outdoor wedding

4 Reasons You Should Hire Professionals (and let Uncle Bob attend as a guest)

I get it, truly I do. Getting married can be expensive. You will probably experience sticker shock at least once during the planning process. And it may be tempting, especially if you have any well meaning family members or friends that “do (insert product/service you are looking for)” as a hobby or maybe even “professionally”, to save a few dollars and either ask for or take them up on an offer for a hugely discounted or free product/service.

9 times out of 10 THIS WILL BE A MISTAKE. Why? I’m so glad you asked!

You’re Not A Client

I’ll say it again for those in the back. You are not a real client with a contract to protect you and the person providing the service. A contract can be the single most important thing you will receive from your vendor team. It will detail out what they will provide, what you need to provide, when it will be provided and it provides you with protection in case they don’t show up or perform according to the terms of the contract.

You’re Not A Client (Again)

We have a tendency to not have as high of expectations from family and friends as we do a complete stranger. We also tend to not want to be as aggressive and self-serving when it comes time to ask for the things we truly want. And family and friends tend to think that because you are family or friends that it’s okay to not be as on, as complete, as on time, as professional, as honest as they would be with a stranger. After all you still have to sit across the table from each other at Thanksgiving or see each other at work or spend time socially together after the wedding.

Your Venue May Not Allow Non-Professional Vendors

This is a big one, especially anything to do with food, music and flowers. A professional vendor is typically defined as someone with a business license and more importantly general liability insurance with a minimum of $1,000,000.00 in coverage. Most hobbyists don’t carry insurance and aren’t operating a true “business” (reporting income, paying taxes, registering with the proper agencies, etc.).

They Have No Backup

Have you ever asked someone to house sit and the day before have them say something came up and they can’t help you out? Have you ever asked Cousin Sue to make cookies for a party and have to throw them in the trash because they look (and taste) terrible? Have you every asked someone to help set up tables and chairs at Thanksgiving and have them get there late (with no warning)? No big deal in these situations, but on your wedding day, it could be a disaster. Running late, not showing up, bringing inedible food are all things that (typically) don’t happen with a professional unless it is life or death. And even then, a professional will have a network of other professionals to take care of you.

Reality Check

That picture at the beginning of this article really happened at a wedding I coordinated. I didn’t know until the day before that the client was self-tenting their reception space. I was assured that it would be okay, that additional sandbags would be used to anchor the tent. And I was counting on the weather to be typical Arizona weather and be gorgeous. Between a freak wind storm and a non-professionally staked tent, the picture above was the situation we had on our hands about 2 hours into the reception. The professionals that were on hand helped handle it and we took the entire structure down to ensure that we didn’t have any injuries due to flying tent pieces. But could this whole thing have been avoided by hiring a team to install the tent - you bet!

5 Reason You NEED To Plan On Doing A First Look

You’ve met with your photographer for your wedding day and they ask if you want to do a first look (or maybe they don’t ask (sigh), which is another blog post entirely). Before you make up your mind, check out 5 reasons this wedding day manager feels that you NEED a first look.

  1. Timing

This is probably the biggest reason I strongly recommend having a first look. If your wedding day manager or planner has worked your timeline to its fullest advantage, you would be done getting ready at virtually the same time regardless if you were planning on a first look or not. Where timing gets a little sticky is after the ceremony. The sunset waits for no wedding and getting a little behind in taking pictures after you get married means you run the risk of pushing the rest of the night into crunch mode. Having a first look means you have more time after the ceremony for whatever you need it for and you know you have amazing images from earlier in the day.

2. Calm those nerves

This is a big one as well. Even if you’ve been with your partner forever, you will still be nervous on your wedding day - nervous to be getting married, nervous being up in front of all those people, nervous seeing the love of your life on the day you pledge to be together forever. Taking those 15 minutes to just see each other, talk to each other, touch each other will make all the difference in the world. And you will still feel all the butterflies when you see each other at the end of the aisle for the first time.

