Perhaps the best part of outdoor weddings is the opportunity to add your special touch. For example, something as simple as choosing a tent can be an entire adventure.
If you’re having a tent you’ll have choices over the tent size and style, type and amount of lighting, size and shape of tables, style of chairs, color of linens, to name a few. You’ll have carte blanche over the décor, allowing you to pick a theme and decorate in a number of ways.
As co-owner of a party rental business I’ve discovered and shared a number of tips with brides-to-be on planning an outdoor wedding. I hope these will help you with your big day.
Top Tips For Planning the Perfect Outdoor Wedding
1. Planning for the weather. Depending on what part of the country and time of year you’re getting married, weather could be a factor. As I mentioned in my last blog entry on picking a venue, tents can be remarkably good at keeping your guests cool in the summer heat and warm on a chilly night. If you anticipate rain or high winds be sure and reserve sidewalls for your tent. If the day turns out to be perfect you can have the tent rental company remove them (or even take them down yourself).
2. Keep your guests from melting. If you’re expecting a real scorcher of a day have plenty of bottle water available and sunscreen on hand. Guests will appreciate a program to fan themselves with. One chic bride has paper parasols available for her guests. If you’re inside a tent consider large electric fans to keep air moving, and don’t forget a generator if there is no power source available.
3. Don’t let your guests freeze. If you anticipate temperatures to drop to chilly levels the day of your wedding be prepared. Guests will leave quickly if they are cold. With a tent, side panels (consider clear panels if you have a view to enjoy) and appropriate tent heaters you and your guests will stay warm through the night. I suggest 1 heater for every 1500-2000 square feet. This means if you have a 30’x40’ tent you’ll need one heater; if you have a 40’x60’ tent you’ll need two. And don’t forget the generator if you don’t have access to electricity.
4. Let the sun be your guide. If you have your pick of locations for your ceremony consider the time of day and where the sun will be. If you’re planning a ceremony in the late afternoon determine if the setting sun will be in guests eyes, or soft enough to provide a beautiful backdrop for your ceremony. If your ceremony is early in the afternoon, is there a location that will provide some tree coverage from the sun’s harsh rays?
5. Keep the bugs at bay. Mosquitoes, flies, gnats—keep those pesky insects at bay with the use of citronella candles or a bug zapper. If flying creatures are especially heavy perhaps have a natural bug repellant available for guests to spray on themselves.
6. Spruce up the surroundings. If your location is not used frequently for outdoor events you may need to drop by the week before the wedding to ensure the lawn has been mowed and the ground raked. You might want to ask a friend or a member of the wedding party to stop by that morning to even do a last minute check. If the setting lacks color you might bring in pots of flowers or flowering shrubs, or consider using an arbor for the ceremony and weave fresh or silk flowers among the trellis.
7. Flaunt the view. If you have a view or prefer a more open, airy feel in your tent, you might have 10′ side poles installed, as opposed to the industry standard 7′ sides. This elevates the tent making it easier to see out. If you are planning to use sidewalls, many tent rental companies can supply clear panels so your view is not obstructed.