Guest post contributed by Diana Smith
If you are lucky enough to be planning a wedding during one of the fair-weather months, you have the wonderful opportunity to hold your ceremony and reception outside. Just think about it, instead of some stuffy, overly formal venue, you and your guests could enjoy the beauty of nature, the warmth and cheerful brightness of the sun, and sweet bird song. While it does take some planning and preparation, the task of planning an outdoor wedding is not overly complicated. Here are some things to take care of, for a perfect outdoor wedding.
Weather and locale
When it comes to outdoor weddings, the most important thing is to be realistic and reasonable. Choose a place where it’s possible to hold a wedding without it being too much of a hassle or against regulations. When it comes to weather, rely on average data for your locations if you are planning well in advance, and consult a forecast for any adjustments as the date draws closer. In most sunny climates, noon to four o’clock is a time when it’s too hot outside, so try to avoid that period.
A mild climate is a wonderful thing, and meteorologists tend to be pretty accurate these days. But relying solely on good weather is too risky when so much is at stake. Thinking in advance and providing some sort of shelter, like a tent or commercial shade sails makes sense. Even if it doesn’t rain, you will need shelter from the sun. Heat stroke and sunburn is definitely not something you would want to subject yourself or your guests to.
Unless you are having the wedding in your own backyard or a similar space that has all the necessary amenities, you will need to consider a few issues that need solving beforehand. Is there public parking around? If not, perhaps valet parking could be the solution. Are there any fees you need to pay to be able to use the space? Public places, like parks and beaches, usually have a lot of rules that you need to research and follow. Are there toilets in the vicinity? You will also be needing electricity. If there is none on the premises, look into generators.
Seating and comfort
If your ceremony is going to last more than a few minutes, provide some chairs or benches for your guests’ comfort. Unless you’re having a beach wedding and your guest are going barefoot, build a solid dance floor and designated paths. High heels don’t mix well with grass and soil. You don’t want people to ruin their shoes, or, even worse, sprain their ankle.
The optimal menu
Outdoor weddings mean special considerations when it comes to the menu. Potentially high temperatures could spell disaster with the wrong menu or improper storage of food. Keep the dishes on your menu delicious, but fresh, light and seasonal. Ideally, skip ingredients that spoil easily, like seafood and mayo. Always by fresh meat, eggs and dairy from a reputable source, because warm weather brings a high risk of salmonella poisoning. Focus on dishes that are best served cold and put everything on the ice. Bugs can be a problem too, especially with meat or pungent foods such as cheese. Keep your cake refrigerated too: not only can the icing spoil, it can also turn runny, causing the cake to lose its shape.
Organizing a wedding can be extremely stressful. Keeping it simple and planning well in advance can help you manage everything perfectly and retain your sanity. A gorgeous, outdoor wedding will turn your big day into an occasion you will always remember.