Admit it! Even before you start thinking about how many people you’ll invite or even where the wedding will take place – you want your summer wedding to be outdoors. As a French Riviera wedding planner – I get this request all the time: “We want the reception to be outside!”
Don’t get me wrong – I absolutely love a perfect meal out, as the summery wind smells of the Mediterranean! One of my most beautiful weddings of last year, that was featured on Junebug, had the wedding dinner outdoors and it was extraordinary!
But before you start pinning your favorite venues – keep in mind these 5 simple truths that will save you a lot of energy and surprises on the actual wedding day!
1. It could get hot (and cold and rainy)
Be mindful that you live in an era of aircon and having your wedding outdoors means that there will be none! I will never forget one very special wedding in July that was held in a luxury hotel here on the French Riviera. The ceremony was late in the morning, followed by a celebratory lunch on one of the open-air terraces (even though the hotel had a lovely alternative – a panoramic restaurant with a breathtaking view). It was so hot that guests would sneak out from the table and go to the hotel bar to get some chilled air, before they had to go back. For ladies it was somewhat barrable, but for the gentlemen wearing a suit (sometimes a 3-piece!) was a real challenge.
Same for late spring or early autumn weddings – don’t underestimate the seasonal change – even if it is a French Riviera wedding. It gets chilly in the evening during May, June and September, October. Make sure to have some pashminas or elegant smaller blankets. You can hand them out as party favors, too!
Finally, the biggest risk of an outdoor reception is of course – the rain. As a wedding planner on the French Riviera with over 70 weddings behind me – I’m happy to say that it only rained a handful of times during my weddings. However, if you don’t have a back-up plan and the summer rain is possible – just have some beautiful wedding umbrellas available – those would be great to keep some shade, too!
2. Watch those heels!
Outdoors doesn’t only mean “open-air”, but it also means “open-ground”. Do not forget that those beautifully decorated tables and perfectly selected furniture do not stand on hard floor. Make sure you take care of your lady guests and their expensive heels. Heel-stoppers are amazing in this situation – but make sure to choose wisely, not every heel-stopper is created equally.
3. Mosquitos RSVP, too
Sadly, they do. They are those party crashers that come uninvited. But don’t allow them to ruin all the fun! Sometimes venues are mindful about the mosquito issue and they have everything necessary to repel them from the dining area. But, regardless if they have solutions or not, make sure you have some spray with you, available for the guests to use – they’ll thank you afterwards, especially if they have kids.
4. Gone with the wind
Again, do not get forget Mother Nature when you check out those beautiful pictures on Pinterest. Even on the warmest summer day – there will always be some wind. Make sure that everything that can ‘fly out’ easily on your wedding table is securely set in place. Do not use tent place cards on their own, opt for a place card holder that would resist the breeze, or go for alternative place cards (wooden, plexiglass, stones etc.); make sure menus are placed inside or under the napkin, and don’t forget the table numbers! Finally, if you love candle lights, make sure there’s no fire hazard.
5. Light, please!
And last but not least – electricity. There’s nothing better for an outdoor reception than string lights or LED lights. There are dozens of different possibilities to ‘play with the light’ here, those can also be regulated as to the intensity of the lighting. Don’t be afraid to overdo it – not possible!
Finally, enjoy every bit of your outdoor wedding reception – the French Riviera couldn’t be a better place for it!
All pictures by the talented Rémi Dupac