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5 Things You Need to Know to Pull Off an Outdoor Reception

Outdoor receptions are gorgeous. From garden-enhanced backyard receptions to having the shore and ocean rocks in the background, outdoor venues are wanted by many summer brides. But, a lot can go wrong with an outdoor reception if you don’t take the necessary precautions to ensure you, your groom and your guests all have a romantically fun time.

1. Have a Plan B in case of bad weather

As hard as you pray for good weather, Mother Nature doesn’t always deliver. So just in case it decides to rain on your parade, have an indoor backup plan. Choose either a nearby reception venue or restaurant, or to keep your costs down, you could also hold your reception at your church building. Be sure to call whichever place you decide and reserve it beforehand just to be safe. Some reception venues are good about keeping an indoor option open for situations like this; make sure that you ask the venue before putting down your deposit!

2. Offer plenty of shaded spots

During the summer, the sun doesn’t go down until about 9 p.m. This means even if you have an evening reception, it’s still going to be sunny and warm, and the direct sun will make your guests hotter. Choose a location that has big trees and set your tables and chairs under these naturally shaded areas. You could also set up wedding-colored table umbrellas or rent a large tent, if either fits with your wedding theme and budget.

3. Bug and wind-proof your reception area

Temperature and rain aren’t the only two weather warnings you need to watch out for. Wind can also cause problems if you’re not prepared. Again, this could mean renting a tent. But to protect against high winds, consider adding wall panels to certain lightweight tents. Other ways to combat possible wind issues are putting weighted centerpieces on tablecloths and using sturdy glasses, plates and utensils rather than flimsy, lightweight paper and plastic ones that will blow away.

As far as bugs—hire an exterminator to do what he does best and/or place citronella candles and torches around the outside of your reception area to keep these uninvited guests away.

4. Get a generator for lights and music

You don’t want your sparkling lights to go out or your DJ’s music to stop during the middle of your first dance. If there isn’t nearby electricity, or not enough, rent a generator or two to ensure your perfect wedding ambiance stays lit up and bumping all reception long.

5. Hand out plastic heel protectors

Those who have attended outdoor weddings before should know to play it safe and wear flats or wedges. But some won’t or will choose beauty over practicality. To prevent your female friends and family members from sinking into the grass, and potentially ruining their brand new pair of stilettos, buy plastic heel protectors. Have someone hand these out or put them in a basket with a sign at your reception entrance so their shoes and their nights aren’t ruined—and so you can wear whatever wedding shoes you want!