Outdoor Wedding Pros and Cons

A bride and groom posing in a field surrounded by trees.

An outdoor wedding using the beauty of nature as your setting seems like a dream to some couples. To others, the stress of worrying about weather and making sure everyone is comfortable isn’t worth the trouble. There’s many pros and cons to an outdoor wedding and it’s up to each couple to determine what’s perfect for them. Here’s some information to help you decide if your wedding should be held outdoors.

Pros

Beautiful Scenery

Imagine getting married in the mountains with high peaks in the background of your photos, in a backyard full of trees with gorgeous accent lighting, or on a beach with waves crashing at your feet. Outdoor weddings often provide the best scenery, meaning you don’t have to work so hard to decorate. Use the natural accents as your best decorations. Trees are great places to hang lighting and lanterns, while existing flowers and greenery reduce your floral budget.

Family-Friendly

Two flower girls holding balloons and running on a grassy lawn.

An indoor wedding confines you to one big room where everyone congregates. Outdoor weddings usually have much more room available for the wedding activities, so they’re more family-friendly than a typical indoor space. As a bonus, guests usually feel more at ease outdoors because it inherently isn’t as formal as an indoor event, so they can kick back and enjoy the wedding even more.

Natural Lighting

Any photographer will tell you the secret to a perfect picture is lighting. Indoor lighting is often challenging as photographers figure out the best settings for their camera. Outdoor lighting serves it to you on a platter, especially during the golden hour before sunset. Usually, couples get married in the shade and often have tents set up to protect guests from any harsh rays.

No Cap on the Guest List

Empty chairs at an outdoor wedding ceremony.

You can usually set up as many chairs as you need in outdoor weddings, since you’re not confined to a room with limited occupancy. Most outdoor venues can accommodate hundreds of guests, making them a great option if you have a huge guest list.

Cons

No Grand Entrance

Many brides want the typical grand entrance to their wedding ceremony when they walk through the doors and the entire congregation gasps. The congregation can still gasp outside, but there is usually no real way ouside to hide the bride as there is behind a closed door. At an outdoor wedding, the bride usually walks in from a short path, through trees or from a walkway. It all depends on the venue, but if this is a deal-breaker for you, there are still ways you can create a grand entrance, even if it’s outside.

Risk of Bad Weather

A married couple walking in a field with a white umbrella.

An outdoor wedding carries the risk of bad weather no matter the time of year. Freak thunderstorms, blasts of wind, sudden snowstorms, or sweltering heat can hit without warning. For this reason, it’s best when you have an outdoor wedding to always have a back-up plan in case weather decides to ruin your day. Because weddings are usually planned months ahead of time, the actual weather cannot be pinned down and this is just something you’ll have to deal with.

Unwanted Critters

It depends on the time of year you get married, but the spring and summer usually pose the biggest risk for pests. Mosquitos and other pesky little insects love to flock to your lighting and bug people. You don’t want to spray inspect repellent on every guest, so make sure you prepare with Citronella candles or bug zappers to alleviate the problem. Sometimes other critters like to crash wedding; raccoons, stray cats, and seagulls are just a few examples of wildlife that may try to scrounge off the yummy food.

Rental Costs

A tent over an outdoor wedding reception at night.

You may think you’re going to save thousands of dollars with an outdoor wedding, but sometimes that just isn’t the case. Even if you’re getting married in your parents’ backyard, you will need to rent some things, which can quickly add up. For example, renting a tent is just one item that can itself can cost thousands if only used for a few hours. A dance floor, tables and chairs, and extra lighting can all quickly add up. On top of that, some outdoor venues are so popular that they’re about the same price as a nice indoor venue to rent.
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