How to Have an Amazing Outdoor Wedding

The sun is finally shining and the birds are chirping. Although we’ve been locked in and cooped up all spring (...and year, but who’s counting) we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel: SUMMER! With summer comes warmer weather, sunny days, and long nights - the perfect recipe for a great outdoor wedding. In the same breath, that recipe for a great outdoor wedding can quickly become a recipe for disaster...

Warm weather turns to heat exhaustion, that sunny day turns to raccoon eyes from sunglasses, and that long night can turn into an extremely short evening; spent curled up next to a porcelain throne (on the plus side, at least your hair is already up). Luckily, the Unmistakably You team has your back to make sure your guests, your wedding party, and yourselves can celebrate safely while making memories that you’ll actually remember, and that won’t leave you burned.

1. Water
This one seems so simple but think about it. On a normal day, do you drink the recommended amount of water? Didn’t think so.

If you did answer yes, well done! - but add in the mimosas, the length of the day, the lack of food, the added emotions, the fabric of your apparel, standing in the sun, walking for photos, socializing AND the heat - well I’m dehydrated just typing this. Pack a case of water for safekeeping in your transportation, hide a few bottles of water under the head table, have a glass of water for each drink you have, and never be ashamed to pack that YETI mug filled with water for your photos - just be ready to put it down from time to time. Of course depending on your venues restrictions they may not allow you to bring outside water bottles in, so always ask your venue coordinator or have your planner double check for you!

Having a water station for your guests before the ceremony and throughout the cocktail hour is a great way to help your guests stay comfortable and hydrated while staying in the sun for the afternoon. Remember, it doesn’t need to be anything fancy or flashy, water on a hot day is beautiful in itself. If you did want to spruce it up try adding some sliced lemons, oranges, strawberries, or mint for a pop of colour and flavour.  (Just make sure to have someone clean up the glassware, or hide some recycling containers nearby for used cups).

2. Sunscreen + Shade

From one fair-skinned friend to another, base tans do nothing. It doesn’t matter if you’ve laid out for hours the week before the wedding, if you work in construction or if you never get burned, you will still get a sunburn the morning of your wedding without wearing sunscreen- it’s just how it goes. To beat the heat, make sure you lather up, seek shade as often as possible, and make sure your wedding party does the same.  (Also, your future selves will thank you when you still look like your wedding photos in 20 years!).

When you go for your venue walkthrough, map out areas of tree coverage for the best options for your ceremony site and cocktail area where the sun won’t affect anyone’s view or experience. If your venue is an open landscape with little to no coverage consider offering your guests parasols before the ceremony, looking into tents, or utilizing patio umbrellas throughout your ceremony seating that can then be transported to your reception area. If you’re thinking of the parasol route, make sure you factor in the wind before you’re having a Mary Poppins themed ceremony… As always, make sure you plan ahead who’s doing the moving and setting up your self-made shade so you’re not stuck!

3. Bug Spray & Bug Repellent
Like I said before, we’ve been cooped up for a year and we always seem to forget the nasty bites and itches mosquitos bring. If your photographer is inspired to take an incredible shot where you’re tucked into a wooded area, you’ll be thankful you read this blog, and even more thankful that you sprayed yourselves down with bug spray. I don’t think I’m alone when I say that calamine lotion & itching couples don’t photograph well.

Having bug spray and repellent available for your guests is a great way to prevent guests from getting bitten, and guarantees that they’ll have a more enjoyable time! No one wants to stick around outdoors when they feel like they’re being eaten alive - including yourself! Utilizing citronella plants or candles for your table decor, or hiring a company to spray the entire area in the days before the wedding are also ways to repel those uninvited guests throughout dinner. Check out this DIY option from Pallet & Pantry

4. Outlets and Electricity

Let’s have a moment of silence for the twinkle lights that couldn’t twinkle, the microphones that couldn’t be heard, and the lighting fixtures that could have been. 

Back to reality: OUTLETS PEOPLE, OUTLETS! The beautiful open night sky is hardly enough light to illuminate your reception site, especially after a few drinks, so power is important. 

If you do have a tent, plan to buy a few extra string lights to help brighten the space. You can check how bright the lighting is the night before if possible, and add in your own lights wherever they're needed.

Keeping that in mind, make sure you are aware of where, and how many outlets you have access to, because that will be your deciding factor for your floor plan more often than not as well as your deciding factor of whether you opt for solar lighting or not. Ask the venue if there’s ever been an issue with accessing electricity or blowing a fuse with your type of equipment. Pack a few extra extension cords, as well as ground pegs to help hold down the chords to avoid tripping, or ensure that cords are strung up along the top of the tent walls and kept out of traffic paths.

Whenever possible, opt for solar lights or battery operated lights; the less cords the better in my books! Think of high traffic areas you’d like illuminated such as paths to your washrooms, the bar, the parking area and any area where tripping or falling may be an issue. 

5. Less Than Ideal Weather Conditions
Let’s get one thing straight; I have fun in nature and dance in the rain more than the average girl, but even I have my doubt in Mother Nature when it comes to “perfect weather”. One thing I don’t doubt is that being stuck in poor weather conditions without a plan is not fun. Having a rain plan is one thing, having a wind plan, a humidity plan, and a “wait, I thought it was July, why is it only 7 degrees outside” plan will set you up for success and comfort.

There are a few key things you can do to protect your wedding day from poor weather:

  • Keep an eye on previous years’ temperatures to give yourself an idea of what to expect
  • Look at the temperature for the entire day - it may be warm at 2 pm, but is it going to cool off after 9 pm? Maybe offer a Baileys & coffee toast to warm everyone up!
  • Follow the radar on precipitation as well as wind - and make sure you buy some zip ties to secure your decor and florals! 
  • Offer blankets, scarves, umbrellas, fans, etc. to help your guests stay comfortable
  • Tell your guests that your wedding is outdoors, most will know to plan ahead to make themselves comfortable.
  • Don’t forget about yourself! Make sure you can stay cool when you need to, but warm up when you want to!
  • If the forecast shows rain, see if it's possible to have the tent put up early to keep the ground underneath dry.
  • Have a plan for drying out high-traffic areas (in front of the bar, the path to the washroom, etc.) if it is raining. Mulch, straw, or heavy-duty rubber mats work wonders.

At the end of the day, if you’re reading this blog you have already battled the largest storm - I won’t even say its name. 

~Jacqueline, UY

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