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12 Top tips to help you plan the perfect outdoor summer wedding

Outdoor weddings have unique charm! The natural setting is romantic, colorful, refreshing and relaxed. Nonetheless, an outdoor venue also presents its unique set of challenges. Unlike indoor venues, the variable factors are more in this setting. Hence, planning a wedding in the outdoors isn’t always easy.

The good news is that despite the possible pitfalls, you can still have a beautiful outdoor wedding when you plan it right. Our team will help you with this task with the following list of tips. This will definitely help you plan your strategy well and host a splendid outdoor wedding that will linger in everyone’s memories.

1.Research the pros and cons of different venues to make your decision

Your outdoor venue can be a beach, a garden, a resort or even your own backyard. Each of these venues have their own perks and pitfalls. Consider these factors seriously before you decide on the venue you want for your special day. Let us look at some of the common outdoor wedding venues and the challenges they present.

Beach: A beach is romantic and fun. However, it is also windy, sandy and with uneven terrain. You will have to limit your hairstyle, makeup and dress choice to what works in this unique venue. You will also have to rent everything for the wedding and pay extra to set up stage. It will also be necessary to secure different items without toppling over or flying away.

Lakeside: These venues are usually calmer than seashores, and yet promising in terms of beauty. However, lake sides are prone to bugs and have damp and dirty soil. They can become unexpectedly windy. You may have to prepare your party to wear bug spray and keep food covered to avoid unexpected disasters.

Winery: Unparalleled beauty, serenity and greenery mark this lovely wedding venue. However, there may be restrictions on custom plans. Many wineries restrict taking booze from outside, and your guests will have to make do with their produce at the bar. It can also become hot and humid in summer.

Park:Very casual and relaxed, this ambiance is well-suited for informal wedding styles. The cons of this venue is that you may have unwelcome onlookers who oversee your wedding. Also, there may be time restrictions. So, you may have to end your party early.

Backyard: Having a backyard wedding is often tougher than you think. You can of course save a lot of money, since you needn’t book a venue. Nevertheless, you will have to hire the décor and seats. Limited number of washroom facilities can be a problem. You will also have to take local rules and regulations into consideration when your house is in a residential locality.

If you still are unsure of which venue you ought to choose, here is some help to make your decision on the Huff Post 

2.Irrespective of the venue, you must have plenty of shade or arrange for tents to keep guests comfortable

It is no fun being seated in a sunny area, especially when it is warm. Make sure your venue has a shaded space where your guests can relax without any harsh sunlight. Summer weddings can often get tiring, especially if there is no breeze. So, arrange for fans around the perimeter of the tents to keep your guests cool and relaxed. Also consider printing your wedding program on fans to work double. Or gift pretty decorative hand fans as your wedding favors and your guests can use them to stay cool.

3.Ensure there are plenty of drinks to stay hydrated

In the warm outdoors, your guests will naturally feel thirsty. Provide plenty of beverages and water stations to quench their thirst. Set it up at different locations throughout the venue, so your guests can simply head over to the nearest spot and refresh themselves. Arrange for a variety of non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages. Flavored water, fresh juices and mocktails, fizzy drinks and local produce can all be highlighted in your wedding venue. For a stunning list of summer cocktails to stock your bar, visit this post on the Brides website

4.Pick sturdy floral décor or arrange them outdoors just before the function

Flowers, especially the delicate varieties, do not tolerate heat well. So, take special care when planning your floral décor, bridal and bridesmaids bouquets. Pick sturdy flowers that do not wilt quickly. Preferably pick what is in season, as these flowers tolerate natural weather conditions better. Have your floral décor set up just before guests arrive, so they look fresh during the ceremony and reception. You can also add fruits and berries to the arrangement for a tropical, summery feel. Other decorative items like candles and embellished figurines are good options for centerpieces and decor items, since they are unaffected by heat.

5.Have everything held down in place

When the wedding is outdoors, you have no control over how windy it can get. The last thing you want is for things to be blown away and the entire scene to look chaotic. Keep this factor in mind when planning the arrangements. Ensure everything stays put by weighing it down with suitable items. Use ribbons or rocks to secure items like place cards and wedding programs in its place. Also keep the table cloth and runner fresh by taping them down so they do not fly with with the wind.

