9 Tips for Outdoor Weddings: How to Prepare for Your Big Day
Everyone looks incredible. The weather is perfect. The colors are spectacular and everyone in the wedding party and on the guestlist looks happy. Your outdoor wedding is about to start.
Although everything might seem perfect in this moment, outdoor weddings can take a turn for the worst in only a few minutes. If you don’t have a roof over your head and climate control to keep your guests comfortable, your entire wedding is at the mercy of Mother Nature.
But with some advanced planning, you can eliminate or minimize the effects of these outdoor factors.
Preparing for Your Outdoor Wedding
Outdoor weddings are growing in popularity not only because of the season but also because of the coronavirus. With COVID-19 a threat during weddings, many brides and grooms are following CDC guidelines to socially distance outside for extra protection against the virus. Whatever your reason for holding an outdoor wedding, here’s how you can prepare:
1. Heat: Think about keeping cool. Because most outdoor weddings occur in Spring, Summer and Fall, high temperatures can come into play. You don’t want your guests baking in the sun for 30 minutes before the procession starts or have them leave with sunburn as a party favor. A few suggestions: Start on time so no one has to be out there longer than necessary. Make sure people are aware, in advance, that this will be outside and, possibly, unshaded so they can prepare with sunblock, hats or an umbrella. Provide a small tent so people can retreat into some shade before or during the service. Offer cooled water bottles and even chilled washrags to provide some relief. Many couples order customized fans so the guests can create their own little breeze. Some fans can even double as programs for the ceremony. Allow at-risk and elderly guests to stay in a building with AC until the last minute before the big event begins.
2. Cold: How will you stay warm ? We recently performed at an outdoor wedding on May 9. It was 36°F when the bride came down the aisle. No one would have expected that, but it happened. The bride was determined to keep it outside and smiled through the whole thing. We also booked one for February 14 in Virginia where they plan to have it outside. Suggestions: Alert the guests beforehand that the wedding will be outside so they can dress appropriately. Offer packs of hand warmers so guests can put them in their pockets. Rent portable heaters to offer some comfort. Any protection from the wind is a good thing on cold days.
3. Wind: Could it become a problem ? Wind is hard to predict and plan for, but anything can happen! We have seen brides’ veils get blown off, an officiant have their notes blown into a lake, a customized mirror welcoming guests get blown off a stand, a unity candle that won’t light, musicians sheet music sail off a stand and across a field, the aisle-runner whipping into a twisted mess and ceremony programs floating into the air and littering the lawn. Suggestions: consider a wind-friendly unity ceremony, hand out programs instead of placing them on seats, and have a backup copy of the ceremony notes handy, to name a few.
4. Rain: Can you get wet ? Here’s hoping you get a beautiful, clear sky on your wedding day, but that little black cloud could appear and disrupt your plans. Suggestions: Have a Plan B. A different location or inside option is most important. Set a time to make the call and determine, once and for all, where your wedding will take place. Remember, people have to be moved, chairs may need to be wiped down, and sound and video equipment need to be reset and tested. Check the weather radar. Things may look grim two hours before the start time, but with the help of technology, you might see some clearing coming which would make it worth holding out for a bit.
5. Noise: How loud are your surroundings ? Whether it’s in the city or in the country, you might be surprised how loud your surroundings are. Traffic, AC units, helicopters, and even babbling brooks can create distracting background noise.
6. Sound: Can people hear ? In an outdoor setting, the human voice does not carry as well as in a church or other acoustically complimentary spaces. The Officiant does 90+% of the talking, so they would be most important to be heard. A handheld wireless mic on a stand offers the most flexibility because the Officiant can talk and then spin it around toward you so we can hear your vows. Then spin it back. The Officiant can also step away for a reader to use the mic. The clip-on lapel mic is popular because there is no stand in the photos, but they are not as flexible because they cannot be shared and are prone to feedback and other tech issues. Suggestion: Ask your Officiant if they provide their own sound—many do now. Check with your venue to see if they offer that service—some do. Your musician(s) or DJ may be able to provide this, but there could be an extra charge for the time and/or equipment rental
7. Seating/chair spacing: Make people comfortable. Most outdoor wedding venues have plenty of space, so why are the chairs set up touching each other on each side ? Most people are wider than the chair, so they have to uncomfortably rub up against each other in a completely preventable way. Suggestions: Request that chairs be spaced “two-fists” or at least 6-8 inches apart. Also include an EXTRA two feet between rows front to back so tall people’s knees don’t bump up against the chair in front of them. This also allows latecomers and people who have to excuse themselves during the service to do so with minimal disruption. Avoid seating with any metal components because they get hot.
8. Music: Make sure people can hear ! Because there is no built-in music, you have the choice of live music or DJ recorded music. There is no wrong answer depending on the style of music you want. Suggestions: Consider amplification for the instruments. Most acoustic instruments are not designed to be amplified, so you cannot expect a solo Violin or Cello player to have that service to offer. Some do and we recommend it for many outdoor settings. Keyboards, amplified guitars, electric violins and DJs usually provide their own sound, but ask to make sure.
