9 Things You Must Consider For A Joyous Outdoor Wedding Ceremony

outdoor wedding cermony

I love an outdoor wedding ceremony.

Lush green settings, fragrant flowers, the sounds of birds chirping. And considering the popularity of outdoor wedding venues, it’s obvious that many brides and grooms do too.

But not every outdoor location was designed with the needs of a wedding ceremony in mind, which causes it’s own set of issues that have to be planned for to ensure the enjoyment, ease, and comfort of everyone involved.

Make sure everyone has the best experience by checking out these 9 tips for a joyous outside wedding celebration.

1. Sunshine On My Shoulders Makes Me Happy (But Not When It’s In My Eyes).

wedding ceremony at sunset

There’s nothing like sitting outdoors, the sun beautifully shining, witnessing a loved ones wedding vows.

Unless the sun is shining directly into your guests’ eyes, making them squint, or having to close their eyes. You know they won’t be thinking happy thoughts for you and your fiancé while their eyes are closed and watering.

Also, you don’t want the sun to be in your or your fiance’s eyes either. How can you exchange vows and say “I do,” if you can’t clearly and comfortably see your fiancé (or have him/her see you)?

How to avoid this? Easy.

Go out to your ceremony site at a similar time of day as well as time of year to see where the sun will be at in the sky. That way you can decide what will be the best placement and orientation for seating.

Sometimes changing the angle that the seats will be facing isn’t a good option. If that’s the case consider providing programs or hand-held fans that guests can also use to shield their eyes, provide inexpensive sunglasses, or getting a tent.

2. “I Think Truth Has No Temperature.” (quote by Cameron Diaz)

blue fans for guests to use at a wedding ceremony on a hot day
Photo credit: joshuaraineyphotography / 123RF Stock Photo

Truth may not have a temperature, but your outdoor ceremony will. The question is, how comfortable will that temperature be?

Ok. You’re probably not planning on an outdoor ceremony in December. But considering the potential temperature (and humidity) is important to everyone’s comfort.

June is often comfortable, but it can be humid. October is often warm enough for short sleeves or a light sweater, but is can turn cold.

Doesn’t mean you can’t have your ceremony outside. Just be sure to provide means to provide comfort for your guests. Maybe a fan or an outdoor heater. Bottled water on hot, humid days, and hot chocolate for when it’s cold. Cheap, pashmina wraps for the ladies (Google “cheap pashmina wraps” and you will find lots of sources).

3. “Love Is Like The Wind. You Can’t See It But You Can Feel It.” (Quote by Nicholas Sparks).

The temperature isn’t the only type of weather that can affect your wedding. Even though you may not be able to see the wind, everyone can see the problems it can cause.

Altar arrangements get blown about. Unity candles won’t stay lit. Aisle runners won’t stay in place. Your beautiful up-do can come undone in the wind. Candelabras can topple over.

Some easy remedies include:

  • Securing the base of tall candelabras or other tall decorative pieces.
  • Incorporating a sand ceremony or other unity candle alternative.
  • Placing décor such as pretty containers of flowers along edge of an aisle runner to keep it from blowing up (and becoming a walking hazard).

4. The (Six-Legged) Uninvited Guests

Outside means nature, and nature means bugs. If you’re having an outdoor ceremony chances are there will be pesky bugs. Avoid swatting at mosquitos while you’re saying your “I dos” with these tips.

Outside means nature, and nature means bugs. Especially if you’re in a wooded area or near standing water. They’re also attracted to perfumes with a floral or fruity fragrance.

There may be just a few pesky bugs, or there may be a lot. But they will be there. And they will be distracting and unpleasant for everyone – your guests and you.

Avoid swatting at mosquitos while you’re saying your “I dos.”

Set off bug bombs. Burn citronella candles. Spray for bugs beforehand.

Provide insect repellant (Burt’s Bees makes a nice herbal based repellant). Have a basket with individual insect repellant wipes on hand for your guests. (Google “individual bug repellent wipes in bulk”).