6.Plan your menu wisely

Exercise caution when planning the menu for an outdoor wedding. Heat will quickly spoil food, and you do not want to be responsible for making your guests sick. Catering outdoors also presents unique challenges. Frozen desserts like ice cream are not practical, as they will melt in the heat. Since you cannot control the temperature, it is wise to choose fail-safe food options. Your catering team should be able to confidently handle and distribute the items on the menu on time. Here are some tips to help you plan the food menu right.

  • Avoid serving cheeses, sea food and meat in the open. These items should be served and consumed quickly to avoid spoilage.
  • Use dairy products like cream sparingly in your dishes. Not only do these spoil quickly, their consistency may also be unpredictable when kept outdoors for a while.
  • Ensure all the dishes are covered once they are kept outdoors. Leaving any of them open is an invitation for bugs, ants and flies to attack.

7.Help your guests stay cool and safe

Make sure the site is visually inspected prior to the ceremony, to ensure it is clean and there are no insects or flies in the area. Since you can never be too careful, have some bug spray ready in case someone needs it during the day. In case your guests forget to wear sunscreen, it is a good idea to have that available as well. You do not want anyone falling ill at your wedding, or enduring sun burn. Simply place bottles of sunscreen in baskets at the venue, if your guests will be spending a long time outdoors. Also, make sure that you do not pick metallic chairs for the seating. This can get pretty warm and you do not want your guests to suffer on account of it.

8.Have an indoor location for them to chill in, if necessary

Not everyone can continuously tolerate a hot outdoor setting for a long time. So, your guests will appreciate a chance to relax in an indoor area, if it gets too hot. This is especially true if there are pregnant women or older guests in your party. This can be a smaller hall or lobby area that they can access. If your venue doesn’t have such a provision, consider hiring an A/C unit to or large portable fan for them to sit around and relax, if they find the heat too stifling.

9.Have a back-up plan

Unlike an indoor venue, you can never rule out natural emergencies that can affect your plans. It could be something as big as a hurricane, a torrential downpour or even a small shower. Prepare for such conditions with an alternate plan. It is best if there is an indoor location to move into in such situations. If the weather forecast on the day of your wedding isn’t promising, make your call early and move the ceremony indoors rather than risk your guests getting drenched. The staff at your wedding should also be able to quickly move your wedding tables and other decor items into the secured area, should the need arise. Always arrange for umbrellas or raincoats for your guests, should it suddenly rain. Even it is just a drizzle, your guests shouldn’t have to wait till they dry off. So, arrange for fluffy towels in the restrooms it showers.

10.Find out about licenses, permits and rules for outdoor events prior to the wedding

When planning your wedding, you should  aspects into examine the licenses and permits for the location. There may be a time limit imposed on the use of outdoor venues. Ensure your party winds up before this timeline. Also check with the local authorities on whether you need a permit or license to hold a wedding at your chosen venue. If your venue is in a residential locality, there may be regulations on sound, parking and trash dumping. Make sure you are aware of all these restrictions and do not break any rules on your wedding day.

11.Use plenty of signage all over the venue

At outdoor venues, guests may find it confusing to find their way from one point to another. Save them the trouble by implementing plenty of direction signs all over the venue. Print them and set it up at different positions. Or simply do them in chalkboard and push the boards into the ground or hang them on trees. Use plenty of signs to direct guests to rest rooms and trash cans. You can also rent carpets to separate off the areas of the wedding from the rest of the area.

12.Make the most of seasonal fare

Every area will have its own refreshing produce, and this is what you should indulge in at your wedding. From the décor to the menu, flowers and gifts, let the season dictate your choice. Use fresh potted plants for your natural décor and even consider them for your wedding favors. Include seasonal produce in your salads, dressings, sauces and juices and your guests will love the taste. Use fresh fruits and flowers in your wedding cake and keep it simple for best results. Decorate with seasonal berries, flowers and fruits to create striking masterpieces that will tolerate the weather and look fresh all day long. Embrace the quality of the season, and your outdoor wedding will be a huge hit with your guests.

Summer weddings also give brides the perfect opportunity to explore a wide range of options in wedding fashion. From short wedding dresses to light, airy fabric choices, there are plenty of options available at Best for Bride for outdoor weddings. Here are just a few to inspire you with.

