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5 Tips for An Ideal Outdoor Wedding

Expert advice on how to seamlessly pull off an al fresco wedding.
By: 
Sara Hubbard

Hosting weddings alfresco has become far more common, with pandemic safety concerns taking celebrations outside. While nothing is more romantic than a barefoot beach wedding or a woodland nuptial, the uncontrollable and often unpredictable forces of nature can quickly turn the perfect day to ruin. We’ve compiled the best advice from wedding pros to keep everything under control. 

1. NO HAIR OUT OF PLACE
The fiercest enemy of perfect hair and makeup is drizzling rain or high humidity. Try getting an updo for the ceremony and then letting your hair fall loose at the reception. After all, the last thing you want to worry about while saying your vows is your carefully coiffed hair blowing wild in the wind. In the same vein, stick to a matte lipstick to avoid the stickiness of gloss. Ask your makeup artist to use a liquid highlighter to best catch the light reflecting off your cheeks.



2. CHECK THE FORECAST. THEN CHECK IT AGAIN
Rain may be the first fear that comes to mind when considering how Mother Nature may misbehave, but there are many other ways she can wreak havoc as well. “Creating shade, and having available water or other beverages, ample seating and even a cute token such as paper fans that double as a ceremony program can assist guests struggling in temps above 75 degrees,” says Ashley Lachney of Alston Mayger Events. “A luxe touch would be to have catering come around with a chilled towel before dinner service.”



3. HAVE A BACKUP PLAN
Connect with the venue coordinator and your wedding planner on alternate ideas in case of unexpected rain, wind, hail, sleet or snow becomes an issue on the big day. “This would be a worst-case scenario,” says Alisha Reicks-Sturgill of The Indigo Bride. “You need to ensure there is an indoor option or the ability to set up an outdoor tent should mother nature have other ideas.” It is also important to consider a location’s weather patterns while choosing decor for ceremonies and receptions. “For example, the wind tends to pick up on summer afternoons in Central Oregon,” notes Reicks-Sturgill. “So, we do not recommend using top-heavy or tall florals at an all-outdoor affair.” Reicks-Sturgill also recommends keeping breezy weather in mind when selecting place cards, napkin folds and signage.



4. LET NATURE BE YOUR DECORATOR
An outdoor wedding provides the perfect opportunity to save time and energy on d cor. As Karalyn Demarest of Oregon Garden Resort knows, there’s no need to splurge on elaborate floral arrangements when they are already growing out of the ground. “Outdoor weddings can be great! Stress less about the decorations because you can use the natural surroundings of an outdoor venue to set the vibes,” Demarest says.



5. WIDE-OPEN SPACES
Keeping your celebration safe means keeping everyone at a distance from one another. Find a location with lots of open space that makes it easy to have your guests maintain socially safe distances. Also, figure out a seating chart ahead of time. Knowing which of your guests live in the same household means you can cluster them together, thereby letting everyone be separate yet together. Communication and organization are key here. Have your calligrapher put together a seating chart and name cards to provide a gentle yet clear reminder that caution is of the utmost importance.

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