5 Tips For Planning An Outdoor Wedding
Are you thinking of having a winery wedding, mountain wedding, beach elopement, barn wedding, or any type of outdoor wedding?! Do you know the risks or challenges that come with planning an outdoor wedding?! Not sure what to look for?!
There’s something special and so magical about getting married outdoors!!! Whether it be a beautiful ranch you spent most of your childhood at or at a beautiful winery with a mountain view (don’t forget the wine!) or a gorgeous botanical garden filled with beautiful flowers!
As gorgeous and perfect as the locations may be, don’t forget the challenges and risks that you may face by planning an outdoor wedding. Follow these tips to plan a flawless outdoor wedding!
Today I’m sharing with you my top 5 Tips for Planning an Outdoor Wedding!
5 Tips for Planning an Outdoor Wedding:
1. Choose the right spot for YOU and your guests.
Picture your perfect wedding: Is it on a sandy shore with cliffs surrounding you on each side? A beautiful mountainside or valley? A rustic ranch? A gorgeous vineyard overlooking mountains or fields of grapevines?
As you research and visit your favorite wedding locations, it’s important to consider the positives AND the negatives.
Can guests get there easily? Will it be noisy or windy (visit at the exact time your wedding will take place to get the full effect)? How much will it cost to bring in everything you need, like a catering kitchen and portable bathrooms? Are people who are walking by able to walk near your event?
Some of these challenges have solutions and others might not—in the end, choose a place that has the ambience and nature you’re looking for, along with the convenience that your guests will appreciate.
2. Always have a back up location or a plan B.
We all know the weather can be unpredictable. While most of us are under the illusion that it NEVER rains in California, I hate to break it to you, it does rain here and it definitely could rain on your wedding day. You need to make sure you’re prepared for it.
There’s all kinds of weather related risks to think about other than rain too; hail storms, lighting storms, tornado’s, hurricanes (I don’t know if California gets them or not!), high tide at the beach, or sandstorms if you’re in the desert.
Although all of these things may be unlikely, it’s important to prepare for the worst-case scenario while still hoping for the best.
Your ideal outdoor wedding location needs to come with a plan B you love JUST as much or it has to have a plan B that isn’t too far from it that you can still go to. Have a beautiful indoor room on reserve in case bad weather or other unexpected events threaten your wedding day. You can also arrange for a tent with roll up and roll down sides too, which is almost as good as being inside.
3. Get permission or a permit to have your wedding at that location.
If you’ve decided to wed or elope on public property, you may need written permission.
Some venues will require a site fee to hold an event on their property, while others will only need appropriate documentation from the city.
You may also need an additional certificate of insurance (say, for a museum or historic building) in case of damage or for liability if anyone gets injured.
Ask your venue for assistance in applying for permits or contact your city parks department or other local government agencies or research it on their website to ensure you’re well prepared to say “I do.”
4. Turn the volume up!
We all agree that the sound of waves crashing along the shore is peaceful but it can also make it very hard to hear people when they’re talking, especially when you and your spouse to be are telling each other those beautiful handwritten vows to one another!
You want to be able to hear them and so do you’re guests! Use lapel mics so guests can feel a part of the ceremony and fully celebrate with you.
Also be sure to double-check that your band or DJ has enough power for their equipment—you don’t want to lose your lights or tunes in the middle of the dance party, that’s always a mood killer or adds un needed stress to the day.
5. Keep your guests safe and be sure to transport them to the location.
A couple things go along with this tip.
When you decide on a location keep in mind the surroundings and the temperature that it will be on the day of the wedding. You should inform your guests of what to wear so it’s not uncomfortable for them and so they don’t end up ruining an expensive pair of shoes if they’ll be doing some trekking through sand or mud.
When you get married outdoors in nature, normally you’ll need to do some kind of uplighting (indoor weddings do too!) for the after dark hours so your guests can see.
Consider stringing market lights across the dance floor or hanging lanterns in the trees to frame the two of you as you say your vows.
Candlelight is a great (and totally romantic) solution to a lack of electrical outlets, as long as it’s bright enough for your guests to see their dinner and bright enough that you’re photographers or videographers aren’t struggling to capture everything.
Make sure your location is landscaped or mowed prior to your nuptials (clear leaves or any obstructions the day of so that it’s fresh and clean).
Also keep in mind to make sure there are steps or a good cleared path to well-traveled areas, such as the restrooms or parking lot. These should have handrails, walkways, and be well lit, especially for elderly guests.
If you’ve picked a spot that’s off the beaten path, don’t leave your guests stranded or guessing where to go. Arrange for buses, trollies or vans to shuttle them from area hotels to your wedding location (this will also ensure they’ll have a safe way home).
At the very least, provide excellent directions and GPS coordinates if you’re in really rural territory. You don’t want them arriving frustrated and late because of unmarked roads.
Be sure your venue has a designated parking area too or know before hand where you’re guests are allowed to park and be sure to inform them or put signs out for them to follow when they arrive.
Growing up I had always dreamed about having our wedding down at my parents ranch in Minnesota. The photo above is from our very own Outdoor Wedding!!!!
I understand how important and how magical it is to have an outdoors wedding in a location that has meaning to you!
I spent most of my childhood down at this ranch working cattle, riding horse, sitting around the campfire making s’mores and roasting marshmallows, or sitting down there just for the peace and quiet it brought me.
When we started planning our wedding I faced some of these struggles; weather, the wind, transporting guests to and from the ceremony location, finding an indoor reception venue because in Minnesota having an outdoor reception is almost near impossible due to the unofficial Minnesota state bird (the mosquito!), making sure the ceremony site was well groomed for the wedding, and that there was proper directions/signs/ and parking for our guests.
It’s a challenge for sure, but if that’s your dream location to get married, make it work for you! Trust me, it’s worth it!
Are you planning on having a beautiful outdoor wedding or elopement?! I would love to connect!
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