6867 Mori Lee

 

6861 Mori Lee

 

8191 Mori Lee

8177 Mori Lee

So, tell us which of these styles will you be embracing at your wedding? To take a closer look at these gowns as well as to explore more of our summer wedding dress collections, visit our bridal dress gallery at Best for Bride.

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What your guests will remember and quickly forget about your wedding

One of the most important things about wedding planning is ensuring a good wedding guest experience. Although the couple are the most important people on their wedding day, the event will not be a success without the co-operation of the guests at it.

Certain details matter more than others. This checklist will help you identify what will be remembered and forgotten by your wedding guests. Of the various aspects we discuss below, you may consider some of them more important than others. In fact, there is always a gray area, that some people notice while others skip. So this is up to you to identify and fix.

Those that are soon forgotten, because they weren’t worth remembering

1.Wedding invitation stationery

This is one detail that you needn’t lose sleep over or splurge too much money on. Whether you choose to amaze your guests with a stunning wedding invitation or keep it basic, the same purpose is served. Although your invitations give your guests the first idea of your wedding, they will only use it to find what they must know about your wedding. So, choose a good-looking invitation and make sure it contains relevant information about the venue, time and date. Don’t worry about the quality of paper stock or ornamentation. Take a look at this checklist on the Spruce to learn about the basic information that every invitation should have.

2.How special or expensive the linens were

Just like a beautiful invitation is just a beautiful invitation, good looking tablescapes are just that. Every bride and groom wishes to have a beautiful wedding. All the elements you choose for your décor are very important for this. However, quality linens can be very expensive, even when you rent them. As long as they are clean and crisp, we are sure none of your guests will want to know the details. It won’t matter whether your linens are made of curtain panels from thrift stores or sewn up bed sheets. Since no one else is likely to notice, it is better to invest that money in something more noticeable.

3.A super-gorgeous cake

I agree that the reveal of your wedding cake is an all-important moment. A breathtaking cake is an amazing sight. Nevertheless, spending a fortune on a gigantic cake with intricate details isn’t a great idea. Although your guests will be awed by the magnificence of it at the moment, it is unlikely that they will remember much of the details later. It is also good to remember that even the prettiest cake will quickly lose it’s charm if it doesn’t taste good. So focus on how the cake tastes instead of how it looks. Your guests are then more likely to remember the cake.

4.The guest book

Guest books and creative alternatives for it may sound interesting. However, think clearly of whether it really make a difference to your guests? Also imagine how often you are likely to use it in the future. You can of course use it as a keepsake. But I am sure you will have other things for the purpose. Your wedding album will have enough pictures to tell you who all attended your wedding. And amidst the fun of the day, it is unlikely your guests will pay attention to the beautiful guest book. They may sign in it, but not be in the mood to pore over the pretty details in it. So, save yourself the trouble and keep it simple or eliminate it altogether.

5.The bouquet toss and garter toss

Although a tradition at weddings, the bouquet toss and garter toss are two events that you can easily eliminate from your wedding timeline. It is unlikely that your guests will miss this part of the day. You can then hold on to your bouquet and preserve it or have it turn it into a wedding day keepsake. Take a look at this previous article to find out how you can do this. As for the garter toss, let’s face it. Not everyone really looks forward to seeing this bridal garment fly through the air or jump to catch it.

6.The flowers

Are you struggling with the choice between daisies and baby breath for your décor and bouquets? Well, hear this then! Half your guests are least bothered about what flowers you choose. Few years from now, all that matters will be that the floral décor and accessories look beautiful; not what it contained. Since flowers can be really expensive, consider this a sign to take it easy. Don’t use a huge chunk of your wedding budget on flowers that will last no more than a day. Your guests won’t mind, I am sure!

7.The favors

There are few wedding favors that tempt guests to save and use again. Pretty packaging is usually expensive, and ultimately is simply tossed away. Edible favors are the only exception. For your guests won’t really mind the after-party treat to enjoy at leisure. Hence, find a wedding favor with either a utilitarian aspect or make sure it is edible. Unless you do, it will likely be thrown away or confined to the depths of a closet. So, don’t sweat over this detail and just pick a gift that is reasonably priced and will be well-received.

