by J. Scott

There’s a serious art to planning an outdoor wedding. The style of tent, lawn games, comfortable seating available, natural settings and al fresco displays are among some of the most essential factors to consider for an outdoor ceremony or reception. So many questions come to mind—what should be in your emergency fashion kit? What should you do during an unfortunate change of weather? And where’s the bathroom? If you’re envisioning an outdoor celebration, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind.

Enlist Wedding Fashion Hacks

In the rush of all that planning for your outdoor wedding, you may be forgetting more of the simpler details—like helpful wardrobe hacks to keep in mind. Making sure your shoes don’t sink into grass or sand is a big one. Many brides advise wearing more comfortable, sink-proof kicks like wedges, flats or thicker heels to prevent this annoyance from happening to you.

If you’re planning a summer wedding in a hot climate, consider light-colored linens or forgoing the tie, gentlemen! Psst: here’s an emergency kit for you in case you get into a real fashion pickle.

Pitch the Perfect Tent

Whether you are planning a backyard wedding and looking for a tent or considering a venue that already has its own tent in place, there are many options to consider when it comes to choosing your ideal tent.

From century tents to frame tents, there’s all styles of tents to consider for your outdoor wedding. Century tents feature high ceilings, dramatic peaks and plunging lines that create a stylish interior for a medium- to large-scale reception while frame tents are versatile, free-standing aluminum structures that fit just about any type of location, including patios, porches, parking lots and other spots where a traditional tent would be impractical.

Rental Tents for Outdoor Wedding

Brianna Wilbur Photography

If you’re going the more affordable route, try having your wedding at a venue that has its own tent, like Springton Manor Farm, which features a 4,000-square-foot tent with plenty of space for dining, a massive dance floor and gorgeous farmland views.

Keep Everyone Cozy and Comfortable

Regardless of weather or temperature, your guests’ comfort is essential. Having the right heating and cooling systems in place for your outdoor reception should be a priority. For a summer wedding, portable air conditioning units or fans will certainly come in handy on especially hot days. During chillier months, go with patio or propane heaters to keep everyone warm.

Remember, hydration is key! Consider setting up a station with plenty of refreshing drinks for guests that’s separate from the bar.

And be sure to have plenty of outdoor seating. Pillows, love seats, couches, umbrellas and other lounge seating and complementary accessories can make for one relaxing cocktail hour. Reception seating is also super important.

Have a Plan B

Be sure to have a backup plan in place in case the rain or other elemental havoc decides to make a guest appearance at your wedding. Consider a tent or indoor space where guests can easily relocate when the heavens fall down. With a foolproof plan in place and perhaps even detail-oriented event staff that’s prepared for anything, you can rest easy, and dare we say, embrace the rain! Here are a few more important weather tips to keep in mind.

Rain Plan Plan B For Outdoor Wedding

We Laugh We Love Photography

Think About the Acoustics

For a backyard reception or one featuring a tent, there are a lot of musical accommodations to consider. It’s important for everyone to hear your best friend’s epic speech, your band’s lead singer or the announcement that it’s time to party on the dancefloor. There is where cordless microphones come in handy. And be sure to have an extra generator on hand to power all equipment.

Finally, be sure to check in with your neighbors or pay close attention to your venue’s curfews for a fun yet considerate celebration.

Pay Attention to the Bathrooms

This is another one of those main priorities for an outdoor wedding. Many venues like farms or beach settings don’t always allow for easy access to the bathrooms. Consider trailer rentals or be sure to choose a location with facilities that are conveniently located nearby and packed with all the essentials. Or consider a venue with indoor restrooms like The Patio at Archmere Academy or Phoenixville Foundry.

Plan Lots of Fun Activities

What games or activities will be available to pump up your guests at your outdoor wedding? Are there any hidden pathways on the property that are worth exploring? If your guests have a lot of room in which to spread out, arrange for fun lawn games for your loved ones. Or set up a fire pit for late-night ghost stories, snuggling and s’mores.

Lawn Games at Outdoor Wedding

Georgi Anastasov Photography

Roll with an Outdoor Theme

The beauty of an outdoor wedding is that theme ideas to pull from are endless. From secret garden to festival to country chic, there are so many themes to play with just by simply borrowing from your outdoor surroundings.

If you’re still on the hunt for the perfect outdoor wedding location, we know of quite a few. Radnor Hunt, one of the oldest fox hunts in the United States, provides a breathtaking 6,000-acre backdrop full of bright greens and beautiful blooms, grazing farm life and giant trees. Springton Manor Farm is another incredible Philadelphia location for an outdoor wedding. It offers three exquisite outdoor ceremony spaces, a stunning countryside backdrop, heavy-duty rain plan and more!

Provide a Creative Menu

Let’s not forget the food! Every outdoor wedding should provide a delicious display that gets people moving around and talking during cocktail hour or a freshly prepared, farm-to-table meal for your reception.

And don’t forget about those late-night eats. Food trucks and creative stations are perfect additions to any outdoor wedding. Check out a few of our late-night snack ideas for more inspiration!

Late Night Wedding Food Cheesesteak Station

Samantha Jay Photography

We are proud to work with couples across Philadelphia to create the perfect menu for their outdoor wedding. If you need help creating a menu, have questions about vendors in the area who can help with outdoor entertainment and rentals, or you’re simply in need of some more outdoor wedding inspiration, we’d love to talk to you about it. Contact us today!

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by J. Scott

Since founding J. Scott Catering in 1995, Scott has worked hard to establish a reputation for exceptional Philadelphia catering and superior customer service.