Be it a botanical garden, a cliff overlooking waves crashing on the ocean, a ritzy ranch or your own backyard, pulling off an outdoor wedding requires legwork, planning, organization and a little bit of luck that the bugs don’t show up. Outdoor weddings are special but being that you’re basically starting from a blank canvas, you have to plan for everything from the lighting to the restrooms. Here are some tips to pull off a flawless outdoor wedding and reception:

san-antonio-outdoor wedding-photographer

Planning for an Outdoor Wedding

  1. Water and electricity.  These two utilities will make or break your event.  You’re going to need to supply the caterer, the band/DJ, the reception tent and the bathrooms with these two items.  Make sure you have an ample supply of each.  Also key, make sure all of your vendors have sufficient experience with tented events.  They are very different from indoor events in terms of planning and execution.
  2. Latrines, water closets, lavatories, loos, washrooms and privies!  No matter what you call it, make sure you have plenty.  Plan on having one for every 35 guests.  In today’s world, you can rent these with granite counter tops, piped-in music and even air conditioning and heating.  Give your guests something extra to talk about by supplying local, hand-crafted soaps, fresh flowers or monogrammed towels.
  3. Pick your tent.  Add some formality to the event and shield your guests from sun and rain!
    a.  Stake your ground:  The only limitations as to where your tents can be pitched are (1) what’s the ground made of and (2) what’s under the ground… as in water lines, electric lines, etc. Other than that, a tent can be put up just about anywhere. Pick your destination.
    b.  Pick your tent: Pick a tent that fits your style/vision and spaciously accommodates your guests. Tents can be casual or formal and come in many different sizes, shapes and materials. Tents, or rather the way they are erected, are also specific to the type of surface they will stand on, like grass/dirt or pavement.
    c.  Weatherproofing: Make your guests as comfortable as possible by weatherproofing your tent. Be sure to keep the tents cool in the summer with fans and air conditioning units and warm in the winter with heaters.
    d.  Floors and walls: Yes, you’re pitching a tent, but you can always add stability and comfort. Floors will help with uneven ground (especially if you have guests with mobility concerns) and walls will provide additional protection against the wind and rain.
  4. Rent extras.  Decide what elements are the most important aesthetics to pull off the look for your outdoor wedding!  If crystal chandeliers, textured curtains and tiebacks, curvy couches or a long, wooden bar is what will finish off the look, rent it!  You can virtually rent anything.
  5. Create a relaxing space!  Make your outdoor space as inviting as possible.  Use lounge chairs and lots of pillows to create a relaxing atmosphere.  Consider seating dinner guests at smaller tables of four.  Purposely create small niches where groups of people and congregate and visit.  Keep the band/DJ’s location in mind.  It’s hard to talk over a 115 decibels of noise.
  6. Light it up!  Don’t leave your guests in the dark.  You can set the mood with paper lanterns, pin lighting, twinkling lights or regal chandeliers.  Remember to also light up surrounding walkways for easy access to the bathrooms and parking lots.  You can use luminaries and lights that point up into trees, bushes and architectural elements along the paths.  Hang tea lights from Mason jars or covered votives to add lighting drama.  Remember to have a licensed electrician inspect the space before lighting up your tent and it may not be a bad idea to keep him on hand during the event.
  7. Almost the most important, control the bugs.  Pull out all the stops to help the bugs from being the most remembered element of your wedding day.  Think about having your outdoor area sprayed by a professional exterminator a day or two ahead of your event.  Use citronella candles or tiki torches like there’s no tomorrow.  Strategically place those insect repelling cloths around the tent and in the bathrooms for your guests.
  8. Backup plan!  Work with the venue and wedding planner to have a fail safe backup plan should bad weather make an appearance.   The last thing you want to see are hundreds of your wedding guests making mad dashes to their vehicles to escape rain that is falling sideways.



  • Time your outdoor wedding around sunset so that your guests will witness you take your vows surrounded by the golden hour.
  • Also, make sure the seating arrangement prevents the sun from shining directly into your guests’ eyes.
  • If within a city limit, check the city’s ordinances regarding outdoor live music.
  • In some cases, you may also need permits for outdoor weddings.
  • Make sure your guests can hear you and work with your DJ to mic you up!
  • Remember your caterer will need a separate tent to prepare the meal.  Ask if they’ll need gas/propane.
  • Make sure that your food stations (buffets, snacks, cakes, etc.) have proper cover and protection from wind and insects
  • Overestimate the number of cold, non-alcoholic drinks you’ll need if you’re planning a summer wedding.  Water, lemonade, tea and punch work well.
  • Don’t overlook the importance of hot chocolate if it will be a winter event.
  • Reserve your wedding venue for the morning after the event as well.  This will give your wedding planner plenty of time to schedule the return of your rented items.
  • Make sure you know each vendor’s return policy and create a spreadsheet or calendar documenting the same.
  • Don’t stress. Even if every little detail isn’t pulled off to the tee, keep smiling. The important thing is, you’re getting married!



san antonio senior portrait photographers ata-girl photography since 2010I am a San Antonio-based wedding and senior photographer who started Ata-Girl Photography Co., LLC in 2010. As one of the up-and-coming San Antonio wedding photographers, I am also available to shoot in Austin, Houston and Dallas and the surrounding areas. I am also available for destination weddings. Ata-Girl Photography Co. offers an amazing San Antonio wedding photography service that you won’t soon forget. As a San Antonio wedding photographer, my sole purpose is to treat your San Antonio wedding like a regal event.

In addition to wedding photography, I also specialize in San Antonio senior portraits and senior portraits for high school seniors in my local surrounding areas.

I am a professional photographer who enjoys documenting the important milestones and captivating moments in people’s lives. I firmly believe that the unique set of circumstances I have faced in life has prepared me to take a personal and genuine interest in my photography clients. When I’m not photographing a wedding, family or high school senior, I enjoy watching my daughter play softball, hiking, cycling, reading, and listening to Elvis!

The post, Planning for an Outdoor Wedding, first appeared on Ata-Girl Photography Co’s website and blog. Please enjoy this San Antonio wedding photography provided by Tammy Blalock and Ata-Girl Photography Co. who offers superb San Antonio wedding photography in the San Antonio metro and surrounding area and strives to be one of the finest San Antonio wedding photographers.