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Professional Tips to Ensure a Snafu-Free Outdoor Wedding

Industry experts offer up their advice for managing Mother Nature on your big day.
Sara Hubbard

Hosting weddings al fresco has become more and more common with pandemic safety concerns bringing celebrations outside. While there is little that is more romantic than a barefoot beach wedding or a woodland nuptials, the uncontrollable and often unpredictable forces of nature can quickly turn the perfect day to ruin. Not to fear, though, as we’ve compiled the best advice from wedding pros to keep everything under control. From hair and makeup to venue, take a scroll down to find the best ways to mitigate disaster when celebrating lifelong love in the great outdoors.

Not a Hair Out of Place

Photo by @weddingsbywainwright, courtesy of @alstonmaygerevents

The fiercest enemy of the perfect hair and makeup look is a drizzle or high humidity. Try an updo for the ceremony and letting your hair down come the reception. After all, the last thing you want to worry about while saying your vows is whether a piece of hair is stuck to your face. In the same vein, stick to a matte lip style, to avoid the stickiness of glossier options. Ask you makeup artist to use a liquid highlighter as well so as to best catch the light bouncing off your cheeks.

Make it a Vacation!

Photo by @sandalsresorts, courtesy of Molly’s Caribbean

If you’re going to have your wedding outdoors, may as well have it in paradise. Molly Sumption, owner of Molly’s Caribbean, recommends a little jet setting to make your celebration special. “Sandals & Beaches All-Inclusive Caribbean Resorts offer complimentary outdoor ceremonies and receptions that are inspirational, imaginative, and innovative. Whether a "Minimony" for two followed by a celebration party back home or an island ceremony including family and friends, Caribbean Destination Weddings are the perfect way to combine a wedding and honeymoon,” Molly says.

Let Nature Be Your Decorator

Courtesy of @oregongardenresort

With an outdoor wedding comes the perfect opportunity to save time and energy on décor. An oceanside sunset or a magical forest make for the ultimate in gorgeous backdrops. As Karalyn Demarest at 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,” Karalyn says.  

Check the Forecast. Then Check it Again

Photo by @randyrandallphotography, courtesy of @alstonmaygerevents

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. Remember that extreme heat, high winds or high humidity can all take a toll on you and your guests. Tents can be a good solution to any number of meteorological mishaps – blocking out harsh sun as well as rain. “Creating shade, having available water or other beverages, ample seating, and even a cute token like paper fans that double as a ceremony program can assist us PNWers struggling in temps above 75 degrees. A luxe touch would be to have catering come around with a chilled towel before dinner service,” says Ashley Lachney of Alston Mayger Events.

Wide Open Spaces

Photo by @eannphotography, courtesy of @alstonmaygerevents

Keeping your celebration safe means keeping everyone at a distance. Find a location with lots of open space that makes it easy to socially distance your guests. 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 is 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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