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Professional Tips to Ensure a Snafu-Free Outdoor Wedding

Industry experts offer up their advice for managing Mother Nature on your big day.
Sara Hubbard

Hosting weddings al fresco has become more and more common with pandemic safety concerns bringing celebrations outside. While there is little that is more romantic than a barefoot beach wedding or a woodland nuptials, the uncontrollable and often unpredictable forces of nature can quickly turn the perfect day to ruin. Not to fear, though, as we’ve compiled the best advice from wedding pros to keep everything under control. From hair and makeup to venue, take a scroll down to find the best ways to mitigate disaster when celebrating lifelong love in the great outdoors. 

Not a Hair Out of Place

The fiercest enemy of the perfect hair and makeup look is a drizzle or high humidity. Tanya Bures, the lead makeup artist at Page Beauty, suggests an updo for the ceremony and letting your hair down come the reception. “This way, your photographer is able to capture your expression in every shot and you won’t worry about moving wisps of hair away from your face during your ceremony,” Tanya says. She also had a few pointers for makeup to limit the risk of complications. “For the lips, choose a satin finish or add a lip balm instead of a gloss to avoid wisps of hair getting stuck. I love to add a liquid highlight to foundation for a radiance that’s captured by the natural light.”

 Photo by @jeremychouphotography

Capturing Golden Hour

Timing is everything when it comes to outdoor weddings. Even the best photographer can’t control the sun, so Deborah James of Bella Vita Events says to make sure the schedule is ironed out ahead of time so that photos can be taken when the lighting is just right. “Establish a timeline from the beginning to hire your future team but to also make sure you are maximizing your venue contract time and still getting all the photography desire you have,” Deborah says. Work with your planner to get timing figured out in advance so that you don’t find yourself anxiously watching the sun set before as you say, “I do.”

 Photo by @jeremychouphotography

Wide Open Spaces

Keeping your celebration safe means keeping everyone at a distance. Find a location with lots of open space that makes it easy to socially distance your guests. Also, figure out a seating chart ahead of time. Knowing which of your guests live in the same household means you can cluster them together – thereby letting everyone be separate yet together. "Additionally, outdoor venues will continue to be an important part of weddings this year as they provide a safer, COVID-19 complicit environment for couples to gather with their guests," says Melissa Woodley of the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa and CasinoCommunication and organization is key here. Have your calligrapher put together a seating chart and name cards to provide a gentle yet clear reminder that caution is of the utmost importance.

 Photo by @joymarie

Consider a One-Stop Wedding

Having everyone moving between cocktail hour, ceremony and reception can create a lot of unnecessary chaos and room for error. Instead, many couples have started looking to the trend of bringing the wedding and reception to the guests. Providing an outdoor theater-like experience allows your loved ones to stay in their comfortable pods during the whole celebration. Cocktails and dinner can be brought to them as they watch the ceremony and your first dance. Bring in a string quartet or dancers to entertain your guests so they can take in dinner and a show after the ceremony.

 Photo by @visualsbyarpit

Let Nature Be Your Decorator

With an outdoor wedding comes the perfect opportunity to save time and energy on décor. An oceanside sunset or a magical forest make for the ultimate in gorgeous backdrops. "I’ve also helped couples plan outdoor events that truly take advantage of the natural beauty of our area including a recent ceremony, cocktail hour, and dinner that was held entirely outdoors under the stars, and next to the glistening waters of Lake Tahoe. Our couples have been amazingly flexible and creative and our team at Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe has been here to bring their dream wedding to life in the safest, most beautiful way every time," Melissa says.

Photo by @joymarie

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