3. Enjoy cocktail hour

You spent all that time picking out fabulous food and drinks for cocktail hour and then you don’t get to enjoy it. Why? Because you spend the entire cocktail hour taking pictures. Having a first look can cut that picture taking time in half (depending on when you ask your family to arrive for pictures before the ceremony). We see this as a win win situation for everyone. You get to enjoy cocktail hour, your photographer has more time to capture your wedding day and your guests can even sneak in a few extra minutes with you.

4. Photographers love the extra time

Sometimes timing just is against us and things happen - people are late, dresses don’t fit quite right, spills happen and the time that the photographer would have been able to use to capture detail images and cocktail candids gets eaten up capturing wedding portraits, wedding party and family images. By having a first look, you free up your photographer to grab all the detail shots and fun candids that happen during cocktail hour. Plus they can get creative with the time that they do have to take you to fun location and try interesting poses.

5. Venue disadvantages

You may have found a venue that only gives you a certain number of hours for your ceremony and reception and there just aren’t enough hours for everything that you want to do. Or it is a pretty place, but doesn’t have that “wow” location that you’ve always dreamed about for wedding pictures. By having a first look, you can get more bang for your buck. I know, how will scheduling a first look that takes time work in your limited time favor? Hear me out. Scheduling a first look allows you to pick the spot and decide how long you want the session to last - first date location, favorite park, water background, desert back drop, the choices are almost endless. Plus, you can take as much or as little time as you’d like (just let your wedding day manager or planner in on it so they can schedule the timeline accordingly).

I know there are a few things that may cause you to question having a first look.

It’s tradition.

You’re right, it was tradition, back when couples were part of arranged marriages and the parents of the bride didn’t want the groom to run away. All joking aside, if you are truly tied to the tradition of not seeing each other until you walk down the aisle, consider a first touch or blindfolded first look.

I won’t have that “wow” moment/feeling.

You will have that moment, promise. If you have a first look, you get to have that moment twice. Nothing will take away that feeling of seeing your beloved walking down the aisle to pledge themselves to you.

I have limited time with my photographer.

Most photographers have a time limit on their package. If you are already having them capture getting ready moments, then they will be there pre-ceremony anyway. If you are not having them there pre-ceremony because you feel you need them through the end of the reception, work with your wedding day manager or planner and shift all the must have moments to the time period before the photographer leaves for the evening. Doing this will allow your time to begin earlier and you can have that first look.

3 Things to Consider Before Hiring a "Part-Time" Wedding Vendor

Let me tell you a story. It is 4:30 in the afternoon of an amazing day.

I have a super cute couple that will be walking down the aisle at 5:00.

My assistant and I are in the reception hall setting up the final details when a friend of the bride asks me

where the flowers for the bride and bridesmaids are.

I’m slightly perplexed as I spoke with the florist and she assured me that everything was set and ready to go. I go over to the bridal suite and look around. I see a cascading orchid bouquet that is falling apart, a few individual calla lilies and not much else.

I text the florist (this is the only way she will communicate as she has a full time job that doesn’t allow her to take phone calls during the day) and ask where the bouquets are at

and I will never forget her response

“when I went to the wholesaler yesterday, the roses that the client wanted didn’t look right so I just substituted individual calla lilies instead.”

I was floored and the bride is almost in tears.

Communication was rough all along with this vendor, but for her to make the call to just change the order, without prior knowledge or agreement of the client was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

While I took up this huge mistake with the vendor I was driving to the local Trader Joe’s (this was a destination wedding) picked up some gorgeous white roses, created beautiful hand tied bouquets and my couple walked down the aisle on time (this is the main reason I highly recommend you hire a wedding coordinator by the way).

So there is a happy ending and a moral to the story.

Throughout the whole process this vendor was difficult to talk to, she could only meet on certain days, at certain times and would only communicate through text. She would not return phone calls, would not confirm details and was very unprofessional. She was a weekend warrior and didn’t take the commitment she made to clients, that paid her, very seriously. While not all part-time vendors are this egregious when it comes to taking care of clients, it does happen more often than not.

In the end my team was able to save the day, maintain the timeline and stave off tears and stress, but we shouldn’t have had to.

