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!

3 Money Saving Tips Without Sacrificing Style for Your Wedding

wedding
Looking for ways to save money without sacrificing the overall feel of your wedding? Check out these tips.

Decor

Greenery and candles are still one of the best ways to save money on centerpieces. It’s elegant and cost effective.

Want something with big impact, but not the big price tag? How about a graceful candelabra,
Silver Light Brass Candelabraor a large, elegant vase or candle holder? Gorgeous, but costs a fraction of a large floral arrangement.

You can also add some pizzazz by easily dressing up plain glass candle holders with adhesive rhinestones, ribbon, lace, glitter or paint.

Word of caution: If you do use real candles, get the unscented kind. When you get a room full of candles, a scent will get overpowering, can aggravate someone’s allergies, and (believe it or not) will affect the taste of the food.

Dessert

Serve cupcakes or cake pops rather than a traditional tiered wedding cake.

Chocolate and Pink Cake Pops
You’ll save money per serving (cupcakes & cake pops are often .50 – $1 less per serving than cake). You won’t be paying a cake cutting fee (that most venues charge).

And you’ll be able to order just the amount you need.

For example, if you have 100 guests, you’ll want 100 servings. For a tiered cake, you’ll end up with at least 118 servings as an 8″ tier serves 24, a 10″ serves 38, and a 12″ serves 56. Not that there’s anything wrong with having extra leftover cake, some couples do so on purpose, but if you need to shave something off your budget, this is an easy way to do so.

Fun Stuff

Photo booths are still popular. And with good reason – they’re fun, a great activity for your guests, people can be silly or or serious . . .

However, many couples whose budget doesn’t allow for a traditional photo booth are changing it up.

photo booth wedding party bridesmaids girls

Ok, DIY Photo Booths are a bit more effort on your part than having a professional photo booth, (not to mention that there won’t be the fun extras that the pros offer, such as a custom logo, booth attendant, professional equipment, and on-site prints). However the DIY route can be relatively easy. Get a digital camera on a tripod, and guests can snap away. You’ll have to wait until after the event to load up all the photos online for you and your guests to see.

A relatively new service is perfect for use with a DIY photo booth. Veri is a photo and video sharing product which was created specifically for weddings. Before your wedding day, your guests will get a link for the Veri app. Then any photos and videos they take at your wedding will be shared instantly. Unlike a hashtag where the photo has to be uploaded, with this app your guests won’t have to do anything other than snap the picture. Be sure to check out www.veri.com for more details.

For more money saving tips, or unique ideas for your wedding, contact me today at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net or at 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647!

Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean

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11 Ways to Save Money on Your Wedding That Actually Work

Save Money on Your Wedding
It’s no secret that weddings cost a lot of money.

Here are 11 easy ways to save money without sacrificing your wedding style.

  1. Individual programs or menu cards look pretty, but you can save a bundle by providing this information on a pretty calligraphed sign.
  2. Serve only beer and wine instead of offering a full bar.
  3.  Skip the champagne toast (or just have it for the head table). Your guests will be fine drinking what they have.
  4.  Some vendors offer discounts for a wedding on a weekday or during a non-peak month such as January or March.
  5.  You can save on catering by having a morning or early afternoon ceremony/reception.
  6.  Trim your guest list. You’ll save on food and beverages. And less people means less seating, which = less tables/chairs, centerpieces, and linens.
  7. Offer a meatless entree. A veggie or pasta entree costs less than one with meat.
  8.  Have your ceremony and reception at the same venue. No need for a limo or party bus to transport the wedding party, and you’ll save on multiple site fees.
  9.  Omit favors, your guests won’t miss them.
  10.  Use more greenery and less flowers in your arrangements.
  11.  If your ceremony and reception are at the same location, have your DJ provide the music for both instead of hiring live musicians for the ceremony.

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

Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean

Photo credit: rrraum / 123RF Stock Photo

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5 Top Wedding No-Nos To Avoid

In this era of “doing your own thing” and “I want it my way”, there are some things that no bride should ever do.

