The combination of Mother Nature and Romance brings together pure bliss for the perfect outdoor wedding.   Although, they are romantic and beautiful within its purity, there are many caveats to consider when planning an outdoor wedding. Below are a few helpful tips to consider when planning an outdoor wedding.

  1.  Make sure your guests are comfortable. Consider the weather and the length of time your guests are required to be outdoors. Here are our suggestions to keep your guests comfortable:
    • Keep them hydrated.  Provide outdoor relief from the weather by providing a self-serve beverage station or butlered variety of iced teas, infused-water, or lemonade to quench their thirst and to cool their body temperature.  This would be great prior to the start of your ceremony and through out the evening.
    • Keep them cool.  For your ceremony, a cool idea is to create your wedding program into a fan to serve as a method of cooling for your guests; this not only provides them information about your wedding day it also provides an alternative to keeping cool.  For the reception, keep your area cooled with ceiling fans or portable air conditioning units.
    • Protect them from the Sun.  Try to place your desired location in a shaded area, and not in the direction of the sun.  For the ceremony, provide parasols for guests to pick up as needed to utilize to protect themselves; or large patio umbrellas throughout the ceremony seating area; or canopy draping over the ceremony area.  For the reception, make sure that your area is tented or has some type of covering.
  2. Have a back-up plan. You should not only think of a back-up plan for rain conditions but also for extreme hot temperatures. When there is a threat for inclimate weather, have your back up plan in place with your venue location and all of your vendors – everyone should know your Plan B.  Also, decide on a “call time” – a time when you will make the decision to change to your Plan B.  This decision should be implemented at a minimum of 4 hours prior to your start time.  This gives all vendors adequate time to relocate any equipment, and the opportunity to update your guests.
  3. Consider the level of noise. Choose a location that is quiet and serene; you want your guests to enjoy the elements of your wedding and not be distracted by other unhappy sounds.  Make sure you have access to equipment that will amplify the ceremony and reception activities; provide microphones to your officiant, readers, singers. Your DJ or Band will possibly have a solution for sound equipment capabilities, if not, contact a local audio visual company.
  4. Can everyone see what’s going on? Although you may start in daylight, dusk will fall and you will need to have lighting for the remainder of your evening. Consider lighting options such as candles, lanterns, torches, chandelier lighting in your tent, etc. You don’t want to end up in the dark.
  5. Utilize nature for your decorations.  The best thing about the outdoors is that it comes decorated with it’s natural beauty. Use the outdoor elements as a part of your décor and that which you bring to nature, make sure that it compliments her (Mother Nature) and not take away from her beauty.
  6. Select the right food for an outdoor Summer Wedding.  When using dairy or egg products, make sure that you are able to keep them cool, or use alternative food choices.  You don’t want to run the risk of the heat jeopardizing the integrity of your meal and your guests getting sick.
    • Soups:  Some food items that are popular in cooler months can also be used during the summer such as soups.  If you have soup on your menu, we suggest chilled soups such as cucumber gazpacho with watermelon and mint, cool cantaloupe soup with with basil cream, strawberry coconut soup, or fresh green pea soup with grape salsa.
    • Salads:  Keep your salads fresh and light.  From the main ingredients to the dressing, you want the feel of coolness from start to finish.  We love salads like, heirloom tomato salad with a vinaigrette dressing; melon, berry and feta salad; poached pear salad; red and yellow watermelon salad with mint and feta; citrus salad with spiced honey.
    • Side Accompaniments.  When selecting your entrees, you will have your protein as the main dish that will be served hot.  To pair with your entree, consider light side dishes that aren’t heavy in taste or to the stomach.  We recommend the following items that will have your guests full but will not weigh them down:  couscous, orzo, petite herb yukon gold and red bliss potatoes, mixed grilled vegetables, squash and zucchini spaghetti, succotash.
  7. Don’t forget to take care of the pesky flying critters. Use citronella candles or if budget allows, have the outdoors chemically treated on the ground and in the air. You don’t want to observe your guests constantly swatting or complaining about the little unwanted guests.
  8. Make sure you have all of your permits. If you choose to have your event in a local governmental park, make sure that you have obtained the required permits, and that you are aware of any noise ordinances that you must obey. When planning outdoor weddings at your home, consult with your local homeowner’s association for rules and regulations, and send a lovely note to your neighbors to inform them of your event. Taking these precautions, keeps the local authorities away and the possibility of your event ending early.

We hope that our tips were helpful and will assist you in planning your outdoor summer wedding.

(photo credit (all):  Susie & Becky Photography/real wedding by Perfect Planning Events)