As a wedding photographer and videographer, I've seen and heard a lot of stories. Reasons why people want an outdoor wedding. Romantic, intimate, insanely successful stories of couples who have had outdoor weddings. And of course, couples that say "Ugh, we wanted an outdoor wedding BUT" because the weather on their wedding day had other plans. Consider this post a labor of love from me to you, as simply an empathetic third party who wants to see more couples have the outdoor wedding of their dreams.
1. Have a rainy day plan.
I know, I know. Nobody ever wants to hear this. However, the reality is that it's necessary. A rainy day plan doesn't necessarily mean that you need to choose a venue with an indoor option, though it would be wise to know what venues offer them. The good news is, there are a few alternatives to choosing a venue with an indoor option. Don't be afraid to consider rainy day portraits. Rainy day portraits, taken under an umbrella (or umbrellas), can be a great source of intimacy and truly romantic following your ceremony. You can also see if there is a tent or covered pavilion available in case of rain, high winds, or glaring heat and sunshine (if you live in the south, you know just how unbearable this can be, especially when you and your guests are dressed up). Whatever your rainy day plan B is, have a way to keep your guests up to date on any changes. Whether that's posting updates on your wedding website or social media, keep guests informed so that they can prepare to enjoy your wedding day appropriately.
2. Make sure you're ready for the terrain and weather.
If you'll be standing in grass, on the beach, or anything other than a man-made surface, you'll definitely need to consider your footwear. Sky-high heels are gorgeous, but are they truly worth the pain of feeling them sink into the ground with every step? Not only is it annoying, but it increases your chances of having an accident (like spraining your ankle, or worse, falling in your wedding dress!). If you're going to stick with heels consider adding some plastic heel protectors that prevent your heels from sinking into the ground. Wedges, flats, or even sneakers are alternate options that might be more comfortable for long periods of time and be a better fit for the outdoor terrain. Humidity and heat can make for interesting hair and make up conditions. Talk with your hair and make up artists (or if that's you, just have a self-team meeting) about what can be done to make your hair withstand humidity as well as makeup options that won't run.
3. Keep extra costs in mind.
With wedding planning being as big an undertaking as it is, you'd be doing yourself a favor by knowing exactly what you're paying for upfront AND what expenses you might incur by planning an outdoor wedding. If your wedding will be held outside, it doesn't mean that it will be free or cheaper to use. If its in any sort of public park there may be cleaning or sanitation fees (i.e. to comply with leave no trace). Having rental chairs so that all of your guests can be seated is a likely expense. If the ceremony or reception location is far from parking, you may want valet parking or a shuttle/golf cart to make the commute easy for guests.
No matter how big or small, you'll likely want to keep your guest comfortable. "Comfort" will look different depending on the season you choose for your wedding. In the summer, the heat and direct sunlight can be unbearable. Having fans available, water bottles, some form of air conditioning, and identifying shady areas for the ceremony seating and reception area ahead of time can be a lifesaver and really convenient. If you're planning a spring or autumn wedding, the day time weather may be great, but temperatures can drop quickly as the sun goes down. Possibly having portable heaters or letting guests know that bringing a jacket or light coat is advisable is a good practice.
Things don't have to be perfect. It's your important day, plan it the way that makes you happy.
The couple in the photo above may or may not be the cover for my NEW Wedding Client Welcome Guide. This guide will be complete with photos of my recent work, my wedding packages, and a wedding day photo checklist. Want to be one of the first to get it? Let me know that you want to receive it here!
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