Wedding Vows & Ceremony Discussions

Outdoor December Wedding (Northeast)?

Hi! I have been lurking for a few weeks now (engaged Feb. 5) but this is my first post and I am looking for some advice …

My fiance and I will be getting married at a Golf Club in the Philadelphia area – we attend church regularly so at first we assumed our ceremony would be there. Long story short, we are now doing everything at the Golf Club.

The club has a beautiful ballroom where we will do the reception, a small covered (heated) patio area and a larger open deck out the back of the ballroom. It would be somewhat long and narrow for 135-150 guests, but we want to look into what it would take to get married on the open deck – the covered area would be too small.

Are we crazy to consider an outdoor ceremony in December? It would be about a 15-20 ceremony, we would warn guests ahead of time and we would rent those portable outdoor heaters and providing coffee/hot chocolate for guests. The other consideration is that it is going to be a Friday wedding and it will get dark by 4:30 or so that day. The venue has done dark ceremonies on their small covered area, but never on the deck we’re looking at, so all of the lighting would basically be from scratch as well. We have the budget for both heaters and lighting – I am more afraid that all of our guests will hate us.

One more note – if we plan this way and it rains/is -40 degrees we can move inside with short notice.

Has anyone ever done anything like this?

Thanks for any advice!

Re: Outdoor December Wedding (Northeast)?

  • Yes I would hate it as a guest and I would wonder why, if you wanted an outdoor wedding, you didn't have it May-September. 

    Also, unless you hire a photographer who specializes in low light/night time shoots, you will probably be very disappointed with your photos. It's friggin hard to shoot good night shots with a digital camera.
    image
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_ceremony-ideas_outdoor-december-wedding-northeast?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:10Discussion:4cc3eac5-1359-425e-9c34-78a6e9ca3a42Post:bd75aa3c-2c09-4c9c-8008-33f7a8280603">Re: Outdoor December Wedding (Northeast)?</a>:
    [QUOTE]Yes I would hate it as a guest and I would wonder why, if you wanted an outdoor wedding, you didn't have it May-September.  Also, unless you hire a photographer who specializes in low light/night time shoots, you will probably be very disappointed with your photos. It's friggin hard to shoot good night shots with a digital camera.
    Posted by daria24[/QUOTE]

    Great point about the photos, thank you.

    We didn't plan for May-December because we assumed (wrongly) that we'd be doing the ceremony at our church. And frankly we didn't want to wait that long :)

    Thanks for your response!
  • Yes you are crazy to have an outside wedding in December in Philly.  






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • No way, even with the heaters.  It's one thing if you plan for late fall or early spring where the chance its warm is higher, but December?  No, just no.
  • Too cold.
  • Nope, have it inside.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_ceremony-ideas_outdoor-december-wedding-northeast?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:10Discussion:4cc3eac5-1359-425e-9c34-78a6e9ca3a42Post:3949af19-121f-4c09-ae8f-06a617083faf">Outdoor December Wedding (Northeast)?</a>:
    [QUOTE]Hi! I have been lurking for a few weeks now (engaged Feb. 5) but this is my first post and I am looking for some advice … My fiance and I will be getting married at a Golf Club in the Philadelphia area – we attend church regularly so at first we assumed our ceremony would be there. Long story short, we are now doing everything at the Golf Club. The club has a beautiful ballroom where we will do the reception, a small covered (heated) patio area and a larger open deck out the back of the ballroom. It would be somewhat long and narrow for 135-150 guests, but we want to look into what it would take to get married on the open deck – the covered area would be too small. A<strong>re we crazy to consider an outdoor ceremony in December?</strong> It would be about a 15-20 ceremony, we would warn guests ahead of time and we would rent those portable outdoor heaters and providing coffee/hot chocolate for guests. The other consideration is that it is going to be a Friday wedding and it will get dark by 4:30 or so that day. The venue has done dark ceremonies on their small covered area, but never on the deck we’re looking at, so all of the lighting would basically be from scratch as well. We have the budget for both heaters and lighting <strong>– I am more afraid that all of our guests will hate us.</strong> One more note – if we plan this way and it rains/is -40 degrees we can move inside with short notice. Has anyone ever done anything like this? Thanks for any advice!
    Posted by kmcmaster05[/QUOTE]

    OMG, yes you're crazy. 

