The wedding reception is one of the integral parts of wedding planning. Each couple wishes to host a memorable reception for their guests. However, planning an outdoor reception is not that simple as it appears. There are myriads of steps involved in planning an outdoor wedding reception. You need to take care of everything, from choosing the perfect attire to finding an excellent venue to host the reception that you’ve long been dreaming about.
No matter how confident you’re about your talent to host an event. There will always be something that you will realize you have forgotten in the process. The process can be incredibly daunting for those planning their reception all by themselves. Planning an outdoor wedding reception requires both time and patience.
However, with our list of Do’s and Don’ts to plan an outdoor wedding reception, you can easily plan it out.
So, without any further ado, let’s get started…
45 Outdoor Wedding Reception Planning Do’s and Don’ts
1. Do chuck the rules and do what your heart says. Outdoor wedding receptions are bound to be special and fun. So, the first rule of planning an outdoor wedding reception is to remember that no rules exist. It’s your special day, and you have all the right to create it your own way. Of course, your family members, relatives, and others would try to give their suggestions on how to create an outdoor wedding. You don’t necessarily have to agree with all of them. If you really don’t like a suggestion, politely decline it. That’s all!
2. Do decide your outdoor reception budget. This is indispensable! You cannot ignore this part at all. You must finalize the budget for your reception, just as you did for your wedding. Once you’ve established a budget, you can begin planning the rest of the details, such as the reception venue, décor, food, and guest count. Include everything, from your reception gown to tuxes, décor to photographers, alcohol, shoes, accessories, and so on.
3. Do ask who is contributing what to your wedding. Of course, your parents and other relatives will contribute to your wedding budget. If it is the case, do ask in advance, so that you know how much money you have in hand for your reception. Some of your family members would want to pay for a specific part of your reception, such as décor, flowers, music, drinks, etc. If so, then get the information in advance. Also, understand that when your family pays for your wedding, they will have a say in it. This implies that they will also have a right to a say in the decision-making process. So be ready for that too!
4. Do create a Pinterest board. How do you want your outdoor reception to be? Pinterest it! Yes, Pinterest is a rage these days! Every bride today creates a Pinterest board to organize her wedding, and that’s a great thing! So, you can also create a Pinterest board; it will help you gather unique ideas, be creative and organize your outdoor reception successfully.
5. Do carry an extra pair of shoes. Of course, wedding receptions are meant for fun, dance, and enjoyment. So, it is crucial to have comfortable shoes so that you can hit the dance floor all night without getting worried about shoe bites.
6. Do consider wedding conditions. Undoubtedly, outdoor wedding receptions are fun-filled events. However, you have to be sure about the weather conditions before hosting your reception in a specific location. So, before deciding on a date, look at the weather for the previous few years in the city you want to marry in. Having this information can help you decide on a backup plan (if needed) accordingly.
7. Do consider renting your reception gown. Consider renting your reception gown if you are on a tight budget or do not want to overspend on an expensive reception gown. Many brides buy expensive gowns for their wedding reception. However, if you don’t want to put in money in a gown for your reception, just chuck it. You don’t have to go along with the crowd!
8. Do arrange for guests’ transportation. Your guests will make time for your special day; therefore, it is crucial that you make sure they don’t have to struggle to reach your reception location. If at all possible, provide a shuttle service to transport guests to and from the ceremony. If this isn’t possible, you can hire a few taxis in advance to take care of your guests’ transportation.
9. Do consider hiring the best photographer possible. The most important aspect of your outdoor wedding reception will be photography. As a result, it is critical that you hire the best photographer who is experienced in the type of wedding photography you desire. It is common for couples to hire random photographers for their reception, which is not a good idea. Keep in mind that your photos and videos will last in perpetuity. These are the wedding memories you will cherish for the rest of your life. There are myriads of other ways to save money on an outdoor wedding reception that do not require you to forego wedding photography and videography.
10. Do think of some creative ways to decorate your outdoor reception area. If you have a budget constraint or want to give your reception a personalized touch, be creative! Think of some DIY ideas to create a wonderful wedding reception.
11. Do let your pets be a part of your BIG DAY. Allow your pets to be a part of your special day. It won’t be an issue in an outdoor wedding setting. Dress up your dogs for the wedding by having custom attires for them. They will just add glam to your wedding. You can, in fact, have some of your wedding pictures with them.
12. Do prepare for your wedding together. Don’t try to shoulder all of your responsibilities on your own. Allow your partner to participate in the wedding planning process. You and your partner should plan your wedding together, so never do it alone. The best part is that you two will have fun planning your BIG day together!
