Have a backup plan
Choose an alternative indoor site that can accommodate all of your seating and decorations in the event of rain.
Get approval and permits
These are required if the site is a public park. This involves liquor licenses, garbage removal and determining if candles are allowed.
Prepare for wind
See that the altar, all flower arrangements and other decor are securely anchored.
Set up sound
Wind, the sound of water or a nearby activity may be a factor. You may need a sound system with clip mikes for the officiant and bride and groom.
Discourage mosquitoes and bugs
Use a few citronella candles or a bug zapper to discourage pesky bugs.
Plan for safe dining
If the reception is also outdoors and it is a hot day, have plenty of lemonade, tea and punch to quench thirst. Avoid dishes with mayonnaise that don’t maintain well in heat.
Preview the site
Visit the site a couple of days prior to the ceremony to ensure that grass is mown and the area is in great shape.
Assure guest comfort
If it’s a hot day, have the ushers give the guests bottled, chilled water as they wait for the ceremony to begin.
Develop personal touches
- Have an arch or trellis suitably decorated that will act as the ‘altar’ when you say your vows.
- Save empty soup cans. Spray paint. Trim with ribbon so they will hang from a chair back. Fill with confetti or petals to shower the couple at the end of the ceremony when they walk down the aisle.
- Have the service program printed on a fan so if the weather is hot, the guests can cool themselves.
- Insert all candles in clear glass cylinders to protect against wind.
- Scatter flower petals along the aisle to add drama to the walk toward the altar.
- Set up towering standards at each side of the altar with large tree branches spray painted in white and a cluster of roses circling the bottom of the arrangement.
- Arrange bouquets of small white or silver balloons as pew ends.
- String lights through any nearby trees for evening services if power is available.