Friday, June 16, 2006

Outdoor Weddings

It’s summertime and the air is filled with the sweet scent of flowers and love. Weddings al fresco are all the rage. What could be more beautiful than taking your vows in a flower filled garden; the sun gently settling behind the mountains in the distance bathing the world in reds, pinks and oranges? Not much, until you factor in the heat, humidity and bugs.

Every year there are brides that fall into the trap of thinking only of the beauty of the location and forget the reality of outdoor weddings. If you are planning an outdoor wedding without the help of a wedding planner, let me offer some lifesaving tips. And I mean things beside the obvious one about an alternate plan for rain. You already have that don’t you?

Today I want to talk about comfort, yours, your families, your guests and your vendors.

First, the happy couple.

Brides please consider how many layers of fabric you will be under. Each layer of fabric in your skirt or lingerie adds heat. Think less not more. Shoes must be accounted for too. Those stilettos you found that are oh so sexy are going to sink right into that lovely lawn, save them for the honeymoon. If you are wearing your hair down for your ceremony, consider a way to get it off you neck later. The last outdoor wedding I worked, the bride finally resorted to a plain rubber band ponytail by mid reception. Trust me, it did not enhance her look. Plan your up do in advance.

Guys, that tux may be the stylish statement you want to make but please reconsider. A full tux is hot inside in the winter, why would you insist on making yourself and your boys miserable on the happiest day of your life. An outdoor location lends a certain air of informality so go with it. Wear a summer weight suit or blazer and khakis. Even if you are planning your ceremony for early evening when (hopefully) it has begun to cool, your pictures will be in late afternoon at the hottest part of the day. That means at least an hour posing in the blazing sun trying to look fresh and relaxed, not limp and sweaty.

For your family and guests.

A good host concerns themselves with the comfort of their guests. Please let you guests know that this will be an outdoor event so that they may dress appropriately. Offer cold beverages such as bottled water or lemonade as guest arrive. Your guests will appreciate something cold as they sit in the garden awaiting your grand entrance.

Try to arrange your site so your guests are not starring directly into the sun as they watch you make your vows. If it is the only way to orient the site consider passing out cheap sunglasses for a fun and funky touch. What a fun shot that would be; everyone from Granny to your three-year-old niece in matching Ray-ban knock-offs.

Speaking of Granny, provide your older guest some shade or other relief from the heat. It is just the smart thing to do.

Creepy crawlies.

Check to see if your site sprays for insects prior to an event. If they don’t, see if you can hire it done. Have plenty of insect repellant on hand for your guests. You can stock it in the bathroom baskets along with some sunscreen for those that forgot.

If your cake will be outside protect it beautifully under a festive mosquito net. Bugs love sugar, guests don’t want to eat bugs, and caterers don’t want to have to pick them off.

The staff that makes it all happen.

As you plan your al fresco soiree tell every vendor you hire that it is outside. They can suggest subtle changes that will make the day go smoother. Your florist may suggest alternate flowers that give a similar look but hold up to the heat better. Your caterer may need a tent to prep in and you musicians may require shade for the sake of their instruments. Listen to your vendors; they have been there, done that, got the sunburn. Your hair and makeup person needs to adjust for the heat and humidity. Tell everyone even if you think it will not matter.

I know that this all sounds rather doom and gloomy and I don’t mean to dissuade you from having your outdoor wedding; I just want you to be prepared so you have the best day possible and the wedding of your dreams
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