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5 tips to Planning an Outdoor Wedding

There are some important things to remember when using an outdoor venue as the location for your wedding ceremony. In Alabama, there are some beautiful outdoor wedding venues. I have photographed weddings outdoors and indoors. I think in Alabama one of the major things to consider is the season in which you are getting married. I’ve photographed in 100 degrees and in 20 degrees. I love being outside, but make sure the average temperature for your wedding day fits your tastes.

In researching this topic, I came across the article, “The Ultimate Guide To Your Ceremony,” in Brides magazine. In this article were some very useful tips when preparing for an outdoor venue. Here are the highlights of what they discussed.

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First, when it comes to seating, you want to make sure you have enough for your guests. The rule of thumb is to have ten to twenty percent more seating than the number of guests. The reasoning behind this is early arrivals tend to leave empty chairs between them. Those individuals who arrive later may feel obligated to stand rather than trying to get to the seats and potentially disrupt the proceedings. Plan ahead and have more chairs.

The second thing to look at is the sound quality of the proceedings. The Wind and other outside noises can make it difficult for your guest to hear. To address this issue you may want to use wireless microphones and outdoor speakers for your officiant and for the musicians or pre-recorded music.


demopolis outdoor wedding ceremony tuscaloosa photographyThe third tip is really for every wedding and involves the rehearsal. The rehearsal gives everyone a chance to review the order of the ceremony, the readings, and where the family members will sit. This is also the time to go over children’s role in the ceremony. You can show them exactly how to carry out their part in the wedding. I always suggest starting the rehearsal by having the wedding party line up first. Once you have their marks sets, white golf tees pushed in the grass work great for this, have everyone pretend that it is the end of the ceremony and exit. Next, have every process back to their marks. Do a quick run through of the ceremony and process out one last time. This efficient rehearsal practice can get everyone to dinner and more celebrating quickly.

Fourth, let’s not forget Mother Nature. With an outdoor wedding, you want to prepare for anything she might throw your way. You want to make sure you have a plan B in place in case of inclement weather. Put some thought into it, and make sure that the plan is something you love. As a wedding photographer, I always have plans A-C ready to go. I discuss rainy day plans with all of my brides during the 2 month consultation. Being prepared with plan B really makes everyone more relaxed on a rainy wedding day. I personally think the imagery of a rainy day gives the bride such unique photographs.

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And finally, when your special day arrives, chances are there will be small, unexpected things that come up, but don’t sweat it. Just go with the flow and smile. It’s your wedding day!

Source: “The Ultimate Guide To Your Ceremony.” Brides. April/May 2017. 226. Print.

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