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Are You Brave Enough To Walk Down The Aisle With Mother Nature?

This is the time of year when so many brides-to-be are planning summer and fall weddings. After gathering costs for various indoor venues, many budget-conscious couples decide to go the outdoor route in an effort to save money. I feel it’s my duty as a seasoned wedding planner and decorator to tell you that even if the outdoor space is free, there are going to be some new and significant costs associated with your choice, not to mention a few interesting challenges. Please don’t get me wrong—I love a beautiful outdoor wedding or outdoor tent reception as much as any starry-eyed romantic. I just know it won’t necessarily be less expensive and will probably be MORE stressful. Here is how I know this:


*Unless you own the land, there will probably be a rental fee for the outdoor space and other limitations such as use of certain in-house caterers (golf course) or vendors.


*You are essentially building your own venue out of thin air. At the very least, you’re going to want to rent seating and some type of alter. Most likely, you’ll also want a tent or canopy, tables, linens, lighting and flooring, especially if you’re hosting an outdoor reception.


*While the outdoors does provide the beauty of nature, you’ll still need to create that wedding ambience with flowers, centerpieces, lighting, aisle runners, etc.


*The ability to hire your own caterer can be a plus, just make sure you consider any additional costs for travel, dishes, stemware and flatware, and set-up and tear-down. Plus—since there may not be access to a host kitchen (or even running water), your caterer will have some extra hoops to jump through. Be prepared.


*If there is no electricity available, you’ll have to hassle with generators and lots of electrical cords. Even if there are a few outlets, it’s probably not enough. Be sure to have this part figured out BEFORE the big day.


*Consider the bathroom situation. Depending on the number of guests and your location, you may have to rent port-a-potties…and consider the possibility of wearing your wedding dress inside a port-a-pottie. For some brides, this is a deal breaker.


*Speaking of bathrooms, is there a space for the wedding party to get ready? If not, you may need to get ready off-site and then travel to the wedding area. Where will the bride wait before the ceremony? How about the groom? A lack of indoor spaces can create some unique challenges here.


*Remember to think about parking. If there is not a parking lot nearby, you’ll need to figure out where to put all those cars. Consider the possibility of mud before settling on a nearby field.


*Actually, consider the possibility of mud altogether. In the event of rain, do you have a back-up plan? What about all that mud? This is where you may want to consider renting a tent, flooring and ramps.


*Not to scare you, but mud isn’t the least of your worries. Let’s talk about WIND. Yes, I’ve seen bad weather deal a brutal “blow” to a beautiful wedding more than once. Tornado shelter, anyone?


Ouch. Reading back, it DOES look like I’m trying to talk you right out of that meaningful “wedding on the farm” idea. This is not the case. Some of my favorite weddings were outdoors—they make for amazing photos and can be absolutely breathtaking. I just want to be the voice of reality here. You can’t control the weather, the bugs or the humidity. The lack of control can be scary, so you should really  have an indoor back-up plan nearby. But if you’re ready to invite Mother Nature to the party, I’ll be the first to jump in and help you with the details. Even if I have to do it in my hot pink rain boots.

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