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The Great Outdoors WeddingThe Great Outdoors Wedding

published June 9th, 2014

Hooray! The summer wedding season is now upon us, so millions of couples across the globe are preparing to embark on the great adventure that is married life. If you’re getting married this summer then you’re probably now feeling “the butterfly effect” which basically means you have several hundred butterflies flapping around in your stomach. By this time your venue is booked (you did remember to book the venue, right?) and you’re finalising the seating arrangements, hopefully without family politics throwing a spanner in the works.

Now the weather can be a curious beast, but summer usually brings sunshine, which brings heat… so if you did book a small venue it may be wise to double check that they have working air conditioning. Especially if the venue boasts lots of glass. Lots of bodies in a small venue will undoubtedly generate more heat, and if there’s not ample ventilation or air conditioning then things could get ugly. You don’t want your future mother-in-law stealing your thunder by keeling over midway through your wedding vows!

Of course you don’t need to worry about things like air con (or your venue unexpectedly falling down) if you opted for an outdoor wedding. Kudos to you if you did, as it’s always a brave move to predict what the weather might decide to do on the day. It’s very unlikely to be cold, but rain does have a habit of raining on your parade. Well, in this case… your wedding.

Outdoor weddings are romantic and beautiful, but they’re not quite as easy as they look. The weather isn’t the only element of the day that has the potential to ruin everything, so you should be mindful of the other pitfalls and obstacles that could sour proceedings. If you take heed of this advice then you may just pull things off unscathed…

Comfort is a key word. Everybody likes to be comfortable. Especially if it’s a scorchingly hot day. You don’t want your guests melting like the Wicked Witch of the West. Make sure that your ushers are handing out ice-cold bottles of water to all the guests as they are seated. You should also consider giving out small hand fans to keep your guests cool and parasols to protect them from the sun. Don’t forget that not all your guests will be sun worshippers - especially if you invite a family a fair-skinned gingers. They’ll be sporting the “lobster” look for days afterwards.

If you really want to mollycoddle your guests you could even hand out small bottles of sunscreen, but they should really apply this before they leave the house.

Don’t just assume the weather will play ball. Have a back-up plan in place should the heavens decide to open. This could be in the form of a large tent or a nearby room large enough to accommodate everyone. Many brides and grooms opt to have their ceremony outside and reception inside, so you could always scoot into the reception area for the wedding ceremony if need be.

Lots of outdoor ceremonies suffer from windy conditions, so you may wish to brace yourself before the event! The last thing you want is guests chasing their hats across the field while you’re exchanging vows. That would be terribly distracting - and could ruin a lot of good hats. Also inform your hairstylist that you’re having an outdoor wedding so they can style it in such a way that it doesn’t look like you’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards in your wedding photos.

Being outside you also need to ensure that everybody can hear. You may have the wind, passing aeroplanes or geese heckling at vital moments. Consider renting a sound system with clip microphones for the bride, groom and wedding officiant. You’d be surprised at how easily sound is drowned out by unwanted background noises.

With this being an outdoor wedding you don’t really have to decorate the venue, aside from perhaps sprucing up a few trees. Although it may be an idea to visit the location prior to the wedding and make sure the site is in a presentable state. You don’t need to be kicking away beer bottles, picking up candy wrappers or removing dog mess on the day of the wedding.

Although alcohol and weddings often go hand-in-hand it may be an idea to avoid such beverages until the reception. It’s very dehydrating so you’ll be better off serving lemonades, teas and punches - and don’t forget that iced-water!

Along with that sunscreen you may also wish to have some bug repellent and zappers to hand. Insects have been known to gatecrash weddings, and some are particularly fond of human flesh. Mosquitos are the most common culprits, but there’s also a myriad of other flying fiends, including wasps - the bane of every picnic.

Finally, don’t forget some city parks require you to have a permit for an outdoor wedding. So be sure to investigate this in order to prevent any ugly scenes on the day. It’s also very important that you tidy up after yourselves. If you leave it looking like a garbage site the local authorities will take an extremely dim view of it, and you’ll probably be fined for littering.

Heed this advice and barring any unexpected freak weather conditions you’ll have a most amazing wedding day.