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What To Consider For Planning A 2021 Outdoor Wedding

  |   By Natalie Ho

Photography courtesy of Hayley Zumkeller Photography.

Outdoor weddings have always been a popular choice for couples, but COVID-19 has made them even more attractive due to the larger guest counts permitted. If you and your partner are considering hosting outdoors this summer, here are a few key points for consideration:

Plan as though it’s going to rain.
I know—total drag, and I’m confident your wedding day will be sunny. But, to prevent you from having to stress on your big day, come up with a solid plan A and plan B in advance, and make sure all of your key wedding players know about them. If you are hosting outdoors, a tent is strongly advised. Not only do they protect your guests from the rain, but they also protect them from the heat, sun and wind. While tents can be expensive, one possible way of reducing the cost could be to rent multiple smaller tents. This would also be a great excuse to space out your guests!
If you aren’t going to go for a tent, then you’ll want to ensure that your guests can comfortably fit in your house (seated or standing) and let them know in advance that they should bring a facemask, in case you head indoors. The more you tell your guests about your plans, the more comfortable they will be about joining you on your big day.

Consider your guest-to-washroom ratio.
If you are planning to have guests use your indoor washrooms, ensure you have staff members assigned to them: one personto show your guests to the washrooms throughout the event, and another acting as a washroom attendant to check on the cleanliness of the washroom every 30 minutes.
If you are hosting a large number of guests (over 25) you may not have enough washroom facilities for them to use.  Consider renting a portable washroom fit for your guests from a supplier that provides luxury restroom rentals. In either case, double up on the hand sanitizer and Lysol wipes for your guests’ comfort in the washrooms.

Consider where food might be prepared.
If you are working with a caterer to provide food service to your event, you will need to consider where the food will be prepared. Your guest count and the menu will determine how much space a chef requires to create meals. If you are having a larger group with hot meals, your home oven and stove top won’t be enough to serve the group in a timely fashion. In this case, your caterer may need to build a kitchen outside of your home, with rental ovens, and tables to spread out the plating of food. Adding a kitchen may not be something you’ve factored into your budget, but it’s important to consider.
If you are looking for ways to save, consider having a room temperature main dish—something like a poached salmon on a cold noodle salad—which would avoid the kitchen rental costs and some of the equipment needed to cook a beef tenderloin.

Wishing you a wonderful wedding day, under the sunshine, and stars at night. There’s nothing more swoon-worthy at a beautiful outdoor wedding!

Natalie Ho has worked in the hospitality industry for over 16 years and is currently is the director of event sales for Oliver & Bonacini Hospitality. She has personally planned 350+ weddings and momentous events. Both creative and business-minded, Natalie is dedicated to growing her events business in out-of-the-box ways.


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