URL for Facebook Pixel

How to plan the perfect outdoor wedding: A Checklist for Success

Bride and groom with umbrella taking photos in the rain at the best outdoor wedding venue in Rhode Island, Kirkbrae Country Club

Do you dream of saying "I do" in the warm sunshine, surrounded by lush plants and the beauty of nature? You’re definitely not alone. Around 62% of wedding ceremonies took place outdoors in 2021, making them a popular choice for couples across the globe.

But while outdoor wedding ceremonies can be beautiful, they also require careful planning that indoor ceremonies might not need. So, to make your planning process easier, we put together this outdoor wedding checklist for you. Find it below, and learn more about one of the most beautiful outdoor wedding venues in Rhode Island.

Your Outdoor Wedding Checklist: How to Plan Your Ceremony

How much do you want outdoors?

First things first: Do you want your entire wedding day to take place outdoors, or only part of it? For example, maybe you’d prefer to host your ceremony in the summer sun of a rose garden, then head indoors and cool off with some A/C for your reception.

When browsing wedding venues in Rhode Island, ensure that you have either an outdoor or indoor space for every part of your wedding day, including your ceremony, reception, and cocktail hour. It’s also a good idea to have an indoor or covered area to get ready beforehand.

Verify your contingency plan

Most wedding experts suggest booking a venue at least 9-12 months in advance. However, Mother Nature may not cooperate with your best-laid plans, making it important to discuss your rainy-day contingency plan.

For example, your venue may include tents to shield from rain, or there may be a separate indoor area you could use as a backup ceremony location. Keep an eye on the forecast leading up to your wedding day. If it looks like rain may be a possibility, ask your venue if they can arrange for tents or the backup area to be ready in preparation.

Keep your vendors on the same page

An outdoor wedding could influence which caterers are available for your event. For instance, a full-service caterer may need an on-site kitchen to prepare fresh food, while a self-serve buffet may only need warming plates. A spacious outdoor location can also allow you to experiment with more adventurous options, like food trucks.

Of course, you can make this step easier by working with an outdoor wedding venue that provides on-site catering.

Choose your attire wisely

Some types of formalwear may be better suited to the outdoors than others. For example, bridal gowns with shorter or airier skirts might help you stay cool on a summer afternoon, while a ball gown with a flowing train might be vulnerable to grass stains. Or, if you plan on walking down an aisle lined with grass or sand, wedges or flats might be a more practical choice than heels.

Keep the season and the terrain at your venue in mind when choosing your wedding attire, so you can feel comfortable and beautiful throughout the day.

Make sure your guests know

Ensure that your guests understand that your wedding will take place outdoors, so they can make informed decisions about attire. While outdoor weddings are often more casual than indoor events, there’s no hard and fast rule that says they’re informal affairs. So, be sure to specify your desired dress code when you send invitations.

Plan for temperature variations

Summer and early fall are traditionally the most popular times to get married. But depending on the exact date, the temperature may fluctuate, making it a good idea to plan for weather variations.

For hotter days, you could help your guests stay cool by:

  • Providing shady areas, like tents, umbrellas, or awnings
  • Supplying paper fans or misting bottles
  • Setting out coolers with water bottles or other refreshments

On the other hand, you can warm up a cooler outdoor wedding day by:

  • Enclosing outdoor tents to keep the wind at bay
  • Using patio heaters, lamps, or outdoor firepits to help guests stay toasty
  • Featuring warming drinks on your cocktail menu, or providing hot snacks, like s’mores

Keep bugs at bay with citronella candles

Are you worried about bugs crashing your ceremony? Some outdoor venues professionally treat the grounds to cut down on unwanted insects. That said, you can also double the bug protection by placing citronella candles near your ceremony area. You can easily incorporate them into your wedding decor by placing them inside decorative candle holders or lanterns, allowing them to provide a cozy yet practical glow.

Plan your outdoor wedding decorations

Speaking of decor, your venue itself will usually provide the key scenery at an outdoor wedding — like the blossoming flowers in a garden, or the horizon at the beach. So, when choosing your theme and decorating style, look to the natural scenery at your venue to inform your overall theme and design choices.

Some outdoor wedding decoration ideas to get you started include

  • Incorporating the seasonal flowers from your venue into your floral arrangements, like bouquets, and centerpieces. If you’re worried about blossoms wilting or drooping on hot days, faux flowers could provide the same beauty without the worry
  • Selecting a color palette based on the scenery. For example, use blue tablecloths for a lake wedding, or soft pink arch drapes to coordinate with your rose garden wedding venue
  • Adding seasonal accents into your displays, like autumn leaf garlands and pumpkins for a fall wedding, or vials of sand and seashells for a summer beach wedding.

The best outdoor wedding venue in Rhode Island

Planning an outdoor wedding may require a few extra steps, but you can ensure that you have a fantastic day by planning for rainy days, coordinating with your wedding vendors, and using the natural scenery to inform your decor choices. And, if you’re ready to tie the knot in one of Rhode Island’s most beautiful outdoor wedding venues, Kirkbrae Country Club is waiting for you.

Our manicured golf course and lush gardens provide the perfect romantic backdrop to celebrate your love with your friends and family. We also offer on-site catering with gourmet meals and cocktails, which you can enjoy indoors in our renovated ballroom or on a covered patio overlooking the grounds. Contact us today to see our spaces and book your happily ever after at the best Rhode Island outdoor wedding venue.