Things to consider when planning an outdoor wedding…
Are you organized? Get out a notebook and start collecting wedding ideas, vendors, dreams. It’s never too early to start planning.
Are you money smart? Start with a budget that matches your dream. Be realistic. Research what your money can buy. A tent with electricity and a dance floor can run anywhere from $8,000-$15,000, and that’s not including food, drink and entertainment. Know what you want and what you can afford.
Is your dream defined? How do you want your guests to feel? What words describe your dream wedding: a romantic intimate gathering at dusk? A fun party that goes on all night? A hip happening brunch? Let your vision and must-haves define your list, from food to format.
Who will coordinate all the arrivals and the set up? Hire a wedding planner. They will be there to coordinate the entire wedding day.
Will your location really work? Is the house or yard big enough? Have a good flow for all your guests? Have spots for various activities from signing the guest book to cutting the cake, walking down the aisle to hanging up coats? Is the yard level?
Is the location legal? Is there a limit to how many people you can fit in the house? How many cars can park in the street? How much noise you can make at night? How much electricity can be sent into a tent? How many portable restrooms you can park on the lawn? Find out what your town requires and what permits and inspections are needed in advance.
Are you wired adequately? You’d be surprised how much juice a portable kitchen or a band uses. Do you need generators?
Have you warned the neighbors? If you don’t want complaints, either warn the neighbors and thank them with a little gift, or invite them to the wedding.
Where will you put stuff? If you need to move furniture out of your house for dancing or dining room, where will you put it?
Have you checked the calendar? Make sure you know what other big events are going on in town the weekend of your wedding. The season’s big ball game or prom can affect traffic and the number of hotel rooms available for your out-of-town guests.
Sit or stand? Do you want guests to sit during the ceremony or stand? Will you use the same chairs for the ceremony as for the sit-down dinner? If yes, who will move them from one spot to the other — and when? How many chairs total do you need to rent? Also: have you considered a lounge grouping? Some couples prefer to rent couches for an informal reception.
Dance on grass? If you’ve ever tried it, you know it’s not a great idea. How big of a dance floor do you want to rent?
Do you have enough potties? You need to consider having one bathroom for every 50 people.
Do you do windows? Make it easy on yourself, hire cleaners for before and after the wedding.
Are you picture perfect? Does the yard or home need a bit of sprucing up? It’s fine to do some painting and landscaping but make sure it’s done well in advance of the wedding weekend.
Going buggy? Depending upon the time of year, you may need to arm your guests with insect repellent or plan to have lots of citronella candles around.
Who will pick up the trash? Arrange for extra garbage pickup.