When choosing your vendors, don’t be afraid to ask the question – “Do you do this full time?” and if the answer is no find out what limits their job will place on their ability to do their job properly.

1. Limited availability

Part-time vendors usually can only meet when they are not working or do not have other life commitments. While all vendors will have limits to their availability most full time vendors will have ample options during the day and at night, during the week and on weekends.

2. Unable or unwilling to utilize all forms of communication

Part-time vendors usually cannot take personal phone calls while they are working their “real” job. They may also be limited as to when they can check and respond to emails and text messages. Full-time vendors can answer their phones whenever they are not with another client or working with another client and have fewer limitations as to when they can respond to email and text.

3. Unprofessional business approach

Part-time vendors have a tendency to skip the necessary items to running a business – business licenses, insurance, contracts, back up plans and staff. Full-time vendors know that they are holding your dreams in their hands and they want to ensure that you have every confidence in them and their business.

While my story had a mostly happy ending, the vendor never apologized for the stress and drama she caused. She didn't willingly refund any money. She didn't care and that is probably the hardest lesson that clients that hire part-time vendors may have to learn - some of them just don't care about their clients.

Full disclosure and reality check - I have worked with loads of "part-time" vendors, but you would never know that they were running their business part-time. They are fabulous!! At the beginning of my journey I was a "part-time" vendor, but none of my clients knew it. It has a lot to do with you as a person, how well you can handle multiple tasks and how you structure your business. I won't say that you have to steer clear of "part-time" vendors, but do your due diligence and understand exactly what you will be signing up for. 

Happy Wedding Planning!

Desert Boho and Romantic Desert Wedding Style Shoot at Tercero Weddings by Aldea in Glendale, Arizona

Have you ever had an idea in your head that you just can't seem to forget about, no matter how busy you get or how many other things are going on in your life? When I first heard about this fun and fabulous new wedding venue that was going to be opening on in the west valley of Phoenix, an idea planted itself in my head and wouldn't leave, no matter what. An idea that I, after being in business for almost 9 years, should design a styled shoot, and not just any styled shoot, but one that would showcase some of my favorite vendors, introduce me to a whole new group of "friendors" and allow me to add some gorgeous pictures to my portfolio. The result, a collaborative styled shoot that had 7 photographers, 2 couples, 2 designs and a ton of amazing details!!!

The Vendors

Venue - Tercero Weddings by Aldea

Photographers - Amber Kay Lonski PhotographyGraced by Light Photography              Poppyseed PhotographySandra Patricia PhotographyShea Brie PhotographySweet Sunday PhotographyTwin Lens Studios

Coordinator/Designer - Sweet I Do's

Florists - PJ's Flowers & Events (romantic desert design) | Poppy Design Co (desert boho design)

Cake/Desserts - Amour de Sucre

Rentals - Tremaine Ranch

Stationery - Paige Poppe Art (desert boho design) | Posh Invitations (romantic boho design)

Farmhouse Table/Benches - Elegant Farmhouse Designs

Lighting - Divinity Event Lighting

Menswear - Celebrity Tux & Tails

Bridalwear - Lovely Bride Phoenix

Hair and Makeup Artist - Makeup by Carmen Orduno

Models - Julie & Brian Read (romantic desert design) | Gina Baker & Ryan Warling (desert boho design)

The inspiration

Living in the middle of the desert in Phoenix, AZ you would think that it would be almost impossible to draw any inspiration from our landscape. When people think of the desert they think of scorching sand and loads and loads of brown and tan nothingness. And while typically true, we have some of the most amazing sunsets and right after the rains our desert turns a beautiful variety of succulent and cacti greens with the most vibrant flowers imaginable. I drew my inspiration for the desert boho design from those colorful sunsets and cacti blooms pulling in magenta, purple, orange and yellow. For the romantic desert design I looked no farther than our beautiful succulents choosing the soft greens, pale pinks and almost translucent blue/gray.

The result

Having 7 photographers taking pictures of the same designs in the same location may seem like over-kill, but I saw it as an opportunity to see what 7 different styles and perspectives of the same elements would look like. I have to say I was thrilled! Check out some of my favorite images in my galleries for each photographer.

