Outdoor Weddings {Brazos Valley Wedding Planning}


Let’s face it, you’re either the personality type who can handle an outdoor wedding ceremony and/or reception or you’re not. Yes, it is gorgeous. You have the purity of the natural beauty as your setting and you get to build on that when considering your wedding décor. But you also have mother nature as your guest of honor, who may or may not be in a cooperative mood.

If you are a bride who has always dreamed of an outdoor ceremony or reception and you know that you will not be satisfied until you find that perfect location, even if it is equipped with a questionable back up plan, by all means go outside! You have a 50/50 chance that you will get that perfect day that you have envisioned, and along the way, you will create and execute plans for “just in case”.

We have been very lucky the last few weeks to have been blessed with many inches of rain, mostly on Saturdays. That, of course, has made for some scrambling to put Plan B into place, quick drying of chairs as the rain stops 15 minutes before the outdoor ceremonies and a few nervous brides around the Brazos Valley. It has not, however, stopped anyone from getting married, having the most beautiful wedding of their dreams, and getting to celebrate and dance the night away with friends and family.

Most people think that rain is the main issue when planning an outdoor reception, but realistically it is a very small portion of what you will have to deal with when your big day comes. When planning an outdoor ceremony and/or reception, keep these things in mind to help you be prepared for what is to come.

12008_356Weddings by Crystal Littrell Photography

{Back Up Plan} – If it rains, what is your back up plan? That might be a tent, it might be another building on the property, it might be the same location as the reception with guests sitting at the tables, but you will need to have a plan in mind so that you can go to it if necessary. If it is a tent, find out what you need to do to get that reserved and what your final deadline is to reserve. If it needs to be a frame tent or pole tent. Decide on sides and flooring, and what you will do if there is a break from the tent to another building that guests will be in as well. If the back up plan is another building on property, can that building hold the ceremony and reception? Will you have to do a flip or can you have both set up in different locations? If your guests will sit at their tables during the ceremony make sure there is an aisle for you to make it down and that everyone is able to make it in out of the rain in some fashion.

{Wind} – Often the wind can be just as bad, if not worse than the rain! Keep the wind in mind when you are designing your table-scapes. Keep your centerpieces heavy enough to not be effected by large gusts and minimize what other pieces you have. Napkins may need to be weighted down by silverware, plates, chargers, or folded in a creative way to keep them in place. LED candles will be your best friend with the wind! Don’t try real candles, you will fight all night long. Table clips might be a consideration for your linens to make sure they don’t blow off the tables. You can also prop the chairs up against them to keep them in place.

{Bugs} – Most locations keep a very close watch on bugs year round to make sure they don’t have too many gnats or mosquitos as unwelcome guests during a reception, but it is always a good idea to bring some additional back up. Spray, candles, or clips can be good options, and you can ask the venue what methods they use and if they see any issues with bugs in the evenings. If there has been a large rain or there is a pond (which will provide a beautiful backdrop) you could have some extra “friends”. Keep in mind if you have your cakes, food or bar being set outside that the bugs will probably be drawn to these areas too due to the tempting sugar and alluring lights!

{Heat or Cold} – Let’s face it, this is Texas, so we can swing 50 degrees in a day at the drop of a hat. Keep heat and cold in mind and know what options you have with fans and/or heaters to be provided by the venue or rented by you and placed to make your guests (and yourself) comfortable. Large fans are great to circulate air for the heat, but “swamp coolers” are another good addition when it is extreme. Think about water or alternative beverages during the ceremony and options for shade if it is during the daylight.

Let me share with you three precious couples who made sure their days were covered in back up plans.

end of ceremony
Audrey & Glen were married in March at Astin Mansion in Bryan. They had a lovely spring wedding planned with an outdoor ceremony and reception. On the rehearsal day we had nice “springtime” weather with temperatures near 75 degrees. On the wedding day the temperature dropped to near 45 degrees and we had winds of 30 MPH. Plans changed. The ceremony was held outside with heaters to warm the guests and the once planned outdoor seating for the reception was moved indoors. The indoor seating gave Audrey and Glen a great opportunity to spend quality time with each guest at their tables while finishing dinner and was a nice intimate setting.

Heather & Dustin were married in early October in a church and went to Royalty Pecan Farms for their reception immediately following. It was a beautiful, sunny day, but there was a little bit of a breeze when setting the reception! The guests tables and dance floor were all set in a tent and to keep the linens and napkins on the tables pieces were strategically placed and used as anchors. Heather kept in mind that wind can often be a factor at outdoor receptions when planning her centerpieces and made Plan A and B for everything that would be on the table tops.

Lauren & Brant were married at Pebble Creek Country Club in a ceremony overlooking the golf course in August. An evening ceremony was planned, which seemed like a safe plan, until it was the hottest summer on the books. Five minutes before the wedding party was to walk down the aisle it was still well over 100 degrees. The ceremony was abbreviated and the guests were quickly ushered into the air conditioning to enjoy nice cold beverages and appetizers. The wedding party, bride and groom finished pictures like rock stars!

Come rain or shine, wind or storm, the show will go on. So, if you are a bride who has dreamed of that day being outdoors, keep these things in mind and keep and open mind. If you think it is too much for you handle on your wedding day, maybe battling Mother Nature is not your thing. Either way, your day will be perfect for you. Each wedding should.