Outdoor County Wedding? 10 Tips!

Outdoor County Wedding? 10 Tips!
Planning your Special Event

Beautiful, bountiful Prince Edward County! It’s ideal for a wedding and any other event away from the city – especially if you love nature and want an outdoor wedding.

wedding banquetYour outdoor wedding, anniversary party or other celebration in The County can be elegant or rustic, formal or casual, traditional or funky.

You’ll find cool County venues, outstanding local County food, County musicians and artists, and other County event vendors ready to serve you. For weddings, there are even County officiants – you know, those people you can’t get married without but who take up little to no space in bride magazines! I am one of those.

Ninety-eight percent of the ceremonies I create and officiate are for weddings held outside – in fields, gardens, woods, vineyards, barns, on a dock or on a beach. Have I ever learned about the birds and the bees!

Since 95% of the couples I serve come from outside of The County to enjoy its natural elements, and most of their guests are city folk, I’d better share what I’ve learned.

The Essential Bees – 10 Tips for the Outdoor County Wedding or Event

wedding beeIt’s all about the Bees! Bees are essential to the survival of humans on our planet.

The next 10 Bees are essential to the survival of couples marrying outdoors in The County!

1Boozebe careful of the booze! Wineries and breweries make terrific wedding venues. The couple will want to wait until after saying “I do” to indulge in libations since the officiant is prohibited from solemnizing a marriage if even one of you appears to have been drinking or seems impaired. (That also applies to impairment from legal or illegal drugs, by the way.) Good idea for your guests to wait as well so they are not too inebriated to focus and appreciate your special ceremony. Although a wine ritual or toast can be part of your ceremony.

2 Bugsit’s their territory! When you take your event outside, you are guests in bug territory. There are times of the year and times of the day when this is not a problem. If you don’t want to share space with these tiny and often abundant County creatures, check with your venue for those times. But, always be prepared for the officiant or member of the wedding party to take a quick swat at an errant mossie or other annoying winged thing during the ceremony.

3Breezenice but sometimes noisy! A breeze on a hot summer day is lovely. With breeze on a cool day, we can dress to stay warm. But, regardless of the temperature, the wind can blow a ceremony off course causing guests not to hear what’s being said or microphones to make loud, ugly sounds. If you and your officiant can stay chilled and are flexible, the ceremony can proceed and still be beautiful. Just hold onto the official papers, let the flowers take flight if they want, don’t worry about hair blown in your faces, then ditch the mic, gather guests closer to the action and shout! Also, if candles are a part of it, use wind proof ones you can switch on.

wedding by the lake

4Beachdress for it! Swimsuits might not be what you have in mind for your ceremony, but remember to prepare for being at the beach. Remind your guests about beach footwear or coming with bare feet, and don’t forget the sunscreen and bug spray. And, if there could be waves, plan for them competing with the volume of speakers’ voices or amplification equipment. Then, there is sand! And children who are sure to get wet – have some towels handy.

5Bushin the forest or the trees? The woods throughout The County offer private sanctuaries perfect for elopements and quiet ceremonies. Choose an open spot with a little breeze that will help keep the bugs down. Consider lighting for your photographer. Same advice as for the beach – attend to wearing suitable footwear and insect repellent. Plan ahead for carrying your ceremony supplies to that special spot. Of course, leave no sign of your ceremony behind but your footprints.

6Brightnesssunshine can be too shiny! All couples pray for sunshine on their special day. For your outside wedding, check out the placement of the sun at the site at the time of year and time of day for your ceremony. Seat your guests so they are not looking into the sun. Remind guests to bring sunglasses, hats or visors – or provide parasols. And, sunblock! Sunglasses on the marrying couple are not ideal for your photos.

7Barking dogsyou are in the country after all! A relaxed country wedding may be marked by excited dogs, or uninterested cows next door. If a bark or moo cuts into your wedding vows, laugh and see it as their blessing on your marriage. You have had an authentic country wedding!

8Bootsare made for walking! Okay, this is the third reference to footwear, because it takes 3 repetitions for information to stick in the brain… warn your guests from the city to wear sensible footwear. Stilettos are not great on lawns, in sand or on rock; if your ceremony is happening outside regardless of weather, rain boots, hiking boots, thick-soled sandals or crocs might be the fashion with party dresses and suits. Works under bridal gowns and tuxes, too.

wedding shoes

9Bucksyou get what you pay for? Officiants in The County vary hugely in skill, style, standards, services offered, and price. Decide which of these details are most important to you and check that out first thing. If you’re all about getting the legal stuff out of the way to focus on the party, go for the cheapest person or a city hall marriage. If your wedding is about celebrating your love or the meaning of your commitment, focus on the officiant’s skills and services. Consider the value and priority of your ceremony and be prepared to pay for expertise and time involved in creating and officiating it – price is not based on the length of the ceremony. Professional Life-cycle Celebrants provide a detailed quote for your ceremony and a written contract.

10Ball lightninga treat if you get it! Huh? What’s that? “A relatively rarely seen form of lightning, generally consisting of an orange or reddish ball of the order of a few cm to 30 cm in diameter and of moderate luminosity, which may move up to 1 m/s horizontally with a lifetime of a second or two.” Okay, I admit I have never seen this, but I was stuck for a 10th Bee and the County can have some curious and exciting weather phenomenon. So, if it happens at your event, you are special. Grab a cell phone and hit Burst Mode to catch a great shot for the TV news.

bee on bride's bouquetNature is such a wonderful backdrop for a ceremonial event. She makes for the most picturesque settings and can be so relaxing. She can also be a source of consternation on the big day, as she won’t be controlled.

Stay cool about it all. Remember, worry is for the Birds, and learn from the Bees. You won’t get stung and you’ll have a terrific outdoor County celebration!

About Sonia Beverley

Sonia Beverley is a registered wedding officiant. Actually, she is much more – she’s The County’s first Certified Life-cycle Celebrant. That means she is a professional who helps people and organizations commemorate or celebrate special times throughout their life. Sonia creates and officiates one-of-a-kind ceremonies to order, especially weddings! Sonia loves living close to nature in The County and sharing it with visitors. Check out her wedding services at www.CountyWeddings.ca. Contact Sonia at [email protected]. For other kinds of ceremonies, see www.CeremoniesBySoniaBeverley.ca.