While this area certainly lends itself easily to a picture perfect beach wedding, outdoor events aren’t exclusive to the sand. Whether under the trees in the woods or dipping your toes in the sand, outdoor weddings require some extra thought and insight.
There’s quite a bit more involved in an outdoor wedding and it can be more expensive. A bride must have realistic expectations and be thoughtful of her guests when planning to make it official outside. The weather is arguably the most important consideration for an outdoor wedding. Flexibility is a must, as is a back-up plan. Whether it be transitioning indoors to the reception area or ordering a tent just in case, be prepared for inclement weather situations.
Aside from the threat of rain, the temperature outside should be taken into consideration. For a summer wedding, make programs in the shape of fans or provide umbrellas for older guests while they sit in the sun. Have bottled water on hand and have an area in the shade where guests can wait before the ceremony begins. If seated too early, guests can get hot and uncomfortable. For the colder months, rent portable heaters to keep guests warm. Stock up on blankets and wraps to hand out and ask the caterer about setting up a hot chocolate and coffee stand before the ceremony.
Accessibility is important for elderly and guests with children. Getting down to a beach can be difficult, especially if there isn’t a handicap accessible access. This can prove difficult for those with walkers, wheelchairs or strollers. The same applies to weddings in wooded areas. Uneven trails can trip up guests and prove to be a problem for anything with wheels.
For a ceremony away from the beach and in the woods, be aware of snakes, ticks, spiders and mosquitoes. Have bug spray available for guests and comb the area beforehand for any spider webs or reptiles. Food has to remain covered to keep insects and the elements out. Check wooded areas for holes, roots and hills. It can also be tricky setting up tables and chairs on uneven ground.
While seclusion makes for a romantic setting, there are some things that you can’t go without. Access to electricity may be problematic if the outdoor wedding isn’t near an existing structure. Electricity is needed for music equipment, lights and chafing dishes for food. If the wedding takes place away from an indoor location, you’re going to need to rent portable bathrooms along with the tables, chairs, tents, utensils and linens rather than having a venue that provides them.
Brides will also have to decide where to walk in from and how guests will enter. Beach houses have made this decision easier, but an entrance or walkway may have to be created. Wind noise can be a factor in being able to hear the officiant and music.
While sunset pictures are nice, it can be difficult to capture that moment. Schedule the ceremony to begin an hour or two before sunset so you can get the photos you want. Let the photographer know that the wedding will be outside so he or she can be prepared.
Make sure to let guests know that it’s an outdoor wedding. Include it in the invitations so they can dress appropriately. When having a beach wedding, if shoes are optional, include that as well. But be careful – in the summer months, sand can get quite toasty.
With some careful planning, an outdoor wedding can be worth the extra time. At least money can be saved on decorations since the setting is enough.