Pic: Hilary Walker – hilaryandcharlie.com.au
The Outdoor Wedding
For those who choose not to go down the church or registry office route, the outdoor wedding is the first stop for most people. It’s only natural for Australians to want to take advantage of our fab outdoors and our warm (or stinking hot!) climate over the spring and summer months. However it’s important that you are realistic about how the unpredictability of being outdoors might impact your ceremony.
I know this is your special day and you’ve been planning it for months, but do not assume that the gods will be kind to you just because you’ve gone to so much effort. Sometimes those gods can just be really mean!
I absolutely insist that my clients who are having an outdoor ceremony have a solid and realistic Plan B that can be put into place should the Weather Lords not be smiling on their wedding day. You also need a good system ready to execute to let all your guests know what the change of plans are at short notice. Suggestion – put your Plan B details on your invite, so people have the address of the alternate location. Put a friend or family member in charge of ensuring that all your guests know, and/or include their phone number on the invite as the go-to person should things be looking a bit hairy.
Sun, Rain, Wind.
Even if it’s only 25 degrees, having your Nan and your elderly Uncle Ernie sit in full sun for up to an hour is not a good idea. Actually, it’s a really bad idea! And it is not just the oldies who can be affected. Most celebrant’s would have stories of strapping, healthy young men and women in the bridal party hitting the deck in the middle of the ceremony when their blood pressure drops from being on their feet for too long. From personal experience, I can assure you that it does not have to be very hot for this to happen.
If you are choosing an outdoor location for the ceremony, ideally you would find a space that provides some decent shade, ie. the canopy of a large tree. Or keep the option of hiring a marquee open. Of course, this cover could also come in handy if on the day sun was not the problem, but rain. Either way, it could end up saving the ceremony.
Visit the location of your ceremony the time of day you have it planned for. See where the sun hits and if it will be blinding you (and me!) on the day, or frying your guests. (Of course you need to take into account that the sun will be placed differently at different times of the year.) If on the day, the weather looks warm, provide your guests with plenty of cold, bottled water (really important), and you could perhaps hire a few large fans. Perhaps you might need to be chasing up a pile of umbrellas to protect your guest from light rain? Or, if it turns out you do have a cool day, could you organise some outdoor heaters?
Actually, often it is wind that is the biggest foe in ceremonies. It plays havoc with brides, grooms, guests, celebrants, frocks, hair, veils – everything! Be realistic about this if you are planning a beach ceremony for instance. Again, a gusty wind on the day might mean that you need to put your comfortable and covered, (if slightly less specky) Plan B into action.
Don’t take risks with your big day. Be sensible and smart and give the ceremony you have worked so hard to create, the best possible chance to be the stunning, memorable and enjoyable moment it should be. Remember, you want your wedding to be unforgettable for all the right reasons!