Everything You Need to Know for the Perfect Outdoor Wedding

Al fresco is IN, and outdoor weddings are more popular than ever! But before you get started creating the Pinterest board for your dream wedding, there are a few key things to keep in mind to ensure your outdoor celebration goes off without a hitch. Today we’re sharing expert advice from pros in the wedding industry who know exactly how to make your outdoor wedding a success! 

Photo by LA76 Photography

Jamie & Stephanie of Cape Cod Celebrations share,

Keep wind front of mind.

“Open air affairs are so romantic and the added candlelight only amplifies the ambience but re-lighting them if there is wind is less romantic! Consider flameless candles for your table settings, they come in different shapes to fit your wedding style. When considering the design for your outdoor celebration, be sure you select a wind proof location for your escort cards, or choose to add something to them so that they do not fly away! You could also opt for a seating chart, but make sure it can be in a location where it does not turn into a kite!”

Melanie Levin, Owner of LuckEleven Events shares,

Provide outdoor necessities for guests.

“I always stock my bathroom baskets with bug spray and anti-itch cream for outdoor weddings! The bugs are so hit or miss, depending on the time of year, location in relation to water, and weather. I constantly have guests and vendors asking if I have bug spray!”

Photo by Victoria Gold Photography

Kari Smith, CEO & Lead Planner of Feathered Arrow Studio shares,

Always, always, always have a rain plan.

“When planning an outdoor wedding, there are many factors to consider. The most important is to ensure a rain plan is in place. Whether a tent or indoor location you can move the festivities to, trust us, a rain plan is crucial.”

Photo by Simply Adri Photography

Anna Rodenbeck of WCO Events shares,

Communicate with your vendors!!! 

“Communicate clearly with all your vendors about the outdoor logistics, including power needs and setup times, to ensure everything runs smoothly. With these expert tips in mind, an outdoor wedding can offer a magical and memorable experience for both the couple and their guests.”

Valarie Kirkbride of Kirkbrides Wedding Planning & Design shares,

Check sunset times with your photographer. 

“Check out the sunset times for your wedding day and keep it in mind while planning the photography, cocktail hour, ceremony and dinner times to gain the most out of the photos and enjoyment for your group. Lighting is such a big deal for outdoor weddings, both for design aspect as well as functionality. Think about after the sun goes down — how best can you light up your dance floor and add some extra twinkle to the tent? Will guests be able to see to walk to the bathrooms, parking and the bar? Hanging lanterns and string lights make great solutions for pathway lighting. A nice pattern wash on the ceiling of a tent or dance floor really brings things to life! Plan for the temperature in your reception area or tent in terms of air conditioning, fans or heating if necessary due to the elements. Also, if you have a clear tent or even a span of clear tenting, cooling time must be planned into the itinerary so that your guests aren’t being welcomed into a greenhouse when it’s time to sit down and eat dinner.” 

Photo by Lauren Gabrielle Photography

Ashley Lachney, Owner of Alston Mayger Events shares

Choose an updo for your hairstyle!

“To maximize the life of your hair day-of, an updo will be your best bet. Hair down at an outdoor wedding is an invitation to the elements to do their worst. A stylish pony or loose bun will ensure your stylist has more control over your hair, as well as keep it off your neck in the event that temps soar.”

Jennifer Cortiella of Cortiella Photography shares,

Make sure you’re keeping guests cool. 

“As a seasoned Miami, FL, wedding photographer, I’ve captured countless moments under the open sky and have gathered some indispensable tips to ensure your day is as perfect as your love story. Opt for AC tents, hand fans, or portable coolers. Your guests (and you!) will stay comfortable even when the mercury rises.”

Kirsty Basch and Lauren Prado of Everlie & Co. share,

Be mindful of your cake!

“If you’re cutting a cake, make sure you time its arrival as close to the time of the guests seeing the cake as you can. If the cake is delivered too early and it’s sitting in the sun or a hot outdoor area, it will start to sweat and melt into itself! For a flawless cake, and that perfect cake cutting photo, timing is everything.”

Photo by Christy Tyler Photography

Love Clark Events shares,

Provide refreshments when guests arrive. 

“Welcoming your guests with refreshing drinks as they arrive sets a hospitable tone for your event. This thoughtful gesture not only makes guests feel appreciated but also keeps them hydrated and comfortable, especially in warmer weather. If your wedding is taking place during the day, offering parasols to your guests is a wonderful idea. Not only do parasols provide much-needed shade, but they also add a touch of elegance and whimsy to your celebration.

Photo by Burroughs Photography

atrina Lee, Senior Venue Coordinator of Crossed Keys Estate shares,

Consider practical footwear.

“Congratulations on your engagement! Planning the wedding of your dreams is an exciting, and often challenging endeavor if it’s your first time planning a large event. If you and your partner love being outdoors and want to plan your wedding outside, here’s our professional advice to plan the perfect al fresco celebration. The terrain of outdoor venues can vary. Encourage your wedding party and guests to wear flats or low block heels to avoid sinking into grass or tripping over stones. Consider encouraging wearing fun footwear like sneakers. This small tip will ensure everyone is comfortable and confident as they walk down the aisle, explore the grounds, and tear up the dance floor.”

Nora Sheils, Founder of Bridal Bliss + Co-Founder of Rock Paper Coin shares,

Be aware of higher costs.

“Having a sunny wedding bash in the sweet summer sun is a bucket list item for many planning couples, though it can come with challenges! Hosting your wedding in the summer opens up many options, from locations to fun menu options, flowers, and fantastic weather! Have a beach wedding and build an experience for your friends and family at a resort where they can simultaneously relax and celebrate with you. Other pros of having a summer wedding are the endless color pallet options you can use to choose your decor, wedding attire, and beyond. Have fun with your choices! However, having a summer wedding can sometimes come with headaches – some you can avoid and others you can’t. Travel costs and venue locations are at their highest expense during the summer months when everyone dreams of their outdoor ceremony and reception, so be realistic about your budget and how much you can afford.

Becca Davis of Adam and Becca Photography & Videography shares,

Confirm with your vendors what your sound system will be. 

“Outdoor spaces can be tricky when it comes to acoustics. Make sure you have a reliable sound system so your vows and speeches can be heard clearly by all guests. Test the system beforehand to avoid any technical glitches on the big day.”

Photos by Adam and Becca Photography & Videography

Alexandra Denniston, Owner & Lead Planner of Eventlightenment Planning shares,

Keep your guests informed.

“Don’t forget to educate your guests on the environment where your wedding will be held! Use your wedding website to share attire and footwear suggestions. If you are having a tented affair in a field with no flooring – make sure the ladies know not to wear stilettos! Hosting your celebration by the ocean? Remind everyone to bring extra layers so no one is uncomfortable when a chill blows in after sunset. Ensuring your guests know what to expect and how to dress will guarantee they have maximum enjoyment throughout the celebration!”

Photo by Laura Klacik Photography

Vivid Occasions shares,

Be sure you’re covering transportation for your guests! 

“If the venue is in a very remote area, consider offering transportation. This ensures everyone arrives on time, and there are no lost guests.”

Photo by LA76 Photography

Anastasia Shevchenko of Sheff Production Photography & Videography

Keep your beauty natural.

“Outdoor weddings can be warm, so keep your makeup light and natural. Use waterproof products to ensure your look stays fresh all day.”

Photo by
Sheff Production Photography & Videography