Outdoor Wedding Ideas for Every Season

Outdoor Wedding Ideas for Every Season

Outdoor weddings are popular for many different reasons. Couples may have a favorite season or a hobby that involves being outdoors. Outdoor venues can often be less expensive and they provide a naturally beautiful backdrop so less decorating is needed.

As charming and fun as outdoor weddings may be, they pose their own unique challenges. It’s important to plan thoroughly for every season and to keep your guests happy in any surrounding. Here are some outdoor wedding ideas for every season to help you plan a day everyone can enjoy.

Summer Weddings and Spring Weddings
What to Say on the Wedding Invitation

• In Case of Rain
No matter what time of year you’re planning an outdoor wedding, ALWAYS plan an alternate location in case of rain or other bad weather. You may put this information on the invitations, the reception cards or use separate information cards. Your wording might read something like this:

In the event of rain, the ceremony and reception will be held at:
The Marriott Marquis Banquet Hall
780 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
If weather is questionable the day of the wedding, visit our wedding website for location updates: www.[yourweddingwebsite].com.

• Garden Appropriate Shoes
Guests often forget to consider the wedding’s location before choosing their attire. Women will especially appreciate a heads-up if your ceremony and/or reception will be on grass or sand. The following wording can be printed on your invitations or reception cards:

A friendly reminder to all the ladies! High-heeled shoes are not recommended since the ceremony and reception will be held outdoors on the grass.

• Appropriate Dress Codes
Guests will take their cue of what to wear from the design and wording of your seasonal wedding invitations but a dress code can be helpful depending on the type of wedding you’re having. For example, if you’re hosting your wedding on the beach you might consider adding “Beach Cocktail” or “Beach Formal” to the corner of your wedding invitations. Read Wedding Dress Code 101 to learn more about different kinds of dress codes.

6 Outdoor Wedding Ideas to Keep Guests Happy:

  1. Fans are always appreciated at outdoor summer weddings. Wedding program fans are a great way to keep guests comfortable and provide them with a uniquely stylish ceremony program.
  1. Upgrade your chair rentals to garden-friendly chairs. The cheaper chair rentals don’t hold up to soft ground as well. Guests will sit down and find themselves leaning in one direction or the other. Avoiding this awkward moment is worth the upgrade.
  1. Keep water accessible. This is very important for summer weddings but recommended for all weddings no matter the season. Place a water dispenser with glasses in an obvious location or fill coolers with bottled water. You can even dress up your water bottles with custom water bottle labels.
  1. Shade from the sun is important for both spring and summer weddings. Choose a location with plenty of shade from trees or provide one or two tents as relief from the sun. This is very important for young children and older guests.
  1. Yard signs are a great way to help guests find your ceremony and reception locations quickly and easily. Guests will very much appreciate this helpful gesture! Find personalized yard signs that coordinate with your wedding style.
  1. Umbrella or parasol wedding favors are a fun way to add an incredibly charming touch to the aesthetic of your wedding as well as provide guests relief from light rain or sun.

Fall Weddings and Winter Weddings
What to Say on the Wedding Invitation

• In Case of Inclement Weather
As stated above, it’s important to let guests know where your alternative wedding location will be in case of bad weather. You can use the same wording as stated above for fall and winter weddings but feel free to change “In the event of rain” to “In the event of inclement weather.”

• How Guests Will Keep Warm
Keeping warm at fall weddings isn’t as worrisome as winter weddings. Since an outdoor winter wedding will be a concern for some guests, let them know on the invitation that there will be heated areas or bonfires available. This can be stated at the bottom of the invitation or on the reception cards. Consider this wording:

Fall Wedding Reception – Bonfires will be held at the outdoor reception.
Winter Wedding Ceremony – Heated areas will be available.

• Appropriate Attire
Take a thorough look at your wedding day schedule and decide if/how you want to advise guests to dress. For example, if you’re planning an outdoor winter ceremony and an indoor reception, make it clear at the bottom of your invitation that guests should dress warm for the ceremony. Add wording like this:

Dress warm for our outdoor ceremony!
(A few large heaters will be on site.)

6 Outdoor Wedding Ideas to Keep Guests Happy:

  • Help your guests stay warm. Whether you rent a couple industrial size heaters or have a few bonfires, guests will appreciate having a spot to get toasty. Even if your reception is partially indoors, guests still like to spend some time outside. Standing around a bonfire is a fun way to entertain guests.
  1. Choose practical wedding favors that fit the season. Give out hand warmers wrapped in ribbon with cute favor tags. Give guests s’more kits to encourage them to visit the bonfire(s) you’ll have going at the reception.
  1. Provide hot beverages. Whether these drinks include alcohol or not, be sure to provide something hot for guests to hold. Hot toddies, coffee and Baileys or just plain hot chocolate are all great ideas. Place hot drink dispensers in an obvious location at your ceremony and/or reception. Include some add-ins at the table and watch as guests create their own toasty beverage.
  1. Give your ring bearer or flower girl a special pair of gloves or mittens as a gift of appreciation and ask them to carry an adorable “Here Comes the Bride” sign instead of making them throw flower petals or hold a ring pillow.
  1. Seasonal activities are a must for outdoor fall weddings and winter weddings. Like we mentioned above, building s’mores by a bonfire is a wonderful wedding activity. Set up some snowman stations to keep the little ones busy if you’re braving the outdoors for a winter wedding.
  1. Create decorations that tie into the seasonal theme. Guests will appreciate the beautifully thought-out décor. Ice lanterns are gorgeous for winter weddings. Check out this eHow tutorial about how to make them. For fall weddings, a mixture of pumpkins, apples and gourds is perfect (not mention affordable) for table centerpieces.