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planning an outdoor wedding

How To Plan an Outdoor Wedding For Any Venue

Planning for an outdoor wedding ceremony is no walk in the park. People have built their whole careers around making sure that these romantic occasions go as organized.

If you’re decided to skip out on hiring a wedding planner and take matters into your own hands when planning an outdoor wedding, you might be finding yourself feeling more overwhelmed than enjoying the challenge. Your outside wedding ceremony does come down to the details that ultimately makes for the bigger picture of your special day.

Give yourself a lot of time for planning. Use an outdoor wedding checklist to keep yourself organized, whether it’s through Google Docs, Microsoft Excel, or the old fashioned pen and paper, and consider these five tips that’ll ensure that your outdoor wedding ceremony goes smoothly when the special day finally arrives.

 

Find The Perfect Venue For Your Outside Wedding

After you’ve spent enough time enjoying the fact that you’ve become engaged, looking into outside wedding venues is the next step in making sure that you’ll be spending your special day among the beauties of the natural world.

Choose a place that speaks to the personalities of you and your partner. The space for your outdoor wedding ceremony should be a meaningful and practical place that reflects the romance and intimacy of your relationship.

outdoor wedding setup

Wedding estates and country clubs make for an effortlessly luxurious choice. Beaches and forests might work better for brides and grooms who want their outside wedding ceremony to feel naturally magical. If you’re more interested in staying within a particular budget, backyard weddings might be the best choice since they still allow for plenty of creative customization. 

If you and your partner would rather look for other outside wedding ideas, consider hosting your alfresco celebration in a rustic barn, botanic garden, public park, museum or college instead. Just keep in mind about how each place will cater to the accessibility of elderly guests and guests with physical disabilities. 

Figure Out Your Outdoor Wedding Setup

One of the biggest advantages for having an outside wedding is that you’re not restricted to using the furniture that has already decorated a ballroom. 

You should first make sure that the venue looks proper from the start. Take the time to make sure that the leaves are raked and the grass is cut to your liking. Bring some potted plants if your outside wedding reception and ceremony will commence before the flowers have bloomed. 

outdoor wedding setups

Some outside wedding venues might not leave much room to accessorize, but you can still look for subtle touches like aisle markers. Add any floor surfaces to correct uneven grounds and your guests will be thankful that they’re not tripping anywhere.

To prevent any guests from being confused about the layout of your venue, include signs that say where they can find the bathrooms, ceremony space, and reception space.

Any kind of outdoor wedding ceremony will require tents. Add some curtains, chandeliers, and cushions to match your chosen theme. Including lounge furniture, rugs, and pillows will create a comfortable atmosphere during your outside wedding.

Throw in some quirky decorations to add some personality and seminentality, especially if the objects symbolize the romantic relationship that you have with your partner.

Choose the Food and Drinks For Your Outdoor Wedding Reception

Get creative when trying to figure out the food and meal options during your outside wedding reception. Stand out with an usual choice like stir-fry or go with everybody’s barbequed favorites with chicken, mac and cheese, and biscuits.

outside wedding ideas for food

Think about the timing of your alfresco celebration when ultimately deciding on the foods and drinks you will be providing to guests. Hot chocolate and s’mores might be a better choice over ice cream if you’re planning on having your outdoor wedding reception during the colder seasons.

If you’re worried about the potential allergies for your guests, having a “build your own” bar for burgers, tacos, and salads ensures that nobody will have a problem with what they eat.

Make sure to provide enough drinks to keep your guests as well. Lemonade, iced tea, and soft drinks are your best non-alcoholic options. A good rule of thumb is to provide a pound of ice per person during your outside wedding, especially during the warmer seasons.

drinks for an outdoor wedding reception

Consider renting enough portable restrooms so there is one for every thirty five guests if bathrooms aren’t readily accessible otherwise. If you’re worried about the porta potties comprising the theme of your outside wedding reception, just remember that many of the luxurious rentals come with granite countertops, music, floral decorations, air conditioners or heaters.

Prepare Yourself For Any Potential Problems

If you’ve been looking to social media for outside wedding ideas, you might be falling into the cycle of comparing your wedding to others on Pinterest or Instagram.

Keep in mind that you’re only seeing the good sides of their event! Your outdoor wedding ceremony can look as perfect as theirs if you don’t overwhelm yourself and catch any potential problems before they can happen during your wedding day. 

Pick Your Guest List

While your first instinct might be to invite every single person that has been important in your life for your guest list, chances are that you’re gonna have to make some compromises that depend on the size of your chosen wedding venue. 

outside wedding invitations

You should first decide if children are invited at all or if guests can bring their own dates to your alfresco celebration. Don’t invite distant family members to your outdoor wedding ceremony out of obligation. Your special day isn’t a family reunion and should be reserved for celebrating among people who are more involved in your life.

While your outside wedding might seem like the perfect chance to rekindle your friendship, you’ll be too busy with entertaining other guests to make a fair effort. Colleagues should be invited if you share a close friendship, not only because you share a workspace. Plan a happy hour with your co-workers instead.

Predict The Weather 

Check up on the weather a few days before your alfresco celebration and keep your guests informed about any last-minute changes. Advise them to wear certain clothes for their own comfort during your outside wedding ceremony.

umbrellas for an outside wedding ceremony

Make sure that the clothes and hairstyles for you and your partner can survive any unexpected wind or humidity as well. Look into waterproof makeup as a potential alternative.

If you’re holding your outside wedding reception and ceremony during the warmer seasons, think about scheduling your romantic occasion towards the evening to miss the hottest parts of the day. Invest in fans and portable air conditioning units so your guests stay comfortable during your spring or summer event. Offer sunscreen if necessary.

Make space for propane heaters and cozy blankets if your outside wedding is planned during the colder months. Provide umbrellas if any rain comes to keep your guests dry on your special day. 

Deal With Insects 

To avoid any uninvited guests from invading your outdoor wedding ceremony, think about hiring an exterminator to clear out any pesky insects from your event space. Place citronella candles in the surroundings areas as a backup plan so insects will think twice about bothering your wedding party.

Maintain Sound

vows during a small outdoor wedding

Indoor ceremonies have the advantage of containing silence, ensuring that every guest can hear the brides and grooms speak during their ceremonies. Some outdoor wedding venues might be louder than expected due to the wind, neighbors, and other environmental noises so talk with your partner about possibly incorporating microphones into your outdoor wedding ceremony.

Be Aware of Permits

If you’ve chosen to have your outside wedding in a park or beach venue, make sure that the alfresco celebration complies with rules about noise and alcohol. You wouldn’t want your special day to be interrupted by law enforcement or have your partner receive legal fines in the mail after hosting your romantic occasion.

Bring The Best Lighting 

Lighting is essential for any outdoor reception and ceremony because it makes for beautiful wedding photos and creates an enchanting atmosphere.

outside wedding ideas for lighting
Look into hanging string lights or paper lanterns from trees that’ll create a magical glow during your special day. If you’ve chosen an outdoor wedding venue with a pond, think about buying some floating candles. Pinspot lights and tiki torches are other charming options.

It might be helpful to hire an electrician before your wedding day to ensure that blackouts don’t happen.

Final Thoughts

Just remember that you’re not alone when thinking about the logistics of your outside wedding. Reach out for the support of your friends and family, especially those who are married and can offer their best advice. Contacting the venue owners with questions might help ease your anxiety, since they’ve helped other brides and grooms in the same situation.

Let us know in the comments how far along you are in the wedding planning process or if you have any other advice for people planning an outdoor wedding.

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Lauren Peterson

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