Credit: O'Malley Photographers
Outdoor weddings always top the list of our favorite things, and how could they not? The spectacular scenery, combined with a relaxed atmosphere, offers a lot more charm than an indoor wedding trapped inside walls. Topped with simple decorations in any color scheme, either vibrant summer palettes or intriguing fall colors, an outdoor venue can be transformed into a modest yet truly enchanting space fit for a special celebration.
However, an outdoor wedding can be quite a handful to plan, so don't start daydreaming unless you've truly committed yourself to do all the extra work required. Before doing anything else, ask yourself this simple question: is an outdoor wedding right for you? Read on to find out the answer.
Should you have an outdoor wedding?
Tying the knot amid a spectacular natural landscape is an irresistible choice for many brides. However, couples often forget that behind all the pretty and seemingly effortless outdoor weddings lies plenty of careful planning. To get a more balanced look on preparing an alfresco wedding, see the pros and cons below.
The pros of having an outdoor wedding:
Without a doubt, nature lovers will adore an outdoor wedding. After all, no decoration can beat the amazing scenery you'll have as your backdrop. If your venue is already naturally beautiful, you won't need to spend much on decorations. Even if you do want to have extra decor, simply incorporate natural elements to add an organic touch to your celebration.
2.Plenty of space
An outdoor venue isn't restricted by walls, so it has more space to accommodate a bigger guest list. This makes it more suitable for a family-friendly wedding, as children can run around without bumping into and breaking things . Of course, everything depends on your venue of choice. A public park, for example, is a lot more spacious than a private garden.
Most indoor wedding venues, such as ballrooms or function halls, have a somewhat formal ambience that doesn't suit every bride. An outdoor wedding can be an antidote for brides-to-be who are dreaming of a more relaxed celebration that can still look chic and beautiful.
The cons of having an outdoor wedding:
As you might have expected, the weather is the first thing you should worry about when planning an outdoor wedding. A heavy rainstorm or drizzling heat can leave your guests uncomfortable, no matter how beautiful your wedding is. That's why it's important to choose the right season and always, always have a plan B even if it will take a bigger chunk out of your wedding budget.
A riverside wedding will be a lot less charming with a lot of mosquitoes feeding on your guests, and flies around your buffet spread can quickly ruin everyone's appetite. So before you book an outdoor venue on a whim, find out about the insects that might show up on your wedding day. Take extra precautions by asking your caterer to keep flies away or adding bug spray to your destination wedding welcome bag.
Seemingly small things that are necessary for an alfresco wedding can add up quickly and make your party a lot more expensive that you expected. Tents, portable toilets, generators, air conditioning; the list goes on and on. If your venue is too sparse and empty, you'll also need to spend more on decoration and lighting. So when you compare indoor and outdoor venues, don't forget to consider all the extras.
Types of outdoor wedding venues
If you've decided to have an outdoor wedding after all, you're in for a treat. As long as you're willing to keep an open mind and go a little out of the way, you have so many different venues to choose from. Below, we've chosen some of the most popular outdoor wedding venues to give you some ideas.
Photography: Polk Studio
Photography: Sposto Photography
Photography: onelove photography
Photography: Lindsay Madden Photography
Photography: Alexandra Wallace
Photography: Jacky Suharto Photography & Videography
Photography: Nick Radford
Photography: Jani B Photography
Choosing an outdoor wedding menu
The menu that suits your outdoor wedding depends solely on the season during which your wedding will be held. Serving warm beverages on a breezy fall wedding sounds divine, but having hot chocolate on a sunny day is a completely different story. Make sure to pick the right delicacy for the right time and if all else fails, just follow our alfresco wedding menu ideas below.
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Your wedding cake also needs careful consideration, as popular ice cream or mousse-based cakes can easily melt outdoors. Instead, opt for fondant icing instead of buttercream to make sure that your cake will stay in shape throughout the celebration. To make things even simpler, you can also choose other alternative sweets to have on your wedding day instead of a traditional cake.
Should you rent a tent for your outdoor wedding?
If you're planning an outdoor wedding, you must have wondered whether you should rent a tent or not. The answer might not be as simple as you think, as there are plenty of arguments for and against renting a wedding tent. Here are a few pros and cons that you can consider.
