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Outdoor wedding reception - make it perfect in just 5 steps

If there is one thing that you should steer clear of when planning a memorable wedding is having a generic, cookie-cutter wedding reception. You know the type – set in a grey, non-descript venue, with cheap-looking mismatched decorations, awful acoustics and a band out of tune. Why not opt for an outdoor reception? These are often associated with elegant, romantic, unforgettable weddings.

Outdoor wedding receptions could be very easily planned and executed, but do not assume that everything will go smoothly just because there is no typical venue involved. Since planning and organizing outdoor wedding receptions is our specialty, we are confident that you will take some of the following tips to heart.

1. Set the budget for your outdoor wedding reception

When planning a wedding you should think both like a banker and a general. The banker in you will make sure that you don’t overspend and that you get the most out of the budget you have, while the general in you will ensure that everything is planned and executed with a military precision. Yes, the budget is one of those dreary things that every bride-to-be needs to deal with and setting one for an outdoor wedding reception is a must. Of course, setting the budget is not sufficient. You need to stick to it, follow it in detail and preferably have someone trustworthy by your side who is going to tighten the purse strings if you start to overspend. There are several factors to consider when setting the budget for your outdoor wedding reception – the location, the guest list, the type of reception (sit-down, cocktail, beach or boat reception), the cake, the decoration and the music are the most important ones.

2. Set the date and find your perfect location for outdoor wedding reception.

Whatever you do, please don’t wait until last moment to set the date of your outdoor wedding reception since setting the date is crucial for start to look for the perfect location. Some locations are so popular that they are booked months in advance, and some are just not suitable for a winter or fall wedding because they are too cold or windy. Searching for just the right location could take up a lot of your wedding planning time so do not leave it for last. Here are a few pointers of what you should consider when finding the perfect location for the outdoor wedding:

  • Think about the season in which you are having your wedding. If you are a winter bride, make sure you have a covered area ready since the weather can be unpredictable. If you choose to get married in summer, inquire whether your location is prone to mosquitoes and other annoying bugs and whether there is enough shade should the sun become too much to handle for your guests.

  • Make sure that your guests are not too far away from you and your future husband during the ceremony and exchanging of the vows.

  • Pick a location that would provide beautiful lighting for your wedding photographs.

  • Remember that your guests will probably need to use a restroom, so make sure that your outdoor wedding reception location has appropriate facilities.

3. Plan wedding reception songs for your outdoor wedding reception

Earlier, we have mentioned wedding music as one of the more important factors to consider when planning a wedding. We advise that you pick the underlying style of your wedding music, but also make sure that your wedding reception songs are a selection that will cater to different tastes of your guests. As for your first dance and the cake cutting ceremony, pick songs that best reflect your relationship and that both you and your husband enjoy listening to. Since you will be having your reception in a place that has no walls per se, having good sound equipment is a must. If the location of your wedding is a rather windy place, why not hire someone to play a harp or a violin during the ceremony? Of course, the following goes without saying – check beforehand whether your outdoor wedding ceremony site has electricity!

4. Organize food and drinks

Choosing food and drinks for your outdoor reception should be done with utmost care. Do you have vegetarian guests or those that you know have food allergies? Do you prefer a long sit-down dinner or maybe a cocktail-style reception? What about buffet style catering? Again, you need to carefully check the prices of both plated and buffet meals when picking the ones won’t break your budget. Having an open bar is a good idea, but limit the opening hours since you don’t want your guests to be tipsy during the ceremony.

5. Pick the right decorations for outdoor wedding reception

Selecting the right decorations is a very time-consuming activity. Although, you might consider yourself a person of good taste, we would strongly advise that you hire a specialist to help you with the selection, particularly if you are planning an outdoor wedding reception. Whether your wedding is set in the woods, on a seaside pear, in a garden or on the beach, an experienced wedding decorator would be able to help you with just the right decoration. We, at Events By Dream Makers, have years of experience and will be happy to offer a free advice in accordance to wishes or ideas that the bride has.

As always, we would love to hear your comments, experiences, opinions and suggestions about outdoor wedding receptions.

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