More and more, I am booking ceremonies at the country club I work at. When I first started, there was a handful of ceremonies at our venue and on the 2016 calendar, more than 2/3 of our weddings are both ceremonies and receptions. Much to dear grandma’s dismay, brides and grooms are opting out of church ceremonies and making their Pinterest-worthy outdoor scenes come to life. Here are a couple of things you need to consider before swooning over outdoor décor options:
1. Outdoor ceremonies can be religious.
Save your Mom the heart attack and explain to her that you can in fact have the best of both worlds. Some ministers and preachers are willing to perform outdoor ceremonies and still acknowledge them as a religious celebrations. Now if you practice a more strict religion, you probably aren’t going to get away with that. But chances are, if you fall into that category, you are more likely to want to conduct your ceremony in your place of worship (sorry, Catholics!).
2. Don’t get your dreams crushed by unrealistic Pinterest inspirations.
Unless you have a massive budget, those pictures you have been pinning of romantic scenes under floral archways or beautiful fabrics draping from crystal chandeliers are probably not going to come true. I know I am being blunt here, but those suckers are expensive! By all means go ahead and get a quote from your florist or event decor rep, but please be aware that you are probably going to experience some sticker shock.
There are all sorts of other ways to set beautiful outdoor scenes: antique dressers with flowers coming out of drawers to serve as an alter, a handmade cross with a small cluster of florals, rustic doors that serve as an entry point, an inexpensive curtain rod with soft, romantic curtains…the list goes on and on!
3. Consider different musical options.
If possible, make sure your officiant as well as your musicians or DJ attend your rehearsal. Being wide open in the outdoors can completely effect how your music sounds. You might need your live musicians to use an amp in order for your guests to be able to hear them. Do you have access to electricity? If not, a DJ probably won’t be an option. And if you are using a wireless microphone system, make sure to test it prior to the actual ceremony! While technology is great, it tends to crap out during the most important times you need it. The weather, other surrounding networks and even where the bridal party stands could effect how well your wireless system works.
4. Keep your guests informed.
As much as you want your big day to be a surprise and treat for your guests as well, keeping them informed is extremely important. Make sure to note on the invitation that it will be an outdoor ceremony. Your invitation creator can help you figure out the best way of formally stating it on an invitation. It helps guests decide on proper shoes and clothing prior to the day. If it’s chilly and windy out, most guests will want a jacket. If you have to walk down hills or on unstable ground, most girls will want to opt for sandals or wedges instead of stilettos. And if you have an alternative location as a back up plan, make sure to note that on the invitation or somewhere on your wedding website.
5. Yes, you will want a Plan B.
If you don’t like the weather, just wait a few minutes. That is the saying after all, right? Regardless of the location, weather is always going to be a factor. Rain, humidity, drop in temperature and extreme heat are all elements you will want to consider. Some venues offer an indoor or covered back up option, but a number venues do not. Make sure to have an emergency plan should your ceremony need it. It might be having a tent as back up or maybe it’s offering your guests umbrellas or fans to utilize during the ceremony. The most important thing to keep in mind is you have to have a little bit flexible when it comes to these outdoor ceremonies. If you are not the “go with the flow” type, it’s probably best to stick with an indoor ceremony.