Wednesday, May 1, 2013

How To: Plan Your Outdoor Wedding | North Carolina Wedding Planner

Outdoor weddings can be some of the most beautiful events, but without proper planning they can be complete disasters as well. Today, we’re sharing some tips to fool-proof your outdoor wedding.
1. Have a back up plan for inclement weather. This is the most important thing I can tell you. You can check the Farmer’s Almanac or watch The Weather Channel incessantly but you cannot control Mother Nature. You need to be prepared in case things don’t work out the way you hoped. Most outdoor venues have options for holding your ceremony indoors, but some don’t. Ask about this before you sign your contract. If you decide to book with a venue that does not have a backup plan, what will you do if it rains or snows? Know this before you sign that contract. You will not want to be scrambling around on your wedding day trying to figure this out.
2. Plan accordingly for extreme temperatures. If you are getting married in the middle of July, it should be no surprise that it will be hot. Consider planning an early morning or evening wedding to prevent guest from having to sit outside during the hottest time of day. Handheld fans are a great idea. Some couples even print their programs on them to keep from having an additional cost.
You will also need to consider how these temperatures will affect things like your cake (buttercream doesn’t hold up well in extreme heat), your hair and makeup, etc. 
If you are planning on having your outdoor ceremony during the cooler months, it may be worth renting outdoor heaters to keep guests comfortable. 
3. Communicate. Make sure your guests are informed beforehand that you are having an outdoor wedding. Having a wedding website is a great way to get this information to your guests. This will help them dress appropriately for your event and keep them happy in the long run. 
4. Hire a wedding coordinator. Are you surprised this one wasn’t first?? Just kidding, but hiring a wedding coordinator can eliminate stress during unexpected inclement weather, they can keep your guests happy, and allow you to focus on your day. They will help you plan accordingly for all of the outdoor wedding aspects you may not even consider. 
5. Provide refreshments. Especially in the middle of summer, provide guests with a cold beverage while they are waiting for the ceremony to begin. During the reception, have bottles of water readily available. During the cooler months, consider having hot chocolate or coffee served to your guests while they’re waiting.
6. Keep the bugs away. Provide insect repellent for your guests. Whether you have a “station” for this or hand out individual sized bottles for each guest, be prepared. No one will enjoy sitting outside in the blazing heat getting eaten alive by mosquitos. 
Not crazy about spraying insect repellent all over yourself on your big day? Did you know that you can rub your exposed skin with a Bounce dryer sheet to keep the bugs away? (Wedding coordinators know lots of tricks like this one)
7. Use a sound system. Whether you need to rent one or one is provided through your venue, make sure that you use one. It will be very difficult for guests to hear what’s going on without one. 
8. Cover the food. Consider renting a tent if there is no covered area for your food. This will help keep your food out of extreme temperatures and will help keep bugs away from the food. You will also want to think about the wind. Without a tent, wind could blow dirt and gunk all over your wedding meal or that gorgeous cake you spent a fortune on.
9. Décor. If you’re planning an outdoor ceremony, you’re probably doing it because the setting is so beautiful. Think about this when you’re figuring out how to decorate.  If you’re having your wedding in a beautiful garden, is it really necessary to spend half your budget on flowers to “decorate” the space? Probably not. Instead, work with your florist to create bouquets for you and your bridesmaids that “flow” with your venue. Consider using flowers that can be found in the space. Think hard about your décor choices. Consider how each piece will enhance the space. You’ll be surprised how much money you can save with a space that is already naturally beautiful.

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