What to Keep in Mind When Planning an Outdoor Wedding

When you were growing up, did you always dream of having an outdoor wedding? The idea of getting married on your favorite beach or at the campground you've spent many summers might seem like the perfect way to spend your big day. However, now that you're engaged, you're probably thinking about how the weather and other factors will affect your nuptials. There's a lot to know when creating your outdoor celebration, so here are some things to consider before you finalize your plans:

Choosing the Venue

Be realistic with the pros and cons of each venue you're considering. For example, the beach sets a perfect backdrop for an outdoor wedding, but it can also be windy and inhabited by bugs and other animals. A house saves you a ton of money on venue costs, but is there room for the vendors and all the guests you'd like to invite? How about a park? You might love the space, but the park's rules, such as not allowing alcohol or ending rentals at 7 p.m., might be too strict for your liking. You want to choose a place where you feel comfortable and is as simple as possible to pull off.

Consider Your Vendors

Do you have space for your vendors at your outdoor location? If you're getting married at someone's house, make sure there is an area for the vendors. For example, you'll want caterers out of view, but they'll also need space to set up, prepare, cook, and clean up. A band takes up more room than a DJ, but both need an area to put their equipment. Also, make sure any speakers are placed strategically so your guests aren't blasted out by the loud music.

Electricity is another major concern for vendors at outdoor events. Does the space have enough amps to meet their needs? Does it have hookups for vendors to use? Your caterer and DJ need electricity in order to feed and entertain your guests. Also, don't forget the lighting you'll need if you plan on having your outdoor wedding at night.

Most importantly, is there a covered space for the vendors? Their equipment is expensive, and a sudden shower could ruin it all. If they can't set up indoors or under a deck, make sure to get a tent for the special occasion.

Don't Forget the Restrooms

While some brides are worrying about what to put in their bathroom baskets, you're stuck figuring out how to bring bathrooms to your outdoor celebration. Whatever you do, don't skimp on the toilets. To keep your guests on the dance floor and out of the line to use the restroom, rent one stall for every 30 to 40 guests attending the wedding. To keep your guests really happy, spring for the luxury portable toilets.

Make a Plan B

No one likes to think outdoor wedding plans could get ruined by Mother Nature, but in reality, there's a good chance a scorching heat wave or never-ending rain showers could affect your big day. If you're planning an indoor reception, ask whether you can perform the ceremony in the reception if the weather doesn't cooperate. If the entire event is outdoors, be proactive and hire a company to deliver and set up a tent at your venue.

You don't want to wait until your guests are soaked with sweat or rain before you make a decision to move the wedding to an indoor location, so set a time in the morning to decide. Make sure all your vendors and guests are aware of your precise backup plans before the big day. You don't want your officiant showing up at the original location if you're waiting at the backup spot.

Planning an outdoor wedding may take some additional steps, but it will be worth it in the end when you celebrate your big day in the great outdoors.