Decorate with flowers and other florals that are a natural insect repellant, such as sprigs of rosemary, lavender, mint, and thyme.

5. Can You Hear Me Now?

Your guests want to hear your vows. I mean, how can you expect them to be engaged and enjoy being there for you if they’re struggling to hear what’s going on?

If they can’t hear, they’re going to be thinking (or worse, whispering) “what’d she say?” “What part are they up to?” “How much longer?” “I can’t hear a thing!”, instead of “Oh, I’m so happy for them,” and “Their vows are so beautiful,” while dabbing tears from the corners of their eyes.

Many indoor ceremony venues have a sound/PA system. Others venues were built with beautiful acoustics.

However, that’s not the case outside.

Unless the size of your guest list is relatively small, consider renting a microphone and speaker.

6. These Boots Are Made For Walkin’ (But How Far Is That Walk?)

walking to remote wedding location
Photo credit: arinahabich / 123RF Stock Photo

Chances are your beautiful outdoor ceremony site is remote and secluded.

This may sound romantic, and is probably part of the charm that made you choose that site. But it may prove tricky for some to actually get to. Or awkward for those ladies wearing heels. (Help avoid this by clearly indicating on your invitations of the outdoor nuances of your ceremony so your guests can choose proper footwear).

Think about how far is the distance between parking and the actual site? Are there long meandering paths? Uneven terrain? Trails through tall grass? Rocky walkways?

If that’s the case, it is likely that it will take more effort on everyone’s part to actually get to the ceremony site.

Is there a closer access road for your elderly guests?

If possible, arrange to have golf carts or a shuttle available to help get guests as close as possible. Designate a few hearty bodied gentlemen to help those who may need assistance.

For the ladies in heels, provide plastic heel protectors, such as The Solemates, Heels Above. or Grass Walkers. They keep high heels from sinking into the ground. Makes it easier for them, and protects their shows at the same time.

7. Baby, You Can Drive My Car (But Where Will It Be Parked?)

Again, chances are your beautiful outdoor ceremony site is remote and secluded.

So, where will your guests have to park?

Is there a nearby parking lot? A parking lot that’s a 5 minute walk from your ceremony site? Or is parking more scattered?

You will need to be more creative with the parking situation if yours is not a traditional ceremony site. Parking may be off the street, in a field, or down a gravel lane. Will it be easy for your guests to see their way to find their cars at the end of your event?

8. It’s All About Location, Location, Location. Unless It Isn’t Easy To Find Your Ceremony Site.

wooden sign pointing towards a wedding ceremony
Photo credit: chrishumphreys / 123RF Stock Photo

I don’t mean finding the address, that’s the easy part (especially the help of a GPS). I’m talking about them finding your ceremony site once they get out of their car.

It may be obvious to you as to how to get to your ceremony site, but if there are other paths that lead elsewhere, your guests can become confused or lost.

Reaching some remote outdoor ceremony sites isn’t always obvious. Do we take that close by path on the right, or do we have to walk down that lane?

Make it foolproof with some simple signage. Providing a sign that states, “Ceremony this way” with an arrow pointing the way works wonders.

9. Extra! Extra! (Fees, That Is).

Perhaps the cost to use your outdoor wedding ceremony location is minimal (particularly so for private homes or sites that are open to the public, like parks or arboretums).

However, with some non-typical ceremony sites come additional planning and fees.

  • If it’s harder for your vendors to access, will extra delivery fees be incurred?
  • Outdoor sites may not have restrooms nearby. For the comfort of your guests, will you need to provide port-a-potties?
  • Will you need valet parking if the nearest parking area is a good distance away?
  • The outdoors doesn’t come with electrical outlets. Will you need to provide generators?

Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean

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Looking for fun ideas or assistance with your wedding plans? Weddings From The Heart can help. Contact me today at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net, 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647!