Of course you want to have a fabulous day that will stay in the minds of your guests forever.

Of course your wedding will be special and as unique as you and your groom wish, but here are some “please don’ts” to consider.

  • Don’t try to be superbride. Weddings take a lot of planning and you do not need to make every single decision about every little detail yourself. Do not spend every waking moment to planning THE WEDDING. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your mom, your best friend, your cousins – people really do want to help. Let them. Hire a wedding planner, often times they will save you time and money. You can contract with them to handle as much or as little as you need.
  • Don’t have a cash bar. You don’t invite people to a party and then ask them to pay for beverages. There are lots of alternatives. Have a bartender help create a special drink for the event and serve that and only that. Or consider a wine bar or gloved waiters circulating with trays of champagne. Or you may have a cocktail hour only and serve wine during dinner.
  • Don’t include bridal registry information on your invitations. Yes, it is good to register for gifts. It helps invitees and insures you receive gifts you actually want and can use. However, it is good to remember that giving wedding gifts is not mandatory. Your guests will want to gift you but they don’t need to. Get the info out on your web site or via word of mouth but NEVER on your invitation.
  • Don’t be bossy with your bridesmaids. Remember that in the most traditional sense your bridesmaids, especially your maid of honor, are there to act as witnesses to this solemn event.

    They aren’t “maids” to command. Most brides handle these relationships with skill and grace, but we have seen brides shift from “asking” to “demanding” and it isn’t pretty. They expect their bridesmaids to shell out for expensive garments, wear their hair the way the bride insists, and attend countless showers. Yes you give them thank you gifts but along with that, remember they have lives beyond appearing in your wedding.

  • Don’t make guests wait for hours between the ceremony and the reception. It is ideal to have a venue that handles both the ceremony and the reception, but if you can’t try to avoid long delays between events. If you have your heart set on being married in your family church but the reception you want can only be held as a special location in another town, you’ll have to make arrangements for guests to go directly to the reception site and have a “cocktail hour” or “coffee bar” or alternative happening while they wait for the reception to begin.

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    Hearts, Joy, Love!
    Jean

    Do you have questions or are looking for unique ideas for your wedding? Weddings From The Heart can help.

    Contact me today at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net or at 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647!

9 Things No One Tells You About Wedding PlanningWhy Aren’t They?

Not too long ago, I read an article titled “9 Things No One Tells You About Wedding Planning.”

It has lots of helpful information that will help ensure that the wedding day turns out they way the couple want it to be.

These tips, such as . . .

  • Don’t start planning the second you get engaged
  • Make a list of all the most important photos you want taken on your wedding day
  • It takes approximately 250 hours to plan a wedding
  • Allow time to call people on your invitation list who didn’t send back the rsvp
  • Plan a budget

             . . . are spot on.

I’m just wondering why is no one sharing this info with their brides and grooms?

These tips are all things I regularly tell my couples. Ok, probably not exactly verbatim, but the info gets passed along.

I wholeheartedly agree with the first sentence of the article, “It’s an unfortunate, but often inevitable, part of planning a wedding that there are just some things you won’t know or realize until after the big day is over.” I mean, you don’t know what you don’t know. (And when you start planning your wedding it’s inevitable that you won’t know stuff, unless you’ve planned several weddings before).

But your vendor team should be keeping this “unknown information” to a minimum so your planning and wedding day will go as smoothly as possible.

So you don’t end up stressing out over the idea of “what am I missing” here is a link to the original article.

Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean

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photo credit: Rustic style marquee via photopin (license)

Let’s make sure you aren’t missing anything! Contact me today at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net or at 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647!

10 Easy Ways to Really Enjoy Your Wedding (From Planning to the Big Day Itself!)

photo credit: randomdirectory via photopin cc
1. Take Your Time
You’ve got a lot to do, so give yourself plenty of time for planning. 12 –18 months is ideal. Having extra time helps keep stress levels down AND give you more time to search for and save money for the things you really want.

