by Celia Mulder
Northern Michigan is beautiful, I think we can all agree on that. The scenery, views, and venues all lend themselves to outdoor events. However, our crazy Michigan weather (which can go from snow to rain to sun in a few hours) doesn't always like to cooperate. So whether you're having your ceremony on the beach or reception under a tent or both, here are a few tips of how to host a successful, stress-free outdoor wedding.
1. Have a rain plan. No one wants to talk about it but it must be considered. Have a conversation with your wedding planner or fiancee or family about what you're going to do in the event of rain. Is there a pavilion nearby that you could move the outdoor ceremony to? Can cocktail hour be under the tent rather than in the open? Even if there's a 0% chance of precipitation, a rain plan will help you feel more relaxed and prepared for anything.
2. Consider ditching the shoes for your beach ceremony. Heels are great for photos but they are cumbersome and useless in sand (or on soft ground). The barefoot look has become the go to for beach ceremonies and it's not hard to see why.
3. If you're getting married in the spring or fall, bistro heaters are a great way to keep your guests warm and cozy. Especially after the sun goes down and the temperature drops, a few well placed heaters will keep your guests happy and the party going.
4. Don't forget the sunscreen and bug spray! No one wants to get a bad sunburn on their wedding day.
5. Do a walkthrough of the space close to the wedding. You should do this for all venues but indoor ones don't change as often as the outdoor. If you originally saw your venue in the fall it will probably look totally different by the following summer. Different plants will be in bloom and the beaches especially could have a completely different layout.
6. Wind. Particularly if your venue is on the water or a hill, wind is going to be a factor. It's usually nothing that a well staked tent, a good sound system, and perhaps some duct tape can't handle. But just know that all your candles may not stay lit.
7. Be flexible. Outdoor weddings are all about adapting to the unchangeable conditions on that day. Trust that your vendor team knows what they're doing and your event will be stunning, even if the floor plan had to be changed slightly due to uneven ground or the tent sides have to come down due to inclimate weather.
8. Bathroom baskets are a great way to provide for your guests' needs. This is where you can put the sunscreen, bug spray, and anything else your guests might need during the outdoor event.
9. Some other items to provide for the comfort of your guests - a basket of soft blankets for a cool night, a bin of flip flops so the ladies can change out of their heels, sunglasses as favors on a bright day, or programs that double as fans to beat the heat.
10. Candles, lanterns, and lights everywhere! When it gets dark around here, it gets really dark fast. Lanterns are a great way to light a path to the restrooms. Having lots of candles on the tables, bars, cocktail rounds, etc. will not only add amazing ambiance, they'll provide a necessary light source for your guests to navigate the space.