Fall brings a lot of things...pumpkin everything, boots and scarves, and of course, beautiful outdoor weddings with fall foliage and warm apple cider. Outdoor weddings are amazing, I even had one myself, but they do come with a mix of additional details that needed to be sorted out. When deciding on a venue or location for your wedding, it's those things can cause a bit of added stress when not completely thought out.
It's easy to go into a friends property, see all of the possibilities and move forward with that dream vision in mind...but what about the backup plan? It's hard to focus on the possible outcomes when you know you have the PERFECT property that would look amazing with a tent set-up and a ceremony spot no venue can match. How can you ensure your wedding will match up to everything you are hoping for? Hopefully this post will explain it!
1. Weather. The one thing most couples don't want to think about but absolutely need to. Think about the various cases that could have an effect on your wedding day (even month or week!):
- Is it in a flood zone?
- Where will things be if it rains?
- What will happen if it is windy?
- Are there trees nearby that we should look out for?
- What are the chances of the water/currant/waves being too high?
All of these vary based on location but it is a great starting point.
2. Permits. Another big one! Some neighborhoods, communities and states have special permits required for hosting large events. Check with your county and see if there is anything you should be aware of and the prices. This goes for a few variables besides the property itself, but we get into those details below.
3. Electric. A standard outlet on the side of someones house is not going to work for a few reasons.
a. Distance. In most cases you won't have your tent or ceremony directly next to a home, which means the electrical source is going to be a good distance away from where it needs to be. Think about having an electrician come out and recommend a location for an additional source of electricity.
b. Use. Do you have a DJ or band? How many electrical outlets will they need? Will you have a Photo Booth that needs to be plugged in? Will your caterer need their own tent with electric for grills? Each vendor may need their own source of electricity and a standard outlet will not have enough to suit these needs.
If you don't plan on having other events on the property, a quick remedy for this situation is to rent a large generator.
4. Restrooms. Did you know that residential plumbing is not made for high volume use? If you are having more than an intimate wedding with a small number of people you will need to rent a restroom trailer. There are inexpensive options and other options that are a little nicer, it all depends on what you are looking for. Again, referencing #3, make sure electricity is availible.
5. Bugs. I highly recommend having the property sprayed for bugs of all kinds. In order to ensure guests aren't being eaten alive by mosquitos and other bugs aren't attracted to the tulle in your bridesmaid dresses, a professional bug spray is highly recommended for the property. It's nice to have some bug spray on hand as well!
6. Catering & alcohol. Find out what a caterer will need before hand. A residential kitchen will likely not be enough space for a caterer to prepare a meal for all of your guests and have everything out on time. If they need a caterers tent, ensure there is space for this near where the reception will be. It's also recommended to ask your caterer if they are able to provide alcohol or have a license to serve alcohol that you have provided. You want to ensure all alcohol liability is covered.
7. Noise. Almost all counties have a noise ordinance, whether you are nearby other neighbors or not, check into what this time is. The last thing you want is for guests (and your timeline) to think the party will go on to a certain time only to have the police show up and let you know the party needs to end ASAP.
8. Setup & Cleanup. This is something to check with all of your vendors because you won't want to take time during your wedding day to have guests setting up and cleaning up. Your rentals may be delivered a few days early, but you can always make sure they know the general area of where things go. Many caterers will include it in their contract to setup tables and chairs, and they may be the ones providing linens and place settings, which typically means they set that up as well. If setup for these items is provided, what about clean up? Will you be left with tables and chairs to clean and stack the next day, or will the rental company do that when they come to pick everything up? Check your contracts and don't be afraid to ask these questions!
9. Parking. Is there room for 100 cars on a field somewhere near the ceremony & reception? If yes, that is great, if not you will need to think of some alternative options. You could provide a shuttle service, inform guests that parking is limited and carpool if possible (keeping in mind, you may have guests that aren't able to do this) and or higher some sort of valet service (Keep in mind, weather may also play a role in the parking situation.)
10. Insurance. You may think you have all of your bases covered, but in the end something may be overlooked and insurance is the best way to handle that. Every participant in the wedding should be covered by their own insurance policy. The property owner, the couple, and every vendor should have liability insurance to cover anything that may come up.
Some of these items will even be relevant for even a wedding venue with an outdoor location! Please pay attention to each item listed and keep in mind that a private property wedding can be absolutely stunning, but it does require a bit more attention to detail.
If you are hoping to have your wedding on a private property and want additional guidance on how to ensure everything works out, we would love to chat! Send us an email and let's get the conversation started!