2. Be Present In Each Moment
One of the biggest complaints couples have after their wedding day is that it went by so fast that it’s all just a big blur.

So, during the planning, especially the fun parts like food tastings and music selections, and absolutely on your wedding day – step back and just soak it all in. You’re making these wonderful memories, so be sure to take a moment to really experience it.

photo credit: kristaguenin via photopin cc
3. Do A First Look
Many couples look forward to the first moment when they first see each other. There’s nothing that compares to that emotional experience. But doing a “first look” instead of waiting to see each other during the ceremony processional does not diminish that flood of emotion. And it can be even more special since you have the opportunity to have a special moment – just the two of you – and really have the time to let the moment sink in.

4. Don’t Get Caught Up In “Perfection”
Real life isn’t perfect, and beware of anyone who promises that they can make everything perfect. Sorry to be blunt but they’re lying, or delusional. It just isn’t humanly possible.

Instead, relax and appreciate the little moments of your wedding day

photo credit: erin m via photopin cc
5. Share Something Personal And Unique With Your Guests
There is no one right way to do a wedding. Which is wonderful, because it gives you so many options to create a wedding day that really represents the two of you. Special poetry for our ceremony readings. Including family customs. Playing Grandma’s favorite hymn. Having your caterer recreate a favorite family dish.

Sharing something personal and special adds to the emotional enjoyment for everyone in the room. Not to mention all those wonderful photos and video you’ll have that has captured this personal-ness.

6. Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize
There are just too many details that go into a wedding to be able to put the same level of importance on each one – you’ll just end up driving yourself (and everyone around you) crazy!

Make a list of all the things that you will have in your wedding – the music, the cake, the flowers, and rate them by order of importance. What’s more important to you, a delicious cake or awesome flowers? Fabulous food or a killer gown? Get your fiancé’s input as well. It’s his wedding too!

Ideally, you may “want it all” but unless you’ve got the pocketbook of a Rockefeller, you’ll need to make some compromises. Choose the top 3 or 4 things that are most important to you and your fiancé, and concentrate most on them.

photo credit: Nathan Congleton via photopin cc 7. Accept That You Can’t Please Everyone
At no other time in your life will so many people offer up their opinions, advice, and thoughts about what you “should” do for your wedding. Some may sound good, some will seem silly, and others will make absolutely no sense for you and your fiancé at all.

Avoid the head spin by understanding that you cannot please everyone! And guess what? It’s absolutely OK! This is the one day in your lives where the only people you have to please are you and your fiancé, and absolutely no one else.

8. Remember why you’re planning this wedding
It’s not just because of one day, but for all the following days that you will be blessed to spend with the love of your life. Remember to schedule some regular ‘non-wedding’ activities by yourself and with friends. Remember to pamper yourself – put on some relaxing music & soak in the tub. Schedule regular dates with your fiancé – but do not talk about the wedding. And most important, have fun!

9. Eat!
I know you’re going to be excited, and probably not have much of an appetite, but . . .

Take the time to eat on the day of your wedding. Have breakfast, a bagel and cream cheese, maybe some fruit. And if your ceremony start time is late enough, eat lunch.

You’ll be on your feet and on the go for several hours before dinner time. Make sure you keep your body properly fueled. You don’t want make yourself worn out and hungry – or worse yet, pass out from lack of food.

10. Hire A Day-Of Coordinator
You’ve put so much time and effort working on your wedding plans before the big day – You (as well as your wedding party and your mom) shouldn’t have to work ON the day itself. Having a day-of coordinator allows you to be able to actually be able to relax and enjoy your wedding day.

I tell my couples that their job is to look gorgeous and enjoy the day. My job is to make sure that everything goes smoothly and just they way they’ve planned it to be.

Looking for fun ideas, or need help with your wedding plans? Contact me at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net or at 937-235-2586.

Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean