Pros and Cons of an outdoor wedding

Determining which venue to choose for your wedding and reception is the single most important decision that you will make in the course of your wedding planning. A variety of indoor options are available from the village lodge to the great hall of a historic mansion, but none of them can compare to the natural beauty and impact of an outdoor wedding. If you are considering holding your festivities outside, you will need to keep some important details in mind. Though an outdoor wedding can be gorgeous and create a type of ambiance not possible indoors, you will want to be aware of pitfalls that may plague your plans. Here are some of the most important pros and cons that you need to consider before you finalize your plans for an outdoor ceremony.



Happy Bride and Groom





Room to Breathe

If you are planning a large wedding, you may have difficulty finding a quality indoor venue to comfortably hold the crowd you expect to have. The wide open spaces of the outdoors rarely feel crowded or stuffy. You will have plenty of space for dancing, lawn games, and tables for eating. If personal space and fresh air are top priorities to you, an outdoor wedding may be an excellent choice.


Natural Beauty

No amount of crepe paper, glitter, or balloons can compete with the natural beauty of the blue sky hanging above colorful gardens, golden beaches, or fresh greenery surrounding your wedding party. For the lover of the outdoors, this type of wedding may be the only one that seems acceptable.



As with your wedding décor, few indoor venues provide the kind of backdrop for your wedding photos that an outdoor location will. Memorable, beautiful, timeless pictures can be created using the effortless, pure loveliness of the natural world. Just make sure that you make arrangements with your photographer to take pictures at the times of best lighting. They will be able to analyze what times of day will have shade, where the sunset will be best viewed, and how you can best take advantage of the sun for your wedding photographs.



Due to the almost limitless space and lack of building restrictions, outdoor locations allow your imagination to run wild. Do you want to put up a homemade backdrop, Roman columns, or potted palm trees? Would you love to have your guests gather around a bonfire instead of a dance floor? No problem. Though hanging items may provide a challenge, decorating outside is often limited only by your ingenuity. A live band brings an extra dimension of creativity and fun to your outdoor wedding.



In general, outdoor sites are less expensive to rent than indoor. Of course, this may not hold true if you are hoping to be married in the courtyard of a medieval castle, but you will usually find that an outdoor scene comes at a bargain price.



Your choice of wedding venue has the ability to create atmosphere as soon as people arrive. A location that has a special meaning to you and your fiancé will evoke even more emotion. You can set the mood and theme of the entire day by choosing a tropical beach, Victorian garden, or wooded park.




Cons of an outdoor wedding





Uninvited Guests

When you plan an outdoor wedding, you are sure to have some guests that do not send in an RSVP card. Bugs, birds, and maybe even a random raccoon are likely to crash your party. For those who are used to spending a lot of time outside, this may be an expected and acceptable part of enjoying the outdoors. For others, it could be a major irritation. Consider how willing you and your family and friends are to tolerate a few creepy crawlies during the wedding. If you are ready to take the plunge, minimize this issue with bug fogging before the party. Also light citronella candles or torches, install a bug zapper, and provide insect repellant spray during the festivities.



This is the obvious one that everybody worries about. Depending on the region and time of year, the dependability of your weather may vary. While planning an outdoor wedding in November may be quite risky, arranging one in June is probably less so. If you are not already, become familiar with the average (and high and low) weather in the area you are planning to be married. While we automatically think about rain, you should also be prepared for extreme heat or cold. Even high winds can put a damper on your celebration. You can set up tents to allow guests an opportunity to get out of the sun or rain, but that takes away from your wide open concept as well. Another possibility is having umbrellas available. If you have concerns about the weather conditions on your wedding day, make sure you have a back-up venue available.




That garden, beach, or woodland locale may be fantastic during the day, but what about after the sun goes down? Most wedding receptions carry on long after the sun has left the party. If you are using an outdoor location, make sure that you have a plan either for lighting or an early exit. As for the lighting for your photos, you will want to avoid taking your pictures when the sun is directly overhead. Keep the sunlight somewhat indirect for the best outdoor photos.



Those wide open spaces are difficult to fill up with sound. This may seem like a benefit if you are the type of person who gets a headache in a noisy crowd, but it can also become an issue. During the ceremony, it may be difficult for guests, who are not seated in the front, to hear the words of your vows. Even once the reception begins, you will want to be certain that the entertainment you have chosen has the capability to adequately fill your outdoor space. Few people are willing to get up and dance to music that can hardly be heard. On a related note, make sure that the power needs of each of your service providers will be accessible.



Public spaces, such as park or beach, may have legal limitations that can interfere with your party plans. Check if there are any local statues regarding serving alcohol, crowd size, or volume levels before you book. Also, make sure you are aware if that county park closes at 10pm.



Most indoor venues that you could book will provide tables, chairs, linens, tableware, and plenty of bathrooms. Make sure you consider all of the items that you will need to bring in for your outdoor reception. Tents, seating, lighting, and possibly even electricity may not be available on site. You will want to be certain that you are able to provide adequate bathroom facilities as well.


Whatever venue you choose, make sure your family and friends are aware ahead of time. Include information in the invitations if you are having a beach wedding and you do not expect your guests to show up in stilettos. Help them to prepare for high wind or lots of sun. Incorporate your wedding favors into making your guests more comfortable by providing fans, water bottles, sunglasses, or umbrellas. A well planned outdoor wedding can provide a fantastic time wonderful memories.


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