Some tips to make your special wedding day all you dreamed it would be.
Planning a wedding is wonderful and stressful all at the same time. And planning an outdoor wedding comes with its own set of considerations. If you have a wedding planner, this is a great source for insight into what goes where: where the wedding party will get ready, and how to consider the people flow throughout the event. If you don't have a wedding planner, don't fret. Grab a small group of friends and family to help you plan your big day.
Check out this list of dos and don'ts as you plan a great event for you, your spouse-to-be, the wedding party, and your guests.
Visit the property.
This might seem an obvious choice, but relying on pictures just won't do when you're making a decision of this magnitude. Visit multiple locations as you're selecting just the right one. And be sure to stop by multiple times to your chosen venue as you're planning. It's important to see the setting at the same time of day to assess seating and placement. You may want to invite your photographer along to chime in on when and where to get the best natural lighting to capture the best pics.
Outdoor venues are gaining popularity. You don't want to find yourself scrambling to find a location or settling for your second—or fifth choice. When you find the spot you're looking for, go ahead and book the date. You'll be surprised at the stress relief you'll feel when the location has been set.
Rent what you need.
Tents, tables, chairs, outdoor heaters, and an arbor are all available through your local event rental company. These items, just like the venue itself, can be snatched up quickly. So you'll want to reserve what you need in advance.
Have access to electricity.
From music to lighting—there are so many aspects of your wedding that require electricity. Think through where the access is located, what activities require electricity, and the risk of tripping a breaker if too many things are plugged in.
Light up the night.
After the sun sets, you want your wedding party, family, and friends to still be able to see and enjoy the night. The venue potentially will have outdoor lighting, but be sure to add string lights and walkway lights.
Consider hiring an exterminator.
If the venue approves, you may want to pay for the wedding setting to be treated beforehand to avoid unwanted guests at your wedding.
Choose music with the setting in mind.
The setting will truly set the stage for the entire event. Think about what style of music best fits with the surroundings.
Have a backup plan.
No one can predict the weather, especially months in advance. Research and secure a venue to use in the event of severe weather. You can keep your backup plan simple, so you're not spending the time and money planning two entirely separate weddings. It could be as simple as providing umbrellas for the guests.
This is your big day, and only you know what you want. Ask lots of questions upfront to gain an understanding what an outdoor venue will look and feel like.
Forget the bathrooms.
Check if the venue has bathrooms onsite. If not, rent portable restrooms. Portable restrooms are no one's first choice, but they can be simply decorated with flowers, candles, and tulle.
Attempt to make everyone comfortable.
There will always be someone grumping about the smallest of detail. You can make yourself crazy attempting to cover it all. Major on the big considerations, and let the rest go.
Assume catering is the same as when indoors.
Be sure to communicate clearly with the caterer about your setting and the facility amenities. Ask the caterer what outdoor events he or she has served and what needs to be addressed.
You chose this location for all the right reasons. Let the beach, the woods, or the rolling green hills decorate your big day. Of course you can add decorative touches here and there, but don't take away from the natural beauty.
Leave your guests hanging.
From the save-the-date to the formal invitation, prepare your guests for an outdoor wedding. Consider including an extra slip of paper with your invitations detailing directions to the venue, what to expect, and what to bring (such as sensible shoes for rougher terrain). It's also helpful to remind your guests with this information the week of the wedding via email.
So are you ready for the big day? Take a deep breath as you join paths with another and tell us about your nuptials in the comments.