Outdoor wedding settings can be simple and elegant. Beautiful garden weddings offer a romance and sensuality that is unique to outdoor weddings and wedding photos.

1. Build in a backup plan: Weather is unpredictable. What will you do if it rains?. The perfect outdoor wedding location has an indoor location nearby that is available for use should the weather turn sour.

If your wedding reception is outdoors, make sure you have a shaded, or warmed space, for guests to celebrate your special day.

2. Should you hire a marquee: It is worthwhile considering a marquee for an outdoor wedding. Just make sure it is sturdy, won’t flip over, and that it has thick, weighted sides that are secure.

3. Never Underestimate the Weather: Consider your guests. You need to know the typical weather at the time of day and month of the year of your wedding. Ensure guests know your wedding will be outdoors, by having a printed insert in the wedding invitations. They need to be given the opportunity to dress accordingly. Due to our inclement weather these days, it would be beneficial to have a ‘Plan B’ for your venue should it rain. Perhaps it has a covered area as well.

4. In the Heat: Ushers or groomsmen can pass around ice-cold bottles of water to guests as they are seated. Wedding programs can be printed on a fan for guests to fan themselves cool. Consider renting large electric fans and/or a tent to shade them from the sun. It is important you have plenty of sunscreen on hand.

5. In Cold Winter: hire some outdoor heaters.

6. Facilities: Ensure that there is adequate parking and toilet facilities available.

7. Your Wedding Dress: A light wedding dress is essential if you are planning an outdoor wedding in the summer months. If your wedding dress has a train, be sure to consider what the ground you will be walking over is like. A hot, sweaty bride in a stained dress does not make for beautiful wedding photo memories. Your day is stressful enough without overheating.

If you use an aisle runner or red carpet just make sure it is secured properly. It can’t be a trip or wind hazard.

8. Wedding Hair: Your hairstylist needs to know you are having an outdoor wedding. They will work with you to plan a style that works for outdoors and possible windy weather. The men in the wedding party can be prepared and use wax type products for hold.

9. Wedding Makeup: Consult a professional wedding makeup artist and your wedding photographer about your makeup plans. Shimmer powder if applied too liberally, and photographed in sunlight, can produce some glare in your photographs. Use makeup that holds up nicely, even if you do sweat (or “glow” ) a little. It is important your makeup holds up well during the outdoor sunlit ceremony, and through the reception, without looking caked on or streaky.

10. Windy Weather?: If there is a possibility of wind you will need to select a veil that can be secured behind your head before you walk down the aisle. The other option is no veil at all. A veil flying in front of your face can mar your wedding photos.

A bride, bridesmaid, officiate or groom re-adjusting a veil during the ceremony is a distraction and can get in the way of the wedding photo memories you want your photographer to create. Avoid light fabrics like chiffons and china silks in your dress and the bridesmaid dresses.

11. I Can’t Hear You? You want all of your guests to be able to hear the ceremony and vows. With that in mind, you might consider hiring audio. The DJ, band, or reception centre may be able to help you arrange this.

12. Beautiful Surroundings: The best thing about a garden wedding is the natural beauty around you. Visit the site a week before your wedding to make sure the grass is mown, the ground raked, and the flowers are in full bloom.

If your wedding is in a public park, you may want to ask the groomsmen, family or friends to do this the morning of your ceremony. During the autumn and winter months, you may want to supplement the flowers with some potted bulbs from a florist.

You may also want to hire an arch or trellis to focus the ceremony and frame on the bride and groom as you say your wedding vows. You can drape strings of lights or lanterns in the trees for a little extra sparkle.

13. Catering: Make sure your wedding caterer has experience planning outdoor weddings to ensure that all food supplied will keep well outdoors in the heat. Avoid items like mayonnaise salads, seafood or dishes which must be served cold.

14. Rules & Regulations: Know what the council or local government rules about the area are. Ensure you clean up and rubbish created and have any permits required.

15. Pest Control: For those pesky flying bugs, place citronella candles or a bug zapper nearby so that your guests can focus on you and not the insects.