An outdoor wedding can be one of the most magical, romantic nights that also really creates an enjoyable evening for your guests. It’s a great idea for a wedding reception, especially during the warm nights of the summertime. No matter what type of venue you have picked out for your special evening, these are the 7 tips to keep in mind so that your outdoor wedding will be truly unforgettable.
1. Be ready to face the sun
An outdoor wedding likely means that the sun will be out and shining bright for most, if not all, of the day. With this in mind, you should consider how the sun will affect your wedding photographs. Depending on the sun’s position, it can cast unflattering shadows, cause uncontrollable squinting, and create unwanted glare. Be mindful of this when you are arranging your wedding reception tables, photo shoot spots, and anywhere that pictures will be taken. The last thing you want to do is have the sun glaring in your eyes while you’re trying to say your vows or when your father is giving his speech at dinner.
Go with your photographer to preview the venue and decide when and where you will have your photographs taken, so you can get optimal picture quality. Make sure you coordinate with your photographer to plan ideal photo shoot times of the wedding party and set up properly shaded areas for guests.
Photo Credit: Michele Beckwith Photography
2. Accommodate your guests
The sun can also take its toll on your lovely guests. There’s nothing worse than having the sun beat down on guests as they sit during the wedding ceremony. Don’t forget that your wedding photographer will also be snapping pictures of them, so try to avoid placing their seating in direct sun. If you lack some shade structures like trees or umbrellas, consider providing guests with parasails or fans to help keep them cool and photo-ready.
On this note, older guests have a lower tolerance for heat, so they will definitely need a cool sitting area to take a break from the sun. Arrange a shaded lounge area with plenty of comfortable, cushioned seating so they can cool off and relax when needed.
Photo Credit: Michele Beckwith Photography
3. Stay hydrated
An essential for an outdoor wedding is serving plenty of water at drinking stations. Set up a few refreshment tables and make sure these are easily accessible (not directly next to the bar) so guests have a few places they can go to stay hydrated. In addition to water, ice-cold beverages like lemonade or iced tea are perfect summer drinks. If you want to add a twist of fun, serve plenty of chilled beer or frozen, festive margaritas.
Photo Credit: Ryan Ray Photography
4. Serve summer snacks
Since your wedding day will have lots of heat, make sure you serve appropriate treats. Avoid already hot snacks like soup and any food that doesn’t do well under the sun’s heat like cheese or chocolate. Instead, opt for yummy BBQ food and nice, icy treats like popsicles and fresh fruit salads that will be refreshing for guests. Whatever you serve, make sure there’s no danger of melting or spoiling.
Photo Credit: Erin McGinn Photography
5. Prepare for glare
Unfortunately, unlike your summer-ready wedding guests, you won’t be able to throw on a hat when the sun gets strong. It will be a long, hot day, so make sure you keep some powder on hand for touching up your makeup to prevent extra shine in your photos. Remember, photographs will be taken of you constantly throughout the day, so you want to be prepared to have flawless makeup hours into the wedding day.
Photo Credit: Leah Vis Photography
6. Keep the comfort
If your wedding venue is all outdoors, chances are there will be some all-natural terrain that may need some accommodations. If there are any soft grass patches, bumpy landscapes, or rocky pavements, make sure everyone, but especially women in heels, can walk comfortably and navigate around the wedding venue without tripping up. A smart call is to provide a basket of flip flops that guests can slip on if they’re having some shoe issues (or just want to keep up the dancefloor energy). Laying a pathway for the wedding ceremony is a good idea as well. To avoid sinking heels, you can place stepping stones in tricky spots, like where your bridesmaids will be standing during the wedding.
Photo Credit: KT Merry Photography
7. Be prepared for Plan B
It’s wonderful to be able to have an outdoor wedding in the beautiful scenery of nature, but keep in mind that weather, no matter where you are, can be unpredictable. Be prepared for a rainy wedding day with covered areas where guests can duck into for shelter in case the weather takes a turn for the worst. If you’re not careful, you could have guests who get rained on and will be wet, soggy, and cold for the rest of the evening (which is never fun).
Photo Credit: On Three Photography
While planning an outdoor wedding under the summer sun can get you ready for one of the most fun-filled evenings of the year, just make sure you’re prepared for any curveballs nature might throw at you. These tips will help you take care of a few precautions so your evening summer soirée can be a success!