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Is an Outdoor Wedding Right for You?

Sure, outdoor weddings look so lovely in pictures and the romance factor of saying your "I Do's" with your loved one in the open air, surrounded by nature sounds just dreamy. And it can be, but before booking that "perfect" outdoor venue, consider these questions.

1. What is your Wedding Date? We live in the Mid-West, this means it can snow in November, reach the 90 degrees in May, and rain anytime at all. If you are betting that Mother Nature will be kind because it is your day, you are playing with fire. When you have an outdoor wedding, you are at the mercy of the weather. Even the slightest breeze can play havoc on your beautiful decor while send programs and sheet music soaring through the air.

2. What Time is Your Wedding? Timing is crucial when planning an outdoor wedding. Even if the weather is perfect, you want to avoid sitting your guests directly under the sun, or they will get hot. Likewise, your photographer will have a challenge getting those perfect shots if they have to deal with a glaring sun. Additionally, many outdoor sites have strict rules about sound levels; this could limit your choices of entertainment for the reception.

3. Do you have the Budget? Many couples assume that choosing an outdoor location will save money on their overall budget. The fact is, outdoor wedding tend to be more expensive. While that lovely park setting's rental fee may be free, you must consider that all of the necessary amenities that are included with indoor sites (i.e., electricity, tables/chairs, toilets, speakers, lights, etc.) are extra for outdoor location. In addition to the extra cost of renting these items, you also have to consider the logistics and time required for their delivery and setup.

4. Is an Outdoor Wedding Right for Your Guests? If you have older or very young family members and guests, you need to consider that they are not able to tolerate extreme temperatures as well as you. Additionally, it is not uncommon for RSVP'd guests to bail if they feel the weather is going to be too uncomfortable.

5. Does the Venue have a "Plan B" Location? Some very popular outdoor sites offer a "Plan B" option in case weather makes it unsafe to have your wedding outside. If you are fortunate to rent a venue with this option, make sure it will fit all of your guests and that it still fits into your vision for your wedding. If your dream outdoor wedding ends up in a basement, you may be a very disappointed bride.

6. How Private do you want your Wedding? Unless your wedding location is a private outdoor venue, you will have to deal with on-lookers. Weddings in public parks will require someone to sit and guard the rentals and decor until the ceremony begins. You will also want to consider hiring security to make sure your guests are safe and you don't have wedding crashers.

Outdoor weddings can be beautiful, but they do take much more work than traditional indoor venues. If you fall in love with an outdoor venue, just make sure you consider the pros and cons of the venue. With smart planning, helpful vendors, and a little luck, you can have the lovely outdoor event.

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