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Checklist for Planning an Outdoor Wedding

Are you dreaming of getting married by the ocean, in a lush garden or in the familiarity of your own backyard? Outdoor weddings are romantic and stunning, but they require careful planning and preparation. Learn how to plan an outdoor wedding ceremony and reception with this checklist!

Manage Your Budget 

Planning an outdoor wedding can be a major investment. If money is a concern, it is totally possible to plan an outdoor wedding on a small budget

Sit down with your spouse-to-be and anyone else who will be helping you pay for your wedding to discuss the amount of money you have to dedicate to it. From there, make a list of wedding expenses and how much each will likely cost. Identify where you can cut corners and where you’d like to splurge.

Below are a few tips to keep your wedding affordable:

  • Choose a weekday date: Many venues offer discounts if you book your wedding between Sunday and Thursday.
  • Choose flowers that are in season: Out-of-season flowers are more difficult to source, therefore more expensive. 
  • Use a friend as an officiant: See if someone special to you has a marriage license. If not, these licenses are easy to obtain online.

Consider Hiring a Wedding Planner

If you’re not quite a do-it-yourselfer, or you just want the peace of mind that comes with having a professional in your corner, a wedding planner can be invaluable. Wedding planners will guide you in selecting every detail of your wedding, ensuring nothing gets overlooked. A knowledgeable planner can cover everything you need to plan for an outdoor wedding.

Choose Your Location

The great outdoors offers endless settings for a beautiful wedding. You can choose an established outdoor venue with maintained grounds or a fresh, untouched location with the opportunity to make your own venue. 

If you choose a location that isn’t an all-inclusive venue, know that you’ll need to bring in all the infrastructure for your big day, including lighting, decor, restrooms and catering. Allow yourself plenty of time to plan these details. 

If you opt for a public venue, be sure to book it well in advance. These spots are popular, and because outdoor wedding season is typically relegated to a few months out of the year, wedding dates will be competitive. 

Find Your Vendors

Choosing the right vendor for your outdoor ceremony is essential to a beautiful, stress-free event. Research vendors who have experience with outdoor weddings — you’ll know they have the right equipment and knowledge to set up a wedding outside. You will likely need the following, depending on what your venue provides:

  • A band or DJ
  • A florist
  • An officiant
  • A photographer

Partnering with a trustworthy rental company can help your event run smoothly. Rental companies will typically visit your venue and assess the space, measure for tents, tables and chairs, and make other professional recommendations. 

Some rental companies are all-inclusive, supplying everything from lighting to dinnerware, generators and beverage stations. Having these logistics taken care of can alleviate a lot of big-day stress!

Pick a Catering Company

While your caterer is a vendor, you’ll want to give this service a bit of extra thought. Find a catering company that’s comfortable working outside. If you’re planning to serve alcohol, it’s helpful to work with a caterer who has a liquor license and can handle your alcohol order, complete with bartenders. 

One of the many perks of an outdoor wedding is that you can get creative with your menu. A wood-fired pizza oven or a pig roast is perfect for an alfresco meal. 

Passed appetizers and plated meals work better than buffets to avoid pests buzzing around the food. Remember that your caterer should have an area indoors, like an enclosed tent, for food preparation.

You can also look for a caterer who will handle the wedding cake or desserts, or look for a separate baker who’s equally capable of working with an outdoor venue.

Decide on a Theme and Decor

Whether it’s a beach, backyard or flowery field, every outdoor setting boasts a unique beauty, allowing you to take advantage of the built-in decor. You can add to it for a formal affair or keep it simple for a casual event.

Tents are a functional part of your outdoor wedding decor. You can choose sailcloth or poled tents with draping on the ceiling for a charming, romantic vibe. Chandeliers and hardwood flooring make the space more formal, while string lights or lanterns set a relaxed mood.  

Plan for the Weather

Weather is always a concern when planning an outdoor wedding, but you have options in the event of less-than-stellar conditions. 

If you’ll have a tent, reserve one with side walls so you and your guests will stay dry in the case of rain. Keep an eye on the weather forecast as your big day approaches — you may be able to cancel the walled tent and go for an open-air one if your day looks clear. 

Choose a rental company that provides heating and cooling equipment if you want your guests to be comfortable while they enjoy the festivities.  

Enjoy a Bug-Free Ceremony

Don’t invite insects to your wedding. If your budget and venue allow, have the area professionally treated for pests three to four days before your wedding. To ward off bugs, you can also strategically place citronella candles throughout the venue, such as near the tent entrance or around the walkway. 

Another strategy is to incorporate into your decor flowers that repel mosquitoes, such as lavender, peppermint and marigold. These plants help cut down on bugs, smell nice and look pretty —  a lovely combination for your outdoor celebration.  

Plan for Restrooms

Thankfully, outdoor weddings no longer have to be subjected to unsightly port-a-potties. These days, you can rent portable restrooms complete with hired bathroom attendants, granite countertops, climate control, music and other high-end features. 

Regarding how many restrooms you’ll need, a good rule of thumb is to provide one toilet for every 35 guests. This way, they won’t spend too much time waiting in line before getting back to the party.

Prepare Your Guests for an Outdoor Wedding

Let your attendees know your event will be held outdoors so they can plan to dress appropriately and bring along any extras they may need, like jackets or heel stoppers if the ground is soft. You can mention this in your wedding invitation and on your wedding website if you have one.

Choose Peerless Events & Tents for Your Outdoor Texas Wedding

Peerless Events & Tents is a full-service event rental company serving Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, Texas. We have everything you need for an outdoor wedding, from tents, tables, chairs and dinnerware to lounge furniture, lighting, bars and much more. 

We can help you plan an unforgettable wedding. Contact our friendly team today to learn more!