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5 Factors When Planning an Outdoor Wedding

August 14, 2018

5 Things To Consider When Planning An Outdoor Wedding

Here in California, we are spoiled with so many amazing venue options for an outdoor wedding. However, planning an outdoor wedding can come with a whole set of challenges. If you are getting hitched in the great outdoors, here are five things you should think about when planning an outdoor wedding.


A desert wedding in Ojai at Red Tail Ranch, outdoor wedding reception tent, vintage bride and groom, tented reception

Photo by:  Kayla Lilli Photo

The biggest and first thing to think about when planning an outdoor wedding is whether or not you need to rent a tent. Depending on the time of year, even in California, weather can be unpredictable. While rain is good luck on your wedding day, you certainly don’t want it to ruin all of your hard planning! Additionally, tenting may not only include your ceremony and reception space. If your venue doesn’t have an indoor space for your catering vendor, you’ll need to rent tents to build a kitchen too. Although tenting can be a last minute decision, once you know what the weather will be doing, you can pull the trigger the week of the wedding. However, I always recommend to have option B in place. Lastly, tenting everything can be expensive, sometimes it can range from an additional $3k-$8k.




A desert wedding in Ojai at Red Tail Ranch, outdoor wedding ceremony, simple ceremony with king protea aisle flowers

Photo by: Kayla Lilli Photo


The great outdoors can open up a variety of décor options. Rather than a pre-set venue space or ballroom feel, you and your partner can get really creative with the personal touches. Whether it’s a vineyard or the beach, just the venue space itself can say a lot about you as a couple. You can go as big as you want with elaborate hanging lights or go minimal and let nature speak for itself. Keep your budget in mind when decorating!



Royal Inspired Vineyard Wedding at Triunfo Creek Vineyards, outdoor wedding reception menu on a banner

Photo by: Lynn Bagley Photography

Here at Feathered Arrow, we love a good set of paper goods. Programs, menu cards, etc – it’s an art form and can be such a nice keepsake for your guests. However, with an outdoor wedding, wind may not allow for paper goods to work the way you envision. Consider a larger framed menu, or a mirror escort board. If you still want to incorporate paper goods, you can add weights or some way to secure them.



wedding at Sogno del Fiore winery in Santa Ynez, outdoor wedding welcome table with umbrellas for guests

Photo by: Anna J Photography

While hosting an outdoor wedding, research what the temperatures will be like throughout the day and evening. If it’s going to be extra sunny during the day, offering your guests fans or parasols could come in handy! Likewise, if the temps are going to dip at night, guests will definitely appreciate heat lamps. I always tell clients to send a gentle reminder to guests about temperatures could drop or it’ll be hot, so dress accordingly.



Sunset wedding photo, coastal beach wedding in Montecito


Photo by: Kelsea Holder Photography

Figuring out when the sun sets will help you in multiple ways! Your planner can help set this timeline but think about how early the sun sets during the winter! If the sun sets before the ceremony, guests won’t see any of the magic and photos will be dark.  Your photographer will get the best shots during “golden hour”, which is the beautiful light that occurs right before the sun actually sets. Discuss with your planner about setting your ceremony or reception around this time, so you can get some amazing sunset portrait photos. Lastly, you’ll want to know if you need to rent lighting! Uplighting with fun colors can completely change the atmosphere and provide a fun vibe to get the dance party started!

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