Choosing to celebrate your marriage in an outdoor setting gives rise to a heap of opportunities that will allow you to embrace your surroundings in a unique and interesting way. But of course there are a few things to consider in making sure that your day unfolds in the most stress-free way. We’ve put together a list of outdoor wedding ideas that will help you plan for your wedding beneath the stars.
Defining Your Space
Since the great outdoors presents such a vast and magnificent scape, it is important to define the space for your wedding by highlighting the perimeters. Use lighting or seating to set visual boundaries that help to create a more intimate atmosphere. Draping fabric over tree branches is another great way to create markers that enclose the space a little more whilst simultaneously enhancing the decor. A wooden arbour or floral arch is not just a great idea to frame the happy couple at the wedding ceremony, but they make great for a fabulous statement piece or photo booth area at the reception which also helps to visual define the space. You can also create a more dynamic space by dedicating particular areas to different games and activities through the use of decorative signs and easels. These areas will diversify the reception and provide some relief to what is generally a five hour affair.
What’s On The Menu
With an outdoor reception comes a more casual and relaxed atmosphere that lends itself to shared platters and a festive menu. Embrace the surroundings and opt for dishes that complement the vibe of the space. If you’re in a forest, go for chargrilled meats and smokey vegetables. If you’re by the beach, opt for lighter salads and a tad of seafood. This will provide an authentic experience for your guests that really makes the most of the unique outdoors. Of course, the openness of the space also allows for barbecues and spit-roasts, as well as quirky bar settings and picnic style dining. Whatever the space, carefully choose your menu based on the overall experience you wish to create.
Light Up The Night
If you’re planning to have your reception outdoors then a priority is considering how you will aim to light up the space. Festoon lighting is a great way to provide ambient and atmospheric light whilst also providing a visual border as I mentioned earlier. Affix the lights to trees or metal poles that you can poke in the ground, keeping in mind that the lights should not drape to low – you don’t want your guests to feel claustrophobic, as though they might knock their head on a globe if they’re not careful. Lanterns, chandeliers and other hanging features work well in garden and park spaces that benefit from more homely and personal items of decor. If your using a plethora of candles to light up the space (which looks stunning in an ethereal beach setting) be sure to secure them in a way that they can’t be knocked over or blown out. Hurricane glass containers are a great option that protect your candles and create an ethereal glow. And whilst you’re in the candle isle, grab some citronella candles that you can scatter around to ward off any unwanted flies and insects. Sorry guys, you didn’t get an invite!
Of course the primary risk of having an outdoor wedding is the unpredictability of the weather. One minute it’s sunny and the next if can be pouring down rain. However, this is a concern for every bride on her big day, not just those who choose to celebrate with an outdoor celebration. Naturally there are heaps of creative ideas to plan for the weather, from hiring a marquee or tent for the
dinner and formalities, to providing your guests with little tools for comfort. If you’re having your wedding in the cooler months, or in a particularly icy destination, why not offer blankets and rugs for your guests to warm up a bit. Or if it looks like it might rain, have a stack of umbrellas at the ready. To tackle the issue on a bigger scale, have a canopy or tarp (one that matches the decor) handy to provide some coverage for your guests. Even if it’s just for the post-ceremony mingling, your guests will no-doubt appreciate the last minute adjustment. It’s a good idea to also state on your invitations the nature of the reception space – “It’s a beach wedding folks so kick off your shoes and enjoy the celebration!” That way your guests will know exactly what to expect and they can dress accordingly.
Planning an outdoor wedding may take a bit of extra work when it comes to all the audio visual technicalities. Plus, you must consider all the natural sounds that may make it a little harder for your guests to hear all the speeches and comments. Try using a clip on microphone for the musicians and for all the speeches, that way your guests will be sure to catch all of your witty jokes and sentimental stories. It’s a good idea to take your audio visual team to see the space to help them understand you vision and where the majority of equipment will be placed. They’ll let you know what items will best suit the space and how to avoid having cables running from left to right all over the place.