Jess Levin Conroy began her career at Burch Creative Capital, where she helped manage investments and brand development for a portfolio that included C. Wonder and Tory Burch LLC. After earning her MBA at NYU’s Stern School of Business, Jess saw an opportunity in the wedding space to help empower the businesses at the top end of the market. She founded Carats & Cake in 2013 in New York City. To date, the company works with over 25,000 businesses across the U.S. and has become the go-to resource for couples looking for the best the wedding industry has to offer.
Nothing quite beats the romantic feeling of an outdoor wedding, from saying “I do” under the setting sun to dancing the night away under the stars. And with spring in the air and more predictable weather patterns on the horizon, outdoor weddings are what this time of year is all about. There is no shortage of ways to make your celebration stand out, starting with the way you greet your guests and expanding into the décor, and sendoff at the end of the night.
One of the best things about having an outdoor wedding is that the possibilities are endless, but you also want to make sure you take advantage of the setting and whatever your venue provides, from rentals to staffing. Below, some of the wedding industry’s best share their tips on how to throw the ultimate outdoor wedding. Read on to see their favorite outdoor wedding trends for 2017.
Use the Signature View
“Whether it is a mountain, an ocean, or the vast forest of trees, using the quintessential view for a backdrop helps anchor your event location and give guests a sense of place. The reason you choose to have your event in that particular location.” — Jennifer Thye, owner, Imoni Events
Create Intimate Patio Spaces
“Pair comfortable lounge seating with guest tables to create intimate patio space.” — Michelle Hodges, owner and designer, Sprout Floral & Event Design
“Choosing an outdoor venue may mean contending with irregular spaces, uneven ground, and wild foliage. If you can’t find symmetry in your space, embrace it and create a curved, meandering aisle instead. This works best with larger guest counts so the aisle is well defined and high impact with enough rows of chairs.” — Laurie Arons, founder, Laurie Arons Special Events
“Just because you’re dining alfresco doesn’t mean you have to have a natural or subdued color palette. We went vibrant for this client’s wedding in Maui.” — Amy Nichols, owner, Amy Nichols Special Events
Use More Than One Tent
“Outdoor weddings should embrace exactly that, the outdoors. Instead of focusing on just the large tent where the reception will be held, we have been creating custom micro-tents for guests to escape and enjoy the space on a smaller scale. I especially love this British-style army tent that we designed for an outdoor event. With these small tents, you can create beautiful micro-environments where guests can lounge and enjoy the wedding while also escaping for a quiet moment.” — Lyndsey Hamilton, creative director, Lyndsey Hamilton Events
Blend Formal and Casual
“Just because you are outdoors doesn’t mean you have to be super relaxed. Create an elegant yet understated environment by mixing the formal and casual, whether that’s with your florals, place settings, or simply mixing up your tables by having some draped in linen and some with exposed wood.” — Brooke Keegan, owner and creative director, Brooke Keegan Special Events
Incorporate Local Flora
“An outdoor wedding provides the perfect opportunity to incorporate local flora into the design and décor. From place setting accents to table runners to signage, the options are endless. For a unique take on menus at an outdoor wedding in the tropics, for example, use a large leaf as your canvas with beautiful, hand-drawn calligraphy. It’s a simple yet creative take on a staple item.” — Kimiko Hosaki, CEO and founder, Elements by K.H & Co.
Upgrade Your Floor
“Just because you are outdoors doesn’t mean your guests need to be navigating tricky landscape from grass to gravel. Seamless flooring is a great way to solve this problem. Not only does it give you the aesthetic ‘wow’ factor of an inside venue with a flawless continuous floor, but your guests get the easy ability to walk across a floor without tripping over hazards. Your guests will love the feeling that your tent wasn’t just put up for this event!” — Stacie Shea, owner and designer, Stacie Shea Events
Refresh Your Guests
“Refreshment stations! Hospitality is our middle name—so we always recommend that clients include hospitality items like cold champagne and water for their outdoor ceremony guests!” — Maureen FitzGibbon, senior designer and director of marketing, Kate & Company
Don't Forget About the Kids
“We love to make the little guests feel like a part of the celebration by creating a special space with them in mind. Picnic tables with games, crafts, and activities to keep the kiddos occupied are always a good idea. Playful touches add a relaxed and fun feeling to a formal celebration.” — Jamie Sears and Kate Harlan, lead designers, Simply Chic Events
Share the best tips and tricks you've learned about planning an outdoor weddings in the comment section below.