The things that aren’t so easy to forget

1.A wonderful venue

The venue is one of the most important things that can make or break a wedding. The right venue will play up your décor, create the right ambiance for the theme and be easy to decorate. Hence it is important that you pick the right venue for your wedding day. It should easily accommodate all your guests, be easy to reach and have necessary facilities for your guests. Whether indoors or outdoors, the venue should be the right choice for the weather at the time of your wedding. So, aim for a wonderful venue that ticks all the above conditions and your guests will remember it forever.

2.A beautiful ceremony

Even in this digital age, beautiful wedding ceremonies churn up emotions and become memorable. So, plan your wedding ceremony carefully, with due attention to detail. Keep it short and sweet. Remember that you can spoil the excitement of the moment with a ceremony that drags on and on forever. Have the wedding altar decorated with care, so it is a feast for the eyes. All your guests will then look forward to making strong memories of the special moment at which you are married.

3.Well-dressed bride

Half your guests may not recognize whether you wear a ball gown or mermaid dress. Nor will they pay attention to your makeup and accessories. However this doesn’t mean you can take the dress aspect lightly. The image of a bride in her beautiful wedding dress creates a strong impact. It is instantly etched into the onlookers memories. So, settle only for a dress that looks amazing and reflects who you are as a person. This will enhance your best features. It will also make sure you are remembered as a lovely bride on the most special day in your life.

4.A fantastic meal

Food is one of the most important things that guests look forward to, at a wedding. Not only is a good meal the best way to impress your guests, it is also an option you can nail without much trouble. Plan your menu so that the dishes are enticing and appeal to most of your guests. Also make sure there is sufficient quantity to fill them up. Send your guests home happy, and the excellent meal you served at your wedding will be the talk of town in many years to come. You may like to take a look at some excellent advice on choosing your wedding menu is available here, on the Martha Stewart website. 

5.The drinks to celebrate the day

Many couples try to cut down their wedding day expenses by reducing the drinks budget. Unfortunately, weddings and booze are inseparable. Even limited quantities of booze are acceptable, as long as it is available and free. Nothing spoils a guest’s wedding experience like when they have to pay for their own drinks. Don’t forego the bar or ask your guests to pay for their drinks. Instead, take a look at these ideas on the Borrowed and Blue website to quench the thirst of your guests for less. 

6.The cute details of the day

I mentioned earlier that your guests are not likely to pay attention to the umpteen number of details you set up at your wedding. However, there is an exception. A few cute, unusual or quirky details can easily capture their attention and stay in their memories. These little details can range from customized signs to pretty buntings and personalized drinks. At least some of your guests will gush over these details, and consider these ideas of yours brilliant.

7.How good the entertainment was

Good entertainment is crucial to the success of your wedding party. Not all your guests may look forward to dancing at your wedding. Nevertheless, don’t disappoint those who do by letting your entertainment be an after-thought. There are definite benefits to choosing either a band or a DJ. From budgetary constraints to the songs that you personally prefer, you should consider various factors to make your choice between a band and DJ. More information to help you make the right choice is available in this article on the Knot

8.Your hospitality

Other details aside, your behavior on the day will greatly impact the guest experience. Your guests have traveled from far and wide to attend your special event. They expect you to welcome and acknowledge their presence. It will be a terrible disappointment if you are aloof and too engrossed in yourselves. This will certainly remain in their memories. So, don’t make this dire mistake. Extend a hearty welcome to your guests, chat with them at some point of the day and thank them for making it. Follow up with a note of thanks for their presence and their gifts. This will be greatly appreciated by them.

9.How long they can party

What is the point in planning an amazing party, if you must wind up while the guests have just started having fun? The wedding guest experience has a close link to the enjoyment they have on the day. And the longer the party goes on with amazing entertainment, the better they will remember the event. So, plan your party to give them enough time to have fun. Cut the ceremony short, but don’t compromise on the time allotted for the reception. Keep this factor in mind when choosing your entertainment and venue.

Now tell us which of these factors are most important and least important to you, in your wedding planning?