Be sure to follow everyone on IG to see more of their amazing work (links below)!

Sweet I Do's | Wedding Day Management Specialists romantic desert wedding at Tercero Weddings by Aldea Image by Amber Kay Lonski Photography Glendale Arizona

Amber Kay Lonski Photography

IG - @aklonskiphoto

Sweet I Do's | Wedding Day Management Specialists boho bride in bridal suite at Tercero Weddings by Aldea image by Graced by Light Photography in Glendale, Arizona

Graced by Light Photography

IG - @gracedbylight_photography

Sweet I Do's | Wedding Day Management Specialists desert boho bride and groom at Tercero Weddings by Aldea images by Poppyseed Photography in Glendale, Arizona

Poppyseed Photography

IG - @poppyseedphotography

Sweet I Do's | Wedding Day Management Specialists romantic desert floor level wedding guest table at Tercero Weddings By Aldea image by Sandra Patricia Photography in Glendale, Arizona

Sandra Patricia Photography

IG - @sandrapatriciaphotography

Sweet I Do's | Wedding Day Management Specialists romantic desert wedding bouquet at Tercero Weddings by Aldea image by Shea Brie Photography in Glendale, Arizona

Shea Brie Photography

IG - @sheabriephotography

Sweet I Do's | Wedding Day Management Specialists desert boho wedding cake at Tercero Weddings by Aldea image by Sweet Sunday Photography in Glendale, Arizona

Sweet Sunday Photography

IG - @sweetsundayphotography

Sweet I Do's | Wedding Day Management Specialists desert boho wedding guest table at Tercero Weddings by Aldea image by Twin Lens Studios in Glendale, Arizona

Twin Lens Studios

IG - @twinlensstudios

Real Wedding - Jessica & Josh - Dream Manor Inn - Globe, Arizona

Theme weddings can be so much fun when the wedding isn't ALL about the theme. Jessica & Josh nailed the Super Mario Bros. theme they wanted for their wedding. It helps that they are a super cute couple, they picked an amazing little venue and a great team of vendors to pull their vision together. Add video games into the reception and you have a winning themed wedding!

Jessica & Josh met in graduate school in Chicago and got engaged over pizza! Four and a half years later and they tied the knot at the beautiful Dream Manor Inn in Globe, Arizona. It wouldn't have been their wedding if it didn't include their sweet puppy Meeko, a raspberry pi playing all their favorite classic SNES video games and tons of small details showcasing their mutual love of Super Mario Bros.

Guests drove into picturesque Globe and up the mountain to the Dream Manor Inn. There they joined Jessica, Josh and their wedding party for an outdoor ceremony that included Meeko and a ring bearer carrying the rings on a mushroom shaped pillow. After the sunset ceremony, guests enjoyed appetizers and drinks on the patio while the amazing Summer Montoya with Summer Montoya Photography worked her magic and took some fabulous pictures of the couple and their wedding party.

Amazing details created by Jessica & Josh and aided by gorgeous florals created by Tony Medlock with PJ's Flowers & Events as well as a music play list that included tons of video game theme songs completed their vision of a Super Mario Bros wedding.

The fabulous vendor team - 

Venue - Dream Manor Inn

Coordinator - Sweet I Do's

Photographer - Summer Montoya Photography

Florist - PJ's Flowers & Events

DJ - Genuine Events AZ

H/MUA - Kensington Makeup

Dress - Suzanne's Bridal

Accessories - Etsy

Tux - Celebrity Tux & Tails

Chair Cover Rentals - Covergirl Chair Covers

Real Wedding - Kim & Alex - Hassayampa Inn & Grand Highland Hotel - Prescott, Arizona

Kim & Alex are an amazing couple that decided to roll almost all of life's big moments into one year. New jobs, a new home in another state and a destination wedding that they planned remotely with the help of Kim's mom and I are just a few of the life changes they went through. 