    That is because they will.

    I went to a wedding in NNJ, in November, outdoors in a heated tent.  It was effing miserable.  I was dressed for the season and I was still freeeezing.  They had these massive heaters blowing everywhere, it did not help. at. all.  Look for a new venue!
    image


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  • I would definitely go with inside. Your guests will be happier, you will be happier because your guests will be happier, and the photos will come out much better. Good luck!
  • I wouldn't go to the wedding of someone who planned for guests to be staged in an uncomfortable situation for an extended period of time.

    I have trouble believing the venue will allow this.
    image   imageimage
    You'll never be subject to a cash bar, gap, potluck wedding, or b-list if you marry a Muppet Overlord.

  • Thank you for your input! Just to address a few things ..

    The venue will allow it - we've asked. And if it's awful out we can move inside at a moment's notice, just like if it's raining in April.

    And just to reiterate, the cocktail hour and reception will be right inside. I feel like everyone is assuming that people will be outside for 8 hours and that wouldn't be the case at all. Frankly, if someone doesn't want to come to my wedding for any reason (money, travel, babies, etc.) that's fine with me. The people who are most important will be there regardless of what we decide to do and we'll figure it out from there.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_ceremony-ideas_outdoor-december-wedding-northeast?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:10Discussion:4cc3eac5-1359-425e-9c34-78a6e9ca3a42Post:dac9eb60-4e17-491e-973c-0fdac8e434b7">Re: Outdoor December Wedding (Northeast)?</a>:
    [QUOTE]Thank you for your input! Just to address a few things .. The venue will allow it - we've asked. And if it's awful out we can move inside at a moment's notice, just like if it's raining in April. And just to reiterate, the cocktail hour and reception will be right inside. I feel like everyone is assuming that people will be outside for 8 hours and that wouldn't be the case at all. Frankly, if someone doesn't want to come to my wedding for any reason (money, travel, babies, etc.) that's fine with me.<strong> The people who are most important will be there regardless of what we decide to do a</strong>nd we'll figure it out from there.
    Posted by kmcmaster05[/QUOTE]<div>
    That is kind of the problem, though. 30 minutes in the cold is 30 minutes in the cold and it is uncomfortable to most and downright painful for the rest. Knowing that the people that love you most will be there regardless means you are willingly subjecting them to less than comfy conditions. Why is that okay? I want my guests to be as comfortable as possible <em>because</em> they love me and I love them, not in spite of it. </div>
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  • @bunni727 that's a good perspective, thank you.
  • Remember, even though the ceremony is only 15-20 minutes long, the guests will be out there twice as long because they will arrive & be seated for a while before the ceremony starts. Plus if the officiant says ceremony is 15-20 minutes, you have to add time for groom & his men to come out, parents to be walked up the isle, bridal party entrance, your entrance, which generally isn't included in the "ceremony time" so your 20 minute ceremony just got bumped to 30 minutes. Plus then 5 minutes or so for everyone to exit so your guests are now outside for 35-45 minutes and depending on temps could be very miserable.

    This is what I would consider going with. You've got tons of time before your invites go out. Think of who some of your guests will be. Do you have any eldrely guests who any extended time outside at that time of year could cause a problem for like grandparents? Heaters are great, but they won't keep things as warm as in a room.  You could end up lucky and have an unseasonable warm day & be able to have a comfortable ceremony outside. Maybe consider putting on invite, if temperatures for 50+ degreees, the ceremony will be outside, else the ceremony will be inside. I personally thing that 50+ degrees is more tolerable then 40 degress for guests.

    I think you would be better off planning for indoor wedding & save money on outdoor ceremony costs & not have stress over worrying about weather. You can still do outdoor photos if weather permits.
  • edited March 2013
    I just don't understand why you KNOW guests will probably hate this and be uncomfortable and you still want to subject them to it. Maybe your absolute closest family and friends will come regardless, but you shouldn't put them through this just because you know they're coming no matter what.

