Outdoor weddings can be fun, unique and romantic, but they can also be a lot more trouble than you might think. To create the perfect outdoor wedding, you need to think about all of the different factors involved that you wouldn’t have to consider indoors, and plan accordingly. Being in the tent business for several years and providing beautiful clear span structures for countless weddings, we at Stretch Structures have seen the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to outdoor weddings.
Here are our 10 best tips for creating and enjoying your big day:
- Make your guests comfortable for the season. If you are having an outdoor wedding and reception, you don’t want to leave them melting in the sun. Offer sunscreen, ice-cold bottles of water as they are being seated, and offer relief from the sun’s searing rays with a shade tent. A neat idea we have seen in the past is to even have your wedding program printed on a fan, so guests have a handy way to keep cool. Large electric fans are always appreciated as well.
- Prepare for the worst. Be sure that rain won’t dampen your day by having a large tent nearby where the ceremony can be held. And you can even use portable heaters inside a tent to have an outdoor wedding if the weather gets too cold. Have a plan B. The ultimate outdoor wedding will be near and indoor backup location in case of rain. A sturdy tent with thick weighted sides can be used for this successfully, even in windy conditions, but it is not recommended during long, heavy rains where the ground will get soaked and leave your guests standing in the mud (unless you want a REALLY memorable event).
- Plan for wind. Wind is one of those things that most people don’t consider, but even just 15 KM/H wind can have your hair, silk or chiffon dresses and decorations flying all over the place. Make sure your hair and the hair of your wedding party is styled and sprayed or pomaded for optimum holding power …. And make sure your tent is heavy and secure so it won’t blow away!
- Make sure everyone can hear. There are lots of things that might make your ceremony too hard for guests to hear, like a flock of seagulls or waves at the beach, traffic rushing by, or even wind. If you want your guests to hear your “I Do” and not just lip read it, then rent a sound system with clip on microphones for the bride, groom, and officiate, and anyone else who might be speaking.
- Remember, less is more. When it comes to decorating for an outdoor wedding, you just need to accentuate the beauty that is already there with flowers, maybe an archway, and possibly some lights or lanterns, depending on your surroundings. However, you do want to make sure that everything is looking good, with the grass mown and raked and everything in tip-top shape.
- Be sure your menu matches the venue. When eating outdoors, you need to make sure that the food will keep well in the heat or that there is a way to keep things the right temperature. Make sure that the food you serve will not wilt, melt or give everybody food poisoning.
- Make sure there is plenty to drink. When you are outside in the heat, it is easy to get dehydrated. Besides all the alcohol, make sure that you have plenty of cold water, tea, punch and lemonade on hand for everyone to enjoy.
- Keep gnats, flies and mosquitoes at bay. Don’t leave the food out and uncovered for long periods of time to keep the flies away, and put out citronella candles and bug zappers out to catch the other pesky fliers.
- Plan for the position of the sun. Make sure that when your wedding starts, guests are not sitting with the sun in their eyes. You also won’t want the bride and groom to be squinting from the sun. A nice time to have a wedding outdoors is just around sunset, so the temperature has cooled and the sun is giving out a warm glow that everyone can enjoy.
- And last, but certainly not least, don’t forget the permit! It may not be necessary depending on your location, and especially if you are in a public place, but it doesn’t hurt to make sure. Contact your local government or the city parks department to get your permit, and don’t forget to ask about timelines for setting up and taking down your tent, and any rules that you might need to follow.
Remember, luck favors the prepared, and you can never be too prepared when you are planning one of the most memorable days of your life. We would love to be a part of making your outdoor wedding a huge success with either a unique stretch structure or a traditional clear span tent. Contact us today if you would like to discuss your wedding day tent needs!