Having always been in love with Prescott, there was no question that they would get married in this quaint little town that has tons of areas that it feels like time has forgotten. Their ceremony was held on the roof of the historic Hassayampa Inn followed by a reception at the amazing Grand Highland Hotel

Their ceremony was officiated by the bride's brother Michael and I swear there wasn't a dry eye on the roof of the inn . Guests walked across the iconic city square to The Grand Highland Hotel while Laura Segall and her husband David with Laura Segall Photography took the couple and their wedding party on a whirlwind photoshoot of downtown Prescott.

At the reception guests enjoyed Moscow Mules in copper mugs provided by the couple as favors and ate delicious food provided by local caterer Enchanted Catering.

Kim's dad was trying to keep everyone in tears from both laughter and emotions during his speech (I wish I had recorded it) while the best man Ken and maid of honor Alie told secrets about the couple to the amusement of the guests.

The cold night didn't stop guests from filling the dance floor for hours and rumor has it there may have been a Smirnoff Icing during the garter toss!

Desert colors filled the reception space with hints of copper, deep purple and succulents in centerpieces created by Melinda Dunn Designs.

Dessert was an amazing cake provided by Martin Cakes and cookies and sweets by Enchanted Catering.

For more images check out Laura's blog!!!

The amazing wedding team - 

Ceremony Venue - Hassayampa Inn

Reception Venue - The Grand Highland Hotel

Coordinator/Planner - Sweet I Do's

Photographer - Laura Segall Photography

DJ - AZ Custom DJ

Florist - Melinda Dunn Designs

Caterer/Bartender - Enchanted Catering

Cake - Martin Cakes

Rentals - Verve Events

H/MUA - Rachel Leigh LLC

Real Wedding - Marissa & Preston - Los Abrigados Resort and Spa - Sedona, Arizona

Marissa and Preston had been friends since childhood, growing up together almost like family. They dated, decided it wasn't in the cards and they moved on. When they were younger, they never imagined they would get married, until that fateful day when Preston quit his job and showed up on Marissa's doorstep. They've been inseparable since and on a gorgeous day in May, they said their "I do's" in front of their closest family members and friends.

They both always wanted an outdoor wedding and Sedona was the perfect spot to combine their love of gorgeous scenery and a semi-destination wedding that their family could attend easily (and get out of the Phoenix heat). With many amazing venues to choose from in Sedona, Marissa and Preston ultimately chose the fabulous Los Abrigados Resort and Spa

Even though the wind was a little fierce, we had a creekside wedding ceremony and reception that was everything they dreamed of and more. Guests enjoyed a delicious dinner prepared by the on-site chef for the resort and then danced the night away with music provided by Brad with All Pro DJ. Marissa and Preston arranged to have a scrumptious dessert and popcorn bar provided by Sweet I Do's and super cute photo booth pictures provided by ETC. Entertainment.

Marissa's sister missed her senior prom to watch her big sis get married, so we had a little fun crowning her prom queen at the wedding and Marissa gave her a sweet Pandora charm to commemorate the night.

We may or may not have had a little fun with some sparklers at some point during the night (shh! don't tell Los Abrigados).

The fabulous vendor team - 

Venue - Los Abrigados Resort & Spa

Coordinator - Sweet I Do's

Photographer - Francis Cecilia Photography

Caterer/Bar Staff - Los Abrigados Resort & Spa

DJ - All Pro DJ

Florist - Evening Star Custom Designs

Dessert/Popcorn Buffet - Sweet I Do's

Photo Booth - ETC. Entertainment

Dress - David's Bridal

Tux - Men's Warehouse

Invitations - Zazzle


10 Mistakes To Avoid Making With Your Wedding Invitations

You've been frantically searching Pinterest for amazing, fun and unique wedding invitations. You think you have found "the one" and now you need to order your stationery set. Before you hit that purchase button (and after you have received them but before you send them out) be sure you are avoiding these 10 common mistakes.

1. Not including all of the pertinent information - key items to include your names, the date, time and location (for both ceremony and reception if in different locations).

