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Professional Tips to Ensure a Snafu-Free Outdoor Wedding

Industry experts offer up their advice for managing Mother Nature on your big day.
By: 
Sara Hubbard

Hosting weddings al fresco has become more and more common with pandemic safety concerns bringing celebrations outside. While there is little that is more romantic than a barefoot beach wedding or a woodland nuptials, the uncontrollable and often unpredictable forces of nature can quickly turn the perfect day to ruin. Not to fear, though, as we’ve compiled the best advice from wedding pros to keep everything under control. From seating charts to venue, take a scroll down to find the best ways to mitigate disaster when celebrating lifelong love in the great outdoors.

Make it a Vacation!

If you’re going to have your wedding outdoors, may as well have it in paradise. Molly Sumption, owner of Molly’s Caribbean, recommends a little jet setting to make your celebration special. “Sandals & Beaches All-Inclusive Caribbean Resorts offer complimentary outdoor ceremonies and receptions that are inspirational, imaginative, and innovative. Whether a "Minimony" for two followed by a celebration party back home or an island ceremony including family and friends, Caribbean Destination Weddings are the perfect way to combine a wedding and honeymoon,” Molly says.

Wide Open Spaces

Keeping your celebration safe means keeping everyone at a distance. “Choosing a venue with an abundance of outdoor space has become a necessity beyond preference with the need for social distancing and anticipated air flow,” says Karla Pecorelli of the Hyatt Regency Lake Washington. Find a location with lots of open space that makes it easy to socially distance your guests. “Thankfully, our property has an abundance of breathtaking large and intimate outdoor spaces overlooking Lake Washington that provide couples with several set options for their special day,” Karla says.

Get Seating Charts Sorted Out

Also, figure out a seating chart ahead of time. Knowing which of your guests live in the same household means you can cluster them in the same areas – thereby letting everyone be separate yet together. “Providing advanced household lists to properly arrange seating for ceremony and reception can be a big stress relief and provides peace of mind for couples and guests alike,” Karla says. Communication and organization are key here. Have your calligrapher put together a seating chart and name cards to provide a gentle yet clear reminder that caution is of the utmost importance.

Consider a One-Stop Wedding

Having everyone moving between cocktail hour, ceremony and reception can create a lot of unnecessary chaos and room for error. Instead, many couples have started looking to the trend of bringing the wedding and reception to the guests. Sara Simmons of Grand Event Rentals recommends their rentals to create a space for celebration. “Our solution ... Grand Event Rentals’ extensive inventory of customizable tents and outdoor structures with the ability to create elegant upscale weddings and events, to intimate backyard weddings at home. Our specialty is creating events anywhere!” Providing an outdoor theater-like experience allows your loved ones to stay in their comfortable pods during the whole celebration. Cocktails and dinner can be brought to them as they watch the ceremony and your first dance. Bring in a string quartet or dancers to entertain your guests so they can take in dinner and a show after the ceremony.

Check the Forecast. Then Check it Again

Rain may be the first fear that comes to mind when considering how Mother Nature may misbehave, but there are many other ways she can wreak havoc as well. Remember that extreme heat, high winds or high humidity can all take a toll on you and your guests. Tents can be a good solution to any number of meteorological mishaps – blocking out harsh sun as well as rain. If you know it’s going to be hot, have personalized fans made that can double as ceremony programs or include your monogram. Providing chilled bottles of water or other beverages will also keep your guests happy as they enjoy your big day.

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