in the middle of your ceremony.
5. Provide bug spray
Some people rarely suffer from bug bites. Others get devoured every time they step out the door. In order to be safe rather than sorry, set up a station with bug spray for your guests to use before they settle in for the ceremony. This supply is particularly essential if the ceremony is taking place in the evening or near a body of water.
6. Use heavy duty makeup
Don’t allow all that hard work your makeup artist did on your face go to waste by not being prepared for the outdoor elements. Make sure whoever does your makeup uses quality, heavy duty makeup that can stand up to heat, cold, and moisture. Your makeup needs to survive not only the ceremony, but the pictures and the reception, as well.
7. Don’t let the bridal party sink
If your outdoor wedding is taking place in the grass, sand, or any similarly soft surface, prepare your bridal party accordingly. Stiletto heels will be no match for these types of group. Bridesmaids will struggle down the aisle and slowly sink into the ground during the ceremony if they are not properly equipped. For one option, you could ask your bridal to wear shoes that are appropriate for the environment or no shoes at all. Otherwise, you can purchase heel covers that create a larger surface area to prevent sinking in the ground. Also, set up a wooden or cement block for each member of the bridal party during the actual ceremony to keep their feet above ground.
8. Protect the food and drink
If you plan to have any of the food or beverages for your wedding outdoors, be sure to protect them from bugs and other creatures. Use cupcake wrappers and straws to protect beverages in glasses. Set up canopy nets to guard the desserts and other snacks from the outdoors.
9. Don’t forget microphones
Even though any form of electronics seem to contradict your natural setting, microphones will probably be necessary. In order for everyone from the front to the back row, from your baby nephew to your elderly great aunt, to hear, you will need to amplify voices in some way. The words of the officiant and your vows are meaningful and you want your guests to share in the moment.
10. Set up a plan B
I know, you don’t even want to consider this possibility, but you need to prepare for the worst. Just in case the storm of the century rips through your area on your wedding day, you need a backup plan. Find a nearby church, barn, or recreation hall that is willing to serve as your plan B.
There are so many positives about outdoor weddings. But you cannot approach them with rose-colored glasses. Be realistic about how you need to prepare yourself and your guests in order to have an unforgettable outdoor wedding — unforgettably awesome, not unforgettably awful.