Southern cities like Atlanta have a culture infused with a love for the outdoors. Whether you prefer climbing Stone Mountain, playing Frisbee in Piedmont Park or getting brunch on the patios of one of Atlanta’s delicious restaurants, every Atlantan has his or her own favorite way to soak up sunshine as much as possible.
This love of the exterior could be the outdoor wedding in Atlanta is so popular. With so many months of idyllic weather, the idea of an alfresco ceremony beckons many a bride and groom.
However, the number of potential mishaps can double when you remove walls from the venue equation. But don’t fear – we’ve gathered a few tips from the expert event designers at Legendary Events to help you have the perfect rustic wedding you’ve been dreaming of.
How to Plan An Outdoor Wedding in Atlanta
Choose your date carefully. While there are many warm months in Georgia, some are better than others to be outdoors. Take the temperature and humidity level into account when picking a wedding date and time to help ensure the you and your guests are as comfortable as possible – which could mean avoiding mid-day in July or December at night.
Think your location through. If you are having a rustic affair in an area off the beaten path, you will need to do a little extra planning. Take into account how far parking is from the ceremony site and consider if any of your guests are elderly or handicapped or have small children that will be joining them for the hike to their seats. Also, think through the terrain of your venue – if it is sandy or grassy, you will need to factor this into your decoration and seating choices.
Have a backup plan. No matter what the predicted weather, Atlanta has the potential to offer you something different. That is why it is crucial to never underestimate the heavens and have a Plan B (and potentially C) in case of an emergency situation, whether that plan be renting a tent, having an alternate venue set-up or simply offering your guests umbrellas and galoshes to wait out a passing shower.
Build comfort into your decor and favors. If your ceremony and reception are outdoors, use it in your theme! Provide sunglasses as favors on a sunny day, have a basket of flip-flops in multiple sizes for dancing on grassy hills, drape pashminas over chairs for chilly guests or print your programs on fans to help the guests stay cool. You can also set up a beverage station for your guests to partake of before the ceremony, allowing them to stay warm with hot cider or cool off with a refreshing lemonade.
Warn your guests. This is crucial, particularly for the female guests. Alerting your family and friends that they will be walking in grass or sand and sitting in the cold or heat will allow the guests the ability to dress for the occasion and be comfortable as well as appropriate.
Skimp on the decorations. Part of the allure for an outdoor wedding is the naturally beautiful scenery, but don’t mistake the greenery for decor. Your guests need a focal point for the ceremony and reception, which is why it is crucial to give the altar its own touch. Whether you choose a ribbon arch, pedestals topped with lush floral arrangements or an ornate chuppah, the thing you should avoid is candles – the wind will snuff out the flames, ruining the effect.
Misalign the menu. Your food should not only match the tone of your wedding, but the weather as well. For summer weddings, think light, airy food that won’t overfill your guests while cooler night should be paired with warm treats. No matter the season though, ensure that your fare can be eaten easily outdoors; wrestling with a knife and fork can be difficult in a chair perched on grass.
Ignore your skin. An outdoor ceremony means you are contending with the outdoors and, while you might adore your wedding dress, a tan line from your gown’s neckline might not be ideal. This is why you should lather on the sunscreen and bug spray if you plan on spending the full evening outdoors. You might not smell the best, but you will be comfortable the whole night through.
Forget the sound system. One downside to the outdoors is sound often does not have much to bounce off of, leaving your guests unable to hear your beautifully written vows. Look into renting a sound system and practice speaking your vows into a microphone during the rehearsal, as to reduce any awkwardness on the big day.
Dress your party wrong. You might have fallen in love with the idea of your groomsmen in a black tuxedo and your bridesmaids in a taffeta ballgown, but those heavy clothes might not work with the outdoors. Try lighter fabrics and slimmer lines for summer weddings and building in warmth for winter weddings, such as a fur stole or wrap for each bridesmaid.
The most important factor to remember for your outdoor wedding in Atlanta is that you don’t need to plan this alone. Ensure that you are working with the top vendors to put together your dream day, no matter the weather.