So you have decided to get married in France and chances are you have booked a gorgeous venue with magnificent grounds… Surely you will have considered having part or all of your wedding celebration outdoors. It is a great idea and we could not be more supportive of outdoor weddings. We have planned loads, in fact 90% of our weddings are held outdoors, so we know a thing or two about the few challenges of outdoor weddings in France.
We will share with your our outdoor wedding tips and advice so you can plan the perfect French outdoor wedding!
Of course, when it comes to planning a ceremony or a dinner outdoor, the challenge comes from the weather… So you will need to plan for all possibilities. The first one being: sunny and hot!
PLANNIG FOR A SUNNY & HOT WEDDING
When planning for an outdoor ceremony in the south of France, you need to make sure your guests will be protected from the sun. You can either plan for a large shading installation such a shading sails, which require some technical set up, or you can set up a few parasols in between chairs. Another option here is to distribute mini parasols, so each guest can manage their own shading.
Drinks will also be required. Make sure your guests stay hydrated by offering them a refreshment on arrival, and mini water bottles to take with them and sip during ceremony as needed.
Do not forget to provide shade for your celebrant and musicians!
PLANNING FOR THE POSSIBILITY OF RAIN
It is always possible that the rain invites itself to your ceremony, so make sure you have a good plan B. This can be a marquee, or a room at your venue that could be set up for ceremony. You will then need additional indoor spaces for your cocktails reception, the dinner and the dance (although the ceremony space can be turned into the dance space if needed).
Of course, if your venue does not have indoor spaces that could accommodate your guests in case of rain, you should have one or several marquees on hold. You can decide 3 days before your wedding wether you would like the marquee(s) to be set up.
PLANNING FOR WIND
Something that may be less obvious: the wind. The south of France is, more often than not, very windy. So make sure you are prepared. Think about weighing your ceremony decorations (especially if you are having tall decorations such as an arch). If you are going to display orders of ceremony, fans or anything light weight, make sure to have boxes or weights to keep them from being blown by the wind.
The wind can also play tricks on your dinner table. See those lovely place cards lovingly placed on each guest’s napkin? They will be gone in seconds at the first gust of wind! Tying the place cards to the menus, which will be tucked inside the napkins or under a piece of cutlery is a nice alternative.
Wind will also blow your candles if they are not placed in holders. These need to be high enough to keep your flickers going.
PLANNING FOR A CHILLY EVENING
And what if the weather turns chilly in the evening? We always plan for fleece blankets that we can hand to guests upon requests. If your wedding is early or late season, it is a good idea to have 1 fleece per person, which can be displayed directly on the dinner chairs.
If there is a chance the temperatures will be under 22 degrees, you should also ask your furniture rental company to keep some outdoor heaters on hold for you, to be confirmed a few days before the event. Keep an eye on temperatures and forecast, and if it looks like the temperatures will go below your acceptable level, get ready to add the heaters to your floor plan. You will need 1 heater for every 3 or 4 guests.
PLANNING FOR THE DARK
Indoors or outdoors, lighting is key. But if you are having an outdoor dinner, arranging the right lighting will require a bit (or a lot) more logistics. You will need to make sure you have the right power supply in the right place, and make sure there will be enough light for your guests to see what is in their plates!
If the dinner will be arranged in a garden or in a field, you will also need to make sure there are easily accessible restrooms. If there is nothing close enough on site, portaloos can be arranged. Again, you will need some power supply, some light between the dinner area and the portaloos so people can find their way, and someone to manage the loos (for paper refills, regular cleaning,…). Don’t forget to add some nice touches such as beautifully scented soaps, hand creams and other bathroom essentials!
If you are dreaming of an outdoor wedding in France, we are experts in the field. Get in touch and we will take you through the process!