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Outdoor wedding ceremonies

Years ago, it seemed couples didn’t have many options to think about when planning their wedding location. It was just assumed that they would have the ceremony in the bride’s church and then off to the city hall to eat and dance the night away.

Now there are so many other options to consider. One trend that many couples have jumped on is to skip the church and get married outdoors. Couples are choosing unconventional locations to make their day unique and special. You’ve probably all heard of someone getting married at a park, but what about at the zoo or on the roof of a hotel?

A very unique location: The roof of the Hotel Donaldson in downtown Fargo. Photo by Milestones Photography

Today Maranda from the Hotel Donaldson is sharing her tips and ideas for outdoor ceremonies. Here are a few things to consider as you start to plain your ceremony:

  • Weather – Of course living in North Dakota/Minnesota, we know that our months to hold any events outside are limited, but you may want to look even further into it. Temperature averages and precipitation patterns change pretty drastically from April to September. It is more likely to rain during the months of April through June. So, July through September may be more ideal months for and outdoor ceremony, as far as avoiding rain, but other things to consider are heat and wind. It may be nice to provide water, fans and/or umbrellas for your wedding party and guests.

A wedding ceremony by a lake in Minnesota. Bridesmaids carried parasols instead of flowers (the parasols protected the bridesmaids from the sun!). Photo by Shawna Noel Photography

  • Back-up plan – No matter what the weather may bring, have a weather back-up plan! Look into tent rental and make sure it is the kind of tent that can stand up to heavy rain and wind or have an indoor location. If your reception is indoors, maybe that is an option.
  • Seasonal colors – Depending on the time of the year, the season’s colors may be enough decoration for your ceremony. Keep in mind how nature’s colors change from spring to summer to fall months. You may want to even consider coordinating seasonal colors into your wedding decor or bouquets. Tip: April or early May might be too early to count on beautiful lush green grass.
  • Wedding attire – It may be a no-brainer that a Cinderella-style ball gown for an outdoor wedding may not be ideal. But, don’t forget to keep temperatures in mind when picking out the guys attire. Many tux companies do make thinner, more breathable shirt options, which can help on those hot summer days. Or maybe consider doing a more casual look without the jacket. Perhaps linen button down shirts and khaki pants?
  • Seating and set-up –Will you need to rent ceremony chairs, sound equipment, etc? Who will do the set-up and tear down?

Wedding ceremony at the bride’s family farm. Chairs had to be rented and set-up. Photo by Shawna Noel Photography

  • Religion/Officiate – If it’s important to you and your fiancée to get married a specific religion, make sure to check with your officiate and see if they will perform and outdoor ceremony. Some won’t agree to marry outside a church. More and more couples are asking a friend to get ordained.

Although it may be a little more work and stress, planning an outdoor wedding is so worth it in the end, especially if Mother Nature cooperates! There is just something about the elements of the outdoors that can make an outdoor ceremony really special. Also, your photos will be gorgeous!

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