Eco-Friendly Wedding Invitations & Other “Green” Tips

Incorporating eco-friendly, green ideas into your wedding is easy, and affordable. Check out these eco-friendly wedding planning tips. | Weddings From The Heart

This post was published in cooperation with Paperless Post.

Looking for wedding ideas that aren’t only earth-friendly but wallet friendly too?

INVITATIONS AND OTHER PAPER PRODUCTS
• Like the idea of menu cards? Do only 2 or 3 per table instead of one for each person (your guests won’t miss having their own).

• Reduce the amount of paper used in your invitations by omitting the inner envelopes and using RSVP postcards instead of the traditional card and envelope.

• Or you can completely reduce the amount of paper for your invitations by going paperless.

Beautiful wedding invitation from Paperless Post

Our friends at PAPERLESS POST help you create online and paper stationery that reflects your individual style. You can choose, and customize, from hundreds of styles/designs for your wedding invitations, including gorgeous styles by world famous designers such as Kate Spade New York, Oscar de la Renta, Jonathan Adler, Kelly Wearstler, and Vera Wang.

Beautiful wedding invitation from Paperless Post

Beautiful wedding invitation from Paperless Post

Benefits of Using Online Invitations

• It’s totally eco-friendly. No paper or inks at all.

• Easy for guests to RSVP. With a click of a button they can respond with their accepts or regrets. There’s even a button to remind them to RSVP later.

• It’s a breeze to include additional information for your guests’ convenience (ex. parking info, hotel info).

• Directions from their doorstep to your venue are at your guest’s fingertips with the click of a button.

• You can add a comment wall for guests to leave a personalized message.

• Are you giving your guests menu options (Beef or Chicken)? Add additional RSVP question for your guests to answer. Also great for song requests.

• Need to make a change to the time or place? Updating is easy.

• Easily track who has responded. Need to check in with those who haven’t RSVP’d? There’s a button for that too.

• There’s more than just Wedding invitations. Holiday cards, Birthday, Thinking of You, Graduation announcements, and personalized stationery are just some of what they offer.

• It’s affordable.

Choose a card design. Add your text. Change the font style and color. Add a motif or logo. Want to add your own motif, logo, or photo? It’s easily done, and just takes a few seconds.

Your invitation/card is saved and put into a draft folder until you’re ready to send. Then when you’re ready to send, you can either send it immediately or schedule it for a future date.

It really is that simple.

Disadvantages

Ok, gotta be real. There are a few disadvantages to using online wedding invitations.

• Lost E-Mail
Occasionally an online invitation will get lost in cyberspace, and not reach it’s recipient. (But hey, things can get lost with the regular mail too). If someone says they haven’t received your paperless invitation, make sure you’ve got the right email address, or that your guest hasn’t changed their email address.

• Not All Guests Have Email
These days, most people have email, (and if they’re like me, they check it several times throughout the day). However, some of your guests, usually older folks, like grandparents or great aunts/uncles may not.

• No Keepsake
Some couples, and their parents like to save the invitation for a lovely keepsake. You can print out the online invitation, but doing a ‘print screen’ is not the same as an invitation that’s actually been printed.

The good thing here is that Paperless Post offers all of their designs in paper form as well.

Other Ways to Go Green for Your Wedding

DECOR
We can all agree that candles provide a romantic ambience.

Candles are an economical way to provide a romantic ambience to your wedding reception/celebration. For an eco-friendly, green touch, use soy or honeycomb candles.
Photo credit: ekkarat / 123RF Stock Photo

But did you ever notice soot on the edges of the glass of the candleholder, or going into the air when a candle is blown out? For your wedding why not use soy or honeycomb candles? They’re much cleaner than regular wax candles, and like other candles, come in any size or color you’d want.

After a wedding reception when the room is being cleaned up, it is kind of sad watching those beautiful floral centerpieces being thrown away.
Group potted flowers on tables as centerpieces. Then at the end of your wedding reception, your guests can take them home.

