Having your wedding reception outside can be a daunting task to pull off. 1.) You have to create a space without walls. Not only that, but 2.) When you set your date a year (or months) in advance, you have no idea what the weather is going to be like. While you shouldn’t let what’s written in an almanac make or break your day, it can offer some great insight for what the weather may be like come your wedding day.
As soon as we selected our date, we consulted the almanac. We were so curious to see what the weather may be like for 9/27/2014. In the days leading up to the big day, the almanac stated there would be rain. From 9/26-9/28, the almanac stated it would be cloudy and cool, with sunny skies after 9/29. We were in a tricky situation. Although there wasn’t rain for that date range, it was a possibility since it would be raining in the days leading up to our wedding.
When in doubt, read the Almanac
We chose late September for a number of reasons: 1.) Fatima would freeze outside after September 30th, 2.) We wanted an outdoor reception, and 3.) I hate heat. Late September has always been that sweet spot mix of mild (but not too hot) temperatures and sunny skies. This was a relief for two people planning an outdoor wedding. Knowing what the weather would be like per the almanac, we changed our plans from an open-air tent-less reception to having a tent; we were not going to take any chances. Our tent would be big enough to fit everything underneath if it rained. We considered smaller tents adjacent to the main tent for extra room for cocktail hour and food. We even had heat waiting in the wings in the event temperatures dropped. Although your big day is about you, your spouse and the celebration of marriage, the last thing anyone wanted to do was have guests go through an uncomfortable weather experience.
In the days leading up to the wedding, Fatima and I watched the weather carefully. At first, the forecast 10 days out showed our day was going to be a cool, cloudy day with a high of 60 degrees, on par with the almanac. Our tent vendor told us we had until the Monday before the wedding to confirm: heating, sides, and additional tents. By the time Monday came, 9/27 was looking like 75 degrees and sunny. That allowed us to decline heat, additional tenting, and put plan b (otherwise known as “outdoor max”) into motion. 9/27 was a hot, gorgeous, sunny day. I’m still wondering if I have to give up my first-born for that amazing weather day.
When planning an outdoor wedding, it’s important to think about “what could happen” (and no, I’m not talking about whether your future spouse will show up to the altar). Not everything will go as planned, although you may have backup plans A-Z. Will it rain? Will it be cold? Talk to your vendors about what’s included in your tent rental. Do they offer heat, sides, and other services like heating? Then, if you want/don’t need some of those services, ask what the cutoff date will be. More often than not, that day may fall within a week before the big day. It’s important to have an open dialogue with your vendors about what you want, what you need, and what you may need for your backup plans.
In the end, all we wanted was to be in the moment with each other and our friends and family. Whatever was going to happen, was going to happen and we weren’t going to go crazy over it.
Are you planning an outdoor wedding reception? Have you looked at the almanac? Let us know!
Wedding photos taken by our phenomenal photographer, Beth Laschever.