2. Not including a way to RSVP or making it way too difficult - be sure to include an RSVP card with a postage paid envelope or if you are choosing to have online RSVP's make sure the link is easy to read and simple, long hyperlinks open you up to errors and people not responding creating more work for yourself in the end.

Planner tip - only allow your guests 3-4 weeks (or whatever time is needed by your caterer/venue) to respond.

3. Not addressing the envelope to the guests you want to attend - This is the time to be very specific. Don't want children at your wedding? Specifically address the invitation to the parents, by name, only. Allowing a guest to bring a companion? Address it to your guest by name and add "and guest" - Mr. Pat Summer and Guest.

Planner tip - do not add the words "Adult only reception", "No children allowed" or any other phrasing. It will come across as passive aggressive.

4. Including registry information - asking for gifts in any form on the wedding invitation or included in the stationery set is rude. Word of mouth will work perfectly to get the information out there.

Planner tip - don't register for any honey fund or cash based gift site. Create a small registry and guests will know that you prefer cash.

5. Not spell or fact checking - check everything twice and then pass it on to a fresh set of eyes. Planner tip - read it out loud and word by word.

Planner tip - get out a calendar and touch the date to match day and date and Google search your venue for their address o Google.

6. Ordering too many invitations or not enough - you do not need an invitation for every guest, but only every address/family (as a unit). Add 10-20 extra invitations for people you may have forgotten about or if their invitation gets lost. Also, add 10-20 extra envelopes just in case you mess up the address or someone moves and the original invitation is returned.

Planner tip - keep one complete set for your photographer to use the day of.

7. Buying stamps before you know the cost of a completed invitation set - take a completed set (included the stamped response envelope) to the post office and get it weighed.

Planner tip - this is especially important if you have an unusually shaped or sized invitation set and something to consider when budgeting for your stationery.

8. Telling people what to wear - unless you are having a true black tie/white tie event, don't tell people what to wear. You can't control your guests and to be honest it isn't something to stress about. You won't remember what people wear anyway.

9. Any reference to alcohol or the lack of alcohol - telling guests that you will have a dry wedding, to BYOB or that it is a cash bar (the last two are totally against etiquette) while on the surface may seem helpful has no place on your invitation or in your invitation suite.

10. False start time - don't list a fake start time on your invitation (especially if it is just for a few guests that are "always late"). Most guests will arrive 15-30 minutes before the ceremony time. Giving a fake start time means you are penalizing the majority of your guests that will arrive on time or early and will cause issues with your venue and interfere with all of the pre-ceremony items such as pictures and final set up.

Need more information - check out our infographic on the 4 steps to creating the perfect wedding invitation!

Sweet I Do's is a wedding planning company located in Surprise, AZ (a suburb of Phoenix). We specialize in wedding day management (also known as day of coordination). We help you create an amazing, unique and totally "you" wedding that allows you to be in the moments making the memories, not worrying about the details. From contract review and timeline creation to day of management, set up and tear down, we're focused on ensuring our couples, their families and friends experience a stress and worry free night to remember.

Outdoor Weddings in Arizona - The Ups and Downs

Outdoor weddings in fabulous locations with amazing natural scenery and backdrops lend an air of romance and warmth to a celebration that is hard to match. Don’t get me wrong, there are some gorgeous indoor venues that will also add romance and warmth to a wedding, but there is just something about an outdoor wedding.

Here in Arizona there is a season for outdoor weddings. It isn’t written in stone, but usually October through March/April is the perfect time to have an outdoor wedding; not too hot and not too cold.

However, nature is what it is and “things” can come up that can rain on your parade, quite literally in some cases.

Gathering tips and tricks from fellow wedding professionals that have seen and done it all, in all types of conditions, I have put together your guide to avoiding some of the pitfalls of having an outdoor wedding.

The Back Up Plan

Always have a back-up plan, even if you are getting married in “peak” outdoor wedding season. Here in Arizona the “winter” can get cold and windy and yes, gasp!, even rainy. The “summer” will be hot, possibly humid and did I mention hot! Look into a tent rental company that also supplies heaters for the winter and portable A/C units for the summer.