    It will be absolutely miserable outside in December in Philly. Please don't do this. Either have the ceremony indoors at the golf club, or if your heart is set on the outside ceremony, you need to move it to spring/summer/early fall. Guests show up early to weddings, so they're not just outside for 15 min., it could be more like 30. Also, if it's freezing outside, 5 min. in the elements is 5 min. too long. Think of your guests' comfort first.


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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_ceremony-ideas_outdoor-december-wedding-northeast?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:10Discussion:4cc3eac5-1359-425e-9c34-78a6e9ca3a42Post:919eeda4-4c5c-4e79-9e22-f4d9515963c7">Re: Outdoor December Wedding (Northeast)?</a>:
    [QUOTE]No way, even with the heaters.  It's one thing if you plan for<strong> late fall</strong> or early spring where the chance its warm is higher, but December?  No, just no.
    Posted by OliveOilsMom[/QUOTE]

    <div>Stage - unforunately she did say late fall.  Which Dec 6 would fall under.  I assume she meant early fall.</div><div>
    </div><div>Regardless Dec 6 is still too cold to have an outside ceremony in Philadelphia.</div>






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • edited March 2013
    FYI I am having an outside ceremony in VT in mid January. It is actually quite common for this venue. Just because some people think it is unacceptable, does not mean it is. This is your day so do whatever makes you happy. Are outside summer weddings comfortable in high heat and humidity? No! Think of it as the same thing...
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_ceremony-ideas_outdoor-december-wedding-northeast?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:10Discussion:4cc3eac5-1359-425e-9c34-78a6e9ca3a42Post:dac9eb60-4e17-491e-973c-0fdac8e434b7">Re: Outdoor December Wedding (Northeast)?</a>:
    [QUOTE]Thank you for your input! Just to address a few things .. The venue will allow it - we've asked. And if it's awful out we can move inside at a moment's notice, just like if it's raining in April. And just to reiterate, the cocktail hour and reception will be right inside. I feel like everyone is assuming that people will be outside for 8 hours and that wouldn't be the case at all. Frankly, if someone doesn't want to come to my wedding for any reason (money, travel, babies, etc.) that's fine with me. <strong>The people who are most important will be there regardless of what we decide to do and we'll figure it out from there.</strong>
    Posted by kmcmaster05[/QUOTE]

    <div>So you want the people who are most important to you to hang around outside for 30 minutes or more in what is likely to be below 40 degree weather?  The average temperature in Philly for December is 35 degrees.  That's pretty cold, especially for your guests dressed up in coctail dresses and suits.  Are you inviting granparents?  Because I'd think they'd be cold even faster.  You need to be considerate of your guests, which means hosting the properly.  Which, in your case, means making sure they aren't subjected to crazy temperatures or forced to stand around outside.</div><div>
    </div><div>Your ceremony may only be 20-30 minutes, but people WILL arrive early and be left standing around in the cold even longer.  Please rething this.</div>
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_ceremony-ideas_outdoor-december-wedding-northeast?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:10Discussion:4cc3eac5-1359-425e-9c34-78a6e9ca3a42Post:a3a8ae65-2de6-45f3-9bc1-f0c3e199c043">Re: Outdoor December Wedding (Northeast)?</a>:
    [QUOTE]FYI I am having an outside ceremony in VT in mid January. It is actually quite common for this venue. Just because some people think it is unacceptable, does not mean it is. This is your day so do whatever makes you happy. <strong>Are outside summer weddings comfortable in high heat and humidity? No! Think of it as the same thing...</strong>
    Posted by madalton[/QUOTE]<div>
    </div><div>Oh FFS really?  Do you REALLY believe it's not unacceptable to have a wedding in FREEZING termperature?  I go to VT often-my aunt and uncle live there.  I've been in January, and it's been -10 degrees.  I was there in November this past year, when it was still FALL and it was below freezing almost the entire time.  

