35 Brilliant Tips for Your Outdoor Wedding Reception

Guest table with navy blue and sunflowers by Engstrom Photography

Tiffany Tullgren

April 26, 2022

A bride and groom having their first dance. Photo by Ashton ImageryChoosing to have an outdoor wedding is a beautiful option with many benefits. You might envision getting married on a beautiful day. The temperature is perfect, and not a cloud in the sky.
 
Most of the time, this is how your day will go. However, if the weather does not cooperate or some other issue arises, don’t let it affect your happiness on this most important day. As with any event, you need to prepare for any unforeseen situations that may arise. You can avoid any issues with proper planning.
 
One of the most significant concerns many couples have when considering an outdoor wedding is the weather. No matter what time of year it is, the weather can be unpredictable. The key to easing these concerns is to have a solution for any kind of weather that may show up on your special day and to have the right attitude.
 

Tips for Hot & Sunny Weather

“Oh, the Summer Night, has a Smile of Light, and She Sits on a Sapphire Stone.”
-Bryan Procter

If you plan your wedding during the summer season, you may want to prepare for some hot temperatures. You want to be sure you and your guests are comfortable and can enjoy the beautiful outdoor location to its fullest. Here are 15 tips on how you can make the most of your outdoor summertime wedding:

    Market lights, twinkle lights, and lighted LOVE letters at an evening wedding. Photo by Photo by Ashton Imagery

  1. Consider an evening wedding. Sunset is such a beautiful time to say, “I Do!” Set your reception aglow with some sparkly, twinkle lights, which will make for a magical summer evening celebration.
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  3. Provide lots of cold water and refreshing non-alcoholic beverages, infused waters, lemonades, or iced tea before and after the ceremony and reception.
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  5. An open-air tent can also be a great way to provide some welcome shade for your guests from the sun’s heat while still allowing a refreshing breeze.
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  7. Choose a menu with a lighter, fresh theme. Fruits, salads, grilled meat, and fish are a great way to keep the food option appealing on a hot summer day or night.
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    Quote graphic that says, At a hot summer wedding, provide guests with parasols or personalized hand fans that can double as wedding favors
     

  9. Be sure to speak with your florist or floral wholesaler to choose the best flowers that stand up to the heat.
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    Wedding party holding parasols, photo by Darling Photography

  11. Provide parasols or personalized hand fans that can double as wedding favors.
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  13. When choosing the wedding attire for you and your wedding party, don’t forget to choose light and airy fabrics.
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  15. Ask your venue if they have golf carts to transport guests who may have difficulty walking from your ceremony or parking area to the reception area.
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  17. Provide baskets of travel size sunscreen for any guests who may need some, and if you are in an area prone to mosquitos, some travel size mosquito spray as well. Citronella candles positioned around your venue can also be helpful.
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  19. Consider renting an ice cream truck so your guests can get a delightful cool treat.
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    Groom and bride making their grand entrance; photo by Engstrom Photography

  21. Place fans strategically to keep the air flowing.
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  23. Speak with your stylist regarding what type of hair and makeup products she plans to apply. You will want products that can stand up to the heat and last throughout your whole celebration. If it’s possible, do a trial run with her hair and makeup products before your special day.
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  25. Consider renting misters so guests can cool off.
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  27. Provide special wedding flip-flops for the dance floor.
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  29. On your special day, stay hydrated and then dance, laugh, and enjoy however hot it is.

 

Tips for Cold & Rainy Weather

There is an old wives tale that involves the saying, “tying the knot.” It is said that a knot is harder to untie when it is wet, so it is good luck to have rain on your wedding day. So, while you may not be hoping for rain, if it comes, don’t panic. Just prepare using these 10 tips:
 

    Rebekah Townley Photography took this photo of a bride and groom entering their reception

  1. When choosing wedding attire, consider heavier fabrics and perhaps a jacket or shawl for the bride.
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  3. Keep a close eye on the weather forecast. About 80% of the time, you can get an accurate forecast seven days out, which goes up to 90% for a five-day forecast.
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  5. A tent is an excellent option if the forecast calls for a cold or rainy day. There are many different sizes and styles. You can work with a local vendor to choose the perfect tent for your wedding.
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  7. Have shawls or blankets on hand so anyone feeling the chill can cuddle up and stay warm. Patio heaters are also a great option, and you can even rent propane firepits.
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  9. Consider recommending your guests choose appropriate footwear for walking on a lawn or pathway with some moisture. Stiletto heels may not be the best choice in this situation!
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  11. You may want to give your guests access to a complimentary umbrella. Clear umbrellas are a great option so everyone can still enjoy the feeling of being outdoors and see each other’s faces when chatting.
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    Photographer Kayla Ashton Webb directs a bride and groom at the Rough and Ready Vineyards