13. Do find a photographer who is a good fit for your style. Because photography is one of the most important aspects of your wedding, it is critical that you find a photographer who matches your style. There are many wedding photographers who claim to be the best in the business. Don’t just take their word for it. Search for the best photographer. You can look for them on the internet or in person; look at their portfolio; meet them in person; talk to them; learn about their forte, and hire them if everything appears to be in order. It’s important to find a photographer who matches your style so that you can get the best pictures of your wedding day.
14. Do check out your wedding venue in person. Some couples simply book their venue without visiting that in person. This is the worst thing that any couple can do to themselves. Of course, you can take a video tour of the venue, but that’s not just enough. You should visit the venue in person to understand the flow and ensure there aren’t any hidden flaws.
15. Do have a coordinator. Don’t try to shoulder every reasonability all by yourself. You can have someone from your friend circle or family coordinate with wedding vendors. Make sure you hand this responsibility over to someone who is close to you and understands you well. Having a coordinator will ensure that your day goes as smoothly as you want and that everything is in order.
16. Do have a wedding registry. A wedding registry is a very important part of your wedding. Make sure you create one. Also, make sure you sign up for whatever you want, whether it is any home appliance or a part of your honeymoon. Make a note of everything that you want in your wedding registry. Also, make it a point that you create a registry keeping all your guests in mind. Of course, not every guest will have the same budget for your gift.
17. Do make a contingency plan. This one is self-evident. You should always have a Plan B, especially when you’re hosting your reception outdoors. Make sure your venue can move your ceremony indoors if rain is forecasted, or invest in a tent. You’ll have to deposit some parts with the tent rental company for the tent. It will ensure that you have a contingency plan in place. Inquire with your venue to see if they have any similar agreements with tent rental companies.
18. Do consider the comfort of your guests. As said earlier, your guests will make time to be a part of your event. So, it’s your duty to take care of their comfort and plan for it well in advance. See everything, from accommodations to their transportation and anything in between, is in place. If you’re hosting an outdoor reception in winters, make provisions for warming stations, beverages, snacks, welcome amenities, and so on. Likewise, different seasons have different requirements, so make sure you make good arrangements for your guests. These personal touches will make your guests feel well-treated and much more connected to your event.
19. Do gather information on all the permits and reservations you may need to acquire. If you’re planning to host your wedding reception in a public park or similar outdoor location, then know that you may have to obtain permits to host the event. Or, if you’re planning a destination wedding reception, then know their state laws for open areas so that you can obtain the required permits ahead of time.
20. Do obtain all permits required for hosting an outdoor wedding reception. Some outdoor wedding venues, such as public parks, beaches, are open to the public. However, you may have to acquire reservations and proper permits for the event and your guests. Make sure you obtain all the permits very well in advance.
21. Do give your wedding reception a personalized touch. It’s your wedding, so you have a say to make it as much personal as you want it to. Whether you want to have your engagement pictures displayed stylishly or your favorite drink at the party, have them. You don’t have to think hard about it. Add extra special touches wherever you want, from your wedding websites to wedding invites and reception parties.
22. Do discuss with your partner what is most important to you for the wedding day. More often than not, couples avoid discussing the most important aspects of their weddings. If you’re also doing the same, stop it now! Discuss with your partner what is important to you and accordingly delegate your budget to those areas.
23. Do stick to your budget. You will come across many websites and social media posts where brides will flaunt expensive accessories, décor, dresses, etc. You don’t have to be carried away by all that. Understand that each bride has a different budget for her reception. You don’t need to copy others to throw a classic outdoor reception. Just stick to your budget, plan things accordingly and try to create a wonderful reception in your budget. With proper money management, you can easily create your dream wedding reception.
24. Do prioritize yourself. Most of the time, couples consider everyone else except themselves. If you’re doing this to yourself, you should stop right now. Recognize that it’s not just about your guests. It all comes down to you and your partner. It’s not their special day; it’s yours. So, instead of focusing on what your parents or relatives want, focus on what you and your partner-to-be want. This is the time when you should create the best memories of your life that you can cherish throughout. So make sure you’re both happy with whatever you decide.
25. Do enjoy every part of it. You may want to have a unique wedding reception, which is good, but you don’t need to stress yourself for that. Just take a break from everything. Enjoy every moment, create wonderful memories of the day!
26. Do not hesitate to seek assistance. If your best friend is ready to help you in wedding coordination, don’t hesitate to take the help. Rather than becoming engrossed in the stress, delegate responsibilities where possible. It will help you have a stress-free reception party! Understand that you cannot just take care of everything. You’re not a superwoman, so don’t try to be!
27. Don’t compromise on wedding photography. Your wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime event, so there is no point saving on the most important aspects, like wedding photography. Make sure to hire a professional who is familiar with and prepared for a variety of lighting situations. Inquire about their portfolio and look for good photos both inside and outside. Don’t be afraid to inquire about their work and whether or not they have shot an outdoor wedding similar to yours.
