Many people want to get married outside. I don’t blame them. My husband and I did it too. The morning of our wedding presented us with a dark grey sky and ominous clouds. Not good. However, we were very fortunate because the sky cleared at 5 PM, and our wedding was at 6. Whew!
Out in nature is the place to be. Last summer I performed several outdoor weddings. Lovely! However, when you are planning your wedding, you will want to consider the pitfalls of that choice. A ceremony out-of-doors needs more consideration than simply choosing heels that don’t sink in the grass.
Season and weather, are, of course, your first considerations, even before picking that perfect open-air spot.
If you choose summer you might bake yourself and your guests. An old aunt may faint, or an overheated infant may scream. The groom and groomsmen might be sweltering in their beautiful jackets that you took such care to choose. Always make sure your wedding site has adequate shade, and a light breeze can make the temporary tropics more comfortable.
Tradition says it is good luck if it rains on your wedding day, but a downpour can be a soggy disappointment. Dramatic thunderstorms can be exciting and romantic, but if you don’t have a high tolerance for the unpredictable, you will want to be very particular about your Rain Plan. I watched one bride drag her elegant train through a muddy puddle. Fortunately she didn’t notice it right away, so it didn’t push her nervous system to the edge just before the ceremony. Most venues offer a wise rain plan. Be prepared to use it.
You might also have chattering teeth when you say I Do. When you are choosing your gown, and your attendant’s ensembles, be sure to make them appropriate to the season. I have watched bridesmaids literally shivering in strapless summer gowns in September. It seems to me that brides don’t notice the cold because of excitement and nerves, but the wedding party sure does. If you choose spring or fall, make sure you plan for a jacket, shrug or shawl for your attendants who will be standing very still. The men are lucky. Their suits reduce the chill.
High wind can play havoc with your gorgeous hair, or you may find yourself flashing more leg than you want to. Beach and hilltop weddings can bring unwanted gusts. Try to choose a spot with some trees or a windbreak of some kind. You will be glad you did. Your officiant will be glad too. Reading the ceremony is much smoother if the pages aren’t whipping around like leaves in a twister.
How about winter? I once officiated an outdoor wedding in January. No ice storms or blizzards billowed out of the sky – just blue sky and sunshine. It was even a touch mild, which made it possible for all of us to be toasty in our warm coats. It was certainly a gamble though!
The natural world can offer other challenges too. Late August and early fall bring something that can try even the most level set of nerves. Wasps. In September I held my breath when a wasp hovered around a bride’s open mouth as she spoke her vows. I was afraid it would fly right in! It briefly landed on her cheek and then all of us sighed with relief when the insect decided to investigate the flowers instead.
Another bride had an exquisite white lily in her hair. Unfortunately the bees and wasps found it very attractive and they kept landing on the bride and on her veil.
Remember, all of you look and smell resplendent on your wedding day. Critters also think so. If you are the shrieking, arm-flapping type around stinging insects, make sure the venue has done something to keep them at bay.
As for people….. well, I guess we are the least easy to predict and control. I was performing a marriage on a beach. The wind was wild, but the rain was holding off, so we were grateful. However, during the ceremony a boatload of people starting shouting and cheering for the wedding. They had good intentions, and the bridal party enjoyed the attention, but it interrupted a wedding ceremony at a sensitive moment.
Go ahead, make your plans for your big day in the great outdoors. It will be wonderful! But, plan accordingly. Be flexible, easy-going and relaxed, because anything can happen, and it just might.