Outdoor weddings can be an absolute dream ....
Updated: Jun 24
......... if everything goes to plan!
Imagine the setting; a beautiful summer’s day, bright blue sky, golden sunshine but with a whisper of a breeze so it’s not too hot. Guests in posh frocks and summer suits and full of joy and laughter. A gazebo scattered with rose petals and vases of fresh flowers.
The bride is getting ready in her room with the dulcet tones of Bill Withers singing ‘A Lovely Day’ in the background (OK it could be any song you like – but one that makes you feel good) The hairdresser has been, the make-up is done and she looks in the mirror and thinks OMG with tears in her eyes as she realises what today is all about.
Meanwhile, the groom is frantically trying to fasten his cuff-links and getting panicky about remembering to say ‘I do’ not to mention the speech later at the reception. His best man is there to reassure him or, more than likely, to take the mickey out of him (but only to keep him from panicking and to keep him grounded of course!)
The groom and best man make their way to the front. The groom panics and asks the best man if he has the rings and, of course, the best man pretends he’s lost them!!! The celebrant makes a few announcements (you know, turn your phones off, etc) then the music starts. The groom breaks out in a sweat and then it happens. A big black cloud sits over the ceremony area and it starts to rain.
The bride is ready to make her way to the ceremony area but it’s now raining cats and dogs. The guests are scurrying to get to shelter and push past the bride and bridesmaids to do so. The groom comes rushing behind and sees his bride in the doorway. This is NOT the way she wanted him to see her.
So, what happens now? If you haven’t got a PLAN B your day is ruined. If you do have a Plan B then at most the ceremony will be slightly delayed. Your Plan B should include an indoor/undercover venue big enough to accommodate ALL your guests. I officiated at a wedding that didn’t have a plan B (before I became an Independent Celebrant). There were 150 guests and the indoor room could only accommodate 50. The groom had the unpleasant task of choosing who got to see the wedding and who didn’t. Not exactly what the guests were expecting.
It’s not just rain that can ruin your plans:
· Wind plays havoc with veils and hairdos and can blow over decorations. At one wedding I officiated there were a few men in kilts – need I say more! Not a sight I want to remember😊
· The sun beating down on your guest’s heads can cause major problems especially for the elderly. On one occasion I saw a gentleman collapse and the rest of the guests were fanning themselves with anything they could find. (A good tip for summer weddings – provide fans!) Nobody wants to be dripping with sweat at a wedding – especially the bride and groom (do you really want the groom in a three-piece tweed suit in summer??)
· Also, in summer, especially if you are near water, think about midges and flying insects. Some of your guests may be highly allergic to bee stings. I once had to rescue a bee from between the layers of the bride’s dress before she sat on it!
· Winter weddings can be just as bad. Although it might be a clear fresh day, some people feel the cold more than others. Make sure you state on your invitations that the ceremony is likely to be outside so to wrap up warm. It’s also a good idea to provide blankets and umbrellas. Also, take the weather into account when choosing your dress and the bridesmaid’s outfits.
· The weather can also disrupt your guests’ travel arrangements so if there is a heavy snowfall, for instance, you may have to prepare yourself to accept the fact that some guests won’t make it. (You could always Skype the ceremony, so they don’t miss out completely)
We all know the British weather is unpredictable so please, please remember to have a Plan B (i.e. an indoor alternative) I am more than happy to conduct outdoor ceremonies, even if it is raining, (I have wellies!) but think about your guests (you could always provide wellies for them too!)