You envision saying your vows immersed in nature’s beauty, but you question how to plan an outdoor wedding without the weather complicating things. Don’t worry – the Heritage Center of Brooklyn Center executes beautiful outdoor weddings all the time, and we’re here to help!

Planning an outdoor wedding requires careful consideration. Unpredictable weather could affect everything from the location to decor, guest accommodations, day-of activities, dining, and more. We’re going to outline a few essential steps and give some outdoor wedding tips so that your special day can go as planned (even if the weather doesn’t play along).

Keep reading to discover…

Outdoor wedding decorations and setup

Browse the Heritage Center’s outdoor wedding spaces

5 Steps To Planning An Outdoor Wedding

Outdoor wedding planning comes with some unique challenges. The most significant of which is the weather! While you may envision saying “I do” under clear blue skies and gentle breezes, Mother Nature often has her own plans. But that doesn’t mean you should shy away from having an outdoor wedding setup. 

With some creative outdoor wedding ideas and thoughtful preparation, your special day can be exactly what you’ve always dreamed of – come rain or shine.

Here’s your outdoor wedding checklist, which we will dive into in the next section.

  • Choose The Right Venue
  • Have A Weather Backup Plan
  • Consider Seasonal Comforts
  • Plan For Wind And Sun Protection
  • Coordinate With Vendors For Weather Adaptability

Choose The Right Venue

If you want to learn how to plan an outdoor wedding ceremony, the first thing to know is the venue must accommodate more than your theme and guest count. Can it adapt to various weather scenarios? Can it provide comfort for guests if it rains or gets colder than expected? Are there indoor spaces that can serve as an alternative wedding ceremony location?

Here at the Heritage Center, we have romantic outdoor spaces with plenty of room to set up tents and portable heaters. If the weather takes a more dramatic turn, we also have flexible areas inside – we can move your outdoor wedding setup (and guests!) somewhere with complete protection from the elements.

Have A Weather Backup Plan

While we all hope for nothing but sunshine on the big day, it’s wise to prepare for things to go in a different direction. Renting tents can shelter guests and preserve the ambiance of your outdoor celebration, no matter what the weather is like. If it rains, the tent will protect things from getting wet. If it’s sunny, your guests will have a spot to get out of the sun.

It’s also a good idea to have an indoor space on standby so that you can transition the celebration if necessary. Barn weddings are usually great for this kind of flexibility. On that note, be sure to determine a deadline for making the change. You’ll need enough time to get guests, vendors, and your wedding party on the same page.

Read these time-saving tips for picking the perfect wedding venue

Consider Seasonal Comforts

Giving your guests some seasonal comforts isn’t just polite – it’s an incredibly thoughtful touch that will stick out in their memories long after the wedding is over.

In the summertime, you could offer handheld fans, parasols, or stations with misters. You might also want to set up a hydration station where guests can grab ice-cold water (option to flavor it with fresh fruit and herbs) at their leisure. If you’re thinking about an outdoor wedding when the temperatures are a bit lower, portable heaters, warm beverages, and blankets can help keep everyone nice and cozy.

Inform guests about the weather forecast and available amenities so they know what to prepare for. If you have everything laid out well ahead of time, you could mention it on your invitations. Otherwise, you can communicate what you’ve made available on signs throughout the venue.

Plan For Wind And Sun Protection

You must prepare for weather-related challenges, even on a warm and sunny day! A big gust of wind could knock over your beautiful decor, or the sun could be unbearable to certain guests – especially small children.

No matter the weather, you should securely anchor all signage, archways, tables, and tents using heavy bases, weights, or stakes. Smaller decor pieces, like table toppers, could be placed into weighted items or attached to a heavy surface. 

Additionally, provide shaded areas where guests can seek relief from direct sunlight. You may also consider placing “sun protection” stations around the venue with broad-spectrum SPF, sunglasses, fans, and parasols.

Coordinate With Vendors For Weather Adaptability

Discuss contingency plans with your vendors and ask what measures they already have in place to protect things like food and flowers from the elements. For example, if you’re having an outdoor salad bar, how do they keep food items from wilting or spoiling? Will snack tables be protected from dust or sudden rain showers? You want to work closely with a caterer who will accommodate your wishes and be honest about what is (or isn’t) feasible.

