The scenery comes courtesy Mother Nature, but the lighting, sound, and temperature control? That’s all you. If your site doesn’t have electricity, you’ll need generators for your caterer’s kitchen appliances, and amps and speakers for your band or DJ. There’s also the issue of lighting (because after sunset, then what?). And no matter the time of year, fans, air-conditioning, or portable heaters are almost always necessary.Your best bet: Have an electrician survey your setup so you’ll know exactly how much power you need.
Have a Good Plan B!!
We get it—the last thing you want to do while planning your wedding is...plan another wedding. But worst-case scenarios happen, and you’ll want to be organized. You have to move fast to set a rain plan in motion. Don’t tempt fate (and major day-of meltdowns): If there’s no indoor option, put a deposit on a tent, just in case. And should you wake up to drizzle and a bummer forecast on the big day, don’t wait until right before guests start arriving to make the call. The more time you have to prepare, the better.
Dry Guests Off
Sprinkles or an afternoon shower may not be enough to move everything indoors, but people will still get wet. Have a stash of umbrellas to offer shelter. In case of a downpour, place a stack of fluffy towels in each restroom.
Cool Guests Down
In hot months, offer plenty of it, whether you set out fans and big floppy hats for the ceremony, or place huge outdoor umbrellas over tables at the reception. And provide hydration with a help-yourself lemonade or iced tea.
Warm Guests Up
Even if it’s pleasant during your vows, temperatures can dip as much as 20 degrees after sunset.Your solution: space heaters inside tents—a must in the fall—and, for an elegant touch, pashminas for the ladies (bonus: the scarves can double as favors).
Sit Guests Down
There’s nothing worse than standing stock-still in stilettos while craning your neck to see the action. If your ceremony will last more than 10 minutes, provide chairs or benches. But even if it’s five minutes, don’t make Grandma and eight-months pregnant woman stand—at all. Have some chairs on hand for people who really need them.
Save the Soles
Getting married on grass? Distribute plastic heel protectors, which stop shoes from sinking into soil, to your bridal party.Two to try: Heels Above and The Solemates.
Bug and Wind-Proof Your Venue
When picking flowers, remember that hardy blooms like roses, zinnias, and dahlias stand up to gusts and rain better than delicate blossoms. Keep in mind, too, that baby’s breath, scabiosa, and peonies are particularly attractive to pests. To deter insects, incorporate natural pesticides, like sprigs of rosemary, lavender, mint, and thyme. If your wedding is near mosquito-attracting water, you’ll need something more powerful, like citronella torches or candles. (Or, if you’re marrying on your property and go the exterminator route, have the site sprayed 48 hours beforehand so the chemical smell dissipates.) Avoid lightweight vases or centerpieces that can tip over in the breeze, or opt for wilt-proof beauties like potted plants or fruits and vegetables that will help weigh down arrangements. And unless you want someone to spend the night striking matches, keep lit candles in tall, breeze-blocking vessels.
Master the Seasonal Menu
In warmer weather, steer clear of rich, heavy foods, like risotto and gratins, and showcase refreshing produce, such as tomatoes and watermelon. Cheese is always a crowd-pleaser, but it can melt and attract pests during a steamy afternoon. I suggests serving it with dessert, after the sun goes down.
Put It on Ice
If you’re serving shellfish, trust us, you don’t want to leave it out in the sun. For a twist on the ever-popular raw bar, have waiters pass ‘mini’ raw bars—trays of bite-size seafood on ice. Other chilled choices that are surefire hits include boozy ice pops, snow cones, ice cream, or a frothy cocktail like... Callahan’s signature Sgroppino: prosecco, ice-cold vodka, and lemon sorbet.
Keep Dessert Delectable
Beware: Fluffy buttercream frosting can turn gooey and runny in the heat. Go with smooth fondant for your cake, and ask your caterer to bring it out right before you slice it. I don't recommend displaying your cake if temps are above 75 degrees, but if you simply must show it off, protect it from bugs and the scorching sun by enclosing it in a screened-in area.