10 Tips for Planning the Perfect Outdoor Wedding
From the heights of the 58 peaks to the depths of the canyons carved by the Colorado River, we are confident to say we live in a postcard-perfect location. With this surrounding beauty, we are incredibly lucky to be able to incorporate it as a backdrop to our events. As we enter spring and the temperatures start rising once again, outdoor weddings become more popular and we absolutely love it.
Here at Relish, we want to set you up for success. As beautiful as outdoor weddings can be, there is additional preparation to be done before you say “I do” under the blue sky. Here are our 10 tips for planning the perfect outdoor wedding in Denver so you can enjoy a stress-free celebration!
1- Plan for the weather
With only 8 to 15 inches of precipitation and over 300 days of sunshine a year, Denver is a great place to have an outdoor wedding. During the spring and summer, Denver enjoys low humidity making for great sun-filled days and cool evenings. As we get closer to August, the daily average temperatures can reach 86°F. Knowing it might get toasty during your ceremony, keep your guests and their needs top-of-mind to ensure a pleasant experience.
Think about providing custom sunglasses, fans or umbrellas to protect your guests from the elements and keep them cool. Umbrellas might also come in handy if there happens to be a light shower during the day. Let’s talk about tents next.
2- Choose the right tent
Choosing the right tent for your outdoor wedding is essential for the comfort of your guests. You’ll need to consider factors such as size, color, style, time of year and location. Since reserving the right tent is of high priority, you’ll want to do this early in your wedding planning (there are only so many tents available in Denver!).
The tent is a big piece that will set the ambiance and set the tone for other items to compliment it. Think about using a vision board or inspiration board to gather your ideas and create a clear plan that will work in unison. Once you have an idea, collaborate with your tent vendor on the specifics.
3- Think about your amenities
Having an outdoor wedding can sometimes mean that you’re working with a blank canvas, giving you the opportunity to create the wedding of your dreams from scratch. Let’s consider some of the basic amenities you’ll need to think about. Use this blog post and the list below as a starting point:
- Generator: Think about how much electricity you’ll need to power your wedding. Your space will need electricity to bring the DJ booth to life, turn the lights on and more! Your caterer will also need it to do some of the cooking on-site.
- Restrooms: If you’re hosting your wedding at a location where bathrooms aren’t easily accessible, this is obviously a requirement. Consider renting individual portable toilets or a restroom trailer. Make sure the water and power sources are located ahead of time.
- Dance Floor: You’ll want your guests up on their feet at some point. If your location doesn’t have a dance floor available, you’ll have to include it to your wedding rental checklist. Think of how many guests will be attending and make a decision based on that – industry standards recommend four and a half square feet per guest (assuming half of your guests will be dancing at a time).
- Chairs, tables, linens, dinnerware: All of these items will be needed throughout the night (and may even be multi-purpose). Work alongside your venue coordinator and rentals company to find the ideal number of chairs, tables, linens and dinnerware based on your guest count.
Note: Many outdoor venues come with these items included! Take a look at the ‘Rentals’ section on our vendor page for some partnership recommendations.
4- Don’t forget about water
Depending on where your outdoor wedding will be located, having water on site will make everything go much more smoothly behind-the-scenes. Aside from keeping your guests hydrated with drinkable water available, this tip is meant to draw attention to the other areas where water is needed. Water is used for the flower vases, hand washing, cooking, cooling, toilets and more. If there is no source of water close by, consider trucking in water or bringing water barrels with you.
5- Hydrate with drink stations and frozen beverages
For anyone having an outdoor wedding, hydration is KEY for yourself and your guests! When we think of drink stations, most minds immediately go to a boozy, self-serve setup. These stations don’t necessarily have to involve alcohol; leave that for the end of the night. If you’re preparing for an outdoor ceremony on a warm summer day, keep your guests hydrated with flavored waters and frozen beverages. There is nothing more refreshing than an iced lemonade on a hot summer day. Our Relish team can help set up and refill flavored water and frozen beverage stations during your wedding day.
6- Use the space for outdoor games
You have the space available – use it all! One of the greatest things about an outdoor wedding is that you aren’t restricted by concrete walls and have plenty of room for fun and games. Take advantage of the weather and the space to incorporate some outdoor lawn games – we promise they’ll be a hit. The games are a perfect way to bridge any age gaps, time gaps, and add a little friendly competition on your wedding day. Many couples leave the games for cocktail hour but leaving them out during the entire day will keep the kids occupied.
7- Get your alcohol and event permit
Depending on where you’re holding your ceremony and reception, you may need to apply for a liquor license and event permit directly with the City of Denver. Be sure to leave enough time for any permit applications – the application for special occasions in Denver parks needs to be submitted no later than 30 days prior to the first day of the event. If you’re working directly with a venue that has allocated outdoor space, the regulations might be slightly different but we recommend checking with the venue directly.
8- Consider outfit changes
There are no hard and fast rules on how to dress for an outdoor wedding. The number one most important tip that we can offer is to select an outfit you won’t sweat through. For particularly warm days, we recommend for the bride to have an outfit change for the reception or at some point during the day, to allow for a break. As gorgeous as the gown may be, it tends to get hot towards the end of the night and comfort is the most important. With that said, also take a look at the surface the bride and guests will be walking on. Consider changing the stilettos for wedges or flats if there is a portion of the day that will be spent on grass.
9- Complement the natural backdrop with decorations
One of the benefits of an outdoor wedding is that it guarantees a magnificent backdrop. It’s important to work with what is already provided by Mother Nature and complement it with the additional decor. Pull inspiration from the available color palate and incorporate florals as a way to blend your decor with the natural surroundings.
We also recommend using lighting as a way to accentuate certain details of the space, create great photo-ops and of course – make you and your guests look good. Keep in mind your lighting will set the mood once the sun goes down.
10- Choosing the right outdoor venue
Last but definitely not least, choosing the right outdoor wedding venue is incredibly important since it is a decision that has a significant influence on other factors above. As we’ve mentioned before, outdoor weddings are incredibly rewarding but can require some additional prep work. With that said, a lot can be mitigated by choosing the right venue. Before talking to a planner or venues we recommend thinking about your guest count, budget, and what amenities and features you’d like to have. Most importantly, think about your vision and how you’d like to celebrate your special day.
Having been in the business for over 20 years, we’ve had our fair share of outdoor weddings and we’ve loved being outside and discovering new spots. Here are some of our favorite outdoor wedding locations in the Denver area:
- Four Mile Historical Park
- Stone Mountain Lodge
- City Parks in Denver such as Washington Park & Cheeseman Park are also a great option – but do keep in mind you’ll have to get an outdoor permit
Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life. It’s all about you and the celebration of this new chapter in your life. Nothing compares to the natural beauty of Colorado, so an outdoor wedding here will be one that you and your guests will remember for a lifetime.
If you’re considering an outdoor wedding or you’re ready to get started, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our Event Designers have executed numerous outdoor weddings in Denver and are there to help you. Simply give us a call at 303.532.4095 or send us a message!