When it comes to flowers, speak to your florist about resilient blooms that can withstand various weather conditions. Roses, succulents, and potted foliage are less prone to wilting than other flowers. Plus, potted plants are a great eco-friendly wedding alternative to fresh-cut flowers!

Go through each vendor on your list and consider how inclement weather could affect their services and your wedding. Write a list of questions for each one and come up with a plan together.

Need help with a wedding theme? These 10 are always in style!

Bride and groom walking down isle surrounded by guests at an outdoor wedding

5 Outdoor Wedding Tips To Make Sure Your Outdoor Wedding Is Perfect

Now, it’s time to get into some outdoor wedding tips to make sure your event is absolutely perfect! The next section will discuss a few ideas to help you maintain a sense of calm on your big day. If you have these measures in place, you’ll have less to worry about when you walk down the aisle – no matter what the weather is like. 

  • Select A Seasonally Appropriate Date
  • Consider Having A Wedding Planner Or Day-Of-Wedding Coordinator
  • Utilize Weather-Resilient Decor
  • Embrace A Flexible Timeline
  • Prepare For Unexpected Weather Changes

Select A Seasonally Appropriate Date

Once you narrow down where you want to get married, research historical weather patterns and seasonal advantages. 

In Minnesota, for example, late spring to early summer (May to June) is an excellent time for an outdoor wedding. Temperatures are generally pleasant, in the 60s-70s range, with lower humidity levels compared to the peak of summer. If you want the perfect Minnesota summer experience of getting married around bright green trees and colorful flowers, this is the time of year to do it!

Early fall (September to October) in Minnesota brings mild temperatures and a lower chance of rain compared to spring and summer. Many couples like to have an outdoor wedding ceremony or reception around this time of year because the leaves change into fiery colors, and the idea of cozying up under the night sky feels particularly romantic.

Consider Having A Wedding Planner Or Day-Of-Wedding Coordinator

Hiring a professional to handle the unforeseen issues that often arise during outdoor weddings can reduce your stress levels and lead to a seamless event.

An experienced professional will have “seen it all” when it comes to planning an outdoor wedding. They know exactly what to anticipate and how to work around inclement weather, logistical hiccups, and other circumstances. This means you don’t have to worry about anything other than marrying the love of your life and enjoying time with your guests!

Ask your wedding planner these questions before booking them!

Utilize Weather-Resilient Decor

The weather might not be your first consideration when picking out wedding decor, but it’s a must if you want things to look beautiful all day!

Look for items made from sturdy materials like solid wood, wrought iron, or stone – these are less likely to be affected by wind or rain. To protect tablecloths and cushions from moisture, you might want to choose water-resistant fabrics, like polyester. Finally, check to make sure you can easily secure small decor items with clips, weights, or zip ties. If you plan to glue anything down, confirm that it won’t damage anything that should be preserved.

Embrace A Flexible Timeline

Build extra time into your outdoor wedding plan to account for any potential delays or adjustments due to weather. You can do this by adding 10-15-minute transition periods between each event. Not only will this give you and your vendors time to navigate changes gracefully, but your guests can savor every moment without feeling rushed.

Another idea for planning an outdoor wedding is to have contingency plans for activities. For example, you could have certain activities for “rain” and others for “shine.” Or list the same activity in an outdoor location on the schedule of events with a note that points guests to an indoor area if it rains.

Prepare For Unexpected Weather Changes

As you plan your outdoor wedding, stay prepared for sudden weather shifts to ensure you and your guests have as much fun as possible! Have a supply of umbrellas available for unexpected rain showers. Identify where guests can take cover indoors and communicate the best way to get there. Create flexible arrangements that can adapt quickly to changing conditions, such as movable seating and alternative indoor options for ceremonies or receptions.

By staying ready and willing to adapt, your outdoor wedding will proceed smoothly, regardless of Mother Nature’s plans!

Jess and Brad kissing outside

Have Your Minnesota Outdoor Wedding At The Heritage Center Of Brooklyn Center

Now that you have a better idea of how to plan an outdoor wedding, it’s time to get to work! The Heritage Center of Brooklyn Center is the place to go when you want to get married surrounded by friends, family, and the beauty of nature. Contact us to start planning the perfect outdoor wedding!