Summer Weddings: An Outdoor Occasion
A Pretty Parasol
A parasol is the perfect accessory for the romantic bride, nostalgic of Antebellum garden parties and floaty ball gowns. It will also keep fair skin as white as a wedding dress.
Flower girls or bridesmaids can look like Greek goddesses in headpieces made with stephanotis and bay laurel. This is an especially pretty touch if the flowers are also used as wreaths or garlands for decoration.
A wreath of blue hydrangeas framing one magnificent initial adorns a tree. This brilliant blue decoration catches the eye, yet integrates perfectly into the natural oak grove setting.
The soft light of paper luminaries sets a romantic mood. The lanterns, strung on electric Christmas-tree lights and hung along branches, sway gently in the evening breeze.
Pet of Honor
One benefit of an outdoor wedding is that you can include all of your loved ones -- not just the humans! There are lots of ways to involve furry (or feathered) friends in your celebration, whether in a formal role -- as ring bearers or flower dogs, for example -- or simply as honored guests.
Anchored Seating Cards
Balmy, breezy weather is the hope of every bride planning an outdoor wedding. But breezes can be the bane of featherlight escort cards lined up unprotected on a table. To make sure the winds don't get the best of them, secure the cards with lengths of decorative ribbon.
A Decorative Tent
A tent will not only protect the guests of your outdoor wedding from foul weather, but with amenities such as air-conditioning and heating, it can be as comfortable as a hotel ballroom. Beautiful front-door decorations, which can be as low-key as swags of greenery, give your classic tent an outdoorsy, organic feel.
A Taste of Tuscany Buffet
This sumptuous feast is pure Italian, yet feels just right next to an American cornfield. The branches of an old maple tree shade the table from sunlight. Later, as evening settles, pillar candles in old and new canning jars, hung from the branches, will cast a warm glow.
These lush floral centerpieces complement perfectly the untamed feel of the surrounding vines and garden.
Garden Wedding Cake
The cake is decorated in a variety of basket weaves inspired by patterns of antique wicker. It is crowned with ivy and flowers gathered from the garden, including geraniums, sweet peas, Queen Anne's lace, and lavender and purple roses.
Smooth Stone Table Settings
Here's a beautiful way to weight menus at an outdoor wedding -- and identify tables at the same time. Stamp a smooth, unpolished stone (we used Mexican beach pebbles) with a table number and place on each plate.
A Candlelit Dinner
Cast a warm glow from above. A midsummer night's meal at an outdoor reception is served under tall maple trees strung with lanterns. Small and large, these lamps hold ivory tapers, their bases disappearing in a thick layer of fresh, fragrant rose petals.
Garland in the Grass
Two long, lush flower arrangements (Bianca roses, Vendela roses, Casablanca lilies, stepbanotis and yarrow) flanking the aisles serve two purposes: to prompt guests to take their seats from the outside, leaving an untouched aisle for the bride and her procession, and to direct attention to the alter.
From the Grill
For something so small, the hors d'oeuvre plays a surprisingly big role in a wedding. Remember to use delicious fresh ingredients, like grilled-to-order prawns, chicken satay, and eggplant. This grilling station, presented with daisies and yellow gingham, is at home at a garden reception.
A huppa is a makeshift tent under which, by Jewish custom, a couple marries. Traditionally it consists of a talit, or prayer shawl, secured at the corners by wooden poles and held aloft. This huppa was created from an embroidered bedspread and freshly cut bamboo.
Dessert Fantasy Buffet
Four extravagant rose-petal carpets invite guests to a canopy of silk gazar tied to bamboo poles -- and beneath it, an opulent display of fruit and sweets.
Rose Covered Aisle
Large hurricane vases containing floating candles are placed like so many beacons on either side of a path strewn with rose petals in shades of pink and yellow. If you're picking from your own garden, pluck them early in the morning, when roses are their freshest.