Hi and welcome. Today we are here to talk about what to expect when planning an outdoor wedding or a garden wedding. This is a trend that I don’t think is going away anytime soon because, come on, they’re beautiful, romantic and just a little different than you typical wedding banquet hall. And when you see all these beautiful wedding pictures on Pinterest it’s hard not to fall in love with a summer outdoor wedding idea.
Most of the wedding venues that we work with are dedicated outdoors wedding venues or have the option to have part of it or most of the wedding done outdoors. If you have a nice estate you can also host your wedding in your own backyard or garden. Another popular trend in weddings is a barn wedding. This is such a huge trend that we will dedicate a separate article on this topic in near future.
So before you sink in a bunch of money on a garden wedding here’s what to expect. My first tip when it comes to planning an outdoor wedding is make sure that your plan B is as good as your plan A.
I find that a lot of brides who have their plan A as to have their wedding ceremony outside, then have your cocktail hour on a terrace, and then you move into a tent for a reception. This is beautiful wonderful and amazing idea if the weather, season and bugs cooperate… which hardly happens if ever.
What I always tell my brides is to have a plan B and if your plan B isn’t going to make you as happy as your plan A then this is not the right choice of a wedding venue for you. If you’re banking on your plan A working 100% you should think again.
We have a lot of brides who will say – you know what I’m not even making a backup plan because my outdoor wedding will be perfect. Guess what, on their wedding day not only it is rainy but it is 16 degrees and its freezing.
If you’re not going to be happy having your wedding at the indoor backup option then you shouldn’t choose this venue because I’ve had brides crying on their wedding day because they can’t have their wedding ceremony where they plan it. Or they can’t have their cocktails in the garden.
For example I had a bride this past weekend actually whose ceremony was off-site so it didn’t matter but cocktail-hour supposed to be outside. Well guess what, there was a thunderstorm and tornado warnings and we decided about two hours before cocktail hour that we were going to move cocktail hour into the tent. This worked out perfectly because the tent was already decorated and beautiful for the reception and that moving the cocktail hour in there was fine. It didn’t change much about the evening and everyone was happy.
If your plan B is going to make you look back on your wedding and say that’s not what I wanted then this is not the venue for you. Make sure your garden or outdoor wedding offers options that you will accept and be happy if the circumstances change. As they say hope for the best but be prepared for the worst.
Our next tip relates to your wedding vendors. Most of the wedding vendors are going to have some limitations when it comes to organizing an outdoor wedding. If you want chicken piccata for 300 people in the tented reception that’s going to be pretty hard for your caterer to do that. They either have to rent ovens to bring to the site or they have to cook everything off-site and bring it there and then you’re going to have soggy chicken piccata.
Some wedding vendors might not even give you that option and work with you if they have to work outdoor. For example a florists who can’t do floral arrangements in your tent. The flowers are going to wilt from being out in the heat so they can’t use certain types of flowers. They have to use more durable flowers and let me tell you durable flowers are not the pretty flowers.
Another example would be a baker. Your cake has to be refrigerated because it can’t stay out more than two hours. You either have to run a fridge or have a place where a fridge is readily nearby that they can pull it out the last minute.
In general all of your wedding vendors are going to have stipulations as to what they can and can’t do if the wedding is outside. Also you have to figure it out if there is electricity onsite or if there is potable water? All of these things have to be factored in and checked with all your wedding vendor so there are no issues.
Now let’s talk about bathrooms – you have to rent a trailer and it’s a lot of money. A nice restroom trailer will cost you anywhere from thousand to few thousands of dollars, whereas an indoor venue will offer this for free. You also need someone in charge of cleaning it during the reception, otherwise it will get dirtily really quickly.
Our next tip about garden weddings would be all additional costs associated with outdoor weddings. You’re going to have to pay to have a tent. You’re going to have to pay for the restrooms I mentioned earlier. You’re going to have to pay for equipment for the kitchen to be brought on site such as refrigerators, hot boxes and grills. You might have to pay for portable air conditioning or heaters. There might be extra delivery fees if it’s in the middle of a field in the middle of nowhere.
All these things add up really really quickly which awesome if you have a big budget but if you working with limited funds thing might get out of hand quickly and create a lot of headaches for you.
An alternative to a tented wedding would be a barn wedding. Barn weddings are super fun but again you have think about all costs. If it’s just a barn in a field that you’re renting out from a farmer the price is going to hike up really quickly. Also keep in mind you’re going to have to bring in all tables, all chairs, all dishes, glassware, flatware and linens.
Everything has to be brought in. Again it’s fully customizable, it’s really awesome you get to build your wedding day from the ground up but it’s going to be pretty expensive and not hassle free.
Some other issues that you will encounter and have to be OK with, such as the natural elements like bugs, flies and mosquitoes. Your dress is going to get dirty. Your shoes are going to get stuck in grass and mud. You have to be okay with dead bugs on your tables or even in your food, because as good as servers are these things will happen.
And when the weather turns nasty and it’s raining everything will get wet. Your guests might get wet, your food might get wet, and flowers might get wet. It might be freezing so everything might not look that way you were looking for.
So yeah those are all of the things you need to consider when having an outdoor wedding and I know that seems like a really really negative list but you have to be prepared for these things. You’re investing a lot of money in one day and that day should make you happy. Hopefully your wedding day will be the most beautiful day in the world.