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6 Questions to Ask When Planning Your Outdoor Wedding Ceremony

 Look at this sunset!!! Photo by Clane Gessel Photography.

Look at this sunset!!! Photo by Clane Gessel Photography.

Planning any wedding ceremony is a big undertaking, but an outdoor wedding ceremony requires another layer of research. Our Stylish Occasions Team has been a part of numerous weddings, and we’ve seen an uptick in the number of couples who want to host their ceremonies outside, which is understandable when you consider how many beautiful venues are out there in Central PA and beyond!

Before you plan your outdoor wedding, here are some questions you need to ask ahead of time so you can ensure you have a perfect day!

 Photo by Brianna Wilbur Photography.

Photo by Brianna Wilbur Photography.

What lighting does my photographer need to capture the best images?

You can have the prettiest dress and a beautiful setting for your ceremony, but if the lighting is bad, it will definitely show in pictures. Harsh light can wash you out, making photographs look blown out. Light that is too low can make photos appear too dark.

Talk to your photographer about the type of light they like to shoot in. Filtered light outside is the best, and you’ll want to make sure the sun is not beating down right on you – you won’t be happy when you find out you were squinting in all of your ceremony photos!

 Photo by The Wiebners.

Photo by The Wiebners.

What will make guests more comfortable to attend an outdoor ceremony?

Guest comfort is something that more and more couples are making a high priority at their events. Here’s what to keep in mind for your guests if you’re having that outdoor ceremony:

  • If it is summertime and scorching, consider permitting more casual dress for the event. If you’d really like a black tie affair, consider choosing spring or fall for an outdoor ceremony. Those in full gowns and tuxes will thank you!
  • When guests arrive, the first thing they will look for is most likely the restroom and a drink station, especially if they have had a long drive. Make sure the restroom is accessible and well-marked and consider placing a beverage station down by the ceremony location. For summer, go with classics like water, iced tea or lemonade. If it will be chilly for your wedding, coffee and hot chocolate always go over well when paired with a water station!
  • During the peak of summer, pick a ceremony area that will be shaded for your guests! Look for a venue that has trees or price out what renting large shade umbrellas would be for the ceremony.
  • If it's hot consider offering fans to guests. You can even print the ceremony programs on the fans.
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Is the reveal at the ceremony important to me?

Before you plan your timeline, you and your fiancé will have to talk about whether or not you want to have a first look the day of your wedding. If you decide you do want to see one another before the ceremony and take photographs, the grand reveal at the ceremony is usually not as crucial.

However, if you plan to have the first time you see one another be at the ceremony, you’ll want to make sure the ceremony area allows for a good reveal. Think about where you can station yourself before you walk down the aisle!

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What happens if it rains?

It’s better to have planned for rain and not need the plan than to be scrambling as storms come rolling in at your outdoor wedding ceremony! Our StylishO team is seasoned in how to deal with weather events.

When you’re considering a venue, ask what their backup rain plans are. You’ll want to make sure you have a back up plan just in case!

Do I need electricity at the ceremony area?

Having an outdoor wedding ceremony out in the middle of nowhere in the woods may seem like a grand idea, until you realize there is no electricity for the sound system or microphone! Always ask your venue if they have electrical access at the ceremony area you are considering to avoid any unforeseen hurdles.

 Photo by Jeff Benzon Photography.

Photo by Jeff Benzon Photography.

What type of décor will work outside?

A nice breeze can be pleasant on a hot summer day, but your décor may not appreciate it! When buying ceremony décor, consider heavier items that will not blow over in a gust of wind. If you're having a unity candle during the ceremony make sure the candles are enclosed so they don't blow out.

Also, if your reception is in a tent and the sides will be open, think about items that will be on the table. One good wind will blow escort cards, menus, or table numbers if they are not weighted properly.

Are you considering an outdoor wedding ceremony? What concerns do you have? Feel free to leave a comment below!