A wedding reception can happen anywhere, but more and more people are choosing to do theirs outdoors. And why not? It’s pretty tough to match the ambiance the open air and a beautiful sunset can provide. However, an outdoor reception area can also trouble the unprepared bride. So here are a few things to keep in mind:

1.) Pick a practical location. Putting a significant amount of money down on a pricey winery location won’t be good if they let you decorate it. Choose a spot with a bit of room for guests to mingle and a spot for you to walk down an aisle. Oh, and always, always be conscious of the price.

2.) Provide some shelter. Even if the forecast is 90 degrees and sunny for the next three weeks, a tent or some covering is absolutely necessary. First, regarding weather predictions, you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket. Second of all, the sun is just as harmful as a rainstorm. It melts cake and chocolates. It ups the temperature a good 20 degrees and as an extremely fair-skinned individual. Also, makes it incredibly difficult to enjoy the experience unless I’m completely drenched in sunscreen.

3.) Provide bathroom facilities. It might not be the most romantic topic, but it’s necessary and won’t be free. You need to plan for this in your budget.

Keep this in mind

4.) Inform your guests. As I mentioned, I’m incredibly fair-skinned, so last year, when I attended what was described as an “outdoor, tented wedding,” I was relieved. The 2-hour ceremony, however, was not held under the tent. It was held in an open field in direct sunlight. While the bride was in the middle of her vows, I desperately hoped the SPF 15 in my body lotion would hold up.

5.) Plan accordingly for food. Some foods don’t keep as well as others outdoors, and some foods are more difficult to eat outdoors. Finger foods, like lamb skewers, small sandwiches, or small deserts, are always sure bets. It’s also to keep in mind the temperature, though. Also, cupcakes with delicate frosting may melt in high heat, and that’s never appetizing.

6.) Work with the natural setting. If you’re getting married on the beach, you don’t need to look far for decorations. Driftwood and seashells can be used to carry the beach theme throughout your setting. And if you’re getting married in a garden or a field, consider using a trellis or gazebo to add some structural interest to the area.

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Outdoor Wedding Do’s and Don’ts