Outdoor Wedding Etiquette

  • 01 of 07

    Plan the Details

    Outdoor wedding
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    An outdoor wedding can be breathtaking if everything goes as planned. However, certain things may create havoc, particularly if the elements that are out of your control don’t cooperate.

    Although the most important aspect of the day is that you’ll be married when it’s over, proper etiquette dictates adequate planning to include backup strategies for anything that can go wrong. Before scheduling your wedding at an outdoor venue, check on whether or not you’ll need a permit and follow up to make...MORE sure your event is legal.

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  • 02 of 07

    Prepare for the Elements

    Wedding tent
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    Start by making sure the venue has some sort of shelter in case it rains. If not, you should consider renting a tent large enough for all your guests to stay dry.

    Remember that a tent may wind up being hazardous on an extremely windy day, so it’s best to discuss that with the tent rental company. Most will give you a range of how much wind the tent can handle.

    Remind your guests that bees and mosquitoes love fragrance, so they should avoid dousing themselves in perfume for the event. Have a backup...MORE plan in case the weather makes having an outdoor wedding too miserable to endure.

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  • 03 of 07

    Bride's Ensemble

    Bride walking on beach
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    If your wedding is outdoors, don’t forget about the elements when selecting your dress and hairdo. An intricate lace pattern might get snagged on an uneven ground surface. An aisle runner may protect the dress during the walk down the aisle, but after the vows, you’ll want to circulate and mingle with guests, so keep that in mind when selecting your dress.

    Elaborately coiffed hair may fall and look wilted on a humid day. Choose a wedding hairdo that enhances your hair's natural tendency...MORE rather than try to fight it. In a battle between your desire to look gorgeous and the weather, the weather will win every time. You don’t want to spend too much time fussing over how you look.

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  • 04 of 07

    Wedding Party and Guest Attire

    Bridal party
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    Work with the elements of the outdoors when choosing bridal attire and dress code. A wedding at the beach involves sand and water, so consider that when deciding on the bridesmaids’ dresses and dress code for your guests.

    Insisting on having everyone in formal gowns and heels can make everyone miserable. Not only will everyone enjoy the event more if they are comfortable, the pictures will look much nicer if your bridal party and guests are smiling.

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  • 05 of 07

    Wedding Reception Food

    Wedding reception dessert
    knape / Getty Images

    One of the most challenging aspects of having an outdoor wedding and reception is protecting the food. Not only do you run the risk of the elements making the frosting on the wedding cake run, bugs can be the worst party crashers.

    Consider cupcakes instead of an elaborately decorated cake, and replace them from sealed containers as the guests pull them off the display. Keep all food covered until time to serve it. Place it in covered areas. Keep cold food cold and hot food warm. Most wedding...MORE caterers know what to do, but discuss it with them beforehand to prevent last minute disasters.

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  • 06 of 07

    Wedding Guest Comfort and Safety

    Wedding reception table
    Thanakorn Phanthura / EyeEm / Getty Images

    You want your guests to be comfortable and safe during your wedding, so make sure there are plenty of places to sit and no obstacles that might cause someone to fall. If small children will be in attendance, someone should watch them at all times.

    You’ll want to have a smooth path for elderly and handicapped guests to find their way to their seats. Putting one of the ushers in charge of looking after those with special needs will give you some peace of mind. If your outdoor wedding doesn’t have...MORE an adequate sound system with enough speakers for everyone to hear the vows, seat those who may be hard of hearing close to the front.

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  • 07 of 07

    Protect the Wedding Gifts

    Wedding gifts
    Buccina Studios / Getty Images

    If you have a gift table, place it in a protected location. You want to avoid having all the pretty wrapping paper ruined if it rains.

    Assign someone to keep an eye on the table to make sure a party crasher doesn’t take something that is intended for the happy couple. Have a place where your gifts can be secured.