Tips for Planning the Perfect Outdoor Wedding

Planning a wedding is an exciting time and one of the most important days of a couple’s life. So many wonderful memories will be made on this special day, and the success of the day comes in the form of paying attention to the tiniest details — especially if a couple is planning an outdoor wedding! 

There is something truly remarkable about the ambiance of an outdoor wedding — the unparalleled beauty of a rocky ocean shore or the twinkling of the stars above a romantic botanical garden during an evening reception. The look, feel, and tone of your outdoor wedding requires extra special elements that you should take into consideration. From the weather to the amenities, here’s how you can pull off a flawless outdoor wedding that you and your guests will enjoy and talk about for years to come. Check out these tips for planning the perfect outdoor wedding:

Plan For The Weather

The goal for most couples who want to host an outdoor wedding is the gorgeous scenery; however, it is important to remember that weather is unpredictable and it is important to consider seasonal factors such as pollen, April showers, snow, or thunderstorms. These things can literally put a damper on your wedding if you do not plan for them. It is a good idea to stay up to date on the weather during the days leading up to your wedding. Watch the rain, wind, and temperature forecast so that you can be prepared for whatever happens. Make sure you mention the weather conditions you expect on your big day on your invitation so your guests can be prepared with the clothes they are going to wear and can bring any essential items they may need for the weather. 

Plan for a Plan B

It is wise to have a station at the wedding that caters to any changes. Think of a table that has items like bug spray, chilled towels, or sunscreen. This serves as a thoughtful gesture to keep your guests comfortable. It is also a good idea to have a “Plan B” ready just in case the weather is unexpectedly hot or cold. This will help relieve some stress when you know that your day will still be a success and you can ensure your guests will still enjoy the occasion no matter what happens. 

Anticipate Photography Issues

Weather issues can also affect your wedding day photos. Talk to your photographer early on to see how they would handle inclement weather, like rain before you decide to book them. They may also have ideas on additional wedding photos that include the inclement weather. We have seen some of the most gorgeous photos with rain and snow and many photographers are good at thinking on the fly and coming up with ways to capture moments while incorporating the elements. You can ask your photographer to see previous images of weddings with rain or snow. With the right photographer and some willingness to navigate through changes, you can achieve “the” shot during your big day. 

Choose The Right Tent

An outdoor wedding is the perfect way to display your creative freedom to bring your vision to life for your special day. If you are utilizing a tent, finding and reserving the tent that fits your needs and desires is a high-priority task that you should accomplish early.

Tent Style and Size Matters

The style of the tent is very important. Take your aesthetic into consideration when choosing a tent and educate yourself on the various styles available. Pole tents are vinyl and have peaks that are created by center poles. Clear top tents give a sleek and modern feel by offering views of the surrounding landscape. Structure and frame tents have an open steel shell which is great if you have to support heavy equipment like speakers. 

Next up is deciding on the perfect size! Start with the size of your guest list and get information on how to choose a tent based on capacity. The next step is to estimate the number of people you will seat per table which will give you an estimate on the number of tables you will need. The third consideration when deciding on the right size is to think about extra items that will take up space such as a dance floor, buffet tables, the stage for your band or DJ, and bar setup. The number of tables and extra items that will be included in your wedding determines the amount of square footage that your tent will need to cover. 

Think About Your Amenities

As with any outdoor event, you’re going to need to rent a lot of items that would usually be included when booking a traditional venue. These items can include chairs, silverware, tables, or even outside restrooms. Using rentals from one company (versus several vendors) is an excellent way to get all the items you need without the burden of going from one place to the other. When choosing the right rental company it is important that they are well-known and respected. A reputable company will eliminate stress because they usually offer perks like discounted delivery fees and customized packages. 

Don’t Forget About Water 

While it is easy to just focus on spirits from the bar when it comes to drinks, water is equally as important. In the summer months when it is hot and humid, guests should have easy access to water. Host a hydration station for water, which is an excellent way to keep your guests cool while being outdoors. Having water for your guests does not have to be boring either. There are some easy ways to ensure that your guests will not get bored of plain water based on how it is presented.

There are so many different ways to spice up the water at your outdoor wedding. One of those ways includes upgraded water bottles! Forget plastic bottles, by filling up a glass bottle with some tasty ice water, it will give your outdoor wedding a whole new look. This eco-friendly idea will certainly have your guests feeling refreshed. Another great way to present a lovely water station for your guests is to have it displayed uniquely such as on a four-wheeled wagon, a Vintage Vanity, a Gold-Accented Bar Cart, or even in Mason Jars! These beloved presentations are a fantastic way to grab your guests’ attention and even be a great conversation starter! The final option to upgrade the water at your outdoor wedding is to add cucumbers, coconut, or blackberry mint! Adding these flavors to your water will give a unique taste that your guests will love.

