Be Prepared for Outdoor Weddings

The Scout Motto is ‘be prepared,’ and that’s exactly what I advocate for outdoor weddings. I am often amazed at how unprepared couples, especially brides, and wedding guests are for an outdoor wedding.

Threatening weather is the most confusing.

Weather is always an important factor in how you will enjoy the outdoor celebration. Too hot, too cold, too much sun in your eyes… it all adds up to either a wonderful experience, or something to endure.

Here are some tips on how to be sure your outdoor wedding experience is fantastic.

One of the best things you can do is alert you guests in a very obvious way to dress appropriately, and be prepared. Include clear suggestions on your invitation or perhaps use an insert into your invitation.  Language such as: ‘Please know that our ceremony will be outdoors, and come prepared for the weather, from head to toe!’  Or how about ‘don’t forget your hats and gloves for our outdoor ceremony.’

Proper footwear (or none) is important.

For fall or even winter weddings (yes, people do still stay outdoors for the ceremony even in the cold) place blankets on the chairs, every other chair works well; or place them, tied with ribbons in a basket or box at the entrance. Like many good ideas it isn’t necessary about money, you can simply round up blankets from family and friends. Or if you’d like to splurge, order lap blankets as favors to give them to your guests.

You are also doing your guests a big favor by advising them on footwear! I suggest women bring a change of shoes – something right for outdoors, and then to put on if the reception moves inside.

A basket of sunglasses in the summer would be awesome and useful, or perhaps visors or sun hats! I officiated several times this past year where the sun was glaring in the guests’ eyes. It was not comfortable for them. Most spent the entire time with their hands up over their eyes for shade. Having a few large fans to create a nice breeze would really make a big difference. Doesn’t seem too difficult to me, but I’ve yet to see anyone do that.

A charming wedding even with rain!

You may be wishing for a charming spring wedding, but often it’s still a bit chilly. Those gorgeous strappy sandals and summery dresses looked great in the store but now your bridesmaids are shivering. Be prepared with a gift of a pashmina wrap, to match their dresses, of course! Bring stockings for the bridesmaids as well.

The most difficult decision at ‘go time’ is when the weather is threatening. Do you go ahead outdoors if it might rain? It would be great to have a basket of umbrellas available in case of a light sprinkle, something not heavy enough to force you indoors.

These are just a few practical ideas, I encourage everyone to think through all scenarios for your wedding planning – not just your ideal vision.

Beautiful under the umbrella.


Thank you Lisa Rhinehart – as always – for your beautiful photography!

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