5 Tips for Your Outdoor Wedding


Do you already feel nervous by the overwhelming number of decisions when planning your wedding?

Do you wish to get married under the open sky but the unpredictable elements of an outdoor setting make you second-guess your dream wedding?

Navigating the challenges of an outdoor wedding venue can be daunting, but with the proper guidance, it doesn't have to be. 

As a venue conducting hundreds of outdoor ceremonies, we at Zion Springs come to you with in-depth knowledge and experience and we want to share our best tips so you are certain to have a successful wedding. 

This article gives you essential tips and tricks that promise to transform your outdoor wedding planning experience. From weatherproofing your big day to ensuring your guests' utmost comfort, we promise to equip you with the tools and insights you need to make your outdoor wedding both memorable and seamless. 

Plan for inclement weather for your wedding

Outdoor weddings are undeniably romantic, but they also come with the unpredictability of Mother Nature. Ensuring your special day goes off without a hitch requires foresight and preparation for weather-related challenges. 

Before setting a date, research the typical weather patterns for your chosen location during that time of year. While no forecast can guarantee clear skies, understanding seasonal trends can help you anticipate potential challenges.  

Comfort for all weather conditions

For scorching days, consider providing personalized printed fans for your guests that swerve as a memorable keepsake of your wedding. Umbrellas are a must for potential rain. And don’t forget to weigh down napkins and linens to prevent them from flying away. 

Consider portable fans or air conditioners for warmer months to keep the tent cool. For colder months, portable heaters or even stylish fire pits can add both warmth and ambiance. Your guests will appreciate those little personal touches that let them know you care about their comfort. 

Communicate weather conditions with your guests

Keep your guests informed. If there's a chance of rain or extreme temperatures, let them know in advance, either through your wedding website, invitation inserts, or a quick email. This way, they can dress appropriately and come prepared. 

Tackle the bug situation for your outdoor wedding

The allure of an outdoor wedding is undeniable, but the natural setting often comes with uninvited guests: bugs. While these tiny creatures are a part of the outdoor charm, they can become a nuisance if not managed properly. 

Many outdoor venues have experience with local bug situations. They might have specific protocols in place or can offer additional suggestions based on past events. Don't hesitate to ask for their expertise.  

Here's how to ensure they don't overshadow your special day. 

Understand the local bug population

Different locations and seasons attract different types of bugs.  This means stinkbugs between March and September, and the ear-piercing buzz of cicadas from May to June.  If you are celebrating near a pond or lake, you might experience more mosquitos.  It helps to research or consult with local experts about the common pests during your wedding month.

Incorporate natural repellents in your decor

Being outdoors means sharing your space with bugs, so why not incorporate natural bug repellents into your table centerpieces and flower arrangements? When placed strategically, citronella candles in hanging lanterns can create a protective barrier around your venue.  Herbs like thyme, rosemary, lavender, and peppermint look beautiful and can keep pests at bay when tucked into the centerpieces.

Offer bug protection for guests

Consider providing bug wipes for attendees by placing them with the ceremony program. You can also set up a small station with wipes, sprays, and bug-repelling wristbands.   However, be aware that sprays might cause allergic reactions for some guests. 

Food and drink precautions

Bugs are often attracted to food and drinks. Ensure your catering team uses food covers and keeps sweet beverages covered until they're served. Also, consider using drink lids or covers to prevent bugs from diving into guests' glasses.

Inform and prepare your wedding guests

Keeping your guests well-informed and prepared can significantly affect their comfort and overall enjoyment of the day. Here's how to keep everyone in the loop and ready for the outdoor festivities.

Communication is key

From the moment you send out your save-the-dates or invitations, make it clear that the wedding will be held outdoors. This heads-up allows guests to plan their attire and any other necessities they might need.

Mention it in your invitations and on your wedding website, offering suggestions on essentials like sunscreen or parasols. You can suggest wearing long sleeves or a jacket to cover their arms for added protection from insects. 

Utilize your wedding website

A wedding website is a fantastic tool to provide guests with detailed information. Update it with weather forecasts as the day approaches, suggestions for attire based on the expected climate, and any other specific requirements related to the outdoor venue.

Footwear recommendations

While you want your guests to be stylish, comfort is paramount for an outdoor setting. Suggest layers for cooler months or breathable fabrics for warmer seasons. Depending on the terrain—be it grass, sand, or gravel—offer footwear suggestions to ensure your guests are comfortable and safe. 

Transportation and accessibility

If your venue is remote or requires walking across uneven terrains, consider arranging transportation like shuttles or golf carts. Ensure there's clear signage or guides to direct guests and make provisions for those who might need assistance; the elderly guests will appreciate this thoughtful touch.


Back up planning for an outdoor wedding

While the allure of an outdoor wedding is undeniable, it's essential to acknowledge the unpredictability of nature. No matter how much you plan, some elements remain outside your control. That's why having a robust backup plan isn't just a suggestion—it's a necessity. Here's how to ensure you're prepared for any eventuality.

