Streamer tent - Green Wedding Shoes
There’s something so special about attending a wedding on a warm summer night. You can’t buy the ambiance that the great outdoors already has to offer. The smell, the breeze — ahhhhhh I just love an outdoor wedding. On top of the beautiful natural setting, outdoor venues can also be much cheaper since they don’t involve as much power usage or cleanup time — and you KNOW we like that. Here’s a list of our top 5 tips to make your outdoor wedding a smashing success.
1. CREATE OUTDOOR ROOMS
Setting up boundaries or “visual walls” can make all the difference in turning a simple backyard into an elegant wedding venue. Set up different areas for the ceremony, reception and food/bar table. Use your imagination. Take a look at the trees and shrubs around you — maybe you can use a row of hedges to separate the reception from the ceremony, or maybe you can create a line of division with streamers or vintage bed sheets on a clothesline. The sky is the limit! With well-defined areas, your guests will feel a direct sense of purpose for each area (“AH! This is where we dance!”) and help the overall flow of your wedding.
2. USE REPETITION
The easiest way to make a big impact on a large space is with repetition. And lucky for you (you beautiful little cheapskate), the more you buy the more you save per piece! Some of our favorite decorations to buy in bulk are paper lanterns, streamers, candles, mason jars, tissue paper pom-poms and string lights. Online stores like Save On Crafts or Oriental Trading are great places to start shopping. Tip: If you’re planning a wedding for 2014, wait to buy your clear string lights until after this Christmas when they will go on clearance.
3. FIND HEIGHT VARIATION
This is probably the most overlooked aspect of outdoor wedding planning. Indoor wedding venues are decorated from top to bottom. Whether it’s great architectural detail on the ceiling or sconce lighting, indoor venues are usually dressed to the hilt. Because an outdoor venue can often require more man power to set up, higher-up details can be easily forgotten. Just like a painting, beauty is in the entire composition. Choose a venue with varying heights of trees or flowers. Or if your landscape is more bare, string up some rope to hang decorations (a great opportunity to use #2!).
4. DON’T FORGET LIGHTING
Unless you’re having your reception at noon, you’re likely to need extra outdoor lighting during the reception. While daylight does stick around longer in the summer, by the end of the night you and your guests WILL be in complete darkness. And good ol’ Aunt Merna can hardly see in the daytime, let alone outside at 9:00PM. Make sure to hang extra lights from above if you’ve got plenty of tree cover. Or light half a dozen candles per table to help your guests see each other without blocking out the starry night sky. Or why not try a fresh approach with glow sticks or tiki torches? The options are endless.
5. SAFETY FIRST
Safety is obvious but often-forgotten. It’s most likely that your floor hasn’t been smoothed and carpeted, so rocks and rough terrain are all around. Scope out the area BEFORE all of your decorations are set up. It’s easy to miss a huge exposed root when it’s already been covered by an aisle runner. For rough or gravelled areas make sure that hand rails, chairs or ushers are available to give your elderly guests (or girls in 4″ heels) something to hold onto while they walk.
And most importantly … HAVE A BACK-UP PLAN FOR BAD WEATHER! Be prepared with the name and number for an available tent rental, if necessary. Do whatever you need to make sure your big day goes down without a hitch!
Well, brides — what do YOU think? What are you planning for your outdoor wedding? Do you have any more tips to share with our readers? Let’s get the conversation started in the comment section below!