Outdoor weddings are beautiful and memorable and sometimes less expensive; however, they come with their own set of planning considerations. In fact, by the time you pay for all the things that would have automatically been part of an inside venue, you may find you're sunk in pretty deep financially. So before you commit yourself to that lovely outdoor venue, consider the following five things:
Where are you getting married? What will the weather be that time of year in your wedding destination? Does it get chilly at night? Maybe you need to consider outdoor heating towers. Will it be a daytime affairs? Those tents get hot — you're going to need to bring in air conditioning or a lots of fans. Be realistic. If it's too damned hot to be outside, consider having cocktails outside and dinner and dancing inside.
What's the weather "usually" like wherever you're getting married at that time of year? If it's the rainy season, you should plan and budget for tents from the very beginning, even if you're praying for beautiful weather. And if you're not tenting, there needs to be an alternative inside space that can comfortably hold all of your guests if things flip on you at the last minute.
3. Power, Water and Bathroom Accessibility
Are you getting married in a forest or a field? Where are you getting all the water and power to light up your caterers and your dance floor? Where are your guests supposed to go to the bathroom? Bringing in the fancy, lighted, porta-potties is expensive. Generators aren't cheap if you want the quiet ones that won't disrupt wedding events.
4. Dance Floor
Are you putting a dance floor over the grass? What about the rest of the areas you'll be using for your wedding? Be sure to warn your guests the party is on grass or the sand so they choose appropriate footwear.
5. Cake and Food Display
If your food is going to be served outside, you should consider erring on the side of seated/plated meals rather than buffet or food stations that will sit out in the heat for extended periods. Likewise, opt for passed appetizers rather than a charcuterie platter that will sit and melt and look slimy. Think about where you're getting married — is outside in 100 degree weather really the place for a raw bar? Hopefully, your caterer will turn you in the right direction but never forget to apply your own common sense.
Owner of Weddings in Vieques, a destination-wedding planning company off the coast of Puerto Rico, Sandy Malone has helped countless couples plan their big day since 2007.