Photo credit: annete / 123RF Stock Photo

Instead of using cut flowers, group potted flowers on tables as centerpieces. Then at the end of the evening, your guests can take them home. The potted flowers enjoy a new life (either appreciated in your guests’ homes, or replanted in their yard). Plus, this serves double-duty so you don’t have to get separate favors.

FAVORS

If you prefer offering favors for your guests, go with an edible treat.

Your wedding guests will love a yummy edible wedding favor to take home at the end (or enjoy during) your wedding reception.

In reality, your guests often can’t use or don’t want the cute favors that are non-edible, and will either end up throwing the favor away, or leaving it at the reception. But if it’s something for them to nibble on – they’ll be snacking on them during your reception, and maybe even looking for more!

FOOD & BEVERAGES
More and more caterers are thinking green

More and more caterers are creating wedding reception menus that are green - using ingredients that are organic, and locally grown.

– using ingredients that are organic, and locally grown.

Why not include some green, eco-friendly choices for your wedding? They’re just as easy, and often either cost the same or less than non-green options.

Let us know what you think. Are/would you consider including some eco-friendly elements to your wedding?

Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean

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Looking for unique ideas for your wedding? Weddings From The Heart can help. Contact me today at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net or 937-581-3647!

It’s Fiesta Time – Celebrate Cinco de Mayo

Mexican Dancer
Mexican Dancer

Cinco de Mayo is right around the corner.

This celebration commemorates the Mexican army’s victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.

Battle of Puebla, May 5, 1862
Battle of Puebla, May 5, 1862

Although a Mexican holiday, it has been celebrated in the United States right from the start.

It is said that when Mexican miners in the gold country town of Columbia (in California) heard the news, they celebrated by firing rifles, shooting off fireworks, singing patriotic songs and making speeches.

fireworks
Fireworks

To celebrate this historic event, for a simple home get-together, or at your wedding (May 5 falls on a Saturday in 2018), here are some “must haves.”

Food & Beverages
Cuisine

Burritos, tostadas, or enchiladas. How about a taco bar?

tacos
Tacos

Serve elote (Mexican corn on the cob) on the side, topped with salt, chili powder, lime, butter, cheese, mayonnaise and sour cream. It is traditionally served on a stick, with the husks pulled back as a handle, or cut the kernels into a bowl.

elote
Elote

Have plenty of homemade tortilla chips and dishes of guacamole and salsa.

And don’t forget dessert – rice pudding, flan (caramel custard), sopapillas (a crispy, fried flatbread), and churros are all delicious choices.

Beverages
Mojitos, Margaritas, Sangria often come to mind. Other delicious options are:

• Paloma – a mix of tequila, grapefruit, lime and soda
• Michelada – a classic “cerveza preparada” (beer cocktail)
• Horchata – made of almonds, rice and cinnamon

Frozen Horchata
Frozen Horchata

Non-alcoholic drinks:
• Agua Fresca – a blend of water and sugar with fruits, cereals, flowers, or seeds
• Mexican soda – enjoy delicious flavors, like Tutifruti (fruit punch), Toronja (grapefruit), Guayaba (guava), Jamaica (hibiscus), Limón (lime), and Mandarina (mandarin)

mexican soda
Mexican Soda
• Virgin Margaritas – with frozen limeade, orange juice, and grapefruit juice

Decor
Color Palette
Incorporate the colors of the Mexican flag (green, white, and red) into your decor.

Table Runners/Linens
Place table runners of green, white, and red on your tables. Or, instead of a runner, use a Mexican rug or blanket as a fun table overlay.

Decorations
What else is more iconically Mexican than colorful pinatas, maracas, or papel picado (perforated paper) banners? Also use colored plates or utensils, colored vases or pottery, tissue paper flowers.