28. Don’t be too concerned about other people’s schedules. Remember that you can’t please everyone. So don’t even think about it! Many couples continue to coordinate their dates in order for others to be able to attend their Big Day. You are not required to do so. Don’t be too concerned if people are not able to make it!
29. Don’t let anyone tell you how to spend your special day. It’s your day, and you should celebrate it your way. If you want to throw a lavish outdoor wedding reception, go for it your budget allows. You don’t have to listen to everyone to make your reception unique. People will keep suggesting, advising some or other thing, politely decline all their opinions if you don’t like.
30. Don’t be too rigid about things. You might have always wanted to rent a specific outdoor venue for your reception, which you couldn’t do – it’s okay! You don’t have to be too rigid about things that are beyond your control. Be flexible and enjoy your reception; focus on what is important.
31. Don’t overspend on pricey flowers. We all know that flowers die after some time, so what is the point in spending too much money on them? Buy flowers that are both inexpensive and beautiful. You can even consider the ones that can easily be pressed or dried. Pressing flowers helps you save them for a long time.
32. Don’t send out web invites. Not all your guests will be tech-savvy. Some of them would prefer to have an invitation the old way – printed one! So, make sure to send printed invites to your guests. Also, your invite should contain all the details pertaining to your wedding.
33. Don’t miss making a personal call to your guests. Sending a wedding invite is not just enough; call your guests personally. Your guests must feel that you care!
34. Don’t get worked up over things you can’t change. There is no point in stressing yourself about something that is out of your control. Whether it’s bad weather or a bad relative, stop worrying about them. The most important aspect of your outdoor reception is that you enjoy it regardless of what happens.
35. Don’t invite people you do not want to invite. Maybe your father wants to invite your cousin who you’re not on talking terms with, then don’t invite. They aren’t worth your time or money. Save your guest list for those who you know cares for you.
36. Don’t forget to enjoy yourself during the process. Don’t let wedding planning consume you and sap the joy from your special day. Just leave what bothers you, and enjoy and have fun!
37. Don’t go overboard with planning. There is no doubt that your wedding is a special event, but going overboard with planning is no point. Just think of things that are important to you and chuck what is unnecessary. This will help you host an unforgettable outdoor wedding reception.
38. Don’t overspend on wedding reception décor. The best thing about an outdoor wedding is that it allows you to be creative. You don’t have to spend unnecessarily on outdoor reception décor. You can utilize nature to your advantage and create a lavish setup.
39. Don’t forget to arrange for good music. The wedding reception is all about dance, food, fun, and enjoyment. Music is one of the most important components of your wedding reception. Therefore, arranging for a good music band or group for your reception is crucial. If you’re on a tight budget, consider contacting upcoming groups or university bands. They can offer you the best deals!
40. Don’t forget to pay a visit to the venue. It is critical to pay a visit to your reception venue. So go ahead and check it out before making a reservation. Because if you don’t go, you may be unaware of any flaws that may exist at the venue. You can never get a true sense of a venue until you visit it in person, so make those appointments! You’ve been searching for the ideal wedding venue for days, tapping your way through website after website until something grabs your attention. It’s easy to get tempted by the snappy description on the websites or pulled in by some swanky photography there. However, in reality, the only way to know if this place is right for you is to go see it for yourself.
41. Don’t miss to meet your wedding vendors personally. Good vendors can help you create a wonderful outdoor reception, and the bad ones can easily do the opposite of it. So, don’t just book your vendors online. Meet them in person, ask all the questions pertaining to your wedding. Book only when you find the right vendors for your outdoor wedding reception.
42. Don’t forget to meet your wedding vendors in person. Good vendors can assist you in creating a wonderful outdoor reception, while bad vendors can easily do the opposite. So, don’t just book your vendors on the internet. Meet with them in person and ask all of your wedding-related questions. Only book when you’ve found the perfect vendors for your outdoor wedding reception.
43. Don’t forget to schedule a food tasting before hiring a caterer for your reception. You’ll want to consider not only how many items you’ll need for your reception, but a tasting will help you decide which food items are the most delicious and appropriate for your guests.
44. Don’t forget to take some time to relax. Wedding reception planning is a task that can take up a lot of your time and energy. That doesn’t mean you should become overly concerned with everything. Simply relax and unwind yourself. You can prepare for your wedding by practicing yoga and meditation. This will help you stay calm throughout the process.
45. Don’t miss out on enjoying your day thoroughly. This is your day; enjoy every bit of it! Leave what is beyond your control and focus on things that are important for you!
So, these are the 45 do’s and don’ts to plan outdoor reception. Hopefully, this post has been informative for you and will help you create a great wedding reception.
Happy Wedding… ☺ ☺