How to Pull off an Outdoor Wedding

An outdoor wedding reception with lights strung between trees.

Every bride and groom has a vision for their wedding, whether that means that they want it to be held in a religious venue, if they’re leaning more towards an elopement, or they may want a fairy tale-esque affair with all the bells and whistles. Other brides and grooms may opt to have a wedding in the most natural state: the great outdoors. From getting married near the sea to a backyard affair to a serene event among the mountains, these soirees are undoubtedly beautiful, but they can also be a bit tricky to plan. Below, learn how to pull off an outdoor wedding and how to cover all of your bases to ensure that everything goes smoothly.

Dress Appropriately

You won’t be able to fully enjoy your wedding unless you’re dressed suitably and comfortably. This means dressing warmly or cooly enough for the weather and wearing shoes that won’t be hard to walk in on the beach or on grass. For the bride, dressing correctly could mean changing into a more breezy and comfortable reception dress, so keep that in mind as an option.

Keep Guests Comfortable

A box of white paper fans at an outdoor beach wedding.

There are several things about outdoor weddings that could lead to discomfort for guests. The first is high temperatures, which usually occurs with summer weddings. To alleviate the heat, provide stylish paper fans for guests to use as well as an abundance of cold water stations. You may also want to have buckets of sunscreen on hand for guests to use to protect themselves from those strong rays. Conversely, the temperature could also be too cold, which is a common issue for outdoor spring weddings. Provide wraps or throw blankets for guests to take advantage of in the evening after the sun sets. You may also want to consider bringing in heat lamps. Bugs are another issue to keep in mind when it comes to outdoor weddings, no matter the temperature. Keep bottles of bug spray around your venue for guests to use to keep those pests at bay.

Ensure There’s Ample Restrooms

Not having restrooms readily available during the duration of your reception is a big mistake when it comes to an outdoor wedding. If your venue doesn’t have any within a reasonable distance from the outdoor area you’ll use for your wedding, you’ll need to arrange for portable restrooms. These are another item that could require electricity as well as water hookups. This can take a bit of planning and organization, so take care in addressing this early in the planning process.

Have a Backup Plan for Bad Weather

A white tent set up in a backyard for a wedding.

You don’t want to be the couple that doesn’t have a backup plan in the event of bad weather on your wedding day. Even though this is a hard pill to swallow, it certainly can happen. Work with your venue to talk about viable backup options, whether that means moving your event inside or putting it in a tent. Find a plan B that you’re comfortable with and also understand the added costs that would be associated with putting this plan into action in the event of bad weather. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!

Plan Food Carefully

Plan the food for your outdoor wedding with the weather in mind. Instead of serving food that will easily spoil if left out in the sun, choose items that are easy to serve outdoors and that can sit for long periods of time and still be fresh. This is important to the health and safety of your guests. Your caterer will likely have experience choosing a menu that complements an outdoor wedding well.

Establish Power Sources

An outdoor wedding reception decorated with twinkle lights.

Having a wedding ceremony or reception outside means that there might not necessarily be a power source readily available for vendors and decor that need it. Your band and officiant will likely need a reliable power source and you’ll also need to se tup lighting if your wedding goes into the evening. Work with your venue and vendors to ensure that these logistics are figured out well before your wedding so you’re not scrambling at the last minute.

Don’t Decorate Like Crazy

Remember that an outdoor space is the ultimate wedding backdrop, which means you don’t have to go crazy when it comes to decorations. Instead, stick to simple and refined pieces that accentuate the nature surrounding your ceremony and reception. These statement pieces will be more meaningful than many smaller and less vibrant pieces of decor.

Outdoor weddings are definitely feasible, but they certainly take a great deal of coordination and planning. Use these guidelines to plan your dream outdoor wedding!

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