Top 10 Tips for Outdoor Weddings

1. Always have a backup! (and plan for it)
There is no climate (in the United States, at least) that’s guaranteed to have good weather. Don’t neglect your backup plan! Is there enough seating? Do guests know where it is? How do guests know if you’ll be using the backup? Include “In Case of Rain” cards with your invitations to let guests know your rain plan.

2. Avoid Storm Seasons (if possible)
Not just because you don’t want it to rain on your wedding day but because having to cancel vendors and events due to severe storms is a huge disappointment and it can be very expensive. Not able to avoid the storm season? Consider purchasing some wedding insurance. Check out this article at The Knot to learn more, Wedding Insurance 101.

3. Work with Your Surroundings
Use the natural setting of your outdoor wedding as your backdrop and bring in complementary decorations. You won’t have to do a ton of decorating to create a gorgeous look with fabulous atmosphere.

4. Map it Out
Add map cards to your wedding invitation ensemble and/or post it on your wedding website. A map to the ceremony is great but also including a map/directions from the ceremony to the reception is even better. This piece is often forgotten. If you think your wedding locations are fairly simple and you don’t need to provide directions, order personalized yard signs to help guests spot your event locations.

5. Restrooms
Guests should have easy access to restrooms at all times. If you rent Port-o-Johns, make sure you know exactly what you’re getting when you reserve them. Ask for photos or go see them in person. It may sound silly but you don’t want the one thing people remember about your wedding to be a dirty bathroom.

6. Electrical and City Ordinances
Plan on playing music at your ceremony and reception? You will need to rent a speaker system and you will need to check city sound ordinances. If you have a wedding planner they should do this for you. If your wedding location is at a popular venue, they will know what the ordinances entail but be sure to ask!

7. Sand Ceremony
Skip the traditional unity candle ceremony and opt for a fun and unique unity sand ceremony. Even the lightest breeze at your outdoor ceremony can extinguish a unity candle. Sand ceremony kits can be customized to match your wedding colors and they fit an outdoor ceremony beautifully.

8. Reserve Tent Walls
Yes, you may have to reserve the walls separately. Make sure you have at least one tent wall to block the sun as it sets so your guests aren’t roasting on one side while everyone else is comfortable and cool. If you choose a package with all four walls, great! You don’t have to use all four but you can if you need to.

9. Keep Guests Cool
Always provide some kind of shade for your guests. You can set up a tent or two, or you can rely on natural shade already present at your outdoor venues. Little to no shade at the ceremony site? Hand out program fans before the ceremony to keep guests cool.

10. Provide Water
Water should be available especially for young children and older adults. The bar service you reserve for the reception will have water but you should also make sure to have water available at your outdoor ceremony. You can even dress the bottles up with personalized labels as fun wedding favors.