While people across the country are still dealing with Covid-19, wedding planners are helping their clients figure out how to pull off their dream wedding while still keeping their family and friends safe and healthy. One way to do that is to have an outdoor wedding! Data from Wedding Wire shows that in 2020 alone, nearly 60 percent of receptions were either fully or partially outside, compared to 43 percent in 2019. That number is expected to be even higher for 2021—even as we enter the winter months. So how can planners and couples make sure that an outdoor winter wedding is safe and enjoyable for all? Here are some simple tips to get you started!
Keep the Guest Count Small
Even though the event might be entirely outside, couples should still be cautious about having a huge guest list for their wedding day. Not only will some people still feel uncomfortable being a part of a crowd, but the smaller headcount will also free up money that the couple can then use to create a better experience for their family and friends.
Comfort is Key
Planners should be diligent about finding ways to keep guests warm, dry, and safe throughout the event. Some of the things to keep in mind are:
1. Rent patio heaters
If the venue doesn’t already have them on hand, be sure to rent patio heaters and space them out accordingly. Since they are available in different styles and colors, the heaters can easily be incorporated into the event space.
2. Choose the right tent
Winter can bring rain, snow, and wind, so it’s not enough just to keep a roof over guests’ heads. You also want a tent that can be fully enclosed if needed.
3. Create warming stations
A great idea is to set up fire pits around your wedding venue where guests can sit comfortably and enjoy a warm drink.
4. Inform guests of the plans
Because it is winter, some guests might just assume that the wedding will be held entirely indoors. That’s why it’s crucial that you notify family and friends beforehand—through your invitations and wedding website—that all or some of the big day will be held outside so they can dress properly.
5. Hand out cozy favors
Another way to keep guests warm is by handing out favors they can use during the event. Think personalized blankets placed on each seat. Another treat for family and friends is a hot chocolate bar where they can grab a tasty drink on their way home.
6. Make sure walkways & parking lots are clear
The last thing anyone wants is for a guest to fall on an icy pavement. Speak to the venue ahead of time to make sure there is a plan in place to keep all walkways and parking lots safe for everyone.
7. Find a way to contact trace
This is obviously a worst-case scenario, but just in case someone tests positive after the wedding, you’ll want a way to notify everyone who was there. One easy way to do that is to make sure everyone signs the guest book as they enter the venue.
8. Offer a virtual option
Whether they can’t travel due to Covid-19 or don’t want to brave the cold, some guests won’t be able to attend the wedding. Technology has come a long way, even since the early days of the pandemic. Some couples have even hired social media pros to livestream their ceremony and reception so family and friends can really feel like they’re a part of the special day.
Photo courtesy of Larsen Photo Co.