3 Tips for an Outdoor Ceremony
Oregon has some amazing outdoor venues that offer jaw-dropping backdrops (see the photo below from a wedding we did at Francis Ford Coppola's Domaine de Broglie in Dundee). I've got three tips to help make your ceremony truly unforgettable.
Tip #1 - Know Where the Shade Is
What your guests will remember about your ceremony is directly tied with the way they experience it. I strongly encourage you to book your venue at least a year in advance. Why? So you can see what it will actually be like on the day of your wedding.
Now, I know that we can't predict how hot it will be, or, let's be real, if it will rain, but you can learn some valuable things. One of those things is knowing where the sun will be. This will help you narrow down the best time to start the ceremony. You will be able to tell your photographer what the lighting will be like (trust me, they'll love to have this information ahead of time).
You will also know where the shade is. We had a 105 degree wedding, and the shade made all the difference. Knowing where the sun will set, what time each place will be shaded, and when those perfect sunset photos can take place.
Thinking positive is always the way to go, but always have a backup ceremony location that will still allow for everything you want to have happen.
Tip #2 - Ask About The Wind
You would be surprised how many problems wind can cause. Everything from toppling over signs to microphone interference, wind never helps the situation. I'm not talking about a small breeze that might blow through here or there. I'm talking about a steady stream of wind that might blow along the side of a river or creek, or on top of a hill. Great views? Yes, no doubt. But the problems they cause can quickly overshadow even the most breathtaking of backdrops.
Again, as with the shade/sun situation, knowing what to expect at your venue on the day of your wedding will go a long way in helping you plan the perfect ceremony.
Tip #3 - Walk the Walk
The ground you and your processional will walk on is important for two reasons. First, the ground itself may, or may not, lend it self to being walked on in a white dress. The pathway from where you start your processional to the alter may be well worn and used. If it rained the day before, that might even mean mud. Take a moment and walk the path. Ask the venue what they do to keep the walkways maintained.
Second, the distance you have to walk that ground will have a big impact on your processional. The further your guests have to walk to get to the ceremony location, the longer your processional will last. If you have a bigger bridal party, say more than 4 couples, then a traditional 3-4 minute song may not be long enough. If you have a grand vision of how the processional will unfold, make sure you time the figure out where you will be staged and calculate how long it takes to walk to the front of the ceremony.