Tips & Tricks

8 Things You Can’t Forget When Planning an Outdoor Wedding

I recently had a client consider the possibility of moving her wedding from a country club venue to her parent’s backyard this summer due to COVID-19. They asked me to give them a list of things that they would need to consider in making this switch. Obviously, a country club environment is much different than a backyard, and there are many other logistics to consider when going this route. I thought I would put together this list for anyone else who is considering this option, especially in light of the Governor’s briefing yesterday (5/20) in regards to indoor vs. outdoor events.

1. Catering. 

If you are no longer having your wedding reception at a banquet facility or country club, you still need to feed your guests. One positive aspect of a banquet facility is that food is usually included in your package price. That is no longer the case when you are moving the reception to your house and that’s why caterers exist! Get referrals from family and friends (or your wedding planner) who have used caterers that they were happy with in the past. I’ve found that the best types of caterers to hire for weddings are those that specialize in off-premise catering, meaning they likely don’t have a restaurant or banquet facility and they are used to working in places like backyards, parks, etc. with limited access to a water source and cooking equipment.

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2. Rentals.

Linens, tents, tables, chairs, China, a full bar, glassware, silverware and staff are likely things you don’t have access to at your home, or at least enough to serve your wedding guests. There are many rental companies that can help you with this and so much more, but it does often come at a hefty price, so be prepared. You can sometimes save a little money if you hire a “full service caterer” who can help you with these things as well. They have relationships with the rental companies and can sometimes get these things a little bit cheaper for you. And as a bonus, you don’t have to deal with it!
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3. Weather.
We all know that the weather is very unpredictable. It can snow in May or be sunny and 90 degrees in October.  You might want to consider air conditioners or heaters for the tent, and always have the sides that roll down in case of rain on standby. Your catering or wedding planning staff can roll them down at any point if it looks like rain (and we HAVE done this!).


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4. The Ground. 

Yes, the ground. It can be soft, wet, rocky, depending on where you are. You might want to consider getting a dance floor so guests aren’t dancing in heels on the grass. You can also purchase heel protectors for your female guests: http://www.heelsabove.com/

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5. Restrooms.

You’ll likely not want 100 guests going in and out of your house to use the restroom, and chances are your system may not be able to handle that. Restroom trailers are actually really nice these days! They come with multiple stalls, air conditioning, and pretty sinks. Definitely look into these, and make sure you have a space for it that isn’t going to be right in the middle of the party, yet not too far that guests have a long distance to walk when they need to use it

6. Parking.

This can be tricky and very dependent on where you live. I have shuttled guests from a nearby school or hotel and I’ve valet parked guests in the neighborhood. Your wedding planner will have some ideas after a walkthrough of your home and speaking with you about the details, but it’s definitely something you don’t want to overlook.

7. Electricity.

Make sure there is plenty of access to electricity for cooking equipment, lighting, band or DJ, etc., even if you need to rent a generator The last thing you want is to blow a fuse in the middle of your first dance.

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8. Bug Spray/Sun Block.

Maybe include bug spray or sunblock in the bathroom baskets or just on a table by the entrance to the tent. This will make your guests that much more comfortable being outdoors.

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