Always be prepared
You’ve always dreamed of an outdoor wedding, and if you live in Austin you can do that probably 9 months of the year (at least). But as the saying goes, if you don’t like the weather in Texas, wait 5 minutes.
Weather is unpredictable. So you’ve planned your wedding during the summer months? My first summer in Austin it rained almost every day. They actually closed area lakes because the levels were too high. A few years ago on a gorgeous August day, right as the family began to process down the aisle, it started hailing. Yes. HAIL. On an otherwise sunny and gorgeous day.
Conversely I got married in mid-December out on a deck at the Oasis – it was a
temperate 65 degrees.
You never know.
So if you are planning an outdoor wedding, make sure you have a firm plan B in place. Does your venue have a large enough indoor space to accommodate your guest list? If not, what will you do?
Do not assume your venue has a plan B in place for you. Most likely that decision and plan making is entirely up to you. And if your venue cannot accommodate everyone inside, there is really only one option…it is time to rent a tent.
Except it isn’t even as simple as that. You can’t wait until the last minute to rent a tent because then you and every other couple in town are all vying for the same limited number of tents. And sadly, you have to pay for the tent whether you use it or not. And they are not cheap – not the good ones.
Find out from the venue if they have tent restrictions. They might only want tents secured by barrels or maybe they have a select list of preferred vendors.
Make sure you know exactly what you are renting. I once had a couple that rented what was essentially a plastic tarp on poles. Not only was it not the most attractive setting for their ceremony but it did not hold up to the torrential downpour we experienced. Don’t just rent from someone you find online. Ask if you can see examples of their tents in person. Will the tent have sides? Will they be clear or have windows?
And you might have to add a lighting package as well. Make sure you ask if the tent rental comes with lights, are they purchased separately, or do they have to be contracted with another provider? What kind of lighting will it be?
Be sure to ask about delivery and set up. You might be able to save some money by having your tent set up on a Friday as opposed to Saturday. Does your venue have an event Friday night? Perhaps that couple would be willing to split the cost of the tent with you. But don’t forget to ask the venue if it is okay to have it set up early!
But rain (and hail) aren’t the only reasons you may need a backup weather plan. What if it is unseasonably cold? It might be a gorgeous day so you don’t need a tent, but there is a chill in the air. What then?
Check into portable heaters – the tall kind you see on restaurant patios. Provide inexpensive blankets or shawls for your guests during the ceremony – and what a lovely keepsake to remember your wedding by! Does your venue have a firepit you can use? Take advantage of that and provide the necessary ingredients to make s’mores. Now that’s turning a negative into a positive!
And the number one type of weather couples tend to forget about? Heat. I find my slowest months tend to be June thru September due to average temperatures creeping into the triple digits. If you must have an outdoor ceremony, please plan for an indoor reception. You will be the most miserable of all in that gorgeous wedding gown/suit/tuxedo! Provide ice cold water or popsicles for your guests during the ceremony and let them inside the reception space as soon as the ceremony is over (rather than mingling around outside for cocktail hour). Print your program on fans, provide colorful parasols, and choose shade over full sun. Think about the comfort level of your guests – you don’t want anyone to pass out from heatstroke!
Whatever your backup plan is, have one. It’s the only way to Be Carefree.