Outdoor weddings are simply risky affairs. For those with the courage to face these risks, they can be simply memorable. It is hard to improve upon the natural beauty of the earth in all its splendor. These are some important considerations for your ceremony.
You need to consider the elements that will surround you. Let’s consider a clear day first. Wind is an important element. Most outdoor sites are windy. It is important to actually go to the perspective site at the time of day you want to have your wedding. If you are planning way in advance, say like a year, you can even explore the area during the same time of year. Don’t forget that winds change direction during certain times of the day. If the area is windy, you will need to wear items of clothing designed to not blow around during the ceremony. You should also let your guests know what to wear also.
Mud or water is another element that can confound you and your guests. While I enjoy watching ladies pulling their spiked heels out of the ground, you may not want your guests doing this. Check what the ground will be like where your guests will be sitting. They may need some special footwear. Make sure the ground will not sink down when your guests come and sit on their chairs. You may also not want your wedding clothes or shoes covered in mud either. You may need one set of shoes for outdoors and one set for later on.
Insects are always present in the outdoors and they know where people go. Ants, bees, and wasps can combine to make your wedding look like an obscene exercise group. One way to keep the insects down is to have your ceremony at sunset. For whatever reason, bees and wasps seem to work 9 to 5 even on long summer days. If you live in a place with warm winters, insect pests will also be much lower during these times. You want to limit food items at the wedding site to keep insect down. If you provide prewedding drinks, have the guests keep the drinks away from the wedding site.
Rain is the biggie. Yes, it does rain in the summer and spring. I used to go camping in Oakland, California in July. Every year we went it rained. I have camped out in October and been deluged with storms during a drought. Don’t even think about picking a site without an indoor option unless your wedding will have only people between 10 and 30 years of age attending who can run well. Although many people use a hotel for example to solve this problem, setting up a simple canopy or tent can also work to keep your guests happy.
Seating is also important. Unless you want guests sitting on the ground, you will need to provide chairs of some sort. Always have extra chairs because you want your guests to sit somewhere and you are never sure how many will show up. 10% extra over the expected number is usually enough. If you don’t like the look of walking down the aisle to empty chairs, the unused chairs can be folded up and put away before the ceremony. It is a good idea to have some of the men in the wedding party check the site out on the day of the ceremony and forewarn you of any difficulties.
An outside wedding will be difficult for older relatives. You need to consider how to deal with time before the wedding. If someone can’t really get to the ceremony, a solution is to have a small family ceremony in a more accessible site on the big day. You can have the early ceremony indoors, let the relatives who need it take a rest after the ceremony and then all meet back at a reception.
Sound is a another consideration. You want the audience to hear the vows. Often they can’t inside a church with speakers. Now take that same ceremony outside with waves, people, birds, guests and it is even worse. At a minimum, practice speaking to the back row of the guests. Don’t forget if you are using a public park, joggers and others can run through your ceremony adding to distraction.
An indoor option or closed option is safer for the reception, but if you are a big risk taker, let your caterer know the food will be served outside and what the temperature might be at that time. You don’t want your guests or yourself getting severely ill after the ceremony.