7 Tips for Planning an Outdoor Wedding Ceremony

January 31, 2021

Outdoor weddings are beautiful, especially if you have a scenic backdrop, but they can also be challenging to plan, especially if the weather at your chosen wedding venue location is hit and miss. Whether it’s extreme heat in the summer time or has an occasional unexpected thunderstorm, it’s important to be well prepared for every possibility if you plan to have an outdoor wedding ceremony.

Make sure to keep everybody comfortable 

When you’re planning an outdoor wedding ceremony, it’s important to be thoughtful of your guests. After all, they’re attending your wedding for you. For instance, if the weather is going to be hot and sunny, think about providing sunglasses and sunscreen for everyone. For older guests you should have a shaded area or supply umbrellas to limit the chance of heat stroke. Plan on having a water station setup near the ceremony. Don’t be late to your own wedding. Be aware a late ceremony start can put guests at risk for heat stroke. If you’re planning on a winter wedding, consider having blankets on every seat and/or handout hand warmers before the ceremony.

outdoor wedding ceremony

Timing the ceremony 

If you’re planning a summer wedding and you know it will be hot. Try to schedule the ceremony closer to sunset time to decrease the amount of heat exposure. Be sure to plan for the location of the sun during the wedding ceremony. High noon causes harsh shadows on faces and doesn’t make for the best photo opportunities. Another thing to be cautious about is will guests be staring into the sun because of the ceremony layout and time you select. Use a sunrise/sunset location phone application to figure out where the sun will be at any time. I recommend and use Sun Seeker app available in the Apple app store. Be sure to communicate with your wedding photographer the proposed ceremony time. Depending on the time you pick you might have to schedule the timeline differently than what you have in mind.

Make sure to have a backup plan 

Having a backup indoor plan for your outdoor wedding is a smart choice, but make sure it’s a plan that makes you happy. Of course, your dream ceremony will take place outdoors, but if you don’t have things you love about your backup plan, you’re headed for huge disappointment if the weather turns bad. Create a back up plan at the beginning of your wedding planning process. Too many couples make the mistake of only having one option and then have to stress out the week before their wedding because they don’t have a backup ceremony location. Make sure to thoughtfully incorporate fun details into your Plan B so that your wedding day will be a blast no matter whether it’s inside or outside.

Put extra thought into makeup, hair, and wardrobe

If you’re planning on having your ceremony outside, you’ll need to choose a hairstyle that’s wind-proof and won’t be easily destroyed by the weather. Talk to your stylist about what would work best with your hair and the expected weather. The same goes for your makeup—if your wedding may be humid, you’ll want to make sure your makeup won’t run and ruin your photos. A professional makeup artist can help you plan the perfect look that will hold up no matter the weather.

When you’re shopping for the perfect wedding dress, think about the terrain at your venue and temperature. If your wedding will be in a warmer months, consider buying a reception dress that you can change into after the ceremony. You don’t want to be overheating when everyone else is on the dance floor. You’ll also want to put some thought into your shoes, as sharp heels can sink into grass or soft ground. Make sure your shoes are easy to walk in.

outdoor wedding planning

Make sure your guests are well informed

Use your wedding website to keep everyone up to date on any changes due to changing weather. Your website is also a great place to let guests know what to expect from your ceremony. For instance, you can offer tips on what to wear, such as the reception will be held outside on the grass, so avoid heels. Your guests will appreciate any information ahead of time that will make them feel more prepared—and there will be less complains about the weather or the outdoor venue.

outdoor wedding ceremony

Communicate with your vendors

Not only should you let all your vendors know about both your outdoor ceremony and your backup plan, but you should also ask them for advice. Chances are they’ve all worked at an outdoor wedding before and can offer some tips for decorating, keeping bugs away, and any other concerns you may have. For example, florists can make recommendations on how to insure your flower arrangements can stay looking their best. The more advice you ask for, the better prepared you’ll be on the big day.

outdoor wedding

Be adaptable 

It’s possible your wedding might not go exactly as you planned, and you have to remember that’s okay. Roll with it and make the most of the unanticipated hiccups . For example, purchase two clear bubble umbrellas on hand for some romantic rainy portraits in case of rainy weather. Instead of worrying about what could go wrong, enjoy what goes right and remember that the most important thing is you’re finally getting married and you get to party with your family and friends.