As we mentioned earlier a gorgeous bride is always a fond memory, and we have all that you need for this. Visit us in-store or online at Best for Bride for a wide selection of wedding dresses and accessories. Having been in the industry for over a decade, we have the expertise and inventory to cater to your wedding day vision to the very last detail. We also stock a wide variety of bridesmaids dress collections, dresses for the rest of the bridal party and offer a range of wedding day services. Head over to Best for Bride, the one-stop bridal destination today, and realize your wedding dreams.

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10 things wedding guests hate most at weddings

A gloomy wedding guest fits not a wedding feast.”  -Friedrich Schiller 

Your wedding wouldn’t be the same without your guests. Although this special day in your life is a celebration of you and your partner, your guests are an irreplaceable part of the celebration. They are people who take the effort and make time to be part of your lifetime celebration. Unless they are happy and enjoy the events of the day, they will not remember your wedding fondly.

Just think of all the weddings you have attended. There will be those that you loved, and then some others. It is highly unlikely that you had fun at weddings where guest experience was the couple’s lowest priority. After all, who could enjoy a party where they were treated like an after-thought. When you analyze things from this perspective, you will realize the importance of this factor in your wedding.

Here is our roundup of all that real guests hate most at weddings. Take note and make sure not to overlook these factors at yours.

A remote venue that is difficult to locate

In your search for a unique and unusual venue that also fits your budget, don’t forget to consider how accessible it is. Your guests may not enjoy the trek to a far-off location which is difficult to locate and reach. Although you may provide clear instructions, think of factors like how remote it is and whether they should spend a long time on the road to get there. Also check whether it has a public transportation option.

There may be guests who aren’t comfortable driving that far. Or it may be expensive to hire a cab to drive them there. If you simply cannot avoid this condition, arrange transportation from a central point to the place. Else, arrange a reception that is within reasonable distance and invite majority of guests to this location instead.

A vague dress code

There is nothing like a standard wedding today. From extravagant banquet affairs to rustic loft weddings and laidback beach nuptials, every wedding is different. Thus it isn’t always easy for guests to decide what to wear to a wedding. Nobody wishes to be embarassed with their dress choice. So, they usually look to your invitation or wedding website to make this decision.

There are many clear, fun and even clever ways to communicate this point in your invitation. There are both traditional and non-traditional ways to let your guests know what your wedding style is. From simple straightforward phrases like “Black Tie” and “Casual” to “Dress to Impress” or “Festive attire”, provide a simple phrase that explains the style clearly. Take a look at this article on the Brides website for how to word it and what each phrase refers to.

Unclear instructions

Nothing spoils fun like a lack of clear instructions. From directions to a proper seating arrangement and instructions of where the various events will be held, guests need clear instructions. Unless you provide it, they just waste time trying to figure things out by themselves. So make sure you communicate all relevant details in a clear and crisp manner. Design and format the layout of your invitation card with a checklist that cites what information your guests need.

Similarly, make sure you mention all other information on your wedding website. Add details like landmarks, traveling time to the venue, nearest public transportation destination etc, and make things easy for them. If the ceremony and reception venue are different, provide clear directions to get to the second from the first. Similarly, don’t complicate the seating arrangement. It should be easy to understand and follow. Your guests will appreciate finding their seats easily and settle in quickly.

Long breaks between events

It is plain disrespectful to make your guests wait for long spans of time during the day. Everyone values their time. Although your guests won’t look forward to a marathon of events on the day, neither will they be excited about an event that drags on and on. So, give accurate information about timings in your wedding invitation and program. Provide the “guest arrival time” and “ceremony start time” on your invitation to clarify things. This will allow your guests to evaluate the event timeline correctly and plan accordingly.

Make sure that you, your partner and the members of the wedding party are on time. Also space the different events of the day without too much delay. If there are long delays, arrange entertainment or refreshments to keep your guests occupied during this gap. Discuss with your wedding planner or photographer to create an accurate timeline that is practical for both you and your guests.

Spending too much money for additional expenses

Your guests will not be happy if they must spend additional money for expenses related to your wedding. Most wedding guests dread attending weddings at venues with high parking fees. Don’t be surprised if your guests get too fidgety if your wedding day events are delayed, when they are paying for parking by the hour. It is equally disappointing if you will be having a cash bar, where they have to pay for their own drinks. A limited bar or one with few options will be better received than if they should pay for their drinks.

