Photography courtesy of Kristyn Harder.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. The leaves are turning, the crisp air is back and the first snowfall is just around the corner. Although it's undeniably so beautiful outdoors as the seasons are changing, many planning on getting married over the next coming months traditionally push their wedding ceremonies back indoors. With COVID-19 still an ongoing concern, restrictions make having an indoor wedding more difficult and may hinder the guest list that you were hoping for. Aside from the positive of potentially adding numbers to your guest list, outdoor ceremonies starting at this time of year also set the most picturesque backdrop for photography. It will not only provide a unique experience for your friends and family but create such a romantic setting to say “I do”.
Embracing the outdoors has never been more popular and here’s how to plan the perfect outdoor ceremony while still keeping guests feeling comfortable.
Prepare Your Guests Ahead of Time
Pre-wedding communication is so essential in a time of uncertainty. Many guests attending a fall/winter event are quick to assume it will all take place indoors. Notifying your guests part of the celebration will be outdoors will allow them to prepare ahead of time, dress for the climate and get ready for the beautiful ceremony ahead. Providing specific information like how long they will be outdoors and what inclement weather back up will be should make them feel more comfortable when choosing appropriate attire. A pro tip is to plan for an earlier ceremony so you can aim for peak lighting and the warmest parts of the day. Heading into late fall and the winter months a ceremony before 5:00pm is the most optimal. It’s always a great idea to think about securing a tent as a backup in case the weather just doesn’t cooperate as planned!
Provide Warmth to Your Loved Ones
Even in the shortest of ceremonies, when temperatures drop it can get cold quite quickly. Providing a heat source like warmers and fire pits in an outdoorsy area or turning on outdoor fireplaces in a modern setup are great ideas. Add in some fun design wise and incorporate cozy blankets at the end of the aisle or at each seat to guests to create that perfect personal touch to your seasonal aesthetic. Design pre-ceremony warming areas for the most inviting welcome to guests who arrive before the ceremony. This will give your guests the feeling of warmer days while fully getting to enjoy the current season.
Serve Specialty Warm Drinks and Appetizers
Is there anything more comforting on a cold day than a warm beverage? Consider welcoming your guests with your favourite cozy drink. Celebrate the season with hot apple cider or keep things casual by designing a build your own hot cocoa station or even opt for an elevated experience by adding a signature outdoor bar serving hot toddys. This is the perfect opportunity to feature a seasonal winter drink you were hoping to include in your special day. Remember personalized mugs also make for an amazing escort card or wedding favor. Also, nothing warms the belly like an appetizer on a cold day. Come up with a custom post-ceremony appetizer style menu with your caterer and serve individual portions of soup or freshly roasted s’mores to truly set the tone before heading indoors for your reception.
Give The Perfect Cozy Gift
Many think long and hard about special gifts to give their bridal party. Now is the time to surprise them with a fur throw or matching pashminas to not only keep their warmth in mind but also to accessorize their ceremony look. Not only will this be a stunning addition in your pictures but will be a gift that they can enjoy and wear post-wedding. You can have fun and accessorize the gentlemen’s already warm outfits with flasks. And even consider elevating your own bridal look by adding a chic seasonal accessory like a cape—it's guaranteed to be a show stopper.
Design Your Dream Wedding Against A Natural Backdrop
Complimenting an already beautiful landscape makes design choices not only easier but allows you to dream outside of the ordinary. Choosing a bolder palette with your florals will truly feel more crisp outdoors. Using different chairs than traditional indoor options like wooden benches or lounge style seating will wow your guests and provide ultimate comfort. And just add twinkly lights to the trees or candle lined aisles or altar and voila, you have created the ceremony of your dreams.
Katie Gregg is the lead planner and founder of Katie Gregg Events & Co. Her wedding planning journey began two years ago, not long after saying ‘I do’ with her husband Chris; she discovered her passion for wedding planning and wedding media. Katie believes wedding planning is more than just staging and organizing an aesthetically beautiful event. It requires taking cues from a couple’s personal styles, incorporating details from their love story, and creating a thoughtful experience for them and their guests alike.
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