Outdoor weddings have become more popular over the past few years and for good reason. Nothing beats the beauty of nature, open spaces, and saying “I do” under the warmth of a clear blue sky. But outdoor weddings have their caveats too. Whether you are planning an outdoor wedding or were invited to one, here are some survival tips to keep in mind.
1. Wear Comfortable Shoes
The last thing you want to do is stumble across a rocky pathway or sink your stiletto into the grass. If you’re planning an outdoor wedding, give your guests a heads up with information about the venue in the invitation. Include an information card that lets them know the wedding will be held outside and that they should consider wearing lawn-friendly shoes. Wedges and ballerina flats are perfect for outdoor weddings.
If you absolutely must wear stilettos or kitten heels, do yourself a favor and pop a shoe plug onto the bottom of the heel. Shoe plugs act as stabilizers by increasing the surface area on the base of the heel so you don’t sink or fall into a crack. Plus, they are small and indiscreet so you do not have to worry about them distracting from your shoes. Plugs can be found on websites like Heels Above and Solemates, or check your local stores.
Another way to keep shoes from sinking, especially bridesmaids’ as they stand during the ceremony, is to place flat stones for the bridal party to stand on. You can find stones like the ones below at your local home improvement or a landscape supply store.
The flat standing stones are a great idea for beach weddings, as no shoe plug in the world could keep a heel from sinking into the sand. For couples planning a beach wedding, a basket with flip flops for guests to wear and take home is a welcome treat. Especially if dancing is on the schedule. Of course, there is always the barefoot option. Another option would be to set up a shoe valet area where guests can “check in” their shoes before heading to the ceremony space. Afterwards, offer them a towelette that they can wipe their feet with before putting their shoes back on.
You can find affordable flip flops of all sizes and colors at places like Old Navy or do a search on Etsy for a more customized look.
There is nothing worse than feeling miserable at an event because you are either sweating or shivering. If you are a guest to an outdoor wedding, consider packing a small hand fan for hot days and a light cardigan, shawl, or jacket for cool nights.
Couples having an outdoor wedding can provide guests with things like hand fans, blankets, bottles of water, umbrellas, and sunglasses. Not only will the items keep guests warm or cool, they can also serve as wedding favors. Fans and sunglasses can be purchased in bulk on wedding favor websites like My Wedding Favors or through Etsy, if you prefer handmade. For wholesale umbrellas check out Top Wedding and Umbrella Bazaar.
3. Plan for Wind and Rain
No one really thinks about wind damage until it blows a gust and things start flying, including hair! If you’re planning to have an outdoor tent at your wedding, make sure it can stand up to high winds and have a more stable indoor backup plan.
Ditto for rainy conditions. Stock a basket or bin with umbrellas for guests to use or place an umbrella on each guest’s chair. Have towels and hair dryers available in the bathroom facilities. And definitely have an indoor space ready to go in case weather conditions get too bad. Colin Cowie of Colin Cowie weddings suggests sending a rain card with the invitation to notify guests about alternative plans. Something as simple as, “In case of heavy rain, please note that the reception will be held in the ballroom.”
As a guest to an outdoor wedding, check the weather a day before the ceremony and plan accordingly. Even if it seems like blue skies are in the forecast, keep an umbrella in the car just in case, along with something like a pashmina to keep you warm.
4. Pack the Essentials
The essentials being sunscreen, bug spray (especially during the summer), blotting papers, and sun shades. Because no one wants to deal with a sunburn, itchy bites, melting makeup, and squinty eyes.
Couples having an outdoor wedding, especially during the summer months, can provide little “essentials bags” as welcome favors. You can include items like shades, sunscreen, aloe vera, bug spray, blotting papers, bottled water, small snacks, and other fun stuff you think guests might enjoy. Add a customized tag (couples name and wedding date) to the bag for a personalized detail. There are tons of tag options on Etsy, like the ones above by The Paper Medley.
5. Stay Hydrated
There will most likely be alcohol and everyone knows alcohol can dehydrate, so bring a bottle of water with you or, if you are planning an outdoor wedding, provide bottles of water and other refreshing drink options like lemonade and tea. How about setting up a drink station as a convenient place for guests to fill up and stay hydrated? This is especially important during the hot months when the sun zaps hydration as much as the alcohol does.