There is nothing more romantic than an outdoor wedding: the serene Bride and calm Groom surrounded by the beauty of nature, embraced by a warm breeze, reciting vows at twilight, all to the beautiful sound of an orchestra of crickets…and then there’s reality. Having an outdoor wedding delivers automatic uniqueness, ambiance and décor, but there are many factors that you just can’t control, primarily the weather. The best-case scenario is to have a back up plan to move the ceremony indoors in case of inclement weather. But leaving the locale of your dreams could be a big disappointment. If you can tent your outdoor reception, you can move the ceremony under the tent, retain your outdoor location and be serenaded with the sound of raindrops during your vows – very romantic. But that isn’t the only thing that can ‘rain on your parade’, so in the immortal worlds of the Boy Scouts – Be Prepared! Here are some ideas to handle the outdoor wedding issues that can double as favors.
“Here Comes the Sun”
Not only with beach weddings, but beautiful Spring and Summer days can bring out the sun, great for photos but hard on fair skinned attendees. Having sunscreen towelettes available in beautiful baskets is a must. You can get these custom imprinted so they can double as favors. Remember the cake; butter cream frosting will melt in the sun and extreme heat. Fondant is more heat tolerant, but any cake should be kept under a tent and then brought out (carefully) for a photo op.
“The Heat is On”
When your outdoor wedding location delivers heat along with beauty, everyone will need to stay cool, especially when seated during your ceremony. If it is going to be hot, provide wood handled fans with custom artwork. Position them at place settings and on each ceremony chair. Another idea is to glue popsicle sticks to your wedding program to double as fans. Having small water bottles (available in custom imprinting) is a must, iced in beautiful containers around your venue. Keep a station of inexpensive iced tea and lemon water and have pitchers of iced water at every table. Conversely, if you are choosing a fall or winter outdoor wedding, hand out lap blankets, hand warmers, and mittens in your wedding colors to warm your guest’s hands and hearts.
“Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head”
The biggest fear for brides is rain. But if the forecast calls for rain, get umbrellas that coordinate with your wedding colors (the easiest is of course white). It will keep your wedding photos from having clashing colors, and can actually be a darling focal point for your photos.
“Blowin’ In the Wind”
A little breeze can be great to keep your outdoor wedding cool, but too much can blow you away. Because you don’t know when a little wind will kick up, keep all paper goods, like napkins and programs, signage and other lightweight decor, secure with something ornamental like a horseshoe. Avoid using small, short votive candles because they will blow out. Enclosed lanterns or floating candles in taller glass vases will stay lit. Placing hurricane lanterns over small votives will work – they don’t call them ‘Hurricane’ for nothing!
“Come on Baby, Light My Fire”
If your romantic outdoor wedding will be set at twilight, soon it will be dark for your evening reception, so make sure you have plenty of light. Moonlight and candlelight is not enough to make sure your guests are safe and sound. Light your tent or venue in strings of white lights and have candle lighting at every table. All walkways, steps and stairs must have lighting, like lanterns hung on shepherd’s hooks along walkways, or luminaries lining your walk and venue.
One thing that may bug you is, well, bugs. Keep your tables alight with citronella candles and think about adding citronella torchlights to fend off those little creatures. Insect repellant wristbands are available, or have decorative baskets of bug spray - tied with bows - or repellant towelettes. Package sunscreen, aloe, bug repellant, fans and water in color coordinating mesh bags to keep everyone refreshed. If you can roll with whatever comes your way, the single most important thing is that you are uniting with the one you love in the company of those who love and care for you. Even the weather will make for great memories and interesting photos if you keep a good attitude and a light heart. Don’t Worry, Get Married…even if it’s pouring. Enjoy!