Tips for Outdoor Weddings

Harpist’s needs
The harp and harp player must be in the shade or under a cover. Please no rain or mist on this precious and expensive instrument. The harp is tippy, so the ground must be flat, level and on firm ground. If amplification is desired, the placement needs to be within about 50 feet of an electric outlet.

Sunshine
Where is the sun shining at the time of the wedding, that time of year? You don’t want the sun shining in your eyes because you will be squinting in your pictures taken during the ceremony. The guests don’t want the sun directly in their eyes either. Go to the wedding venue at the time of the wedding (approximately one half hour before, since that when people will be gathering.) See where the sun is. Can you orient the chairs and altar accordingly?

Amplification
It is good to have the pastor amplified so that the guests can hear the ceremony. If you have others reading, perhaps your DJ can provide a cordless mike for them. I amplify the harp if power is available.

Unity Candle, Sand Ceremony, etc
There is usually a breeze, so unity candles need to be in glass covers so they don’t blow out. Sand ceremony is a better choice because of this issue.

Outdoor Temperature
If it is over 95, it is really too hot for an outdoor wedding. Men are miserable in tuxes, everyone is fanning themselves with your program, and you will be sweaty for your pictures. July and August are not a good time to have an outdoor wedding. If it is below 65 my fingers are too stiff and cold to play.

Insects
You do not want to be swatting bugs during your ceremony, nor do your guests (I have seen this!) Check with the venue manager to see if they need to spray for insects before your ceremony.

Paper Fans
I have seen some really cute wedding programs, which spread out to become a fan. Some provide a colorful fan with the bride and groom’s picture on it.

Water
It is very nice to have bottled water on ice which the guests can pick up as they enter the wedding venue.

Traffic Noise
When you visit a possible wedding venue, notice if there is a busy road nearby. Traffic noise can spoil the atmosphere, especially if a fire truck goes by with the siren going.