Outdoor Weddings

New member :)

Hi everyone,

I did not lurk first so please forgive me for any reposting of things! My FI, Mike and I are getting married June 24, 2011 and I am more than a little freaked out. I have already been married (4 months) before and planned a very detail oriented wedding that took forever. It was an 18 month long engagement.

Right now I am off work until the 3rd week of August then I start back to full-time work and full-time Grad school so needless to say I'm moving as quickly as possible here. I was a winter bride before and planning was a cinch for the most part.

Now, I'm a summer bride which I never saw coming - outdoor wedding and reception at the same venue and I am LOST on what to do. I'm a type A personality so I like plans and to be in control of things. Since I'm planning from an hour away this is more difficult. I think we decided on a color scheme, we picked and booked our venue and interviewing our photographer Saturday which is the one we definitely want. I'm working on my dress now.

As for everything else -- I don't know. How do you set up seating when we get married in the garden then the reception is 100 feet away? Do I need to rent more chairs or can we just move those? The wedding is starting at 6:30 - 7:00 end time.

What do you think a 1 hour cocktail hour so we can have some alone time and take more pictures at sunset while our guests mingle. It's so late (and a friday) - so I'm thinking heavy on hor d'oeuvers and just a light buffet for dinner at 830ish? We have the park til midnight.

I am going to hire a DOC, I think, because this is out of my realm. lol. One last thing - can anyone give me a break down of how the outside ceremony goes versus the church ceremony? We are not having an overly religious wedding but we do want it to be about 30 mins long total. We also have no flower girl or ring bearer so I'm not seeing any of this in my mind. LOL.

Sorry for all the questons I'm just new at the outdoor stuff.


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Re: New member :)

  • I'm also having an outdoor wedding with reception at the same venue.  The biggest headache for me has been booking a tent rental company (they also do chairs, tables, dance floors, etc.).  Tents are pretty expensive and oddly enough the chairs are too.  I was planning to just move our chairs from the ceremony site to the reception tent.  However, the rental company won't actually move the chairs for you since they do not leave a rep on site during the event.  We've decided to just rent double the number of required chairs, pay the extra, and not have the hassle of finding someone to move them.  Some catering staff will do things like that, but it just didn't seem worthwhile to us.  I'm not sure what the weather is like in your area, but it is essential to have a rain plan.  I've included side panels for our tent into the budget just in case of bad weather.  These can usually be removed from your order about a week prior to the event if it becomes obvious that they won't be necessary. 
  • We are renting about 150 chairs for about an 100 person wedding. We are planning on just having some guys move the chairs to the dinner area after the ceremony. Some of the chairs will be set up in the cocktail area before the wedding starts. The difference between an outdoor wedding and a church one is the location. Some religions, such a Catholicism, do not acknowledge outdoor ceremonies so check with your religious advisor (if you have one). For others though, you can even have communion out of doors if you so choose and there is essentially no difference.
  • I am also having my ceremony and reception outside. Reception under a tent, and the ceremony in a secluded wooded area about 50 yard away. Instead of having guests carry their chairs, or having to worry about moving chairs, I ordered the cheapest basic white chairs for the ceremony (the metal ones with padding) and I ordered nice resin chairs for the ceremony. For your sanity and not worrying about moving chairs, I would say just rent two sets. It's more expensive yes, but I only paid about 125 extra for the ceremony chairs. Our ceremony is religious, and we also have no ring bearers or flower girls. Our pastor says it will be about 30 minutes, and the longest part will be us walking down (we have 14 total in the bridal party, including my FI and myself) your ceremony can be as short as you want it to be, just work with whomever will be marrying you. one hour for a cocktail hour should be plenty for you to be able to take pictures. Also, a light buffett dinner would be nice. We're doing a regular buffet, but our dinner will be at 6. Hope that helps, good luck!
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  • Thanks ladies!

    The good thing about our venue is that we have to rent all our stuff from them but they do set up and break down. The white padded chairs were like $1.30 a piece and we're only having 80 people. I just think I'm going to order double so I don't have to worry about it.

    As for the linens and all that one of the caterers we're required to use (they gave a list of 8) delivers them and sets it all up plus runs our bar. We can bring all own alcohol in so that is a MAJOR plus.

    The lighting and canopy was like $133 but that tent is like $800. They wrote me a note and said they'd work out a price for me since we're getting married on a friday. But I def. think you all are right and a tent is necessary!

    I did a total on ceremony/reception venue rental, chairs, tables, lighting and canopy and we're right at $2200. Not bad at all.  I'm at about $800 for food. linens, and a bartender. 15% added onto that but that is the gratuiity and tax together.

    Thankfully my dad works for a brewing company so I should be able to get beer at cost and we got the hook up on wine. Alcohol is where the majority of my budget went last time. :(

    Glad to see others having issues with outside venues!
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  • It was great reading everyone's details! I was doing a DW, but now we decided to marry on the beach here in Jersey, then have a backyard tented reception at my FMIL's who has a great layout for it!

    You guys have given me ideas!!
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