I love to chat and get to know my brides and their families. It’s one of my favourite parts (next to dressing them in custom couture bridal of course). Recently, one of our sweet Mother of the Bride’s asked me about the logistics of planning an outdoor wedding. I knew just who to ask — Wedding Planner, Crystal Adair-Benning, of Distinct Occasions. She’s had over 15 years of wedding experience around the globe and outdoor weddings are a speciality.
Rather than give you the advice, I thought I would turn it over to Crystal to discuss… Enjoy!
Thanks so much for reaching out! The logistics of an outdoor wedding can certainly be challenging for any family planning it themselves. Here are a few tips and tricks from my Wedding Planner hat…
1. Location is EVERYTHING.
When choosing a location look carefully at the ground and whether it’s flat, raised, or has a propensity for gathering rainfall. If any of this applies (or you just don’t like the idea of walking across lawn in heels) it’s time to look into tents! As a general rule, a tent rental isn’t the expensive part – the flooring however, is another story. That said, each situation is unique and flooring varies just as much in a tent as it does in your home so ask an expert!
When choosing vendors to work with you on an outdoor wedding it’s important that you truly understand each person’s role and needs. For example, a Band, should come with a technical rider which outlines how much power and equipment will be required as well as needs for dressing room space, etc. You’ll need to factor this in to your plans should you require an additional “green room” tent for them.
One of the most forgotten about parts of an outdoor wedding is the access to utilities. Power and water will definitely be required by your caterers as well as washroom rentals!
4. Speaking of Washrooms…
Their required! Not an option. Most outdoor weddings will mean investing in some great portable washrooms. These aren’t like the washrooms found on a construction site, many are now luxurious and feature many high end fixtures making them more luxury than loo.
Who can forget about permits. Their required. Depending upon your tent, you’ll need a building permit, SOCAN fee (for music), noise bylaw information, SOP permit (to serve alcohol) and even Insurance to cover you incase of damage.
6. Set Up & Clean Up
Often overlooked, a true tent wedding may involve 3-5 days of install, the wedding day, and 1-3 days of removal. Which means, on a private estate you could be looking at up to 7 days worth of construction/event. You should also be aware of items such as: access to washroom facilities, power/water access during setup/teardown, permits to cover the entire duration (and insurance) and garbage removal.
Modern outdoor weddings can include everything from full scale air conditioning to heating inside of your tent. Outdoors you can use parasols, mini fans, cold food (or hot food), a beverage station or cooling tent. Be aware of seasonal temperature changes and hedge your bets.
There is MUCH to be considered here but the basics include a catering kitchen/prep area, garbage removal, access to power and water. Beyond this consider the menu and serving preferences. For me, personally, I always encourage clients to pay additional for great labour (aka STAFF) to make sure their guests are well attended to.
Outdoor weddings can be troublesome to figure out just how to dress. Too hot and you’ll be melting in a floor length gown or wool suit. Too cold and you’ll be freezing in a summer dress. I always encourage family and guests to come prepared. Dress appropriately for the occasion but pack an additional pair of flat shoes, a pashmina incase it gets chilly in the evening.
10. Have Fun
Outdoor weddings are beautiful and fun! Guests will enjoy exploring your chosen venue and having it be unique and one-of-a-kind. Enjoy it, yourself! Be sure to mingle, hire a great photographer, and honestly — get yourself a wedding planner. You want to celebrate more than you want to control. I promise you.