So you said yes! Congratulations! Now you’re planning your big day. With the average cost of a wedding in Los Angeles standing at $37,317, having your wedding outdoors may be more cost effective, giving you more control over the decor, more time at the venue and the ability to have the ceremony and reception at the same place. But how do you even start to plan an outdoor wedding?
Where to hold it?
The first thing, obviously, is to decide where you want to have your wedding. Perhaps you would like to have it in your garden or the garden of a family member. Maybe you’re thinking of a beach wedding. Alternatively you might wish to hold your wedding in a public space. Whichever you decide to go for, ensure you have permission from the owner or the authority who owns the land. Some will require special permits and some won’t, so be sure to enquire. Just because the location is outdoors, it won’t necessarily be free, so check out any costs associated with your chosen area.
What do I need to think about?
Things you need to think about other than the decor are lighting, electricity and catering. You’ll need an electricity generator if the area doesn’t have electrical access. Your guests (and you) need to be comfortable with the temperature so you will also need to consider outdoor heating. Ethanol Fireplaces are an excellent solution. They burn on biofuel which is an environmentally friendly fuel as it does not produce ash, smoke or soot and is virtually odourless. They are easy to use, and require no maintenance or installation.The also look fantastic and can even be used as dividers to break up the areas for the ceremony, eating, etc. The catering company, if you’re hiring one, will need an area with electrical outlets to plug in any cooking equipment they need and the lighting needs to be adequate for any evening entertainment you are planning to have. Consider sheltered areas too; you don’t want guests sweltering in the heat just as you don’t want everyone drenched in a sudden downpour.
The seating arrangements
Make sure you provide sufficient seating. Guests won’t want to stand for the duration of the ceremony and if you’re serving food, you’ll need tables and chairs for this too. Benches can be an easy option for seating more guests and if you want a relaxed theme you may consider hay bales or outdoor cushions. Have different areas for different activities – one for the ceremony, one for eating and one for relaxing and entertainment. You may need to consider putting stones or floor mats down if the area you’re getting married in is a grass or sand floor.
Finally have a think about flowers and candles. Flowers can attract pests so going for varieties such as rosemary, lavender, mint and thyme incorporated in your theme can deter annoying bugs. Citronella candles are great for warding off mosquitos as well as giving extra soft lighting.
Although wedding planning can be stressful, try to enjoy it. Enlist friends and family to help, most of whom will be happy to do so. Delegate tasks and make lists of everything you need to do. Speak to your intended and agree on any decisions before going ahead with any bookings to save cancellation fees. Most of all, have fun!
Photo courtesy of Shardayyy Photography via Flickr
Cassandra Winter is a professional writer and editor. After a career in PR for an arts charity, she now focuses on writing about her favourite topics from public art to restoration and events. When not working she loves swimming, hiking and quiet nights in with her family.