Having an outdoor ceremony means there are many ways to personalize your wedding day, but there are also many limitations. taking your first dance as Mr. and Mrs. along a garden or under the moonlight, or you’ll need to follow these 5 important considerations when having an outdoor wedding.
#1 Do This First – Compile Your Guest List Before Choosing Your Venue
One of the most important choices you will make when it comes to your wedding, is where will the wedding celebration take place…Beach? Swanky restaurant? Ball Room? Garden? Each venue location has its share of personality, décor limitations, and logistics, especially when having an outdoor wedding. The amount of guests you are inviting really has the greatest impact in determining where you will have the wedding so before you run-out to have a site tour of your dream-location, consider how many guests would be in attendance first. Having a guest list of 200-plus will not work at an intimate, cozy barn or ranch that can only hold 120 guests. Don’t decide on your location without first considering your guest list.
#2 The Outdoors May Be More Tricky To “Keep It Simple” As You Think
Saying “I Do” in the great outdoors is one of the most romantic ways to unite your love. Unlike houses of worship, the outdoors lend itself to the natural surrounding beauty. Parks, lighthouses, botanical gardens, historic mansions/estates, beaches and other outdoor venues are charming, but can have their limitations in terms of flow, symmetry, and access. Is the area that you’re considering flat or sloped? Will you have sufficient heating or cooling to keep comfortable? Will your guests be able to park close-enough to the site? I recall one client who said to me “I just want a simple, beach wedding”. Well, beaches in general, have one of the most difficult regulations and logistics—some don’t allow glass or liquor, garbage disposal may be an issue, parking is not always easy, and keeping guests out of the hot sun and keeping them cool make it challenging. Also keep in mind that with places that are open to the public, it may be difficult to maintain an appropriate perimeter and you will need to keep this in mind when determining your comfort level. Be prepared for beachcombers (beach weddings), people walking their dogs (or them running off their leashes), casual onlookers that will stop to watch your wedding ceremony. This happens all the time in parks, and there is nothing that we can do—as wedding coordinators—to ask them to leave, they have a right to be there. There’s also noise from traffic, surrounding recreation, and of course, pesky insects. No matter what you decide, you will also need to consider restrooms—that you have enough and that they’re within close proximity.
#3 Make Sure Your Big Day Beauty Can Withstand The Big Outdoors
Us ladies know that reapplying lip balm or lipstick is really no biggie, even when you’re the bride (we promise!). But worrying if your bridal look will stand up to the steep stress Mother Nature can dish out (notice I didn’t say your mother-in-law), is something that can be reduced with a little pre-planning. No bride should have to endure limp hair or frazzled ends, or worry if her skin’s glow is starting to look chalky at the days’ end. Things are much different in terms of planning for your beauty look, if you’ll be spending the majority of your wedding day outside. Instead of just pointing to your Pinterest board on a certain look you’re going after, be sure to disclose and discuss your plans for an outdoor wedding when speaking with your hairstylist and make-up team…and we’ve got your back! My two personal favs (both without parabens!), Urban Decay’s All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray and Josie Maran’s Pure Argan Oil are stashed in our “day-of emergency bag”, ready to combat any of the ladies’ droopy makeup or to smooth any wiry strands.
#4 Electricity—The Unglamorous Forgotten Detail
Remember 2013’s “Big Game” XLVII ‘s electrical power outage at the New Orleans Superdome which delayed a half hour of the game? Well even if you can’t remember, just know it can happen at your wedding. And here’s another tidbit: just because a venue location has a power source available, it doesn’t mean that the total amount of power is usable, nor does it mean just because you can plug into it, that you’re able to power it—there needs to be a “buffer” so that a risk of tripping the breakers is kept to a minimum. Indoors there’s usually no problem, but bringing everything outside could be complicated. Be sure to inquire on the electrical source at your site.
#5 Avoid Outdoor Wedding Mishaps With The Assistance Of A Wedding Planning Team
The stakes are always high when there’s a large group of people celebrating outdoors, and the bride and groom are spending a small fortune to make it happen. Don’t get blinded by all the glamorous “pretty” details and forgo the important logistics, permits, equipment and clean-up needed.
Our team has personally worked through our share of inclement weather (a snow storm in October comes to mind, as well as two hurricanes) so we know how to aesthetically plan for inclement weather, and we’ve also become quite “electrical savvy”. With clients who chose an at-home wedding or a raw historic location, we usually look-into redundant backup generators (two generators that run simultaneously, but if one fails, the other picks up the load allowing for no outage) or a standard generator with a transfer switch. We also discuss the electrical power supply situation with the band or DJ to avoid any electrical mishaps.
Another way we’ve helped our couples with preparing for inclement weather is by offering “tent insurance” via a third party tent rental company. With (usually) a half-up front deposit to reserve the tent, the tent is held on reserve, but only installed and set-up last minute, with the remaining balance due that day if it’s needed due to inclement weather. We’ve also had fans, heaters or lighting on standby so guests can remain comfortable and be able to see, should the power go out. A skilled coordinator can also augment your venue’s onsite coordinator with your “Plan B” alternative indoor location should your outdoor one become unavailable.
Don’t just Pin your dreams, pursue them with us. Reach out to us anytime on ways we can help at your outdoor wedding site!