Getting hitched? Planning a wedding is a process in itself, but planning an outdoor wedding adds an entire new element to the mix. Here are 5 things to consider in order to pull off an outdoor wedding reception without a hitch.
Location of the Outdoor Reception
There is just something about an outdoor wedding. The beauty of the greenery in the country, the loveliness of a garden, or even the familiarity of your own backyard. Wherever you decide, tents can be staked just about anywhere. Just be sure to weatherproof them first! Add some touches of comfort with pillows and couches to make it inviting for your guests. Arrange your dining area to seat 4 guests rather than the usual 8-10 to add to that intimate feel. Also, be aware of site fees if choosing a place other than your own backyard and think ahead when it comes to parking.
Understand that your guests may not know their way around. If your outdoor wedding reseption site is also the same place for cocktail hour and dinner, make sure there is a natural flow between the spaces. Add signs to ensure everyone knows just where to go. Consider putting stepping stones or carpet on the grass for guests to walk on. Try to avoid leading guests past trash bins or restrooms. Make the journey fun with luminaries to light the path or fun signs that read, "This way to the bubbly!" etc.
An outdoor wedding reception allows for creativity with the menu. You could have a barbeque, a pig roast, or even a clambake! Whatever you choose, make sure the food is kept at a safe temperature. If you hire a caterer, keep in mind they will likely need a separate tent for food prep. Have them visit your wedding site prior to the event to ensure they have enough space in which to work. Also, keep plenty of water and cold drinks on hand for your guests, especially if it will be a hot and humid day.
Always have a backup plan in case of rain. Where will guests go if it is pouring? Consider having umbrellas handy in case of a passing light shower. Have tents or table umbrellas to provide shade on sunny days. No shade anywhere? Provide "shades" instead. Have a pair of sunglasses for each guest so they can look cool while staying cool. Even the nicest of days can turn chilly at night. Perhaps have blankets available for guests or portable heaters nearby for those cool summer nights.
Consider renting restrooms even if there are some nearby. Believe it or not, you can actually rent some pretty nice ones these days. These "luxury" portable restrooms come air conditioned (or heated) and can even have granite countertops. Who knew a porta-potty could be so elegant? Also, add your own touch with soaps and fresh flowers if you prefer. Keep in mind, an ideal event allows for one bathroom stall per 35 guests. You want to keep them dancing on the dance floor, not dancing in line for the toilet!
An outdoor wedding reception will surely help to make your big day something that you (and your guests) will never forget. With a little planning, you can be certain that no matter what challenges the day brings, your outdoor wedding reception will be beautiful.
Ready to start your wedding planning? Don't go any further without checking out our comprehensive guide - Planning Your Dream Wedding: A Stress-Free Guide to Navigating the Process with Ease.