Outdoor wedding ceremonies have gained popularity in recent years. Locations for outdoor weddings range from beaches, to mountaintops, to gardens. Once you have found the ideal location for your wedding, you need to determine if it is the right space for your wedding ceremony. When planning an outdoor wedding, consider the following.
1. Is the space large enough for the number of guests you are expecting? Also determine if there is enough space to set up chairs for your guests, a place to make an aisle, and also a spot for the ceremony to be conducted. You can ask your guests to stand if you are planning a short ceremony and you are not expecting any elderly guests, or guests with disabilities.
2. Is there a spot on site you can use as a backup in case of rain or bad weather on your wedding day? If not, you might want to consider another location, or see if you can set up a tent at the site you have selected.
3. Is there any natural shade at the location you selected for your outdoor weeding? It is understood that most outdoor weddings take place during summer months, however you should be sensitive to the fact that your guests may have to endure hot weather conditions while you exchange vows. If you are set on a space without any shade, there are ways to work around it. You can offer a water bottle to each guest as they approach your ceremony site, or you can simply place a water bottle at the foot of each chair for your guests to enjoy. Another great idea is using a wedding program in the shape of a fan, rather than the traditional paper program.
4. What is the texture of the ground at your outdoor wedding location? If the ground is uneven or wobbly, you might need to consider installing a wood floor over the ground of your site to avoid any injury. You should also explicitly state the site of your wedding ceremony on your wedding invitation or save the date card. This will allow your guests to prepare ahead of time and dress accordingly.
5. Are there restroom facilities close by? Will they be easily accessible to your guests? If not, you should inform your guests ahead of time. You can do this by simply enclosing a pamphlet of your site with your wedding invitations. If your site does not have a pamphlet or website, consider creating your own to include with your invitation or on your wedding website.
6. Is parking easily accessible? If there is a long walk from the parking lot to the site of you wedding ceremony, you might want to consider an alternative location, especially if you are expecting elderly guests, or guests with disabilities.
7. Is there access to electricity at your location? This is important for two reasons: lighting and sound. If you are planning a daytime wedding ceremony, the former may not be relevant, however for an outdoor evening ceremony, you might want to line to aisle and ceremony area with lights. Another option here is to use battery operated candles to line the aisle. These are plastic and come in a votive, and can be used regardless of whether power is available. Do not use real candles! Someone could get hurt, and there is a chance they will not stay lit for the entire ceremony. Sound is also important. You want to ensure you can have microphone and speakers for your ceremony. This will ensure that all your guest can hear you exchange vows during your wedding ceremony, and also that the music you selected will be heard (if you use a live band for your ceremony they might require amps). Do not forget that you will need a minimum of 3 songs at your wedding ceremony, a prelude which will play as guests enter the ceremony area, a processional which will play when the bridesmaids and bride walk down the aisle and the recessional, which will play when the bride and groom are officially married and walking down the aisle after the ceremony is over.