Q: Q: My guy wants a formal reception, but I want to have it outdoors. Can we have the best of both worlds?

A: Of course. If your fiancé thinks outdoors means a beach party with volleyball and Frisbees, assure him that you can be outside and still be quite formal. Although the site plays a big role in determining how formal your affair will be, the time of day, your guests'; attire and the food presentation will also up the elegance factor. Here are a few suggestions for outdoor celebrations that have formal written all over them: Country-club terraces, hotel courtyards and botanical gardens can provide beautiful backdrops for a wedding celebration. Also, nothing says formal like a vineyard wedding with amazing food and great wine under a blanket of stars. And don't discount a seaside celebration, even if you decide to forgo the beach party. A park by a river or a dinner cruise coupled with a jazz band soulfully playing in the background will create a reception overflowing with ambiance and style.

See all questions about wedding receptions etiquette

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