By Leah Payne , Staff Writer
The big day is finally here. The months of planning and preparation have come together, and as you look out onto the crowd of friends and family arriving to your picture-perfect garden wedding, your heart skips a beat with excitement. Then in the distance you hear a rumble, and the unmistakable scent of rain fills the air, and sure enough, it begins to pour down in sheets. What to do?
One of the biggest decisions a bride-to-be makes for her big day is whether to have an indoor or outdoor ceremony. This is the foundation for the remainder of the planning process. Many factors need to be considered for both, and brides cannot be too prepared.
If your dream ceremony is an outdoor extravaganza, the best way to avoid a scenario like the one above is to take all the precautions to weatherproof your wedding. What does this entail? One of many helpful Web sites for weatherproofing weddings, www.Ehow.com, suggests having “inexpensive compact umbrellas in your wedding colors on hand for guests, or renting party tents.”
When Katy Geren, senior exercise science health promotion major from Fort Worth, planned her outdoor ceremony in the summer of 2007, the forecast was rainy most of the summer. To avoid a mishap, she planned for the reception hall to be a back-up venue for guests to quickly move into in case of rain.
“I prayed for months in advance that it wouldn’t rain on our wedding day; it rained 15 miles away, but the sky at our ceremony was a dark overcast blue with the sun barely piercing through, and the weather was nice and cool. It was beautiful,” Geren said.
Another important aspect of weather planning is the West Texas wind and heat. Keeping cold bottled water on hand for guests during the summer is a good idea, according to www.Ehow.com. To cope with the wind, the Web site suggests anchoring flower arrangements to the ground with landscaping stakes.
Bitsy Gregory, owner of Bitsy’s Flowers, said wedding decorators need to use care when dealing with outdoor floral arrangements during hot weather.
She said to “avoid setting arrangements out too long before an outdoor ceremony [because] weather conditions can cause wilting.”
Gregory also recommends taking pictures of the venue before the ceremony and meeting with the florist at least six months in advance.
“It’s the couple’s one day where they should feel special and have exactly what they want,” Gregory said. “Flowers are God’s way of making people happy; that is why our motto is ‘We deliver smiles.'”
An aspect of the outdoor ceremony that often is overlooked is lighting. If a ceremony is held later in the evening, it is imperative the couple plans for ample lighting at the venue. Another suggestion from the Web site is the use of candles. However, if the combination of open flame and wind makes you uneasy, decorative lamps or outdoor lamps are an alternative.
If you choose to take a more traditional approach and want an indoor ceremony, do not feel limited to a church or chapel as a venue. Abilene has plenty of indoor event venues that can accommodate larger or smaller crowds. For example, the Lytle Cove Cottage, located on the Old Coleman Highway, accommodates indoor and outdoor ceremonies, and the cottage itself can sleep up to 12 people, which is an ideal place for the wedding party. Another popular venue is Chapel on the Hill, located on campus.
Whether the ceremony is indoor or outdoor, catering is an issue. Depending on the venue, a caterer may be provided; if not, it is important for the couple to inform the caterer in advance if the food will be served inside or outside. This will determine what types of foods will be best and gives the caterer plenty of time for preparation.
“Dairy is an absolute disaster for outdoor events,” said Ryan Payne, private event caterer and food expert from San Marcos. “The best way to go for an outdoor reception is small finger foods, fresh fruit or foods that do not melt or spoil in the heat.”
Payne said the food options are endless for indoor receptions.
“I personally recommend a sit-down dinner since the setting is more formal. There are caterers who are willing to accommodate a broad range of requests,” he said. “Budgets are obsolete; you can always find a caterer who is willing to entertain the simplest or most elaborate requests.”
After making the decision of whether your ceremony will be indoor or outdoor, the real planning can begin. Although your wedding day is never completely predictable, following these few helpful hints can prevent that drop in your stomach when you hear the dreaded sound of rumbling thunder on your special day.