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Even if you want to have a formal wedding indoors, choosing to have the reception outside can be a great excuse for everyone to let their hair down and really celebrate once the knot has been tied. However, there are things that go along with planning an outdoor wedding or reception that may not occur to you if you’ve never done it before. If you’re planning your own wedding, keep these helpful tips in mind.

Follow the rules

Before you settle on an outdoor venue, find out if you’ll need a permit to have your wedding or reception there, or if there are any special rules that you need to follow. If you plan to serve alcohol at your reception, this is especially important, as many parks and beaches don’t allow alcohol or require special permits. If you do your research before you finalize your plans, you’re less likely to wind up with any unexpected and unwanted surprises later.

Keep track of the extra costs

You might think that you’ll be saving money by not renting a hall, but that’s not necessarily true. You’ll need to provide a lot of things for an outdoor reception that might come along with an indoor hall. For example, you’ll need portable bathrooms for your guests, and portable staging for the band. A reception hall may provide tables and chairs, but in an outdoor setting, you’ll have to rent them.

While none of these costs should stop you if you have your heart set on an outdoor wedding, you should definitely take them into account when planning your budget. If your only reason for planning an outdoor reception is to save money, you may want to reconsider indoor venues.

Have a back up plan

Nobody wants to deal with rain on their wedding day, but when you’re planning an outdoor wedding or reception, the possibility of rain is especially problematic. However, there are a couple of things that you can do to minimize the risk that you and your guests will end up drenched in an unexpected downpour.

• You can choose an outdoor venue that has a clubhouse or hall on the grounds that you can use in case of rain.

• You can choose an outdoor venue with a pavilion or other outdoor shelter. If you do this, make sure that the shelters available will provide enough room for all of your guests.

• You can rent tents that can be set up in case of inclement weather.

Keep your guests comfortable

Remember that as the host of the party, you have a responsibility to make sure that your guests are comfortable and having fun. If you expect 90 degree weather, have cold bottles of water on hand. If you’re in an area where mosquitoes are prevalent, be sure to invest in citronella candles or other bug repellent devices.

Remember that not all of your guests may be familiar with the location. Let them know ahead of time if they need to bring comfortable shoes and casual clothes to change into after the wedding. Suggest sunscreen if it’s going to be a bright and sunny day.

Provide transportation

If your reception venue is far from the wedding venue, or if it’s particularly remote or difficult to access, you can make life much easier on your guests by providing shuttle service from the wedding to the reception. If you’re going to have many out of town guests, you may even want to consider hiring a shuttle to take them from their hotels to the wedding location and back. It will add to the total cost of your wedding, but you may find that guests are more willing to fly in to attend your wedding if they don’t also have to rent a car or depend on the local taxi service.


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