    </div><div>Your analogy sucks--so you KNOW it's going to be uncomfortable for your guests and thats ok with you?  You sound like a total peach.  If I were invited to your wedding, and showed up not realizing it was outside, you bet I'd leave the minute I realized I'd be stuck standing outside in below freezing temps.</div><div>
    </div><div>I don't believe for one second that it's common for your venue to have outdoor weddings in January.  Totally ridiculous.</div>
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_ceremony-ideas_outdoor-december-wedding-northeast?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:10Discussion:4cc3eac5-1359-425e-9c34-78a6e9ca3a42Post:a3a8ae65-2de6-45f3-9bc1-f0c3e199c043">Re: Outdoor December Wedding (Northeast)?</a>:
    [QUOTE]FYI I am having an outside ceremony in VT in mid January. It is actually quite common for this venue. Just because some people think it is unacceptable, does not mean it is. This is your day so do whatever makes you happy. Are outside summer weddings comfortable in high heat and humidity? No! Think of it as the same thing...
    Posted by madalton[/QUOTE]

    is your venue a ski resort and will all your guests be wearing ski gear? If so, sounds like fun.

    And FFS, once you invite one person or take one dollar from a parent towards the event, iy is NOT YoUR day. Bad advice!
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_ceremony-ideas_outdoor-december-wedding-northeast?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:10Discussion:4cc3eac5-1359-425e-9c34-78a6e9ca3a42Post:9a682ed3-b7cb-46f7-ae63-cd594408c1ad">Re: Outdoor December Wedding (Northeast)?</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Outdoor December Wedding (Northeast)? : is your venue a ski resort and will all your guests be wearing ski gear? If so, sounds like fun. And FFS, once you invite one person or take one dollar from a parent towards the event, iy is NOT YoUR day. Bad advice!
    Posted by NYCMercedes[/QUOTE]

    <div>NYCMercedes is right, I apologize for bashing the Ski Resort wedding-if everyone is in Ski Gear and on Skis, then I stand corrected.  It sounds lovely.</div>
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_ceremony-ideas_outdoor-december-wedding-northeast?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:10Discussion:4cc3eac5-1359-425e-9c34-78a6e9ca3a42Post:a3a8ae65-2de6-45f3-9bc1-f0c3e199c043">Re: Outdoor December Wedding (Northeast)?</a>:
    [QUOTE]FYI I am having an outside ceremony in VT in mid January. It is actually quite common for this venue. Just because some people think it is unacceptable, does not mean it is. <strong>This is your day so do whatever makes you happy</strong>. Are outside summer weddings comfortable in high heat and humidity? No! Think of it as the same thing...
    Posted by madalton[/QUOTE]

    Yes, to a certain extent. To put guests out in the cold for a half hour just isn't right. It's your day, yes, but you also need to consider the safety and comfort of your guests.
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  • I'm sorry, but I really do not need to explain myself or wedding to anyone on here. I was offering advice to the original post. 

    Now I know why everyone told me to stay away from these things...
  • NYCMercedesNYCMercedes member
    First Anniversary First Answer First Comment 5 Love Its
    edited April 2013
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_ceremony-ideas_outdoor-december-wedding-northeast?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:10Discussion:4cc3eac5-1359-425e-9c34-78a6e9ca3a42Post:c24745aa-89dc-4721-8fe6-1829be7fad9c">Re: Outdoor December Wedding (Northeast)?</a>:
    [QUOTE]I'm sorry, but I really do not need to explain myself or wedding to anyone on here. I was offering advice to the original post.  Now I know why everyone told me to stay away from these things...
    Posted by madalton[/QUOTE]

    Glad you shared about your wedding on your own special day when you can do whatever you want regardless of your invited guests.
  • I would dislike this so much as a guest. Please consider changing the date or venue.
  • I have attended one outdoor wedding in the winter. It was in Alaska at about 20 above zero. I will say, it certainly can be done. However, there are two big caveats. 1. You MUST warn your guests and then do not expect them to be in any kind of dressy clothing. 2. This type of wedding with guests in winter gear only works well in a rustic setting or at a ski resort. At a golf club, I think it would be very out of place.
  • edited April 2013
    My only question. what if it snows? and i am betting that it will. then the bottoms of clothes will be wet and cold all night long. this would not be for me, even if dressed for the cold. plus what would your guests do with all of their outerwear when they do inside to the warm? are you going to do a coat check? or will guest just hang their possibly wet coats/gloves/scarves on the back of their chairs? please reconsider the outside part.
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