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Planning Your Outdoor Wedding

Whether you’re planning a backyard bash at your parent’s house, local park or a picturesque setting by a lake, it’s important to remember that weddings can be more complicated when planned outdoors.

Here are some things to keep in mind…

William James Photography

William James Photography

Time of year:

The Pacific Northwest is fairly wet until mid-July, turning hot and ending with a beautiful fall season (be sure to check football schedules). If you or your fiancé suffer from allergies, pollen peaks from early spring to late summer. No matter what time of year it is, you want your guests to be comfortable. If it’s hot, consider handing out bottled water as they are being seated. If it turns cooler in the evenings, rent outdoor heaters.


Falcusan Photography

Falcusan Photography

If you are using public space (even if it’s just parking a lot of cars in your neighborhood), you will most likely need a city permit. Call your city offices and find out what permits apply to you as well as any sound ordinances and curfews. If you’re in a city park, be sure to ask about rules regarding trash and open flame (candles, etc.). If you’re in a backyard, inform your neighbors ahead of time (unless you don’t care about yelling vows over the neighbor’s lawn mower) and find out about special pick-ups for trash.

Back-up Plan:

August does not bring a guarantee of dry weather. It’s always important to have a rain contingency plan. If you are at a rented venue, ask them for their back-up plan. A quality facility will have one. Either way, you may want to budget for a tent rental (see rental services in this guide). You will need to be specific if you require flooring and side walls. Take a look at the area where the tent would go and verify staking accessibility.

Prints Charming Photography

Prints Charming Photography

Décor and Rentals:

Even Mother Nature needs a little help sometimes. If you are at a facility with an outdoor space, check to see what items they have in inventory and what may need to be supplemented through rentals.

For a backyard, have the outdoor space evaluated several months before the wedding. You may need to bring a professional landscaper in to fill in uneven ground, lay sod or create a natural backdrop for your vows.

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