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Did you know that more than two million couples are married every year in the United States alone? And though there are many ways to commemorate the occasion, many of these couples celebrate the new chapter of their lives with a wedding.
Weddings come in all shapes, sizes, and locations. But for outdoor lovers and those who have simply always imagined a dreamy garden ceremony and reception, there’s nothing better than an outdoor wedding.
That said, whether you want to walk through a gorgeous botanical garden during your ceremony or celebrate with friends and family in your own backyard, it’s important to note that outdoor weddings come with a significant amount of planning and preparation.
Without the amenities that come with an indoor venue, you have several extra factors to consider. To help you along the way, we’ve put together this guide to organizing a wedding outdoors. Read on to learn everything you need to know.
Rent a Tent and Weatherproof It
First and foremost, when you’re hosting an outdoor wedding, you’re going to need to rent a tent. Even if the forecast looks beautiful, you need to provide shelter, both in the event of an unexpected storm and to give your guests a chance to get out of the sun.
In addition to renting a tent, you need to be sure that you take the proper steps to weatherproof it. If you’re having a late spring wedding, for example, it’s important to have fans and portable air conditioners. You should also consider adding wall panels if your tent doesn’t come with them, as they will protect you and your guests from any wind or rain.
Now, keep in mind that tents can only handle so much. In harsh conditions, such as heavy wind or rain, you need to have an emergency backup plan that allows your guests to get indoors.
If you’re worried about unpredictable weather, make sure your wedding insurance covers inclement weather. You likely won’t be able to get a full refund, but you should be able to recover a portion of the fees.
Fill Your Blank Canvas
When you rent a tent, more often than not it’s just that – a tent. You’ll need to fill what will be a blank canvas with your vision for your wedding. This means you’ll need to rent curtains, curtain ties, additional lighting, etc.
The elements you choose to add will depend on your preference and wedding theme. Before going too far in the rental process, make a list of all the elements you’d like to include inside your tent. Then rank your list in order of importance, with the knowledge that those at the bottom of the list might have to be cut if they don’t fit into your budget.
Regardless of the decor and extras you choose, it’s wise to place citronella candles around the space to keep bugs away. If possible, consider having the site treated by an exterminator a few days beforehand as well.
Choose Your Seating Arrangments
Continuing with the topic of filling your tent, you next need to decide on your seating arrangements. A tent is made much more inviting if it’s full of comfortable lounge furniture and cushions.
If you don’t have the space for dining tables and couches, consider filling your dining area with smaller tables that seat 4-6 people rather than the traditional 8-10 seat tables. This will help to give your reception a cozier atmosphere.
With larger tents, it’s beneficial to add signage directing guests to the restrooms and buffet area. Don’t assume that your guests will know where to go without any help!
Provide Your Guests With the Necessities
It’s not exactly the most exciting part of planning an outdoor event, but you do need to think about the necessities. More specifically, the restrooms that your guests will use and the amenities you’ll provide within them.
A popular choice is for outdoor weddings is a porta-potty rental, you can take a look at these rental prices to get a good idea of what you would pay for them. And don’t worry, your guests don’t have to use the kind of porta-potty you would find at a construction site.
You can rent luxury portable restrooms that include all the amenities of a regular bathroom, including plumbing, working sinks, and interior lighting. However, you’ll still need to provide extras to make the experience more luxe. Consider including soaps with your names and wedding dates on them, monogrammed towels, and fresh flowers.
Keep in mind that you’ll need to provide one bathroom per 35 guests. Not having enough restrooms available is a great way to create unhappy, uncomfortable friends and family.
Design a Menu to Fit the Theme
Because tying the knot outdoors automatically gives your wedding a more relaxed atmosphere than one hosted in a ballroom, you have a great deal of freedom with your menu. For example, rather than providing the typical options of chicken and salmon, you could have a southern barbecue or a clambake!
Design your menu to fit the theme and vibe of your wedding, but no matter what foods you serve, make sure that you provide your guests with plenty of water and other refreshing beverages such as lemonade and iced tea. Especially if you’re hosting a summer or spring wedding where the weather is hot and humid, your guests need to stay hydrated.
Host the Perfect Outdoor Wedding With This Guide
Though an outdoor wedding takes a bit more preparation and planning than one hosted indoors, the results are well worth the extra time and effort. And with this guide, you can be sure that you’re checking all the right boxes.
By taking steps to ensure that you’re providing a comfortable, fun environment, you and your guests will have a wonderful time and make beautiful memories that will last a lifetime.
Interested in learning more about wedding planning like a pro? Take a look at some of our other articles.