Sunshine, breezes, trees, flowers; these are all things an outdoor wedding can provide. Other things an outdoor wedding can provide: bugs, sunburns, a cold bum. An outdoor wedding can be a beautiful choice, but it does come with its own set of challenges. I firmly believe that if you consider all the downsides and prepare accordingly, you can have a wedding day that is enjoyable for everyone.
You truly want everyone to have a great time. What you don’’t want is guests being too uncomfortable or frustrated to focus on you and your partner. Trust me, you may be willing to suffer some on your big day, but guests aren’t. I’ve got some potential issues for you to consider while planning your outdoor ceremony. Mull these over to make your day as fantastic as possible for everyone involved.
1. No Mics/ No one Can Hear You
This is a big one. Guests want to enjoy your ceremony. They want to hear your sappy vows and cry at how beautiful love is. None of this can happen if they can’t hear you. Not only will guests be chattering to each other about how they can’t hear, but they will also be a little irritated. Your guests not being able to hear any of the ceremony is equivalent to your local fast food joint forgetting the sauce you asked for specifically. It’s not a feeling you want your guests to experience on your big day.
Make sure your guests are close enough to hear everything. If you’re unsure, spring for microphones. You may think having mics is kind of annoying, but how annoying is it that your guests won’t hear any of the beautiful words you worked so hard to write? You can get handheld mics, a mic on a stand, or body mics. Seriously consider this, I’m telling you, I’ve been to weddings where I couldn’t hear a thing, and I felt seriously cheated. Think about your poor half-deaf nana who will already have a hard time hearing even with mics.
2. The Beautiful Sun, Shining Right in Your Eyes
Ahh the sun, it can be such a beautiful thing… except when it’s in your eyes and you’re trying to watch a wedding ceremony. Think about your venue and time of your ceremony. Will the sun be in your guests’ eyes during that time and in that location? Even worse, will it be in your eyes? Don’t say “I do” with your eyes closed or watering. You’ll want to be able to see your loved ones in the audience and your fiancé clearly with no distractions.
This is kind of similar to the whole microphone issue. It’s just one of those things guests will be annoyed with. They want to enjoy the ceremony without the sun burning their eye balls out. Figure out what time the sun will be at eye level and plan accordingly. Also, maybe position your ceremony at an angle that works best with the light. If you have to, go out to your venue and check the lighting to help give you a better idea of what will work best. If you absolutely cannot avoid this issue, for instance if you have a fixed ceremony spot and time, I would suggest putting a tent over the space. This is a great solution if you already have a tent rented for the reception. If you don’t want to block the views, you could maybe offer sunglasses as a fun favor. The sun can be a pain no matter what you try, but it doesn’t have to be a big deal if you do something to help guests out.
3. Not Considering Temperature
Think seriously about temperature. I know a November wedding is beautiful in some places, but in northern Wisconsin for example, it can be a tad cold. I’m not saying you can’t have an outdoor wedding in November when it’s chilly or July when it’s burning hot, but you need to takes steps to keep guest’s comfort levels high. If it’s hot, provide shelter from the sun. I recommend having a building that is air conditioned for guests to slip into if they’re feeling overheated. Huge fans are another great way to ensure guests can access cooler air. You could have ice packs ready or cute handheld fans. Consider that your guests might be hot and think of what you like to use to cool off when you’re hot.
If it’s cold, there are lots of things you can do too to mitigate guest discomfort. You can offer hot drinks like hot chocolate and tea. You can provide blankets for the ceremony that are cute and match your theme. Again, it might be a good idea to provide a warm space for guests to escape to when they’re just feeling way too cold. I know Mother Nature doesn’t always behave how you want her to, so just know this and take the necessary precautions.
4. You May be Seated, Never
I’ve attended weddings where they expected me to stand for a half an hour ceremony. It’s not nice to do this to your guests, especially the ones who are in heels. If you need your guests to stand for some reason, keep the ceremony short. Also, if it will be a seated ceremony, provide nice seats. Forcing your guests to sit on tree stumps, while super cute and theme-friendly, is not very comfortable. Check out your seating situation before your wedding. If those chairs you rented for cheap aren’t great and your ceremony is an hour long or longer, make some changes. Rent cushions or do something and make your guests’ comfort a top priority.
5. Forgetting That Bugs Exist
Think about nature. While it can be beautiful, it can also be buggy. We all know that mosquitoes are the absolute worst. I think that is one thing we can all agree on. Consider hiring a company to spray for bugs at your venue. This could help diminish the sheer amount of them. My cousin had this done the day before her wedding. It was especially important because she got married in a wooded area. Consider your venue and maybe even go out there to check out bug levels. Another way to help guests with the pests is to provide bug spray. You don’t want bugs to be all over you either. White dresses appeal to bugs in a big way, so take precautionary measures.
Overall the best way to ensure a great outdoor ceremony experience is to consider the frailest among your guests. In every decision, factor in your nana who is 80 years old, mostly deaf, and probably can’t handle too much heat. Think about how you would feel as a guest at your own wedding. Consider including those items that will help guests stay happy. Come up with creative ways to present bug spray or fans if you think they’re tacky and will throw off your theme. You can include practical items in your day without sacrificing the integrity or the feel. Look around online for creative ideas and solutions. Ask around for other couple’s advice. You can have the perfect outdoor ceremony that everyone will love if you’re prepared.