I love outdoor wedding ceremonies! With our chilly Winnipeg winters, it’s so nice to be able to enjoy our gorgeous summers as much as possible, especially on a wedding day! The warm sunshine, a soft breeze and the beauty of nature – an outdoor wedding ceremony creates the perfect atmosphere for breathtaking I do’s.

When it comes to an outdoor wedding ceremony, there are a few important details to keep in mind. Whether it’s on the beach, in the backyard of your parent’s home or your favourite park, there are just certain things that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Here are five tips for planning an outdoor wedding ceremony.

Location, location, location.

A good location can make or break your outdoor wedding ceremony. Whether you are getting married in a backyard, a city park, or the green space at your reception site, you want to be sure that the outdoor space is not only beautiful but that it has everything you will need when it comes to logistics. Is there ample parking for your guests? Are there washrooms in close proximity to the site? Do you need to apply for special permits? Is there power? Is there an area for you and the wedding party to hang out in before walking down the aisle? Be sure to do a site visit and keep these important aspects in mind to ensure your outdoor I do’s don’t become a logistical nightmare.

winnipeg outdoor weddingPhoto: BLF Studios  |  Venue: The Gates on Roblin

Have a plan B.

Mother nature can be that unwanted guest that creates havoc – don’t let her ruin your big day. You never know how the weather is going to be on your wedding day, so it is essential that you have a plan B in case of inclement weather. Is there a building on site that you can use in case of rain or will you have to book a tent as your backup? I always say ‘Hope for the best but plan for the worst.’ This is never truer than when planning anything outdoors. You don’t want to just hope for the best and regret it later. Saying your vows in a tent might not be the outdoor wedding you were dreaming of, but neither is a downpour that gets everyone running for cover.

Put the comfort of your guests first.

When making decisions for your wedding ceremony, always ask yourself “Is it important to the comfort of my guests?” If the answer is yes then it is a must. Be sure to have enough seating for all of the invited guests. Your guests could be standing for as long as an hour, so skimping on renting chairs to save costs will only make for cranky and uncomfortable guests. Have refreshments on hand like iced tea and water to quench their thirst in hot weather. Provide fans to cool themselves and bug spray to keep guests as comfortable as possible while you are saying I do. Keeping guests happy will ensure they are in a celebratory mood for the remainder of the event.

winnipeg outdoor weddingPhoto: Kamp Photography  |  Venue: Bridges Golf Course

Use a microphone.

There is nothing worse than sitting through an entire wedding ceremony and not being able to hear one word. Having a microphone on hand is important so that all the guests, including the ones sitting at the back, can hear what is being said. You might think you will be able to speak loud and clearly on the wedding day, but being nervous and anxious makes people speak quiet and faster. So a microphone is important in all cases. You are outdoors after all – planes fly overhead, babies cry and cars on nearby roads can be quite loud and will overtake your words.

Keep it short and sweet.

Sitting outside in the elements can only be tolerated by guests for so long before they start to get uncomfortable. Having a long winded ceremony that never seems to end when the sun is beating down on guests just isn’t fun for anyone. Do your guests a favor and keep your outdoor wedding ceremony under twenty minutes so that they aren’t sitting for too long. And please try your best to start on time – nothing is worse than sitting in the hot sun and swatting bugs because things are starting late. Exposing your guests to the elements longer than they have to be is inconsiderate, so be mindful of the time.