The secret to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything related to completing your outdoor wedding shopping list – the number 42!
Planning an outdoor wedding involves a lot of items to checkoff your list, some of which you may overlook. We’ve done the work for you and put together a massively comprehensive list of items you may need for your wedding day. Even if you don’t end up using them, they are definitely a good idea to have on standby to avoid any potential unplanned issues that good ol’ mother nature may throw your way.
Whether sun, rain, snow, or hail … the wedding show must go on!
Combat Wind on Your Wedding Day
Hosting an outdoor wedding ceremony runs the risk of combating a pesky breeze. Mitigate the annoyance by making sure that you have the following items on standby, so that you can keep your beautiful white cotton table clothes, custom printed napkins, and floor length veil in place — where they should be!
A Note on Centerpieces: One thing to keep in mind when choosing centerpieces i to avoid lightweight and top heavy vases that could easily be tipped over by the wind. Choose centerpieces with a lower center of gravity, such as potted plants, and opt for including heavier items like fruits and vegetables that will help to hold the arrangements in place.
Let’s take a look at a few items to help combat wind:
1. Glass Cylinder Candle Holders
No one should be stuck on match duty, re-lighting candles all night! If you’re lucky enough to snag a wedding venue that allows real candles, stick to glass cylinder candle holders to block the breeze from blowing out all your candles. Obviously there is a limit to the wind force that they will withstand, but light them once and they should be good to go for the rest of the reception.
2. Table Cloth Clips
The best way to ensure that your table cloths are securely fastened and won’t ruin any perfectly displayed reception place settings is to hold them down with table cloth clips.
One thing your guests don’t want to be doing is running after flying paper napkins. Make sure they are secure by either:
3. Placing them in specific Napkin Holders
4. Having a Napkin Weight placed on top of each pile
5. Bridal Veil Weights
Here is one may not have thought about – bridal veil weights. However, if you’re getting married outside and choosing to wear a bridal veil, this is one item that you probably want to have as a just-in-case item.
We love these decorative magnetized pearl or rhinestone veil weights to keep your veil in place while saying your vows or snapping photos outdoors. After all, what’s more distracting during a ceremony than a veil blowing everywhere because of the wind!?
Combating Rain On Your Wedding Day
Among other wedding superstitions, some would say that rain on your wedding day is good luck! I’ll leave that up to you to decide. Nonetheless, I think we can all agree that getting soaking wet is not much fun for a wedding.
6. Wedding Umbrellas
The very thought of rain on your perfectly planned wedding day could seem like a disaster. Instead of having a bridezilla meltdown, be prepared with super cute wedding umbrellas. We did a roundup post of some of the Best Wedding Umbrellas.
7. Rain Boots
Soggy farm fields and bridal heels do not mix. Make sure your bridal party is ready with the right foot wear like bridal rain boots, if need be. I didn’t know if I would like it, but the galoshes wedding look is unexpected, rustic, and kinda fun!
Combating Hot Sun on your Wedding Day
On a hot summer’s day, I can think of nothing worse than sitting during a wedding ceremony and baking under the harsh sun’s rays. Have a few of the following items on stand-by to make sure that your guests are comfortable before, during and after the ceremony.
8. Travel Pack Sun Screen
If you are having an outdoor wedding, especially in the middle of summer, than you must offer sunscreen . Guests should be focused on the excitement of the wedding and not the worry of getting a nasty sunburn. Offer travel pack sized sunscreen, or put sunscreen in cute little dispensers that go with your wedding theme!
A colorful way to brighten up an outdoor venue is to offer your guests the use of pretty parasols . Two-in-one: they offer shade and make wonderful wedding favors.
Another option is to setup oversized patio umbrellas to provide a bit of shade to cover ceremony seating area.
10. + 11. Hand Fans & Bottled Water
We love the idea of placing hand fans and bottled water on individual seats for each guest to enjoy before/during the ceremony. Hot days require hydration, especially before the champagne cork is popped and the bubbly starts flowing!
Another bonus wedding favor could be some shades to save guests’ eyes from the bright afternoon sun … and the brightness of your love. Haha, had to through in at least one cheesy line.
13. High Velocity Floor Fan
If you live in an area where the air is heavy and hot, quite frankly I would suggest having an indoor wedding! If you have your heart set on an outdoor wedding, two great ideas is to provide guests with high velocity floor fans.
