It's no secret that outdoor weddings have become incredibly popular. In recent years, couples around the world have thoughtfully brainstormed ways to bring the indoors out on their big day. Luckily, creative couples and their expert vendor teams have found the tried-and-true recipe for making an outdoor fête feel cozy and welcoming, and it relies on just a few key ingredients. By bringing in cool furniture, choosing lighting that gives off just the right amount of glow, and offering guests a variety of ways to cuddle up in the elements, your outdoor wedding can be just as warm and embracing as an indoor event.
Define your spaces.
The first planning task for your outdoor wedding should be choosing a layout and deciding the flow of the event. You'll want to mark off where the ceremony will take place, decide where the best spot for cocktail hour is, find the flattest area for dinner, and make sure you have a good amount of space for dancing. Bringing in the right rentals and furniture will help define the setup for each zone, and things like throw rugs, potted plants, tents, and hedging can help separate each area and make every individual space feel like its own cozy cocoon.
Get the furniture just right.
Event rental companies often curate their collections to be geared more towards corporate events than towards weddings. As such, you'll likely find lots of block-shaped white vinyl couches and big, bulky faux-suede loungers. While that may be okay for an indoor corporate event, you'll want something that feels a little more welcoming and home-like for your wedding décor in order to play up the cozy feel you're going for.
If the main rental company you're using doesn't have great options for lounge pieces, do a quick online search for vintage rentals or prop houses in your area. By creating small outdoor living room setups for your cocktail hour and dancing spaces, you can add a lot of warmth to the space.
Set up a formal bar.
Outdoor weddings can be just as formal as those in a ballroom or other indoor space. A great way to play up that formality is by having a full bar set up outdoors. Guests tend to spend a lot of time at weddings grabbing drinks at the bar, so you want this interaction to take on a certain element of coziness as well. Whether that means the bartenders don linen aprons and emphasize their mixology skills, or that the visual layout of the bar is flowery and candlelit is entirely up to the style you're going for.
Choose the right lighting.
Lighting is a crucial element of constructing a warm ambience at any event, and a wedding is no different. If you're working with a lighting and AV specialist, be sure to discuss lighting colors and dimmers. Amber-toned lighting gels give off a gorgeous glow, while bright whites tend to feel colder and blue-toned. Bistro string lights and chandeliers give off a lot more light than you'd expect, so be sure to have them on dimmers if you're bringing either outdoors.
Candles are the ultimate cozy-creator when it comes to ambience, and you really can't ever have too many. You'll want to take wind into account though, as many uncovered candles will lose their flame at a hint of a breeze. If you're getting married in a particularly windy spot, be sure you have enough LED candles to create a glow without having to rely on glass candleholders to protect the flames.
Take the weather into consideration.
The weather is always something to take into consideration with an outdoor wedding, and you'll of course need to have a rain plan for backup. That being said, even if you have a gorgeous evening on your hands, it's always a good idea to bring a few cozy throw blankets if you think it'll cool down when the sun sets. Hand fans and sun-umbrellas are helpful on hot days, especially during ceremony and daylight hours spent outside.