Planning a wedding can be so much fun! However, it can definitely be overwhelming, too. Spring, summer, and early fall are beautiful seasons to have your wedding outside but there are lots of things to think about like sun position, bugs, and weather. Here are some important tips for hosting your big day outside.
Time & Location
Plan ahead and get any needed permits. Many public spaces require permits for gatherings like parks, monuments, and clubs. This is especially important if you plan to serve alcohol. Each states alcohol laws and licenses are different so this is something you should ask your caterer about.
Bright sun means closed eyes in pictures. Plan where and when your pictures will be taken ahead of time so you can take advantage of the sun's position for the best lighting. Hello golden hour!
Hair and dresses beware! Choose styles/fabrics wisely if your location has a tendency to be breezy, like the beach.
Enclosed courtyards can get VERY warm in full sun as building materials, like concrete and brick, hold heat well and blocks off any breeze. These spaces are great for cooler months like the beginning of spring and the end of fall as they tend to be warmer than open spaces like fields. Grassy fields are bucolic and picturesque but keep in mind that they can be buggy and soggy for days after rain. Even if your wedding day is dry, the ground can still be soft if it rained a few days before.
Tents, barns, and pavilions allow for party protection which is why they are so popular for weddings. They give shelter and mark a reception space. Even if your ceremony and cocktail hour are outside, you will probably want a covered area for the reception.
Noise & Nuisances
Use microphones for vows, toasts, announcements. We know handling a mic can be daunting for some but it's necessary for people to hear what's being said. Even if you have a loud voice it can be drowned out by nature! Consider the noise of the surf, wind, any water features, crickets, and even traffic.
Keep in mind that summer evenings mean mosquitos and gnats. Citronella candles and circulating air with fans or air conditioners can keep these annoying bugs away.
Food & Flower Selection & Safety
Choose foods that are appropriate for the season. Winter is a great time for s'mores, hot drinks, and creamy sauces while summer is best for lighter fare, foods that won't spoil quickly and cool, refreshing drinks. Make sure foods are served at the proper temperatures no matter the season. Most caterers will have seasonal menu items for you to choose from.
Choose flowers that are in season and appropriate for the setting. Flowers can wilt very quickly in warm temperatures so keep this in mind if you are planning an outdoor wedding without any air conditioning. For inspiration, use the natural surroundings as your palette and select flowers that complement the environment.
Guest Comfort & Safety
Help your guests dress appropriately! Make sure they know to wear lawn-friendly footwear if your ceremony or reception is going to be on the grass or in a barn with older, uneven floor boards. Take guest comfort to the next level by providing comfort items for your guests like sunglasses, sun screen, bug spray, and wipes. Comfort is key as uncomfortable guests are likely to leave early! For summer weddings you could provide hand-held fans, cooling towelettes, and herbal sprays and for cooler weddings you could provide wraps, shawls, and blankets for warmth. As always, make sure there is plenty of seating for older guests.
Cooling & Heating
Many tent and barn venues maximize ventilation by adding ceiling and pedestal fans. While this is great for more mild months, humid summer days can't be cooled with the gentle breeze of a fan. With air conditioning from AirPac guest comfort is optimized, food selection is not as limited and food safety is easier to monitor and maintain. Pesky bugs are not an issue with the cool breeze and Mother Nature is tamed. Your wedding is memorable for all the RIGHT reasons!
We know this is a lot to think about! A wedding planner can help take some of the stress off of your plate. Download this outdoor wedding planning guide for reference when you have your next meeting with your wedding crew and don't hesitate to contact us if you need to cool your tent or barn venue!