Combat Cool Evenings on your Wedding Day
I can think of the time we went to Napa Valley on a wedding venue scouting trip. It was early fall and the daytime temp was still getting up to about 85 degrees, while in the evenings it dipped down to about 50 degrees. An outdoor fall wedding in a place like Napa is simply amazing, but comes with the need to plan for cooler temps.
14. Patio Heaters
Don’t forget, even summer nights in certain locations can cool down once the sun sets. Keep guests warm with the help of patio heaters. They also work great for outdoor weddings during spring and fall too.
If your outdoor wedding venue permits it, think about having a bonfire for guests to roast marshmallows. Yumm!! Don’t forget to pickup some telescopic roasting sticks !
16. Fleece Throw Blankets
Plan to keep your outdoor party going well into the cool evening? Better snuggle up and offer your guests some ultra soft fleece throw blankets so they can keep warm and cozy.
Keep Guests Informed & Happy
17. Hydration Station
Although drinking champagne and dancing on tables is a necessity at any wedding we’ve ever been at, so is keeping hydrated. A lovely bowl of punch or a drink dispenser full of cold lemonade or iced tea is a great option for when guests first arrive at the ceremony. Read More: Drink Dispenser Ideas to Stay Cool
Use cute cupcake wrappers with straws to keep bugs out of guests’ drinks.
Getting married on grass? Aerating the field in stilettos is not what guests expect as a wedding game. Please forewarn them!
19. Primping Area
Offer an area where guests can freshen up makeup, and tame their mane. As with any fancy club that offers toiletries in the bathroom, provide guests with an area where they too can freshen up from the outdoor elements.
Wet towelettes and cooling face mist are a good idea if its going to be a scorcher. Mirrors and wipes for makeup meltdowns, or hair spray and bobby pins to tame hair that has met its doom du to humidity. Body mists and spay deodorant will go a long way.
Outdoor Wedding Decor
Before I dive into wedding decor, there are two items I must mention as absolute outdoor wedding shopping list must-haves.
The problem with most outdoor weddings is knowing how and where to hang, stick, nail, and place decor items when there are no walls to attach to. Use Sugru to create rubber hooks that will stick to virtually anything, including the lovely trees!
Read More: DIY Outdoor Wedding Decor using Sugru
21. Microphone PA system
You may picture your dream wedding on a white sand beach, but may not have considered the crashing waves, the strong gusts of wind, and the local kids frolicking about.
Use a clip-on microphone for the bride, groom, and officiant. Even with surrounding noise your guests will be able to hear your nuptials.
Let’s get back to talking decor. The option of getting married outside is such an awesome one because your can use the grandeur of the great outdoors to your advantage, and create the look and feel you want. Here are a few decor items you may want to include on your shopping list:
Outdoor lighting is key for an evening wedding reception, and can really set the mood. Check with your venue to see if you are allowed open flames like tiki torches.
Or, go with the ever-popular string lighting. Just make sure that there are easily accessible places to string up the lights and amble power options.
23. Wedding Lanterns
Beautiful decorative lantern make for lovely displays and can easily light up a pathway, seating area, or guestbook/dessert table.
Bonus – lanterns bought as wedding decor will perfectly transition from wedding decor to house hold items.
24. White Paper Lanterns
There is no easier way to lower the sky than by adding white paper lanterns to an outdoor space.
** Tip: use dental floss to string them from post to post **
25. Floating Candles
If you have an outdoor pond, pool, or fountain in your wedding ceremony space, think of adding gorgeous floating candles to add a romantic ambiance to the evening.
Cue Sia for the first dance song, “… I’m gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier!”
Sorry, you’ll have that song stuck in your head for the rest of the day … and secretly want to buy a chandelier for your wedding because of it!
An outdoor wedding ceremony under a tall tree, or reception under the canopy of the forest, definitely calls for a chandelier. There is nothing more romantic than adding an elegant decorative chandelier for that provocative decor punch.
Although you could buy one and keep it in your home afterwards, not everyone is looking to acquire a unique chandelier. Consider adding this item to your wedding rental list.
27. Mason Jars with Tea Lights
An easy way to light up a path for guests and add a little twinkle is to hang mason jars lit with tea lights. Mason jars are perfect for an outdoor setting because they can hinder the wind from extinguishing the candle.
