We love outdoor wedding receptions. Maybe it is because in South Australia, we are privy to some of the most beautiful outdoor spaces on offer. There’s the beaches, wineries and fields of the Eyre Peninsula that we call home, or the gardens, wineries, forests and funky spaces of Adelaide and the Adelaide Hills that we have come to adore each time we stumble upon them.
But an outdoor reception can be hit and miss – the weather makes it difficult and you must always have a back up option. Depending on your choice of location, you also have issues to face like – where will people go to the toilet? How are the staff going to cook? What sort of seating do I need to truck in? To help you out, we’ve come up with these tips for an outdoor wedding reception.
TOP TEN TIPS FOR AN OUTDOOR WEDDING RECEPTION
1 – Check with the council or landowner before you lock anything in! Just because you have found this fabulous public park with amenities perfect for your wedding, doesn’t mean it is open for you to hold large scale events. Do your research and avoid a last minute drama (or fine!).
2 – Have a back up plan – we know you know this. But just in case!
3 – Create comfort – whether it be heaters for after the sun goes down, lots of water for guests, big fans throughout the area, comfy places to sit, flat shoes for the guests in heels that keep sinking in, and creating shelter, just spend some time thinking about what would make your outdoor wedding reception the comfiest, most thought out party it could be. (Don’t forget the pests of an Australian summer – stock up on aero guard!)
4 – Create a focal point – most wedding receptions have a specific area that shows off proudly as being the ‘front of the room’ or the focal point – it could be large floor to ceiling windows, or a spectacular design feature that draws the eye. Replicate this idea at your outdoor ceremony perhaps using an arbour behind your bridal table, or create a wow feature by decorating a tree in stunning hanging candle and flower arrangements.
5 – LIGHTING – you’ll need lots of it, but make it soft. Drape golden glowing fairy lights everywhere – if possible string them from one side of your reception area to the other a million times over to create a ceiling like a blanket of stars that you could reach out and touch! Lounge type areas with tall lamps look effortlessly cool, and paper lanterns offer lots of light potential while up lighting on trees or tall features are stunning. Just make sure you haven’t got a light that shines directly at your guests so they aren’t blinded by anything but your love at the party!
6 – The logistics – choose your location wisely. A wedding venue that has garden or winery spaces for outside receptions means you won’t have to think about hiring and bringing in things like tables, kitchen set ups, chairs, portaloos (ick) or marquees, as all bases are covered. Not only will you have a back up building for Plan B but it will take a lot less money and set up than a spot in the middle of nowhere where you need to bring everything (including the kitchen sink).
7 – Think outside the square – you’re already going against the grain of a traditional wedding reception, so why not play it up? Scatter picnic rugs for guests to enjoy finger food on, have an elaborate drink and desserts station, bring the indoors out with a lounge suite, coffee table and lamps, or set up an outdoor cinema to show off photos of the big day so far!
8 – Can you hear me? Make sure that your location isn’t a noisy one and that you’ve got plenty of audio equipment to make sure all speeches and music can be heard.
9 – Take professional advice – if the people you’ve hired to be involved in your wedding have an idea of advice for you, take it on board; it’s likely that they know what they are talking about and the hassles you might face having an outdoor wedding reception. For example, they might suggest having an earlier ceremony and reception, or starting the party first and getting married as the sun goes down.
10 – Embrace it – if you’ve chosen a summer wedding, let it be summer, put on some sandals under your dress, let him roll up his sleeves and wear havis, or if you’ve chosen spring or autumn, get a few ‘nanna rugs’ to cuddle up under as the sun goes down. If you embrace the weather conditions and have fun with them instead of fight them, it’s going to be one heck of a celebration!
While we continue to dream of photographing outdoor wedding receptions under a blanket of fairy light stars, we hope these tips will help you to plan your dream wedding reception.
You might be a traditional bride who would prefer to do things the way they have always been done – by meeting your groom at the end of the aisle, and no earlier. But you may have noticed a trend of ‘first look photos’ and be a little intrigued. I know, that if you open yourself to the opportunity, you won’t regret it!
What brides really want on their wedding day is a reaction from their groom…but as they nervously wait down the end of the aisle and away from the one that makes them calm and brave, it’s not really an environment for over excited emotions to be expressed and you could end up disappointed. Basically, grooms normally become incredibly nervous on wedding days…. even if they seem cool and collected. For most grooms, the nerves kick in before they see their bride because when they see her, everything becomes VERY real! So when the nerves start creeping up, instead of keeping the groom in a secluded space until his time to enter the ceremony, what if you took him to a private place… no people, no on-lookers, no distractions…. and you let his beautiful bride, the love of his life, walk up to him and gently tap his shoulder. He would turn around and finally get his first look at his stunning bride and not only would he get to see her… he could embrace her… cry with her…. kiss her… and ENJOY that moment with her for as LONG as they wanted. As she shows him her dress, twirls a few times and then asks him what he thinks… his nerves start to diminish. After all, she’s the one that can make him most comfortable anyway.