The same applies to gift registries too. Your guests will want to get you a gift that is useful. However, they may be on a budget. When you register for items with different price ranges, they can choose one that suits their budget. Don’t be a needy couple who looks desperate for contributions from guests to make their day special. So, don’t think twice about ruling out the money dance and honeymoon jar idea!

Long boring speeches

Unless you have a small,intimate wedding, save your guests the trouble of tolerating long speeches that they barely relate to. If your wedding speeches and toasts just go on and on, it will simply bore them to death. Don’t have more than five speeches. Also ask all speakers to limit their toasts to five minutes or less. This will not take up much time.

Let anyone else who wishes to speak at your wedding do it at the rehearsal dinner. Since that will be a smaller and contained event, it will be an apt occasion for your friends and family to speak all they want. Also make sure that there is a mic if your reception is at a non-traditional venue. You do not want your guests to strain and struggle to understand what is being said.

Being seated with strangers

We perfectly understand that creating a seating plan for your wedding is no walk in the park. However, you should do it with care. It isn’t fun for your guests when you assign seating in such a way that they are seated with total strangers. Most dates who accompany guests end up in such situations. Unfortunately, not all of them take it well.

Although it is impossible to make perfect groups, we advise that you do not randomly create your seating plan. Try to arrange the seating in such a way that there is at least one person who everyone knows at their table. It is a good idea to discuss the seating plan with your groom, parents and wedding party. A group effort will yield better results and help to avoid confusion.

Photographers who get in the way

Too many photographers can ruin the entire visual experience of your wedding. Whether it is that they shoot the couple or take selfies, this simple action can spoil the calm atmosphere. When guests are too busy capturing photos on their mobile phones, it often disrupts the view of the other guests. They can also get in the way of the professional photographer and spoil their shots. If you have hired a professional photographer for your wedding, trust him to do a good job. Also inform the rest of your guests that you do not appreciate photos being clicked during the course of events.

Convey this clearly, but not in a condescending way. There are several ways in which you can do this. Put a note in your wedding program or make an announcement prior to the wedding. You can also display signs at various places in the venue. Just make sure that there is no chance it is overlooked or missed. When you have an unplugged wedding, your photographer will be able to do a better job capturing your wedding pictures. Take a look at this article on Glamour.com to find out how to do it efficiently. 

Loud and blaring music

You may have hired the highly energetic band for your wedding because you love their kind of music. However, it needn’t be the case with your guests. Music that deafens can really aggravate those who do not enjoy it. Be considerate and realize that there may be those who do not like the music you play at your wedding. For their benefit, keep the volume down. This will let them relax and chat or sit and watch without much difficulty.

Your guests should basically be able to talk to each other without having to scream because of the blaring background music. It is fine to occasionally raise the volume, to get the desired impact for certain song numbers. However, don’t make the mistake of maintaining the same volume throughout the evening. Your guests may rush to the washroom or out of the venue to rest their pounding heads. Most of all, this will ruin the entire day for them. Give your band or DJ a mix of songs in the playlist, so there is something that appeals to everyone there.

When the couple are totally engrossed in themselves

Nobody enjoys an event with ungracious hosts. Even when the guest count is huge, your guests expect to be treated with courtesy. So acknowledge their presence. Of course, they understand that you have a busy day and do not have time to chit-chat. However a quick hello, thank you or goodbye makes it worth their while.

If you are too busy taking photos or spending time with selected guests only, it can put off the others. After all, they made the effort to attend your wedding because they care for you. So, use the cocktail hour to mingle with your guests. Or wave a hello to them when they step up to take a photograph. Treat your guests well and your wedding will be a memorable one for them as well.

Do you have any more things to add to this list? If so, do let us know through the comments section below.

Every wedding poses its unique set of challenges. Creating a great experience for your guests is just one of them. While there isn’t much we can do to help you with this, Best for Bride can help you with another equally important wedding planning task—finding the perfect wedding dress. Browse through our wedding dress collection to find a stunning variety of dresses that fit every style, weather and wedding type. Apart from that we also feature a great collection of dresses for the wedding party. Visit the Best for Bride gallery today and begin shortlisting your favorites from our collection.