Here’s a 12 pack of mason jars from one of the original US manufacturers of mason jars — Ball.
28. Sandwich Boards
Often times an outdoor wedding has no place to hang important signage. Use a sandwich board to create welcome signs, timelines, or other cute messages for guests.
Again, probably not something most people have lying around the house. Try borrowing one from a friend that owns a shop, or add it to your wedding rental list.
Last update on 2018-04-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Sandwhich board not quite your style? We hear ya.
In that case, opt for a floor standing easel with decorative embellishments instead. Also a great option if you’ve already had signs created. Make sure that you have access to decorative easels to easily display signs in an outdoor setting.
30. Shepherd Hooks
When getting married outside, creativity in the decor department is a must as there aren’t many places to hang or display items besides chairs. One option is to line your aisle with Shepherd Hooks . These ready made hangers slide easily into grass and will allow you to hang pretty jars fill with floral arrangements, or whatever else you can create!
31. Wedding Wands
Some wedding venues won’t allow guests to toss lavender buds, rice, mice, or much of anything nice. Don’t panic!
One option is to give your guests wedding wands that they can wave in the breeze while you walk down the aisle as husband and wife.
Building on the wedding wand idea from above, guests can also blow bubbles and fill the air with child-like enthusiasm. They make for lovely photo opportunities too.
33. Wedding Games
If you’re planning a casual outdoor wedding (heck, even a formal one!), outdoor games are a fun addition.
A few popular ideas include: croquet sets, bocce ball, corn hole, badminton, or even giant Jenga just to name a few goodies.
34. Send Off Sparklers
A nice touch for an outdoor send off are sparklers. We see so many sparkler photos — like the one above with the newlyweds couple writing a message.
Give each guest a sparkler to light as you and your newlywed spouse head out the door on your honeymoon.
35. Sky Lanterns
A great outdoor wedding spectacle is allowing guests to send a few (eco-friendly and biodegradable) paper sky lanterns off into the night. Don’t forget to make a wish!
Take a bit of the stress out of planning your outdoor wedding and consider renting a few items.
If your big open field venue does not come equipped with public restrooms, you’ll want to rent a portable bathroom or two. And don’t worry, these aren’t the blue variety that you typically find at a sporting event or concert. These posh potties are called executive washroom trailers, and some look quite extravagant!
Chances are if you live near a larger urban metro center, you’ll be able to rent a beautiful bathroom at a reasonable price.
37. Marquee Tents
Are oversized patio umbrellas not quite enough respite from the sun or rain?
In that case, you can rent, buy, or borrow a marquee tent for your guests to escape the heat.
Pesky Insects Problems
Flies in your soup and ants crawling all over the salads. Not appetizing! Keep those pesky bugs away with a few of the following ideas.
38. Food Canopy
Protect your food stations from both insects and the wind by having proper covers. Use a netted food cover to keep bugs out of desserts and cake.
39. Citronella Candles
Insects are the ultimate wedding crashers and can ruin the outdoor experience. To control them, think about placing citronella candles throughout the space. Make sure to test whichever candles you end up buying ahead of time. That way there won’t be any strong scent surprises on your wedding day.
If you plan on having your wedding in a humid area prone to pesky bugs, like mosquitoes, see if you can hire an exterminator and spray the area a couple of days beforehand.
40. Bug Spray
As with sun screen, bug spray is also a great thing to have on hand on the day of your wedding just in case there are mosquitoes around.
Keep looking fabulous all night long.
41. Makeup Sealer
Last update on 2018-04-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
If it’s good enough for a costume and theatrical makeup artist who’s client perform under hot light on stage, than it’s good enough for you on your wedding day!
Whether it be tears or sweat, Ben Nye's Final Seal will protect you and your bridal party from needing touch-ups throughout the big day.
42. Bridal Attire
Make sure you have a beautiful cover up or warm bridal jacket to wear in case it’s cold during your outdoor ceremony or the reception. Checkout out our article on faux fur wraps for bridesmaids for more ideas.
We hope this list will help you plan for your outdoor wedding. If you need some more help with other items to tick off your wedding planing checklist, see our even bigger Ultimate List of things to buy for your wedding!