Dear Miss Beetle

Hey ladies,

I had a small intimate wedding – 18 people in all – on June 17th in the state that I live in – PA. ALL of my family lives in the south though and my dad was the only one that was able to attend this ceremony on such short notice. We were only engaged for 4 weeks before the wedding – and, no, it wasn’t due to being knocked up! My husband has 2 teenage daughters that we have the pleasure of getting every other weekend. We just felt it was more appropriate that we be married before I moved in. Plus we’ve both been married before and knew that we didn’t want a big tadoo.

I really want to have a reception for my family in the south. My dad has graciously offered up his backyard because he lives right on the water (off the Gulf of Mexico in MS) and it’s beautiful there. My question is this – I’m not much of a party planner and I’m not very good with details so I need major help planning this thing! I don’t even know where to start. Is there a checklist somewhere of all the things I need to think about? We’ve already decided on a date – Oct. 28th – but that’s about it! HELP!

Y’all have such amazing ideas – I know someone will be able to help me!



Hi Michelle,Congrats! Two weddings are better than one, I always say so you are a lucky bride!

Outdoor receptions are beautiful, but also sometimes require a bit more planning and preparation. My first bit of advice is that you *might* want to consider working with an event planner. These days you can usually find someone at any budget, and if you are not really a details person, this could save you some major headaches.

However, you can certainly also do it on your own. We briefly considered an outdoor wedding and I quickly learned that there are many elements to keep track of. Two that I had not really given much thought to were bathroom facilities and flooring. If this is at your dad’s house, you may be all set bathroom wise, but you’ll need to think about your number of guests and whether or not the space will work. You’ll also, of course, need a dance floor, tent, tables, chairs, a staging area for the band. In terms of where to start, I would recommend talking with a reputable party rental company in your dad’s area. Based on the number of people you plan to have attend, they should be able to help you really get on your way to getting many of those details sorted. From there, I would start thinking about the rest of the details. Will you renew your vows? If so, you will need an officiant. Will the ceremony be at your dad’s house as well? Will you be hiring a photographer? Videographer? A Band? Sending out invites? I would start making a list of all of the details you will need to cover and tackle them each one by one. In the meantime, here are a couple of outdoor wedding roundups that might be helpful:


Mrs. Beetle

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  1. Guest Icon Guest
    Christina, Guest @ 9:31 am

    OMG! I had the same question! I’m planning an outdoor reception in the outerbanks and had the same concerns.

    Thanks Miss Beetle!

  2. Guest Icon Guest
    Miss Poppy, Guest @ 10:57 am

    miss beetle you have some great tips 🙂 yayyyyy

  3. Guest Icon Guest
    a, Guest @ 11:01 am

    I think the other thing to be clear on is what type of reception you want — if it’s just a more casual type of thing for your southern family, you may not need a big band, dance floor, super-fancy meal, etc. Think of it more as a big cocktail party, with lots of milling around, chatting, but not necesarily the typical-wedding event.

  4. Guest Icon Guest
    ari, Guest @ 2:13 pm

    I will be getting married in a few weeks however I will have a lot of decorations left over, the biggest being 60 paper lanterns of varying sizes and shades of white to blue with silk ribbons(and battery lights). If you are interested in them for outdoor decoration, just let me know…

  5. Guest Icon Guest
    Amber, Guest @ 5:29 pm

    ari, I am getting married in kansas city september 2007. I am wanting to do a sea of paper lanterns also. can you tell me where you got yours or maybe if I could rent yours from you?

    is there anywhere in kc that rents that type of thing?

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