As the weather heats up, we are daydreaming of romantic outdoor weddings and everything that comes with them: the sunshine, fresh air, bugs, sweltering heat, the possibility of rain… Planning an outdoor wedding comes with stunning photo opportunities, lots of room for dancing, and of course a few obstacles. However, with a little planning ahead, you can prepare for anything that the great outdoors might throw your way. Consider these 6 things when planning your outdoor wedding:
Many outdoor venues are wide open spaces. While this is great for hosting a lot of people without feeling crowded, you’d be surprised at how lost your guests might be. Solve their navigation woes by offering lots of signage indicating where they should go next, or breaking your outdoor space into smaller sections. Food is also a great way to direct guests where you’d like them to go next, people will always follow the food (or wine!)
Food & Desserts
During The Other Wedding event, Mika Maloney of Batch Bakeshop shared a tidbit that has stuck with us: your caterer or baker can handle almost any kind of weather from destructive winds to blistering heat, but you must be adaptable and trust them! Allow them the flexibility to move the dessert table to a shady area, or to nestle the buffet against a wall to keep the food warm. And if you’re especially worried about that buttercream frosting turning into a melty disaster, consider a more heat-friendly alternative like smooth fondant or a naked cake.
The Comfort of Your Guests
To allow for maximum fun, you want to make sure your guests are comfortable. Before the ceremony, offer guests a refreshing drink, and a fan to cool down. Favors are another great way to accommodate your loved ones. Depending on your outdoor venue and the anticipated weather, feature favors that match like flip flops, shawls, or fun sunglasses. You can also rent or buy umbrellas to keep everyone dry throughout the festivities!
If you’re familiar with the Inland Northwest at all – you know the weather can be unpredictable! Tents are ALWAYS a good idea for outdoor weddings, whether it’s to provide shade or protection from the rain. Keep in mind that rental companies now offer plenty of options for heaters or air conditioners that are portable, attractive, and quiet. (View our list of preferred rental companies here!) And as much as you may wish for a light summer breeze to waif through the air delicately cooling your guests, a strong gust could most definitely be an uninvited guest during your big day. Keep this in mind when planning your decor and have everything weighted down to avoid frantically trying to catch your flying seating cards prior to the main event. Also check to make sure your guests will be able to hear you over the elements. If you’re having a DJ or band perform during the reception, use their sound system to cover the ceremony as well so there’s no way anyone will miss your vows.
There are lots of options to keep bugs away on your wedding day. We’ve been to events with citronella candles, bug spray stations, and natural bug repellent plants like lavender and mint. (For more ideas, check out our post on keeping bees away!) Another bug-related wedding incident to consider however, is your wedding dress. You may have dreamed of wearing a tulle ball gown for years, but trust us when we say that thing will attract bugs like nobody’s business during your outdoor wedding! (It is technically light netting, after all.)
When planning an outdoor wedding, you might want to err on the side of caution when it comes to flowers. For instance, hydrangeas are notorious for wilting in the strong summer heat, and peonies can attract unwanted bugs. If you’ve hired a florist, trust their expertise in what’s in season and what will be best for your particular setting and vision.