Because they aren’t on a time crunch… they casually move into their romantic portraits. No one is around and there is no pressure; it’s just the two of them and their photographer….. capturing the excitement and the joy of their wedding day. This is their time to be TOGETHER…and to be ALONE. When does that happen on a wedding day? Without a First Look…. it doesn’t. When their time alone is over, they meet up with the bridal party and with plenty of time to spare the bride touches up a little makeup while the boys act like boys. After a few minutes the bridal party portraits begin and they’re FUN. They’re FUN because there is time to make them FUN. There aren’t any guests waiting impatiently at the cocktail hour and there isn’t a DJ coming to find the photographer to get a time check. It’s wonderful!
After portraits are done, the girls and guys separate and prepare for the ceremony. The guests begin to arrive and the ushers are in place. Pretty soon it’s time for the processional music to begin and one by one, the bridesmaids make their way down to the front of the ceremony. As the groom clasps his hands… they aren’t clasped out of nervousness but excitement. The music builds, the mother of the bride stands and all of the guests follow her lead. The groom looks up and here comes the BRIDE! His best friend, his companion, his sweetheart…..she’s stunning…. ABSOLUTELY stunning. The closer she gets, the bigger he smiles. This is it.
That’s why I love first look photos.
Amelia and Josh became husband and wife in gorgeous style at Mount Lofty House infront of a beautiful wooden arbor decorated with amazing florals that emulate the koala food that Amelia collects for her work. The weather had a few people on edge, it was sunny one minute and gloomy and raining the next. As Milly’s Dad walked her down the isle it was spitting with a little rain, but that didn’t dampen the moment. A few moments later the sun was shining as they kissed as Mr and Mrs Whitbread for the first time.
We really did have an absolute blast, so many laughs and hilarious moments. There was a magician entertaining guests while the bridal party had photos and before he left he came and performed a trick for the bride and groom.
I just loved that “Hank” their dog was featured on the cake topper, love love!! And I loved the surprise koala bowtie!
The next couple of days after the wedding I asked the couple to share with us their favourite moments from their wedding day…
Josh’s favourite moment/s was:
+Seeing Milly in her dress for the first time was pretty special. She looked beautiful
+Seeing the cake with the cake topper was pretty cool also seeing how all that came together because I wasn’t allowed to see the cake topper before hand as it had the imagine with Milly’ s dress.
+Spending time with close friends and family
Amelia’s favourite moments:
+The ceremony was a special moment as the sun came out just for our vows and looked amazing. Seeing my pop at the ceremony was also very special as he had been having health issues in recent months and it meant the world to have him there.
+Josh’s speech was also very special knowing how long he spent practicing and seeing how well he delivered it. I could never have done that!
+Another favourite moment was our first dance, we had a lot of fun with it and we loved our song.
+Another moment that involved the dance floor that night, we thought this was hilarious was that the dance floor began to break a part – our guest literally ripped up the dance floor hehehe
I can’t thank you both enough for allowing us to be part of your special day and we wish you health, love and happiness for the future.
Last weekend we celebrated the romantic wedding of Mr and Mrs Vermeulen on a lovely day in North Shields.
This beuaitful couple along with their treasured family, friends and a delightful wedding party shared so many wonderful moments. The joy and heart felt moments shared by everyone at this special occasion will steal your heart, the speeches surely had tears rolling down my cheeks. I consider myself lucky to have been at their wedding. Seeing Nicky, Kieren + Kaiden altogether was just gorgeous. Wishing you all many laughs, happy moments + health.
Wedding Dress: Adelaide Brides & Bloom
Bridesmaid Dress: Myers
Suits and Colour: Doug Watsons Menswear
Florist: Golden Sable Florist
Rings: Pedemonte Jewellers
Cake: Sugar Daisy Cakes
Decorator: Ep Function Hire
Wedding Celebrant or Officiator: Nicola Hancox
Makeup Artist: Hairworx Hair & Beauty
Hair Stylist: Hairworx Hair & Beauty
Venues: North Shields Memorial Hall & Lions Hostel
Entertainment: Harry Ford DJ
MC: Damien Sellen