  13. Contact your photographer/videographer to ensure that a plan is in place to capture your amazing day. Rainy weather can create romantic and unique pictures.
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  15. Have some delicious hot cocoa on hand to warm your guests up, and perhaps make a warm signature cocktail available, like mulled wine or hot toddies.
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  17. Hire a food truck that serves coffee, espresso, and other warm beverages.
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  19. Most importantly, embrace the weather—dance and laugh in the rain. If your guests see that the rain isn’t dampening your joy, it will not dampen theirs.

 

Tips for a Windy Wedding Day

Wind can be a factor whether the day is warm or cold. If wind is in the forecast, just make a few adjustments:
 

    Photo of desserts at a Rough & Ready Vineyards wedding taken by Ashton Imagery

  1. Have your florist create low-lying centerpieces that won’t topple over.
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  3. Check with your caterer to ensure there are proper coverings for the food.
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  5. Choose your hairstyle wisely. If you have long hair and are planning on wearing it down, you may want to consider an updo, so it isn’t blowing in your face.
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  7. If you were planning on candles, substitute LED candles that will stay lit and provide that romantic ambiance.
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  9. Avoid paper napkins
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  11. As décor, bar, and signage are being set up, put someone in charge of looking around for what could blow away and secure any of those items with weights or replace them with an alternative.

 
Quote graphic that says, If rain is forecast, contact your photographer/videographer to ensure that a plan is in place to capture your amazing day. Rainy weather can create romantic and unique pictures.
 

Other Reception Tips for Your Outdoor Wedding

In addition to the weather, here are four other outdoor wedding tips that can be helpful:
 
Golden hour photo of groom and bride by Darling Photography

  1. If possible, schedule a venue tour during the same month or season you plan to have your wedding. You can envision which flowers and décor will work best with the foliage, making it an excellent inspiration for your wedding theme.
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  3. When you have an outdoor wedding, and it’s windy, your guests may not be able to hear your voices during your ceremony and at the reception. Consider having a microphone available. Determine if a microphone or lavalier-type sound system is ideal for your wedding. Your DJ can generally help with this.
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  5. A wedding website is an easy way to keep your guests informed of any updates or changes to your wedding. You can post there that some weather is coming in, you need to adjust the time, or you want to recommend they bring a jacket.
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  7. As you plan your outdoor wedding, prepare and research what you may need if you find out there will be inclement weather on your day. You don’t want a panic one week before your wedding! You’ll be ready to contact any additional vendors you need or make any necessary adjustments by being prepared.

A local DJ, I Am Moment, recounted one of his favorite wedding stories. “I remember one particular day when it was raining extremely hard in the middle of July at an outdoor wedding venue,” he shares. “This random fluke caused them to build a small tent that barely fit the people in it. He said everyone laughed as each member of the bridal party would be pushed by wind, and their umbrellas would pull them. Often, they had to ditch them because they wouldn’t close as they entered the tent to walk down the small aisle. I had to wipe my lens every two minutes because of the mist. Even through all that I captured the day and the bride and groom who couldn’t stop smiling with excitement as the party went on.”
 

Most Important Reception Tip for Your Outdoor Wedding

The most important thing you need to do on your wedding day is enjoying your special occasion. If something doesn’t go as planned or issues arise, keep a sense of humor and focus on the positives.
 
Do what you love, and invite the people you want. Dance to the songs that bring you the most joy. Eat the best food you’ll ever have. Be king and queen for the day. Enjoy every moment. Make memories that will last a lifetime with the person you love.
 
If it rains, dance in the rain; if it is hot, kick off your shoes and run through the misters. Your guests will follow your lead. Focus on your celebration of love and let everything else go.

35 Brilliant Tips for Your Outdoor Wedding Reception
Tiffany Tullgren
Written by Tiffany Tullgren

As Venue Manager for the Rough & Ready Vineyards, Tiffany has a genuine love and passion for planning and organizing weddings. She shares, “Being able to create memories that will last a lifetime for you and your guests is so rewarding. I enjoy making your dream wedding day come true!” Tiffany specializes in personalizing wedding services for each client and handling stressful event situations with grace.

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