10 Tips for Planning Your Outdoor Wedding

Are you contemplating an outdoor wedding? St. Luke’s Historic Church in Smithfield, Virginia has beautiful grounds for hosting your event. Our team has helped many couples plan a successful celebration, even with the unique challenges of an outdoor wedding. Here are 10 things to consider for a smooth wedding day:
  1. Rent a tent. If the weather is rainy, you’ll need the coverage. If the weather is sunny, it’s a shady respite. At St. Luke’s we have an outdoor power supply adjacent to the Pine Grove to accommodate lighting, music, etc. under a tent.
  3. Add a dance floor. You and your guests will appreciate a smooth surface on which to cut a rug!
  5. Provide umbrellas. If the weather forecast calls for rain on your wedding day, don’t fear! You can prepare by purchasing matching umbrellas not only for your wedding party, but for each usher! They can keep your guests dry by escorting them from the parking lot to the church building, or from the church building to the tent.
  7. Climate control. If your outdoor event is happening in the summer, you may want to get some electric fans to keep air moving under the tent. You could also provide guests with handheld fans as a favor. In the cooler months, outdoor heaters will ensure your guests stay comfortable. Consider a basket of wraps or stack of blankets for guests to use!
  9. Invest in decor. While the St. Luke’s church building and grounds provide an elegant backdrop for your wedding, a tent is a blank canvas. Make sure that flowers, linens, chairs, and lighting within the tent set the mood of your wedding celebration.
  11. Prepare your guests. Make sure they know that the wedding will be outdoors. Include a message on the invitation or your wedding website that encourages people to wear comfortable shoes and weather-appropriate attire to ensure they can enjoy the evening. A simple note like “The reception will be outdoors–flats and wedges are encouraged!” will spare many of your guests the trouble of walking through grass in stilettos.
  13. Use a microphone. Sound needs to carry farther in an outdoor venue–make sure your DJ or band has a wireless microphone that can be passed around for guests to make toasts and announcements.
  15. Bring furniture outside. An outdoor wedding means you can get creative with the space! Furniture doesn’t need to be limited to just dining tables under the tent–what about a bench swing or a cozy lounge area? Your guests will be grateful for a space to take a dance break.
  17. Hire a food truck. When it comes to serving large groups of people outdoors, food trucks have it down to a science. Let them set up adjacent to the reception and hire servers to deliver plates to tables.
  19. Dress for the weather. When planning your wedding, consider the time of year. A summer wedding means that wedding party dresses should be lightweight, hair can be worn up, and makeup should be sweatproof. A groom doesn’t need to wear a vest or necktie under his suit, and his attire can be more casual. A cool-weather celebration means that the wedding party should wear heavier fabrics–shawls, capes and scarves are options for couples who want to stay warm.
An outdoor wedding leaves plenty of room for a couple to show off their style. Create a space that uses the beauty of nature to enhance a theme and creates opportunities to make a statement. Call the facilities manager at St. Luke’s Historic Church to take a tour and reserve your wedding date!

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