Pinata
Colorful Pinata
paper banners
Paper Banners
Tissue paper flowers
Tissue paper flowers
Photo credit: akiyoko / 123RF Stock Photo

Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean

For fun ideas for your wedding, contact me today at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net or at 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647!

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Fun Engagement Party Themes and Planning Tips

Engagement party decor
The moment you’ve been waiting for is finally here—you’re engaged!

Congratulations are in order but first, take in the moment. Enjoy your now fiancé and the fact that no one knows this awesome news. When you’re ready to share your engagement, get creative with how you tell family and friends.

One of the best ways to share the news is with a party! These days, couples are taking over and planning their own engagement party. If you’re not sure where to start, wedding stationery company, Wedding Paper Divas, compiled 50 ideas and themes that you can browse through. Check it out here!

After you figure out which direction you want to head for your engagement party, it’s time to start thinking of the venue, decor and guest list. If this is all new to you, keep reading for my engagement party planning tips.

Engaged couple

Engagement Party Etiquette and Tips

Purpose of an engagement party – The purpose of an engagement party is to celebrate the couple’s engagement, pure and simple, and to help family members to get to know each another before the wedding day.

Who do we invite? – Keep in mind that just as with a bridal shower, those invited to an engagement party should also be invited to the wedding. The absolute “have to invite” people include the immediate families of the couple, their close friends, and the wedding party members (if they have been selected already).

Are gifts required? – No they are not. Again, the purpose of an engagement party is to formally announce and celebrate the engagement, and allow family members of both sides to get to know each other. Some guests may wish to bring a gift, but it isn’t necessary.

Who hosts the engagement party? – Unlike a shower, gifts are not expected. Because of this, anyone can host an engagement party (the couple can host if they choose, or either set of parents).

What should guests be served? – It depends on the style of the party. If it’s a dinner party, then some sort of substantial meal is expected, although a party with just snacks and simple desserts, or a buffet with finger foods can be just as enjoyable (as long as the time of the event doesn’t fall during a typical dinner time).

Cupcakes

Does the engagement party’s theme have to match the theme of the wedding? – Not at all. The host can choose any theme he/she wants, as long as it is reflective of the happy couple. Like the rehearsal dinner, an engagement party should not be grander than the wedding. Remember to check out Wedding Paper Divas for fun engagement party ideas.

Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean

For more ideas, contact me today at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net or at 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647!

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How to Have Happy Wedding Guests (With 5 Super Easy Tips)

11229839_10206380169797323_821285514982644025_oPhoto by Jack Hoying

You’ve invited friends and family to help you celebrate your wedding. If you are like most couples, you plan to feed them, entertain them, and thank them for being a part of your special day.

While the quality of the food and music can definitely make or break their level of enjoyment (no doubt about that), don’t forget the little things that can impact your guests’ experience.

1. Keep your guests informed (before the wedding day).

Wedding guests appreciate being informed of what to expect. Your invitation will give them some clue, but a wedding website is a wonderful, inexpensive (and even free), convenient place to provide further information your guests will want or need.

Look at it from their perspective. Having clear info – locations, directions, time schedule, hotel accommodations, gift registry options, etc. – easily at their fingertips makes it easier for them to participate.

Many couples include a page for guests to conveniently RSVP, and leave comments or questions they may have.

2. Keep your guests informed (on the wedding day).

You’ve shared plenty of info prior to your wedding day. On the big day itself, make sure guests understand what you want them to do with appropriate signage at your ceremony and reception sites.

Guests tend to err on the side of caution. They need that gentle guidance to let them know what we want them to do, such as: yes, please sign the guest book; yes, please take a favor; and don’t forget to turn off your cell phone (you don’t want someone’s phone to start ringing in the middle of your ceremony!).

It doesn’t take a lot of time or money to create signs that are memorable and in keeping with the theme of your event.

