Photo: Harwell Photography
There are a ton of advantages to having a wedding outside! Whether you dream of a ceremony under the trees and a bright blue sky, or envision your guests dancing the night away under the stars, it's easy to understand why — natural beauty is always the best backdrop. An outdoor service and/or reception might be held at home; at a club, restaurant, reception hall, or house of worship with outdoor facilities; at a favorite natural spot like a park or beach, or at a historic site that's available for entertaining. Wherever it's held, there are special considerations that must be addressed as you plan. Here, a few:
Be weather-conscious: Whatever the general climate, the weather on your wedding day is the great unpredictable. But you can check with meteorological sources in your area about historical weather trends such as periods of high wind or frequent thunderstorms.
Have a Plan B: You might feel as if you're planning two weddings, but you must have a fall-back plan. This will include an alternate indoor site and a plan to notify guests. (You can prepare "just in case" phone lists and provide these to attendants and family members.) Be ready to make a quick decision as early as possible if the weather doesn't cooperate.
Check on fees and permits: For a public site, there may be fees and you may need special permits, so talk with the appropriate authorities. Ask about any restrictions, such as bans on alcohol or campfires.
Think about access to the site: That remote sandy cove or field of wildflowers may be beautifully romantic but nearly impossible to get to. Consider your suppliers and your guests. Caterers, florists, and other vendors will need access for their vehicles. Where will guests park? If walking to the site is difficult, you'll have to provide some form of transportation. Also plan ways for your guests, particularly the elderly or disabled, to get around easily. If the site has uneven walking surfaces, installing temporary level walkways may be necessary.