When a bride and groom begin to plan their wedding, one of the things they must consider is if they want it to take place indoors or outdoors.
For some couples, the fresh air and natural beauty of a romantic outdoor setting like the beach or the country is ideal, and for others, the comfort and adaptability of an indoor location is preferable. In my opinion, both can be done beautifully, but the outdoor route certainly comes with more risk and an elevated amount of stress.
Throughout my career, many brides have come to me with the vision of being married under the sky, be it a cloudless day or a starry night. Believe me, if I could, I would make it happen for them every time. I am not Mother Nature, and as I inform my clients, any outdoor wedding is at her mercy and you have to protect your event and your guests accordingly. As the planner, my job is to bring to life whatever it is that my clients have long imagined. If a couple dreams of being married outside, I am here to make it happen, so I make sure a couple prepares for weather that is less than their dream.
When hosting any part of a wedding celebration outdoors, be it the ceremony, cocktail hour or reception, it is crucial and quite frankly required, that there be a tent. First and foremost, a tent provides protection, even in the best of conditions. On the most gorgeous sunny day, a tent is still necessary to keep the guests from overheating, the flowers from wilting and the food from sitting out too long in the sun and going bad.
Furthermore, the use of a tent assures a maximum comfort level for your guests, which is extremely important when inviting people to celebrate outdoors. A tent can be both heated or air conditioned, so that no matter what the outdoor temperature, everyone will remain comfortable inside. It is also key to note that there must be a floor brought in and placed on the ground to create a flat and sturdy surface for guests to walk upon. This will prevent the dreaded sinking of heels in grass, which any woman will attest, is no fun for them or their shoes. Keep in mind that this definitely adds a large cost, which should be taken into consideration when planning the budget.
As for the aesthetics, a tent can remain open on the sides allowing for the natural setting to serve as a scenic backdrop and allowing for air flow, while a closed tent can be tastefully embellished to produce a beautiful atmosphere. For instance, a custom-made flower wall placed behind the clergy during the ceremony creates a whimsical effect that ties into the outdoor feel.
With all of that said, when something as unpredictable as the weather plays a factor on such an important day, it is crucial that there be a back up plan. In most circumstances a tent will suffice, even in the case of rain or light snow. However, it is not unheard of that severe weather such as a hurricane, major snowstorm or even a tornado should rear its head on your big day. An unexpected weather event of this magnitude would force a last minute location change and it is important that my clients are both physically and mentally prepared for this worst case scenario. With all outdoor nuptials that I plan, I consult with my clients well in advance about the slim possibility of needing to resort to a back up venue and then work with them to plan how they would want this venue to look. It is my job to make sure that despite what we can't control, the outcome still meets the clients' expectations and makes them happy.
An indoor wedding, of course, eliminates any chance of weather interfering with the original planning (except in the most extreme of instances!) and is generally more comfortable as well. The beauty of planning an indoor celebration is that the client can transform the space in any way that they like; they can even make it look and feel like the outside. Any venue can lend itself to the client's envisioned theme if conceived creatively and executed properly. Imagine transforming a hotel ballroom into a lavish garden with lush flower centerpieces and accents of elegant trees, plants and stones! The possibilities are boundless and it's all in the details.
In closing, both an indoor and outdoor wedding can be beautiful and the decision ultimately comes down to the style and desires of the bride and groom. I do, however, believe that celebrating indoors is the safer way to go and, ultimately, more cost effective. Your wedding should come but once in a lifetime. Rather than stressing over the weather, let it be a day filled with happiness and pure joy.