Above: A Graessle Wedding in Big Bear, California – Big Bear received 4 ft of snow a few days before the wedding but that wasn’t going to stop them. The guys shoveled snow 2 days in a row so they could have an outdoor wedding. (Reminds one of Phoebe’s wedding in the sitcom Friends!) – Photo Courtesy: Favourite Things
In the classic sitcom Friends, there was a lovely scene where as a result of all kinds of typical sitcom mishaps, Phoebe, played by Lisa Kudrow, had to get married outdoors in New York on a freezing winter evening. Of course, being the ultimate feel good TV show, it all worked out beautifully, and aside from having to wear a coat, she had a lovely wedding, but what about in real life?
Some people love the winter season and the outdoors, and consider having an outdoor reception even in the coldest months of the year, but will you get your romantic, snowy wedding or just a load of cold family members complaining and everything ruined by inclement weather?
One thing that can make a huge difference, and which has become easier and cheaper to get in recent years, is outdoor heating. With the right shelter and enough patio heater style devices, you can actually keep an outdoor space (by which we mean a marquee or other covered area – rather than the full on ‘under the stars’ thing) reasonably warm, and provided you have plenty of people in there mingling, moving around and dancing, it can be very comfortable.
Of course, there are issues some people have with the possible impact patio heaters may have on the environment, so if you are someone who is very passionate about green issues, this may not be for you. However, they are the best way to get the winter wedding you want without subjecting yourself and everybody else to a risk of hypothermia, or the prospect of coming to a party in full ski wear!
An Outdoor Gas Heater – Image Courtesy: Pixabay
While in summer a flimsy tent or canopy can be all you need, in winter you’re going to need the reassurance of wedding tents that are robust and waterproof. Of course, you may be lucky on the day and people may be able to open up the tent flaps and wander out into crisp winter sunshine, but there is no way you’ll be able to predict this at the time when you are planning the wedding, so it is far better to play it safe.
Be prepared that if the weather is bad, everyone will be spending the whole reception inside the tent, so make sure it is roomy enough for everyone, along with things like catering and music. If in doubt, go bigger.
Even with heating and shelter, it is best to advise guests on your invitations that it may get cold because of the wedding being essentially outdoors, and that they may prefer to bring jackets or sweaters for later in the evening. If you want to be really well prepared, you can even have a coat check so they don’t have to carry these around all day if the venue turns out to be warm enough that they don’t need them.
Cassidy, Carissa (the bride) & Carlene in warm clothing at Carissa & Joseph’s outdoor winter wedding in Orland Hills, Illinois, USA – Photo Courtesy: F. D. Richards
It is possible to host a wedding in winter in most parts of the country in a marquee setting while still making it comfortable and dry. However, if you are concerned, you may be better off hiring an indoor venue with some outdoor space like a terrace or gardens people can use if it is dry, and not use if it isn’t!
Robert Jenkins is a sales professional at Rhino Shelter, a company dealing in a range of portable garages and shelters. He is an outdoor person and he enjoys going camping and trekking on weekends and the holidays.