If you’re planning your wedding and can’t stop daydreaming about saying your I-Do’s under majestic redwood trees and dancing the night away under the stars, you’ve come to the right place. We totally get it — there’s no better venue designer than mother nature. But throwing an outdoor wedding comes with its own set of challenges (ehem, weather). Fortunately for you, we’re about to break down everything you need to know before throwing an outdoor wedding to remember.
Here's a handy list of 9 tips to help you embrace the great outdoors for your special day.
1. Embrace the Elements
The allure of an outdoor wedding lies in its connection to nature. And nature can present benefits and challenges in equal measure. Forests, beaches, or the rolling hills of a wine country farm all offer beautiful backdrops to your big day. Additionally, you can seamlessly incorporate natural elements, like pine cones or sea shells, into your wedding decor.
If you’re having your ceremony, your reception, or both outside, you’ll want to have a rain plan (unless you’re having a summer desert wedding). If there’s a chance of rain, be prepared with a big tent or an indoor contingency plan. If the forecast says it might get cold in the evening, propane heaters will be your best friend. Don’t forget to stock up on cold bottled water if the sun will be beating down on your afternoon ceremony. Make sure you communicate any contingency plans with your vendors, or wedding planner, if you have one, to make sure everyone is on the same page.
2. Choose Grass-Friendly Footwear
Walking down the aisle on uneven terrain? Ditch the traditional heels for grass-friendly shoes. Opt for stylish wedges, block heels, or even elegant flats. Practical and trendy, these shoes will keep you comfortable and complement your attire. Beach brides, you have it super easy: You can just attend your ceremony barefoot.
3. Plan for Lighting Perfection
Outdoor weddings boast natural light, perfect for breathtaking photos. You’ll want to be sure to chat with your photographer about the best time to take your portraits, as early morning light and magic hour (just before sunset) can both give you beautiful light and soft shadows. In terms of venue lighting, as the day turns to evening, you’ll want to incorporate additional lighting, both for a magical atmosphere and so people can see. String lights, lanterns, or fairy light canopies above your reception area add a romantic touch. Consult with a lighting professional to strike the perfect balance between ambiance and visibility.
4. Speaking of Photography
Outdoor weddings offer a unique opportunity for stunning photos. Ensure your photographer knows the surroundings and lighting conditions. If you can, take your photographer on a tour of the venue, around the time of your ceremony. Or, set up a time to discuss timing to capture the best natural light, especially during the golden hour. Make the most of the picturesque landscape to create unforgettable memories.
5. Create Seating Magic
Design a unique setting by considering your outdoor surroundings when arranging seating. Ensure your guests have an unobstructed view of the ceremony while making the most of natural focal points. Enhance the natural beauty with simple, elegant decor. Use local flowers, foliage, and seasonal elements to complement the outdoor backdrop.
6. Do You Have a Permit for That?
Don’t forget to research local regulations and secure any necessary permits ahead of time to avoid last-minute hiccups.
7. Blend Decor with Nature
We mentioned this earlier, but we think it bears repeating. Simplicity is key when it comes to outdoor wedding decor. Nature really does so much of the legwork for you. Let the natural beauty shine through by incorporating local elements. A rustic wooden arch adorned with wildflowers or an aisle sprinkled with petals can transform your outdoor space into an enchanting wonderland.
8. Sound Check
Outdoor venues might not have the same acoustics as indoor ones. Ensure your vows and speeches are heard by all by using a professional sound system. And make sure that your team sound checks the system before the ceremony. In the world of audio, something almost always needs adjusted, whether it’s the volume level or a dead cable.This way, your heartfelt words won't be lost in the open air.
9. Embrace Nature's Soundtrack
One of the most beautiful aspects of an outdoor wedding is the natural soundtrack. From the rustling leaves to chirping birds, these ambient sounds add a layer of authenticity and serenity to your celebration. Embrace them, and let nature enhance your day.
Your outdoor wedding can be a magical and unforgettable experience. By preparing for the elements, choosing appropriate footwear, considering lighting and decor, having a backup plan, and focusing on your guests' comfort, you're well on your way to creating a celebration that perfectly blends your love story with the wonders of the great outdoors. Enjoy every moment of your unique and enchanting day!