Today I’m sharing another one of my posts that I did for Bow Ties & Bliss back in 2011. This post got a great response originally and I thought it would be a good time to share it as many couples are currently planning outdoor weddings for this Spring/Summer/Fall!
No matter what season you’re getting married in, keep these helpful tips in mind to have a worry-free outdoor wedding. The weather can be so unpredictable, especially here in the Pacific Northwest, so always be prepared for the unexpected. It might be sunny and 85 degrees the day before your wedding, and then pouring on your wedding day… or vice versa!
I’ve worked two outdoor weddings over the past week and I had to learn some of these things the hard way (especially when it comes to the wind!) So learn from my experiences and you will have so much less to stress over in the end. :)
1. Make sure to have a back up plan. Here in Oregon, it doesn’t matter if it’s summer… there is still a chance the rain will come on your wedding day. Having a back up plan is crucial! The last thing you would want is for all of your guests to end up soaked and miserable. Discuss a back up plan with the venue or property in case the weather decides not to cooperate. If moving the ceremony indoors is not an option, be sure to rent or borrow several umbrellas that guests can use to keep dry while outside. Here are more ideas for handling the rain on your big day.
2. Prepare for the heat. If your wedding will be in the summer, prepare for hot weather by making sure there is ample shade for guests. If possible, tent the guest tables so they can enjoy shade while they eat. For the ceremony, you could provide parasols for guests to protect themselves from the sun (these look awesome in photos, too!) Also make sure guests have plenty of access to ice water (pitchers on tables, buckets full of bottled water, etc) as well as other cold drinks like lemonade and iced tea. Check out these ideas for more summer refreshments to help beat the heat. Another great idea to keep guests cool during the ceremony is to make your programs into fans by gluing on a popsicle stick to each one. So simple and your guests will definitely appreciate it! One last thing to keep in mind for hot weather – make sure your cake isn’t sitting out in the hot sun for too long, especially if it’s buttercream! Fondant is much more tolerant of heat, but still shouldn’t be left out in the sun for long. Keep it inside or under a tent if possible.
3. Watch out for the wind. The wind can be such a killjoy! The Oregon coast is notoriously windy so if you’re planning a beach wedding in Oregon, pay close attention. The wind hits everywhere, though, and usually when you’re least expecting it (which I learned last Saturday). Make sure that ALL paper goods are weighted down, i.e. cocktail napkins, programs, escort cards, place cards, signage, etc. as well as any other lightweight goods. Trust me, you don’t want to be running around one hour prior to the ceremony trying to catch everything as it flies off the tables! We even had one of the sand ceremony vases, full of sand, fly off of the alter table, so I recommend keeping them inside until the last minute or on the ground in some sort of stand or box where they are safe until the ceremony starts. Also: avoid using small votives in votive holders because if it’s windy, they will blow out. If possible use enclosed lanterns, or floating candles in tall glass cylinders so that the wind won’t be able to reach them. You could also place hurricane vases over candles to keep them safe from the wind.
4. Time it right. Find out from the venue/site where the sun is at during certain parts of the day so you can plan your ceremony accordingly. Make sure to seat your guests so they will not be staring in to the sun (or at least provide them with sunglasses if this isn’t an option!)
5. Keep the bugs at bay. Use citronella candles and torches to help keep pesky mosquitoes away. You can also provide small bug spray cans for your guests if you know the skeeters will be particularly bad. There are even insect repellant wristbands that you could set up in a basket for your guests… they probably won’t mind wearing one if it means they won’t get bitten.
6. Light it up. If you are having an evening wedding, be sure to provide enough lighting for your guests, especially in areas where there are stairs or obstacles to maneuver. If you’re renting tents, string white lights along the top and/or add paper lanterns. Hang votive lanterns from sheppard hooks along walkways and use larger lanterns or tiki torches around the dance floor. You can also line aisle ways with luminaries which are simple to make. For more outdoor lighting ideas, check out this post.
Hopefully these tips come in handy! Are you having an outdoor wedding? I’d love to hear about any other tips or advice you may have!