When it comes to planning your wedding, one of the first steps to take is thinking about the location of your nuptials and the celebration afterward. If you’re like many brides, you and your groom will be keen to say your “I Do’s” outside where you can feel the sun on your face and the breeze whispering through your hair. If you want to plan a spectacular outdoor wedding, read on for some top tips you can follow to have a perfect day.
Prepare the Space
One of the first things to think about when preparing to host the ultimate outdoor party is preparing the space. If you will be having the ceremony and/or reception at your home, or the property of a friend or family member, it is particularly important to ensure the outdoor areas are neat and tidy.
The lawn should not only be mowed on the big day or the day before the wedding, but you should also help it to be green and lush by maintaining it in the lead-up to the event. In particular, watering, fertilizing, aerating, and clearing it of debris is important. Also, tidy up any gardens that are overgrown; plant new plants if you have sparse areas; and ensure there is plenty of space to set up an aisle, seating, tables, marquee, and the like. You may also want to lay down planks or other temporary structures for people to walk across if you want to protect particular areas of the yard.
When it comes to outdoor weddings and celebrations, don’t forget that you need electricity and lighting in place. If you will be having your wedding at a site such as a park, beach, cliff top, garden, or the like, you will probably need to bring in generators to power up not just the lighting but also kitchen equipment for caterers, sound equipment for your musicians, heating or air conditioning units, and any other relevant items. It pays to have an electrician come and survey your setup so that you can be sure you will have enough power and that everything will adhere to legal requirements.
As far as decorations go, always keep the weather in mind. For example, if you will be getting married at the beach or another windy spot, use décor items that won’t blow away easily. Be sure that decorations such as candles and lanterns won’t get tipped over or set other things alight; and keep in mind the weight and bulk of décor, as well as the site’s available space, when planning which items to transport to your venue for the event.
In addition, you should not assume that your wedding guests will be able to find their way around easily at the location you have chosen. You might need to erect signs to direct people to the ceremony and/or reception spaces, as well as to the best places to park or find restrooms.
Consider Additional Costs and Permits
When planning an outdoor wedding, don’t forget to factor in some of the additional costs that can be involved. For instance, many sites such as parks, beaches, and local gardens are not free for the public to use as event spaces. You may need to get a permit to host your wedding at your preferred location or make a donation to the owner of the land in order to be able to set up your event. Some permits can take time to get so don’t leave applying for these until the last minute.
Other additional costs to consider include things like delivery fees from suppliers if the site is a long way from nearby towns, roads, or parking lots; sanitation services for the setup of on-site restrooms or to cover the cleanup involved in getting the site returned to original condition; and valet parking services if the nearest public lot is too far away.
Ensure You Have a Backup Plan
Lastly, don’t forget to make a backup plan. Although you will obviously have your fingers crossed that the weather on the day of your wedding is perfect, this aspect is unfortunately outside of your control. Failure to have a fully fleshed backup plan in case of inclement weather could potentially put a kink in the proceedings. As such, make sure to designate a plan B just in case it starts raining, a heat wave comes through, or your location is beset with a freak occurrence such as a tornado, cyclone, or the like. Your backup might involve the assembly of a tent, the usage of a friend or family member’s house, or the addition of heaters, blankets, or air conditioners for extreme temperatures.
If you wake up on the day of your wedding and find the weather looking or feeling ominous, don’t wait until the last minute to make the call about your backup plan. The more time you have to prepare and put Plan B in place, the better. You may need to let all your guests and suppliers know about a new location, so allow time for updates to be shared and for people to travel to a different destination.
I hope you’ve found this advice helpful and that it helps you to create your dream day with less stress!
Editor’s note: Due to the pandemic, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Get more pandemic wedding resources here.