June 18, 2020

5 Outdoor Wedding Reception Tips for the Perfect Al Fresco Evening

I absolutely love photographing outside for weddings. There are so many benefits to hosting your celebration under the sun and the start, such as better light for longer during the day, more space for you, your guests, and your photographer to move around, and the nature atmosphere. Today I’m sharing my 5 outdoor wedding reception tips so you don’t miss anything important!

5 Outdoor Wedding Reception Tips for the Perfect Al Fresco Evening 

1. Consider the Weather + Prepare for Plan B

Absolutely consider the weather for your outdoor reception. If it’ll be chilly, rent heaters. If it’ll be hot, perhaps consider a shaded or open tented affair. You could provide guests with fans or blankets to further keep them happy and comfortable. Also, if you live anywhere it might rain, know that it’s best to have a rain plan in place. No, this won’t jinx you; it’ll just ensure everything runs smoothly in case of a downpour!

Outdoor brunch reception with round tables covered in sequin linens, bamboo folding chairs with white cushions, and tropical centerpieces with palm leaves, pink anthurium, and proteas. Riviera Palm Springs Wedding by Cavin Elizabeth Photography 

2. Don’t Forget Lighting

Just because you might not have 4 walls surrounding you, don’t forget that lighting does need to be installed for the reception. I’ve written a whole article on reception lighting, but a quick tip would be to consider market lights or uplights on surrounding structures or trees. By budgeting for lighting, you allow your photographer more light to work with and more of an atmosphere for your guests. Do it! It’s so worth it!

Al fresco reception at night with round and long tables covered in blue and neutral velvet linen with crossback chairs. Round circular bar with wagon wheel market lighting covered in greenery smilax. A Wedding Photographer's Fairmont Grand Del Mar Wedding 

3. Or Sound

Just as you don’t want to neglect lighting, you also don’t want poor sound quality or a lack of electricity for your reception. Have plenty of mics and an adequate sound system to overpower surrounding sounds of nature.


4. Event End Times

In many counties, noise ordinances tend to dictate how late you can play loud music at an event. When you’re hosting an outdoor wedding reception, there is a chance you’ll be hit with an earlier or just a strict enforcement of the noise ordinance.

If that’s the case, you can consider hosting an after party at a bar or another location that will allow for music later in the evening. This is great if you have a lot of younger friends hoping to party until midnight or later.


5. Sometimes Nature is Unwanted

Live in a hot and humid area with a lot of bugs? Definitely rent yourself several bug-repellant candles with a refreshing scent and perhaps opt for flowers that are known to deter, rather than attract, bugs. If your cake is sitting right under a tree, you might end up with leaves or bark, as well as buggy critters, falling on top. Avoid a disaster like this with proper shielding or alternative placements.

White one tier cake with ivory linen, green, peach, and ivory floral arrangements and mixed glass and metal votives. Intimate Wedding at La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla by Cavin Elizabeth Photography