“Stars are the streetlights of eternity.”
Maybe that’s why so many of us prefer an outdoor wedding. Like a good marriage, there’s something unending and enduring about a venue that’s as big as the sky. And don’t forget, even if your ceremony is held during the day, you’re still marrying under the stars-our very own sun.
The essence of romance, yes, but when planning an outdoor wedding, you have to respect Mother Nature and the world in general, because they can easily spoil the day.
Here are ten things to take into consideration as you plan and some tips for dealing with them:
* Hot Weather A spring or summer outdoor wedding (day or night) in the deep South and Southwest can be beautiful-and brutal. Make sure guests know your ceremony and/or reception will be outside so they can dress accordingly. Have plenty of chilled, bottled water handy, and you might also want to place decorative hand fans on each chair at the ceremony. Decorative parasols are a nice touch, too, especially for the ladies.
* Cold Weather Even in spring and fall, any region in the country is susceptible to a bitter cold snap. If you live in the northern states, you should find an outdoor venue that has a back-up indoor location on site. In the southern and southwestern states, cool weather can be warmed up significantly with outdoor heaters. No matter what the weather, your goal should be the complete comfort of your guests.
* Rainy Weather If you’re searching for an outdoor venue anywhere that has a substantial annual rainfall, pick a place with an indoor, back-up location. Also, have several umbrellas handy to help get the wedding party and guests inside as dry as possible. Keep in mind, large event tents have been known to collapse under the weight of a heavy downpour. You also risk soggy grass and mud underfoot with a tent.
* Windy Weather Beaches can be pretty windy at times, as can other outdoor locations. If the wind is kicking up strongly on the day of your wedding, tents might blow over, sand or other airborne things can get into unprotected food or worse-your guests’ eyes. No doubt, you’ve already realized a back-up indoor location is always a good idea.
* Bugs Have a few cans of bug repellent available for those annoying gnats and mosquitoes. Citronella candles help to a degree, and there are other outdoor bug repellents that do a fine job of keeping the pests away.
* Food Preservation Windy weather and hot weather can both wreak havoc on unprotected foods. Use dish and platter covers. Your wedding cake and other confections can melt under the hot sun. Don’t let foods with mayonnaise sit out too long.
* Noise Yes, the beach is windy. Sometimes it’s hard for guests to hear the ceremony unless they’re sitting at the front. A sound system can make the difference. If you’re marrying in a backyard or a park, resign yourself to the possibility that car and truck noise, children playing and low-flying airplanes might be part of your wedding soundtrack. There’s not much you can do about it, so just embrace it as part of the outdoor-wedding experience.
* Bathroom Facilities Just be sure they’re handy and clean. A wedding on a secluded beach is romantic, but if there’s no place nearby for your guests to, um, powder their noses, they’ll be miserable. Same goes for a wedding in a wooded clearing deep in a forest, or some other remote location. Unless, of course, you’re planning an extreme green wedding. Then you just have to have a big pile of large, fresh leaves and directions to the nearest bush or tree.
* Attire This is more about your bridal shoes than anything else. Imagine walking on a sandy beach or a grassy lawn in stiletto heels. Get the picture? Think low, wide heels or flats.
* Permits Don’t just assume you can scope out a place on the beach or a park or a mountain and hold your wedding. Most locations like that require permits. Making sure you’re legal is all part of the outdoor-wedding planning process!
Your el-fresco wedding will be an unforgettable event, but only if you’re prepared for any eventuality. Then you can take a deep breath of fresh air and start your new life under the streetlights of eternity!