Devon Haupt from The Classic Harpist advises to “Make the call if you will be moving inside at least one hour before your ceremony is to begin – and then stick with your decision. Ceremonies are a lot of set up for your vendors, and it’s unreasonable to ask them to move everything inside, then back outside if there’s a 10-minute break in the rain.”

“Although we are in paradise, keep weather in mind when deciding between elegantly formal or happily casual.  For a large portion of the year, it is awfully hot to be wearing a tux or suit.  On the flip side, it does sometimes get too chilly for that strapless bridal dress.  In the event of rain, a possible backup location could be your reception site.  Alert your guests, especially out-of-towners, as to what the weather may be like.  They’ll want sunglasses or hats and it will get cooler after the sun sets.  Make sure hairstyles will hold up to humidity and breezes.  And remember - no sunglasses on the wedding party.” Nancy Taussig – Barefoot Weddings

 **Remember that just because you are used to the weather, your out of town guests aren’t.**

Necessity vs Comfort

For your guests and yourself there really is no difference between necessity and comfort when it comes to an outdoor wedding. The little things can and will make all the difference. Creative favors can be a great way to show your guests that you are thinking about their comfort.

Celia Milton from Celia Milton Celebrant suggest giving bug repellant, fans and flip flops for favors in the spring and summer and shawls and umbrellas for favors in the winter.

It’s ALL in the timing

Time and again, pun intended, my fellow vendors mentioned to stick as close as possible to the timeline. Outdoor weddings can take a toll on all guests, but especially those older and younger guests that don’t handle the heat or cold well.

Tips from the Photographers

I have been very lucky to work with amazing photographers that work around everything that may come up to take away from your pictures. I picked the brain of a pro and asked if she could tell you something that would make your pictures even more gorgeous with regards to outdoor weddings what would it be?

Kat from Kingdom Wedding Photography by Kat was a fount of knowledge and gave me these great tips.

Do portraits BEFORE the ceremony, not after we’ve all been baking outside for roughly an hour or so and are either sweaty or soaking wet.

Bring an extra pair of shoes so you’re mobile. Heels on grass, lawn or in the woods are generally NOT a good idea.

Note where the wind is coming from. If it’s coming from behind, switch sides (at the altar) or realize that you will be wrestling with your veil for the duration of the ceremony.

**Note that I’m not telling you to not wear a veil and as Christine from Christine, Your Seamstress suggests “Have a veil with heavier beading or lace edge that will not blow around as much. Or have a short, birdcage veil.”

Floral Woes

Live flowers are an amazing addition to any wedding. When you spend hours of time and possibly thousands of dollars on your flowers you don’t want to walk down the aisle with wilting flowers in your bouquet or drooping altar flowers. Ask your florist what flowers will best hold up to the heat and cold.

And don’t forget that it is an OUTDOOR WEDDING. And as such, there will be bugs. Rev. Judith Guash, Rev. Judith L. Guash, M.Div, Wedding Officiant advises to “Check with your florist (to see) if your type of flowers will draw insects that anyone in the bridal party may be allergic to, such as bees or wasps. Nothing is worse than stopping the ceremony to rush someone to the hospital.”

Set-up and Delivery

You have spent hours of time picking out just the right linens, looking for the perfect dress and analyzing every other detail of your wedding. But did you consider that dehydration is the number one reason people faint at weddings? That your guests will not stay to enjoy all your details and hard work if they are too hot or too cold? Drawing again from my wonderful colleagues, they offered these great tips and things to think about.

“Make sure your guests are comfortable. Outdoor summer weddings – set up a lemonade and water station (sweet tea for southern weddings). Outdoor winter weddings when there is a nip in the air – set up a hot cocoa or hot apple cider station.”– Catherine Kut – Catherine Kut Events.

“Let your guests know, via invite or on your wedding website how to dress and the environmental conditions; one of my favorite couples described their attire as ‘layers and cowboy boots’ stilettos and cocktail dresses probably won’t cut it.” – Celia Milton.

For the Planners

As a planner, one of the first questions I ask is inside or outside. Logistically an outside wedding can be more work and come with an all-together different set of potential complications. Jamie with  Jamie’s Handmade Treasures sums it up beautifully.