Pros of having a tented wedding:
1.Protects against the elements
With a wedding tent, you don't need to worry about the rain, wind, or snow making a mess of your food, decoration, or even your guests' hair. There will also be fewer nuisances from bugs or fallen leaves during a fall wedding.
A tent can easily turn an indoor or outdoor wedding venue into a more versatile, semi-outdoor one. As a result, you can enjoy the beautiful natural landscape while having the conveniences of an indoor wedding.
3.Easy to decorate
The wedding tent can be a blank canvas that you can decorate to your heart's desire. To emphasize the beauty of the outdoors, choose a clear tent. If you want more extravagant decorations instead, add twinkling fairy lights inside a white or colored tent.
Cons of having a tented wedding:
It takes a significant amount of money to not only rent the tent but also to decorate it. Not to mention the extra electricity, heating, or air conditioning to make sure that your guests will feel comfortable inside the tent.
2.Not completely weather-proof
Although it can hold rain, sleet, snow, and even wind, the strongest tent can still crumble down when faced with a heavy windstorm. If there is a possibility of extremely bad weather on the big day, opt for an indoor wedding instead.
3.Obstructs the view
For some people, having boundless and unrestricted space is the whole point of having an outdoor wedding. If a tent doesn't fit your idea of the perfect alfresco wedding, go ahead and go without it. As long as you're aware of the risks, of course.
Types of wedding tents to choose from
Tents come in different shapes and sizes, and the right one depends on your own wedding theme and venue. Six months prior to your wedding is the ideal time to start choosing your tent contractor. Don't forget to consult your venue and decorator before making any decisions. To get you started, we've listed down some pros and cons of the most popular tent types.
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Questions to ask when renting tent
When you speak to or meet with potential event rental vendors, ask for photos of every tent style they offer. Make sure your discussion covers the following points.
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The dos and don'ts of outdoor weddings
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Even if you've sorted out all the basics of an outdoor wedding, there are some other things that you should also keep in mind. Check out our simple dos and don'ts of throwing an outdoor wedding below.
Don't: Wear stilettos
If you're planning to recite your vows on a green, grassy field, keep your favorite stilettos at home. The thin and pointy ends of the heels will get stuck in the ground, no matter how careful you are. Advise the same thing for the guests if your party requires them to eat and mingle on the grass.
Do: Look for pretty yet comfortable shoes instead
These days, there are a lot more choices for wedding shoes. Pick something like a pair of pretty flats or wedges if you need the extra height. Keep in mind that sandals are only appropriate for super casual weddings.
Don't: Forget to provide toilets
While some couples can throw an outdoor wedding in their backyard, other couples might opt for a venue that is deep in the forest or somewhere secluded. As the facilities won't be as nice, don't forget to provide proper restrooms for your guests to freshen up.
Do: Make your guests know what to expect
Your guests should know about the kind of celebration they're going to attend. Inform your guests in advance about your outdoor wedding, so they can pick the right attire and be prepared for a lot of possibilities.
Don't: Take chances with the weather
The weather can be unpredictable at any time of the year, so don't make reckless decisions. Even if the weather report says otherwise, there is always a possibility that something doesn't go as planned.
Do: Have a backup plan
That is why it's very important to have a backup plan. Never underestimate the power of having a Plan B (or maybe even a Plan C) in case of wedding day emergencies, whether it's renting a tent or booking an alternative venue.
Don't: Leave your guests sweating under the sun
A sunny wedding sure sounds great, until your guests start sweating heavily under the summer heat. If you really must leave your guests unprotected under the sun, consider throwing your wedding in the afternoon or at night.
Do: Provide a shelter
When having an outdoor wedding, rent a tent or choose a shaded spot to avoid the scorching sun. Alternatively, try setting up several shaded social areas so people can mingle while enjoying the party.
Do: Make the most of nature
One of the most exciting aspects of an outdoor wedding is the beautiful scenery. Instead of covering everything with decorations or under a tent, enhance the natural setting with a few tasteful decor on strategic spots.
Don't: Skimp on the decoration
But still, don't skimp on the decoration. There should always be a focal point on the wedding venue; at the very least, decorate the altar with your personal touch. There's no need to go overboard, an arch or pedestal topped with simple floral arrangements will do.