Must-Haves for Your Outdoor Wedding

Planning an outdoor wedding requires a few more considerations that your typical indoor gathering — bugs, weather conditions, and proper shade and hydration, to name just a few. It can be a little intimidating, especially if it's your first big event that you're putting together (and that's the case for many couples!). So, how exactly are you supposed to plan for the somewhat unexpected?

outdoor wedding flowers
Photo: Anastasiia Photography

Lucky for you, we've rounded up some top industry experts with a wealth of experience in combating all the little quirks that comes along with outdoor weddings. Here’s what they had to say.

“When planning an outdoor wedding, you want to consider the area you are in and the amount of time you will be out in the sun. If guests are going to be out in direct sunlight for an extended period of time, you will want to make sure to have a place where guests can step out of the sun. Some ideas to consider are a tent, hand-held umbrellas, or table umbrellas." —Tonya Hoopes, Hoopes Events

"We highly recommend making sure you have plenty of beverage and cooling stations. Don't have just water available, but some lemonade as well to refuel the sugars the body needs when it is hot outside. A fun twist to this is to have a popsicle station to be sure guests stay cool and hydrated." —Samantha Leenheer, House of Joy

"Potable water on site is very important, or you will need to arrange for your planner or caterer to bring a large number of potable water containers onsite, depending on the size and duration of your wedding. While many outdoor weddings don't have commercial kitchens on site, and the caterer requires a chef’s kitchen tent, the water needs for sanitary preparation and service is another factor to consider." —Sarah Chianese, Mangia and Enjoy!

"Flowers are delicate and require extra care when they are outside. The heat from the sun can make them wilt faster, and the wind can cause them to lose their petals. Provide shade and water vessels for the bride's and bridesmaids' bouquets once the ceremony ends." —Joan Wyndrum O’Hear, Blooms by the Box

"One of my clients had the most wonderful favor for her outdoor wedding ceremony. She had blankets wrapped up and held together with a beautiful label that said: 'To have and to hold, in case you get cold.' The blankets served a dual purpose — to keep guests warm and serve as take-home favors." —Lilia Shatnaya, Plume and Stone Invitation Studio

"You don't want to forget about critters, as sometimes they like to join the festivities! Stock up on bug spray or have citronella stickers available for guest use to ensure everyone is comfortable." —Nora Sheils, Rock Paper Coin, Bridal Bliss

"If the bride is open to it, I suggest she have hair extensions, hairspray, your hairstylist, and hair pins. Hair extensions will save any hairstyle. The weight of the extra hair helps the hairstyle to hold up in almost any situation. Maybe hair extensions aren't your norm. Maybe you are going on a honeymoon right after, and you need to take them out. These are the easiest hair extensions for a client who doesn’t want to keep them for a long time." —Alicia Igess Jones

"Power is an important consideration for an outdoor wedding. Your DJ will need it for the sound system and lighting, the caterer may need to plug in a hotbox, and you might require outlets for additional lighting if it's not battery-powered." —David Fox, Bunn DJ Company

"Do not forget to light the parking areas! Sometimes a couple will visit their wedding site during the day and don't take the time to imagine it in the late hours of the evening when their guests will be leaving. Lighting is crucial not only for the obvious spaces like the tent or bar areas but also for the paths to the restroom and back to where the guests are parked." —Syrie Roman, Social Maven

"It is no secret: unexpected things happen at weddings. So bring back-up attire. Having a spare tuxedo shirt, wedding shoes, and other personal wedding attire will come in clutch when you are outside and possibly in the middle of nowhere when disaster strikes." —Ian Ramirez, Madera Estates

Ultimately, it's also incredibly important that you rely on your vendor team to help guide you through. They have ample experience in battling the bugs, creating plan B (and plan C), and they know what not to do above all else. Do your research, and you'll have the outdoor wedding of your dreams!