Use The Space For Outdoor Games

An outdoor wedding is more than just a beautiful way to have a non-traditional wedding but an opportunity to get your guests involved by playing some outdoor games! The space that an outdoor wedding provides is perfect for you and your guests to enjoy some friendly competition, especially during downtimes like the cocktail hour or during the later part of the reception. There are three types of outdoor games that you and your guests of all ages can enjoy. 

The first type of game you may want to add to your wedding is lawn games. Some lawn games include badminton, croquet, corn hole, or ring toss. With these games, your guests will be clamoring for their turn at these games. Next up is interactive and group games. This would include games like Darts, Poker, or even the traditional ShoeGame, where the newlyweds sit back to back and raise the shoe of either theirs or their partners that corresponds with each question. These among many other group games will certainly keep the party going! The last type of game is the regular table games such as bride and groom trivia, Uno, or even Cards Against Humanity! These traditional table games will have your guests talking and laughing for hours!

Get Your Alcohol And Event Permit

With the excitement of an outdoor wedding, it’s easy to get sidetracked in all the creative freedom, but we cannot forget about the business. It is important to gather the necessary permits to make sure your special is just as you planned it without any interruptions from authorities or receiving post-wedding fines. Some outdoor venues have strict noise ordinances and liquor laws you should inquire about before you sign those papers. Depending on the venue there may be restrictions on loud noises past a certain time or liquor laws that dictate the certain types of alcohol you are allowed to have on the premises. Gathering this information early will get you a clear understanding of what your wedding’s requirements will be. To do this you must check in with your local authorities and take detailed notes on the information given. It is imperative that you understand all of the rules and consequences to make the best decision. Following this, you should apply for the permits as soon as possible to ensure approval and availability. 

Consider Outfit Changes

Planning to slip into another outfit that will absolutely WOW your guests? Tons of brides and grooms have taken the opportunity to change their more formal ceremony attire to something simpler or even more daring! There are a few times during an outdoor wedding that it is best to make an appearance in a second outfit. Some of those times would be right after the ceremony and pictures, between cocktail hour and reception, between dinner and dancing, or during the mid-dance party before cutting the cake. An outfit change during any of those times is a signal to your guests that the party has started!

When considering outfit changes, be sure to maximize your time and photo ops in both outfits to guarantee that they are definitely documented on your day. Also, try not to spend so much time changing your outfit that you miss too much of the celebration you have been carefully planning for months.  

Compliment The Natural Backdrop With Decorations

Since outdoors is virtually a blank canvas, you’ll more than likely need to bring in some extra touches to finish your outdoor wedding look. Luckily, there are plenty of decoration options that can give your wedding the vibe you are envisioning. Before making any decision, decide what elements are most important to you and how these items fit into your budget. 

Lighting is an excellent way to not only set the mood but completely transform your space. You can add twinkling lights or stately chandeliers to give your wedding the mood of your choice. You can also surround walkways with lights or put tea lights on nearby tree branches for easy access to restrooms and to bring out attention to other necessary spaces during the wedding. 

Another way to take advantage of the natural elements of your venue is by adding seating and playing with the greenery outdoors to set the backdrop for photos. You can also hang decorations from tree branches or include flowers on your table. 

Choosing The Right Outdoor Venue

The most crucial tip when planning your perfect outdoor wedding is choosing the right outdoor venue. It would be best if you chose the right outdoor venue that is within your budget while still being everything you desire. An outdoor venue offers various advantages — plenty of space, fresh air, and just a relaxed feeling overall; however, there are so many different-looking outdoor venues. You need to choose a venue look that will align with the desired look and feel of your wedding. If you find the perfect space that fulfills your vision, it may be a bit more expensive, but you may find yourself spending less money on decorations which may balance your budget in the end.  

Vineyards tend to be the best option for most couples because they are neutral and transitional and still offer a romantic backdrop for most couples who want to have an outdoor wedding. Museums, historical homes, and local farms are also lovely offerings, but museums tend to be more formal, historic homes tend to have a traditional feel, and farms have a less formal feeling. 

Outside of the look and feel, consider the location of the venue and all of its amenities. Your venue should be in a convenient location with available parking with access for those traveling on public transportation or from out of town. Your venue should accommodate the number of people you expect. We highly recommend hiring a wedding planner and having them help you find the site. A wedding planner will be able to help you find your perfect venue and will know and execute all of these tips to plan your perfect outdoor wedding!


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