“Make sure you have bathroom facilities or rent them for your guests.” (I’d like to add that if you wouldn’t use it in your white wedding dress, chances are your guests won’t either.)

“Find out if you’ll need to provide electricity for your wedding and make the necessary arrangements ahead of time. You’ll (also) need to make sure that you get all the appropriate permits/permissions needed for an outdoor celebration with all the trimmings. Call the town hall or police department to inquire about permits for the following; parking, overnight parking in a residential area, public gathering during certain times of the day, exemptions from sound ordinances and curfews, on-site alcohol consumption, on-site food preparation and serving, open flames such as torches, candles and even fireworks (sparklers), and any other ordinances that need to be covered. Handle these legalities right away, to avoid being fined (or even jailed) by the authorities, and to avoid any other unwelcome surprises on your wedding day.”

Tisha from Kemp Video Productions adds that “If you have mobility challenged guests (elderly, etc.) consider having a golf cart handy to give them rides from parking, seating, etc.”

Odds and Ends

I am very thankful to have such a talented and giving group of vendors to turn to to ask advice about all the little things that make up a wedding.  I was overwhelmed by the amount of advice that I received, and while unable to fit it all into this blog, there are a couple of additional items that I have to mention.

Rev. Judith Guasch reminded me of something that I need to be more diligent with as a planner – “Check the area where the bridal party and officiant will be standing. Holes, ruts and uneven ground will cause everyone to be uncomfortable as they try to balance, not to mention the possibility of a twisted ankle. If your ceremony area is in the direct sunlight don’t forget the sunscreen, especially if you are fair skinned. Ask your makeup artist to use makeups that include a sunscreen. Nothing worse than having a sunburn when you leave to go on your honeymoon.”

Keep in mind that the weather and ambient noise sources (waterfalls, brooks, forest sounds and traffic) will have an affect on the sound. Jim Unger with Ninety Nine Entertainment asks you to “Judge from the size of the attendance list on whether you will need for the officiant to have some sort of wireless microphone and some amplified sound. Outdoor weddings, although beautiful, can be riddled with surrounding noises completely out of your control.”

I do love outdoor weddings, there is something magical about the light and the atmosphere that just makes them special. Keeping them special requires just a little forethought, planning and consideration of a few details.

Leaving you with a last word of wisdom from my favorite, as yet unmet, celebrant Celia Milton - “If you wouldn’t want to sit outside in the cold/drizzle/sun/heat/sandstorm/wind don’t make your guests do so.”

Do you have any additional tips or tricks that you have to make an outdoor wedding a success?


Sweet I Do's is a wedding planning company located in Surprise, AZ (a suburb of Phoenix). We specialize in wedding day management (also known as day of coordination). We help you create an amazing, unique and totally "you" wedding that allows you to be in the moments making the memories, not worrying about the details. From contract review and timeline creation to day of management, set up and tear down, we're focused on ensuring our couples, their families and friends experience a stress and worry free night to remember.

Real Wedding - A Princess and Her Cowboy

Brittany & AJ

Cowboy and princess meet, fall in love and begin their forever after.

Classic damask is paired with hot, fuchsia pink in this late afternoon wedding. Design elements include hanging paper lanterns, mini cowboy hats and black tabletop lanterns which fit in perfectly with beautiful Kohl's Ranch Lodge in Payson, Arizona.

Brittany chose yummy candies for her candy buffet that didn't make it through the end of the night as they were devoured by hungry cowboys and cowgirls.

Pink Jordan almonds, watermelon gummy rings, strawberry licorice,  white malt balls and white milk chocolates were the hit of the night!

Sweet I Do's is a wedding planning company located in Surprise, AZ (a suburb of Phoenix). We specialize in wedding day management (also known as day of coordination). We help you create an amazing, unique and totally "you" wedding that allows you to be in the moments making the memories, not worrying about the details. From contract review and timeline creation to day of management, set up and tear down, we're focused on ensuring our couples, their families and friends experience a stress and worry free night to remember.