9. Distancing: Is everyone healthy ? We’ve seen more and more couples choose outdoor weddings partially as a way to combat the coronavirus. If you plan to hold your wedding during the COVID-19 outbreak, consider ways to keep everyone healthy and safe. Social distancing with chairs and tables is a good first step in keeping your wedding coronavirus-free, and slashing your guest list to only the most essential people is another. You could also consider our Micro Luxury Weddings as an option for a high-class wedding without the risk of a large crowd.
Bonus Tip: Expect the unexpected. Picture this: A resident goose blocks the aisle as the Bride enters for her Procession and then sits on her train during the service, elderly Aunt Phyllis turns an ankle on the uneven grass or gravel and needs medical attention, the Bride’s veil gets snagged in a sharp edge of a concrete step or a pack of motorcycles roars by as you are doing your vows. These are all things that happen.
You may experience one or two – or none – of these issues during your outdoor wedding, but you can smile, wait and proceed because the most important thing is that in a few minutes you will be married and the celebration can begin.
Steven Vance has provided high-quality corporate entertainment and wedding music for over 20 years and more than 10,000 special events in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, DC, Virginia, New York, and surrounding areas.
Steven Vance Entertainment
YES, we are doing micro-weddings and mini-ceremonies. Ask us to put together a special package for you to get married NOW with all the style, class and fun our music can add.
KEEPING UP WITH STEVE
FRIDAY OCTOBER 16
Steve is doing an Electric Violin/DJ Package for a Ceremony and Reception at the Beaver Train Station.
SATURDAY OCTOBER 17
Starts at St. Killian Church with Steve and a pianist playing a Catholic Mass.
Then he moves The Mansion in Butler to perform a PopRock Electric Violin and DJ Package for a Wedding Ceremony and Reception. Plus, Uplights and photobooth.
SUNDAY OCTOBER 18
Then another Electric Violin & DJ Package for a Wedding Ceremony and Reception at Succop Nature Park.
We will also have performers doing weddings at Greystone Manor, Stone Tower Winery in Leesburg VA, Lemont, St. Bonaventure Church, Southpointe Golf Club, the Old Stone Church, Lingrow Farm and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in Youngstown.
Hope to have more coming soon.
Electric Violin live from my back deckMaybe Sunday September 27.- if the weather is nice. Go to my Facebook page (link below) to watch. LIKE my page so you can check announcements and see invites. SHARE with your friends are my new friends. In the meantime, you can also watch all of the sessions (15) we've done so far. Many of them are now posted on our YouTube Channel. Click the icon above.
We've had a wonderful turnout for these so we plan to keep doing at least one every week. The next one will be posted here and on our Facebook and Instagram pages. Update soon.
Steve plays Electric Violin on "Circles" by Post Malone PopRock Electric Cello plays "Best Day Of My Life" by the American Authors Cadillac Jazz Trio (Sax, Keyboards and Bass) plays "All The Things You Are" PopRock Violinist Charles May plays Justin Bieber's "Love Yourself" Steve plays Electric Violin on the new Duo Lipa song "Don't Start Now"
See over 400 on our YouTube Channel. Enjoy !
"I’m on my way to my honeymoon, but I wanted to send you a quick email to say thank you. Tiffany and Lorenzo were both fantastic and made sure my wedding was wonderful. Tiffany’s music was stunning, and it was easy to work with her. But what I really wanted to let you know was how wonderful Renzo was! He went above and beyond for me the entire time I was working with him. He was very communicative and easy to talk to in advance. He came out to visit the venues with me so that he would be prepared, and was generous with his time and very patient. He made sure he had all the info he needed. He was professional, and fun to work with. And he was a great DJ! Set everything up very well, kept the guests entertained, on the dance floor, and kept my timeline going. He even gave a little salsa lesson to my guests because I told him it would mean a lot to me, and everyone had a blast! Anyway, I’m sure you know all of this (and I need to get to my honeymoon), but he was so wonderful throughout, I just wanted to let you know :) I know he will do excellent work for many more of your brides in the future!"
"We just got back to New York yesterday and wanted to send a quick note to thank you again so very much for being a part of our bootleg backyard wedding on the 3rd. I'm so sorry that I didn't get a chance to say hi in-person - everything was such a whirlwind that day! This year has been a rocky one to say the least with everything going on in the world, but it was all so completely worth it to still be able to get married on our original date. You were a huge part of that, and we are forever grateful. Hope you have a great rest of the weekend, and we'll see the trio in December for the big wedding :)"
"Steve was a must-have for our wedding as he did my sister's 8 years ago (and we loved him) and should be a must-have for your event! Not only does he do an amazing job MC'ing and DJ'ing, and running the event, but the live violin - WOW! The violin adds elegance to your event that guests will continue to talk about for years to come. Steve also is an expert in the field, leaving no worries for the bride-to-be in the event. I knew our reception would run perfectly with him in charge and it did. Highly recommend!!" Paige & Russ 3/14/20 Soldiers & Sailors Hall
SUNDAY 11/8 - RESCHEDULED FROM MARCH 29, JUNE 14 AND SEP 13
Look for us at the Pittsburgh Bridal Showcase at the David Lawrence Convention Center from 12-4:30 PM.