“I Do’s” Outdoors

Many people refer to this time of year as “wedding season.” Something about the bright summer sun, the looser schedules and the even looser apparel apparently gets people in the matrimonial mood.

The frequency of outdoor weddings practically outstrips barbeques as the number one afternoon activity during June, July, August and September. But what exactly does an outdoor wedding entail for the bride, the groom and their loyal friends and family who will brave wind, sunburn and bug bites to be present for their nuptial bliss?

For planning purposes, an outdoor wedding means being prepared for every climate catastrophe—as in, book a tent. If it’s windy or (heaven forebid) rainy, your guests will appreciate the ability to duck and cover and protect their nice clothes from the elements (ditto the bride and groom—take it from me, mud is really hard to wash out of a white wedding dress hem). Same goes for sunshine—I’ve gotten sunburned at a wedding more than once, and that’s not just because I’m at the see-through end of the pale spectrum. When your attention is focused on the happy couple exchanging vows amid their picturesque Etsy décor, you’re probably not going to notice that your skin is starting to crisp—and bridesmaid dress tan-lines are definitely not cute. Almost every party rental retailer carries tents (a few favorites include Rent Rite, American Party Rentals and Classic Party Rentals), so take it from a thrice-burned, always-shy wedding-goer: Rent the tent. You won’t regret it.

An odd discovery for those who wish to get married outside a Catholic church but with a priest presiding: Unless you’re getting married on church property, there’s little to no chance of your priest being “allowed” to perform the ceremony, as the Diocese of Sacramento discourages outdoor weddings due to “uncontrollable elements, like boats and bugs and noise.” (This is a direct quote from the secretary of the Diocese. I know because I asked.) So I guess if all else fails, nix the tent and get married at the actual altar. At least you won’t get sunburned.

For those still planning on going the outdoor route, a few little luxuries prepared for your guests (aside from that tent) don’t hurt: One wedding I attended had a basket of brightly colored sunglasses on offer at the entrance, which made for the coolest wedding favors and the best candid photos; and another, at a family cabin deep in the woods, had cans of bug spray at every table so guests could help themselves to keep the mosquitoes from doing the same.

So if boats and bugs and noise don’t bother you—and you’ve reserved that tent—there’s nothing to stop you from enjoying all that the great outdoors has to offer during the height of wedding season.

Just don’t forget the sunscreen.

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