Venue policy on inclement weather

Outdoor weddings are unpredictable. While we all dream of a sunny day with a gentle breeze, the weather can change instantly. Before finalizing your venue, discuss their provisions for unexpected weather changes. Do they have an indoor space that can be quickly set up? How have they handled sudden weather changes in the past? Their experience can offer valuable insights.

If your chosen venue doesn't have an indoor option, consider renting a high-quality tent that can withstand rain and wind. Some tents come with side panels, which can be particularly useful in rain or chilly weather. Remember to book well in advance, especially during peak wedding season.  Reserve a tent that is spacious enough to accommodate all your guests comfortably, aligning with your wedding's aesthetic.

Flooring solutions

While dancing under the stars is romantic, the reality of a muddy dance floor is less so. Consider renting a dance floor or other flooring solutions to ensure your guests aren't navigating tricky terrains, especially if rain is possible.

Check electrical and technical requirements

Rain and electrical equipment are not a good mix. Discuss with your vendors—especially those handling music, lighting, and photography—about their backup plans for adverse weather. Ensure there are safe, dry places for equipment and that they have contingency plans for power outages.  If feasible, it might be a good idea to bring your own backup generator.

Keep a flexible timeline

Weather can also impact your wedding timeline. For instance, if a brief rain shower is predicted, you might decide to delay the ceremony for a short while. Discuss potential timeline shifts with your wedding planner or coordinator to ensure smooth transitions. 

Consider getting wedding insurance

Consider investing in wedding insurance that covers weather-related disruptions. This can offer peace of mind, especially if you're getting married in a location or season prone to unpredictable weather. It can be as conservative or liberal as you need, and policies generally start around $150.

Choose experienced wedding vendors

Your wedding's success isn't just about the venue or the weather; it's also about the team you assemble to bring your vision to life. Vendors experienced in outdoor events can navigate the unique challenges posed by nature, ensuring that your day goes off without a hitch. Here's how to ensure you're partnering with the right professionals. 

Ask for outdoor wedding references

When shortlisting vendors, specifically ask for references or case studies from previous outdoor weddings they've managed. This will give you insights into their adaptability and expertise in handling the nuances of an open-air event.

Expertise matters

Ensure your vendors, from caterers to photographers, have experience with outdoor events. They should be equipped to handle challenges like remote kitchen setups or independent power sources for equipment. 

Work with your photographer/videographer to select the best backdrops for your photoshoot.  Give your entertainment crew a heads-up on what the sound and acoustics are for your venue. 

If you use a wedding planner, they can help you scout the location and offer suggestions and guidance on how best to stage your wedding.

Discuss contingency plans

Every experienced vendor should have a Plan B. Whether it's the photographer scouting alternative locations for shots in case of rain or the caterer's provisions for keeping food at the right temperature, understanding their backup plans can offer peace of mind.

Technical requirements and logistics

For an outdoor wedding, certain technical aspects become crucial. Ensure your sound and lighting vendors have experience with outdoor acoustics and can provide battery-operated equipment if electrical outlets are limited. Additionally, check if they have waterproof equipment or protective coverings in case of unexpected weather changes.

Catering considerations

Outdoor catering can be a different ballgame. Discuss with your caterer about their experience in setting up remote kitchen areas and if they have the equipment and capability to prepare and serve your meals outdoors. Ensure they have measures in place to keep food safe from bugs and at the correct temperature, be it hot or cold. 

You should check with your beverage vendor to see if they have ample ice on hand, especially during those warm summer months.

Transportation and setup

Some outdoor venues might have accessibility challenges, especially in remote locations. Discuss logistics with your vendors. Do they need special vehicles for transportation? How early do they need to set up? Their preparedness can significantly impact the day's flow.

Review contracts thoroughly

Ensure that the contracts with your vendors specifically address the challenges of an outdoor event. This includes setup and teardown times, additional costs for protective equipment, and any other unique requirements.

Avoiding the problems of an outdoor wedding

In this comprehensive guide to outdoor weddings, we've explored the essential considerations and provided expert tips to ensure your special day is nothing short of magical. From preparing for unpredictable weather to managing pesky bugs, informing and preparing your guests, having a solid backup plan, and selecting experienced vendors, we've covered it all.

At Zion Springs, we understand the challenges and intricacies of planning an outdoor wedding firsthand and our goal is to empower you with the tools and insights you need to orchestrate a seamless and unforgettable outdoor wedding experience.

Remember, your dream wedding is within reach, and with the right guidance and preparation, you can confidently navigate through any challenges that may arise. But the journey doesn't end here. For help on selecting the ideal setting, check out our article on how to choose a wedding venue. And if you're wondering about the number of venues you should visit before making a decision, our guide is a must-read. So, embrace the beauty of nature, bask in the romance of an outdoor setting, and let your love story unfold amidst the splendor of the great outdoors.