How To Plan An Outdoor Wedding Reception In 4 Steps

Those who want to know how to plan an outdoor wedding reception can simplify it into four steps. In this guide, we will discuss what you have to accomplish and do when planning weddings in an outdoor venue. 

We will even provide tips for contingency planning to avoid problems with the outside weather. And if you’re having the wedding at home, you can read how to turn your backyard into a wedding venue

how to plan an outdoor wedding reception


Complete Guide On How To Plan An Outdoor Wedding Reception


Secure the legalities for the outdoor venue

  • Decide on where you’ll have the outdoor wedding; intimate outdoor weddings typically happen in a personal backyard or garden
  • Some couples might also want to have the reception outdoors such as in a park or beach
  • If the outdoor wedding venue is public property, plan the legalities you need to accomplish
  • Get the necessary permits to avoid issues with your park or beach wedding
  • Know the regulations and limitations when decorating and having the wedding in public outdoor venues; note that most public spaces only allow wedding ceremonies, but receptions where the guests typically get loud might be rejected


Create a contingency plan to have the wedding outside 

  • Regardless if you’re having the reception in your backyard or a public space, planning an outdoor wedding means you should be prepared for the challenges of the outside environment
  • You’ll have an outdoor wedding reception, which means the guests should be comfortable with the weather
  • When asking for the permit to be approved, check what you can do with the venue to provide coverage from rain, wind, or sunlight
  • Depending on the location, you may need to plan for protection against insects to protect your guests and also what you’ll serve at the venue
  • It would be best if you also scouted the venue to plan how the guests will safely and comfortably move around since it’s a reception


Prepare the outdoor weddings space

  • After securing the permits and having a contingency plan for the outdoor venue of your wedding reception, create a layout to know how it will look like
  • Know where the chairs, tables, or stage will go; you should also plan the wiring for the electrical needs, such as the lighting and music
  • Consider adjusting the type of reception you’ll have for the venue; for example, will it be more conducive to having a tea party or a picnic-style wedding than a traditional loud reception with cocktails?
  • Be practical with the placements of your wedding decor; you don’t want to damage spots on the property
  • If you’re having a backyard wedding reception, use a wedding theme that will maximize the existing elements in the space to save on costs; for example, utilize the deck, trees, or fountain, so you don’t need to hide them or buy more decors 


Determine a focal point for the outdoor wedding venue

  • The final step of outdoor wedding reception planning is you determine a focal point
  • Since it’s an outdoor wedding reception, the head table where the couple will sit is usually the focal point; it can also be the cake table or the center stage where the people can dance
  • Discuss your plan with the venue coordinator or wedding decorator
  • Schedule the vendors accordingly so the wedding reception will be ready and avoid issues with time
  • Play with backdrops or utilize the existing scenery as the natural backdrop of the wedding reception

Do you want to elevate the outdoor wedding, which will also happen in the evening? Why not learn how to hang string lights for an outdoor wedding to make your reception venue look more romantic?


What Is The Best Month For An Outdoor Wedding?

When planning an outdoor wedding, the season and weather are influential for comfort. That being said, months like May or June are preferred because of the mild weather. 

If you want the wedding venue to be cool but still comfortable and manageable, you can also have the event in September or October. Ultimately, states and regions vary in the weather, so choose a wedding date and time where you can enjoy the outdoors. 


How Can I Have A Cheap Outdoor Wedding?

  • Consider an intimate wedding ceremony to save costs on the outdoor venue size and rentals
  • Have a reception-only outdoor wedding
  • Choose an outdoor wedding venue that won’t need too many decorations
  • Have the wedding in the afternoon
  • Consider an alcohol-free wedding
  • Have a semi-formal or dressy-casual theme
  • Shorten the reception or ceremony
  • Find an outdoor venue that is free
  • Have the wedding during the off-season to get cheaper offers and vendors


How Can I Make My Outdoor Wedding More Comfortable?

  • Select a shaded area
  • Make sure the terrain of the outdoor venue is not unsafe, rough, muddy, or slippery; provide temporary flooring if needed
  • Provide fans and lighting for added comfort outside
  • Have the outdoor wedding during cool months
  • Provide guests with fans and cool drinks if the season is hot
  • Have the wedding in the morning or evening outdoors
  • Select a practical dress code for the outdoor venue
  • Provide tents for the guests



And that’s it! You just learned how to plan an outdoor wedding reception in four steps.

Start with accomplishing the legalities of the outdoor venue, creating a contingency plan, preparing the space, and deciding on a focal point. Then, let us know below if you have any questions.

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