How to Avoid the Top 5 Outdoor Wedding Disasters

Posted on July 30th by Liz Mahlich


Planning a wedding takes a lot of time and attention to detail. Planning an outdoor wedding adds a few more factors that need to be considered. Most of these factors revolve around good ol’ Mother Nature. With our outdoor wedding venue being in Northern Michigan, we know that variable temperatures, wind, rain, and bugs can really throw in some extra obstacles. Here are a few tips to help avoid disasters at your outdoor wedding.


1. Fly Away Seating Cards…

The classic tented place cards are such a simple way to go for assigned seating at a reception.  Just set cards out in alphabetical order on a table, guests come along, find their name, and off to their table they go. For an indoor reception, no problem. Outside, well, just a little gust of wind, and these babies go flying! Next thing you know, everyone is running around, mainly myself…the wedding coordinator, trying to catch these fly aways! Then trying to put them back in alphabetical order is a challenge. If any get lost, then it is a scramble to figure out who sits where. Best bet is to avoid these altogether. Thanks to Pinterest, there are many creative alternatives.  A very popular solution is to attach the place card to the guests’ wedding favor.  My personal favorite is to have the seating chart written on a board or sign, where people can come up to find their placement. This takes up less room and seems to be less confusing. Either way, just avoid anything that can fly off into the sunset! We will leave that for the bride and groom.

Drift Seating Chart Driftwood Makes a Unique Backdrop for a Seating Chart


2. Rain Rain Go Away!

Rain…the four letter word of outdoor weddings. Some say it is good luck if it rains on your wedding day. As one of our most recent brides said “That is a bunch of crap that someone made up to make brides feel better!” Well we agree. No one wants rain on their wedding day. It is always good to be prepared, just incase. If your venue doesn’t have a building as a backup option, make sure you at least have a structure that can be closed in some how. For example, our wedding tent has sides, with Vienna Windows, to surround the entire tent incase of rain. The windows are a nice feature to ensure your guests don’t feel closed in.  Another important note with rain is to have a concrete floor. Our tent is situated on a concrete slab. Even though you do have to walk outside the tent to go to the bathroom building, the building is only a few feet away, and there is a concrete walkway the entire way. The alternative is soggy grass and mud puddles. Last thing you want on your wedding day is you heels sinking into the mud!

Tent From putting Green


3. Bug off!

Bugs can sometimes cause a problem for outdoor events. One way they might gross out guests, is by landing on any food that is sitting out for awhile, such as appetizers. One way to avoid this is to ask your caterer if they plan ahead for this issue and keep food covered. Another bug that causes problems is mosquitos. In Northern Michigan, we are pretty lucky to not have too many of these. However, this year they seem to be bad. It is always a good idea to have a basket full of bug spray available at the reception for your guests. Another tip at keeping the bugs away from your reception is to avoid using fruit as a decoration. We had a rustic reception at our venue, which used peaches as part of the centerpiece. So beautiful and unique, however, this wasn’t the best situation. Bees and fruit flies were all over the place! Guest tables at your reception is the last place you want to see bees hanging out!


4.Wet Linens and Broken Vases…

Again, the wind issue. Not always a problem, but some areas are more susceptible than others. Our particular venue is on top of a hill at our golf course, so we can get some good gust of wind through. Any tall vases, or even medium sized vases that are lightweight, can easily fall over, leading to wet table linens and demolished centerpiece. If you choose to have tall or light weight vases, making sure to weigh them down with rocks is always a good idea.


5. Bridesmaid on Fire!

Wish lanterns are all the rage. Such a wonderful way to send off the wedding party! Wait…drunk people with fire? Lets just say I may have had to save a bridesmaid or two from being caught on fire from one of these lanterns! Drinking and fire aren’t the best combination.

Wish Lanterns

Gorgeous but Not Recommended!

I hope you find these tips helpful and that your wedding day goes without a hitch!


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