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10 tips to help avoid weather disruptions at your outdoor wedding

By Chaffin Mitchell, AccuWeather staff writer
July 05, 2019, 1:42:50 AM EDT

Outdoor weddings are stunning and romantic, but they come with additional potential problems. Rain, wind, heat and other weather problems are all obstacles that can be overcome with the right tips and tricks.

Here are 10 ways to have a seamless outdoor wedding:

Pick a date according to weather

Think about what the weather will likely be at the time of day and month of the year of your outdoor wedding.

A heavy rain will soak the ground underneath, leaving guests with soggy and muddy shoes. Make sure any tent you rent is sturdy so it won't flip over, and that it has thick and weighted sides.

Wedding couple and groomsmen with bridesmaids walking on a rainy day with an umbrella.

Wedding couple and groomsmen with bridesmaids walking on a rainy day with an umbrella. (ASphotowed/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Inform your guests it's an outdoor wedding so they can plan accordingly

It is a good idea to give guests an idea of what to expect in terms of the venue’s setting as that way your invitees can anticipate how to dress to make themselves comfortable in the surroundings.

Layers are great to wear for the day-to-night temperature contrast. Guests attending a wedding in the great outdoors should be prepared for anything.

"Often the ceremony will be in the late afternoon, but by the time cocktail hour rolls around, a chill is setting in, so be sure to bring along a wrap," Jolene Harrington, media and communications director as well as venue specialist for Here Comes The Guide said.

Guests can do advance research on the wedding venue, either via Google images or social media, and view photos and videos of past weddings to get a sense of a venue’s typical setup to see if there is shade.

"If the outdoor wedding is a formal affair, the guys have fewer options, but choosing lightweight fabrics and lighter-hued jackets can help keep things cool," Harrington said.

Harrington's final attire tip is to bring sunglasses. Most ceremonies are held at sunset, and you don’t want to be caught on a beach staring at the glare bouncing off the surf.

Keep all guests in mind

Think about any guests that might have health conditions or a disability. It is important to make sure the venue is accessible for everyone.

If you or your family have concerns for someone with a health condition and are attending an outdoor wedding, ask the couple to help in advance.

It's good to have an accessible venue in case people need to relocate due to the threat of inclement weather.

Plan for windy conditions

Avoid light fabrics such as chiffon and china silks in your dress and the bridesmaid's dresses.

"One wind tip favored by savvy event planners is to tie up tablecloths to the table base. This provides an especially sleek look to cocktail high-tops as well as ensuring that linens aren’t left flapping in the breeze," Harrington said.

Hydrate your guests

Consider serving plenty of ice and water with a variety of lemonades, teas and punches.

Consuming alcohol can sometimes cause dehydration, so it is best to keep the alcohol for the reception after the ceremony.

Keep decorations weighed down

Weddings have many decorations, so it's key to make sure none of them will blow away in the wind. Because of this possibility, it's a good idea to pick heavier or weighted decorations.


(Image via Pixabay/Pexels)

In addition, it's recommended to secure all flowers and other light decorations with pretty garland.

Beat the heat

"For summer weddings where the heat can get intense, providing inexpensive paper parasols or even fans to guests do double-duty as cooling devices and mementos. If a spring shower is a possibility, have some umbrellas handy, even if it’s just to shelter guests from their cars to your backup location," Harrington said.

Printing wedding programs on palmetto fans is a great way to help keeps guests cool.

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Kick out unwanted guests

Mosquitoes can be a big nuisance during an outdoor wedding ceremony or reception, and there are some tricks to making sure they don't crash the party.

Strategically placed floor fans can provide a breeze across the area of concern and will serve to keep the mosquitoes at bay. Mosquitoes are weak fliers and will not be able to navigate properly against or within the air stream.

Be sure to put out citronella candles or a bug zapper so your guests won't spend more time swatting mosquitoes than enjoying their time.

"If it’s a wedding in nature you want, then nature comes with bugs. However, there are certain times of year where things are worse," Harrington said.

Have a discussion with the venue manager about their pest control regimen, and inquire if your date is at high risk for an unusually large amount of bugs.

For example, apple blossoms are beautiful, but they bring a lot of bees which could be a nuisance during a ceremony.

Make sure everyone can hear

Outdoor weddings can have many more noise interruptions than indoor ceremonies, for instance the sound of waves, gusty winds, birds or nearby people.

It is a good idea to rent a sound system with microphones for the bride, groom and officiant so all of your guests can hear you. Your DJ or band may be able to easily arrange this for you.

Have a backup plan

If you have the perfect venue during the perfect time of year, yet it still ends up raining on your special day, make sure to have a backup plan.

"Outdoor weddings come with risks, so having a Plan B is not optional--it’s a requirement. Whether it’s relocating the ceremony to the clubhouse, restaurant dining room or inside the barn, having an indoor retreat is a big plus when choosing an outdoor wedding venue," Harrington said.

A tent is an extra expense, but it beats getting rained out.

"If an indoor structure isn’t available, then discuss tenting options with the site manager before you book the venue, including the necessary timeframe for ordering," Harrington said.

For more tips and tricks, visit Here Comes The Guide.

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