3. Plan for a variety of foods available.

Think of your reception dinner as Sunday dinner only amped up a few notches. You don’t have to stick with the tried-and-true – it’s ok to be adventurous – but keep it familiar. Consider guests’ dietary needs, perhaps offer a vegetarian and gluten free options there are any dietary restrictions.

If you are adding a regional specialty or a nationality dish that may be unfamiliar to your guests, explain what it is with elegant tent cards, (remember #2 from above?)

4. Add a little pampering.

Your venue will have some sort of restrooms (either with running water, or hand sanitizer station). Pamper your guests with a few extra amenities like hair spray, hand lotion, tissues, band aids, breath mints, and a mini a sewing kit.

5. Smile, and really enjoy your day!

Make sure that on your wedding day you wear a happy face. You have planned a great event, it’s now time to relax and let the good times roll. You’ve done your best, and you have helpers (family, friends, wedding coordinator) to handle the details. So smile and enjoy what you’ve planned.

Smiling and being happy is contagious. It has a “trickle down effect.” If you are happy and enjoying yourself, your guests will feel it and also be happy and have fun.

On the other hand, if your are grumpy and complaining, your guests are going to feel that negativity. They are less likely to have fun, and will probably leave early.

Weddings From The Heart can make your wedding day stress-free, enjoyable, and just the way you want. Contact me at 937-235-2586, 937-581-3647, or jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net and schedule your free, initial appointment!

Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean

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Why Is Another Bride Angry Over A Wedding Gift?

OMG – yet another report of a bride being angry over the gift she and her spouse received from one of their wedding guests. This time the bride is complaining over what she considers to be a cheap gift that does not cover the cost of what the guest ate or drank at the reception.

Not long ago we all heard about the couple who weren’t happy with their gift basket filled with food items — apparently one of the brides was gluten intolerant, and the couple felt that “having a wedding is all about saving for the future.”

Seems like the people getting married are suffering from social memory loss.

1. They are forgetting what is the point of a wedding reception
2. They are forgetting what is a “host” and what is a “guest”

The point of a wedding reception

A reception (by definition) is a “formal party to welcome somebody or celebrate an event such as a wedding.” Therefore a wedding reception is a celebration of two people who just got married. Key word here is “celebration.”

The level of formality can vary from couple to couple, as can all of the other details of the celebration itself (dinner or just cake and punch; dancing or just background music; 150 or more people or just 25, for example).

What stays the same is that it is a CELEBRATION. A time for festivities to have fun and rejoice in the special event.

Host vs Guest

Think about this . . .

You’re having a couple friends over for dinner.

Instead of burgers and hot dogs, you decide to serve something a little fancier – maybe a delicious prime rib or filet of sole – with a nice bottle of wine to accompany dinner, and a decadent dessert afterwards.

Your friends come, you eat and drink, visit, and at the end of the evening they go home. Now, they didn’t bring anything with them – no envelope with money, no gift. They didn’t give you anything at all. They didn’t “pay you back” for the wonderful dinner you invited them to, prepared, and served.

Do you feel slighted? Of course not! You invited them. You chose to have them over. You chose what to serve. You hosted a dinner party and they were your guests.

So, should this be any different than if the dinner party were a wedding reception? The answer is a resounding NO!

You are still hosting a dinner party, only on a larger scale. You chose who to invite. You chose what to serve. You’re hosting a wedding reception and they are your guests.

Definition of “Guest” (definition found on Bing.com)

  1. recipient of hospitality: somebody who receives hospitality from somebody else
  2. somebody entertained at another’s expense: a recipient of a meal or entertainment that is paid for by somebody else

So, if you’re the ones getting married, be gracious hosts, treat your guests to dinner, dancing, or whatever you choose. And if you’re a guest, celebrate the first day of your loved ones’ marriage and (even though the point is the celebration) bring a gift that you want to give, (whether cash or a pretty present, it’s up to you), and spend how much you want to spend.

The only expectations are that everyone has a good time and that everyone leaves with wonderful memories of the wedding celebration.