An outdoor wedding in Queenstown, Wellington or somewhere else? Is this your dream?
In July of 2015, Jerry and Kristie came from Queensland to marry in the garden of a home they rented out in the country. They had a gorgeous archway created for the ceremony and it framed the backdrop of the mountains. It was certainly a bit chilly – well, actually it was 2 degrees! Orlando accompanied his Mum down the aisle and we had created together a ceremony that bought these three special people formally together. It was an intimate and magical ceremony and I felt really privileged to marry them.
Things to think about when planning a ceremony outdoors:
Have a “Plan B”. It doesn’t matter where you plan to marry and in what season, the weather won’t always co-operate. So, an inside option that you can make the decision to move to quickly is absolutely essential. Your reception venue might be a good alternative or an inside building at the outdoor venue. That might be an old farm building or a building at a vineyard. Regardless, you need to have the details for your “Plan B” as well organized as your first choice as seating, sound equipment, floral arrangements and lighting may to be shifted.
You’ll also have to have an easy to implement system of letting people know that the venue has changed. A sudden and unanticipated weather event could mean you only have a short time to let people know. Have phone numbers and email addresses all organised in advance and a “telephone tree” system. You might not have time to ring everyone yourself!
It is hard to beat the scenery of Central Otago. But what looks gorgeous in a photo can also be colder than you can imagine! In winter (and spring and autumn!) a really warm jacket is essential, at least for before and after the ceremony. Have gloves at the ready too. Rose and Evan came to Queenstown in late 2014 from Northern Queensland and we celebrated their wedding on Coronet Peak. Rose looked stunning in a long gown with a gorgeous warm, fur-trimmed jacket. It was warm enough for Rose to take her jacket off for some photos but she would have looked equally stunning with her jacket throughout. Because they wanted some photos up on the ski-field, Evan was in ski gear and Rose cleverly whipped on ski-pants and boots under her dress. Their photographer Holly Wallace took an award-winning photo up on the mountain. For guests, let them know what the temperature might be and also the dress code so that they can plan well in advance. Appropriate footwear is also essential for your guest. Ladies, balancing in high-heals in the snow or tussocks isn’t easy!
When you’re designing your ceremony, also think of seating requirements. Whilst many of your guests will be happy to stand, some may be grateful for seating. You need not provide it for everyone: just those who will really appreciate some seating.