When planning a wedding, many couples envision their big day taking place in a picturesque outdoor setting under a perfect blue sky. However, many factors may be beyond the couple’s control. Local event planners Amanda Price and Kim Starr Wise offer some advice for anticipating the unexpected when planning an outdoor celebration.

Both Wise and Price agree that the number one thing to consider is a backup plan that can easily be enacted in the event of rain. “We encourage all of our clients who choose to have an outdoor space (in any capacity) as a part of their event to fully embrace the weather plan/backup plan,” says Price. The most essential piece of this plan—provided that the venue does not have an indoor space that can be used in bad weather—is a tent. “It’s a big commitment, but having the tent reserved early in the process will help calm some of the nerves during planning and is the best insurance policy,” says Price. Wise notes that the financial risk of reserving a tent is well worth the reward: “Plan on losing the deposit for a tent rental if it doesn’t rain. It’s guaranteed peace of mind.”

With This Ring: “It’s Like Rain on Your Wedding Day”
Tented wedding reception planned by Amanda Price Events. Photographed by Arte de Vie.

If rain weren’t enough to dampen a festive mood, here in New Orleans we also have to consider bloodthirsty mosquitos that see guests as their own personal wedding buffet. If hosting an outdoor celebration at a private home, Price recommends having a company such as Mosquito Joe to come out a few days before and help clear the yard of mosquitos. 

This is just one of the factors that those planning at at-home wedding outdoors should consider. Others include “parking, permits, neighborhood ordinances, power and water sources, delivery logistics, and location of utility lines,” says Price. It’s also crucial that couples factor in access to water and power for musicians, caterers, generators and restrooms. In a similar vein, Price encourages couples to think beyond romantic ambient lighting: “functional lighting is essential for keeping everyone safe throughout the evening and is often overlooked.” 

All these things impact the guests’ experience, which Price notes should be at the forefront of a couple’s mind during the planning process. Wise stresses the importance of communicating to guests ahead of time that the ceremony and/or reception will take place outdoors. The wedding website is a great place to for that information, as well as for any suggestions on attire and footwear, especially for out-of-towners.

With This Ring: “It’s Like Rain on Your Wedding Day”
Tented wedding reception planned by Amanda Price Events. Flowers by Kim Star Wise Special Events. Photograph by Catherine Guidry.

In addition to communicating details in advance, having a few essential items on hand will ensure guests’ comfort. Pashmina scarves, rain boots, umbrellas, towels for guests to wipe down, bug spray, heel caps/heel toppers (for ladies to use when the event is in grass), and a water station should all be on hand. 

These little touches, combined with a lot of advance planning, will help create that Pinterest-worthy outdoor celebration that couples will treasure forever!  

Amanda Price Events
504-881-4180,  amandapriceevents.com

Kim Starr Wise Special Events
504-315-5607,  kimstarrwise.com