Choosing to have an outdoor wedding can help you create the most perfect memories. However, it also comes with risks and special considerations that you need to think about. There are both pros and cons to getting married or having your reception outside, so it takes a lot of thought. If you want to have a beautiful outdoor wedding, there are some essentials that you just can’t miss out on. As well as thinking about the practical considerations, you should also make sure you have everything you need to create a fun and memorable experience. When you plan your outdoor wedding, don’t forget to include the following things in your day.
A Backup Plan
Anyone who decides they’re going to get married outdoors needs to have a plan B. Even if you’ve set your date for the middle of the summer when there’s a 0.001% chance of rain, there’s always a risk. And if it doesn’t rain, there’s the possibility that it could be too hot to realistically make everyone sit and stand around outside. It could be too windy for your marquee or an unusually cold day. If you’re getting married in spring or fall, you’re taking an even bigger risk with the weather, so you need to be prepared. If it doesn’t go to plan, where are you going to get married?
Somewhere to Shelter
When you have a location in mind for your wedding, you might be picturing a big, open space. Of course, you want to use some of that free space to allow everyone to mingle and have fun. However, providing somewhere for everyone to shelter certainly wouldn’t hurt. On a hot day, everyone needs shade to help keep them cool. Older and younger members, in particular, will benefit from somewhere cool to sit. And if there’s a risk of a bit of rain or wind, it will be useful to have a place to hide away. So think about putting up tents, or even just having parasols.
Lights and Tech
Getting married outdoors means you need to hook up an electrical supply. You’ll need to power fans on a hot day, A/V tech for speeches and dancing, and lighting for the evening. You might also need to hook up catering equipment, like something to keep food warm. Your venue might be able to sort out electrical outlets for you, but you might need to work with other vendors too. For example, perhaps you’re using another company to provide lights and DJ equipment. You need to find out what they need to install everything so that you can ensure it’s provided.
A “Hydration Station” on Hot Days
Taking care of your guests is your main duty on your wedding day – apart from getting married. You need to make sure everyone has a good time, and for that, they need to be comfortable. You might choose to have a bar outside, or perhaps some staff walking around and bringing people drinks. Whether or not your wedding has alcohol, it’s a good idea to provide somewhere where anyone can get a non-alcoholic drink whenever they want. If it’s hot outside, everyone needs to stay hydrated. So perhaps set up a station with pitchers of water and ice or bottles of water. You could also have some fun and create a cocktail (or mocktail) station.
Plenty of Places to Sit
Any wedding should have places for guests to sit down when they need to, but an outdoor wedding especially needs to have plenty of seating. It might be hot, or the ground could be uneven, and few people want to be on their feet all day. If you’re eating outside, everyone can have the chance to go back to their seat at dinner if they want to sit. But you can also provide other areas to sit, such as social areas with sofas, so that no one has to sit at a table if they want to put their feet up. You could have some fun with your seating, using anything from bean bags to benches.
A Fun Photo Area
An outdoor wedding gives you lots of opportunities to take photos. You’re not limited to just one room to take pictures, so you can get everyone in different places and poses. Since you tend to have more space at an outdoor wedding, setting up an open photo booth is a great idea. Vendors like Booth Boy do away with the traditional photo book, where everyone needs to squeeze in. Instead, you can have an open space that gives groups plenty of room and means you don’t need to squeeze your granny into a small booth. Your guests can play around with props, you get professional lighting, and an attendant will man the booth too.
Keep Everyone Cozy
Even in the summer, the temperature can start to dip unexpectedly as the day draws on. And during cooler parts of the year, your guests could certainly start to feel a chill. While it’s partly up to them to dress appropriately, you can also help to keep them warm. If you have a tent (or multiple tents), outdoor heating will provide a warmer atmosphere. Consider also providing blankets and cushions around your seating areas, so people can wrap up if they need to. You could even consider having a pile of pashminas for ladies to wear – they tend to be a little cooler in their dresses than gents might be in their shirts and jackets. The scarves can also double up as wedding favors.
You want to create lots of fun outdoors, especially if there are kids at the wedding. Music and dancing are a wedding must, but it’s a good idea to have other ways to have fun too. One idea is to have some lawn games and things for people to do. However, it really needs to be something people can play in their formalwear. Consider something like croquet, where you can have lots of fun, but no one needs to tackle anyone or run around too much.
Have a Fireworks Show
Since you’re outside, it’s the perfect opportunity to have a fireworks display. You can have one if you choose an indoor wedding, but it requires encouraging everyone to get outside at the right time. And trying to get all your wedding guests to go to a certain place at the same time, especially when they’ve been drinking, could be a bit like herding cats. It’s much easier if everyone is already outside. Before you decide you’re going to have fireworks, make sure you speak to the venue and check that they don’t mind. Your display should be beautiful to watch, but it also needs to be safe.
Some outdoor wedding elements are fun, and some are just necessities. In some places, you might have indoor bathrooms nearby. However, if there’s nowhere for your guests to pop inside when they need to relieve themselves, you’re going to have to think about how to provide them with facilities. You can go for festival-style, pokey, portable toilets, but there are also slightly more upmarket options available. You can give everyone more space, somewhere to wash their hands, and even air conditioning. Try to jazz up the space a bit with things like luxury soaps. And remember to make sure you have enough bathrooms or stalls to cover all of your guests. You don’t want huge lines.
You can’t have your wedding outdoors without some top essentials. Think about the practicalities and the fun stuff when you’re planning.