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Outdoor wedding success comes from planning

outdoor wedding

March 10, 2017

Outdoor weddings are often fun and are enhanced by the beauty of nature. Being outdoors presents a lot of advantages, but there are also many factors that may cause calamity.

Here is a list of things to consider:

1. Bad weather is your worst enemy
Bad weather will ruin your wedding, if you are not prepared for it. Make sure to have cozy blankets ready in case the temperature drops, shade areas to combat the heat. Umbrellas and cover areas will also come in handy, so unexpected showers don’t take you and your guests by surprise.

2. Care packages
Be prepared with all the essentials your guests may need for an outdoor wedding. You might include include blankets, sunscreen, band aids, emergency contact list, bug repellent, flashlights, fans, bottles of water, and flip flops for the sake of dancing!

3. BYOA
Some venues allow guests to bring their own wine to weddings for a flat fee paid by the host of the event. This is a great method to save money and allow your guests to enjoy the alcoholic beverages which they prefer the most. If you are having a wedding in your backyard or estate, then this option would offer a variety of selection. You would have to provide the glasses and maybe a self-serve bar area.

4. Tell your guests where to go
Regardless of the layout and theme which you have for your outdoor wedding, make sure that your guests are clear on where to go and what is expected of them. Provide clear signage to where everything is from the bar to the bathroom.

5. Wind-proofing
Do your best to windproof your décor as a gust of wind can make everything go flying, including food and beverages. You don’t want a big spot of red wine on your wedding dress!

6. Manage the heat creatively
A hand held fan may a blessing during a hot outdoor wedding ceremony. Be creative by putting your wedding program on a fan; your guests will memorize your wedding program by the end of the ceremony. Make sure to keep your guests hydrated — not just beer and wine! An ice cream cart with a selection of frozen treats would be a hit with guests, because who hates ice cream?

7. Save the Flowers!
Ask your florist to mist the flowers if you are expecting a very hot day.

8. Lighting
If your wedding plans will plunge into the darkness of the night, then string lights may be the best option for you. They are easy to set-up, and if you have trees around then you can create a magical forest feeling for your guests. Placing camping lanterns underneath table clothes will enhance that magical feel.

Charcuterie Board Cocktail Reception

Ottawa Wedding Chapel Charcuterie Board

December 9, 2016

You want your wedding guests to feel pampered and well-fed, and you also want a chance to visit with as many of them as possible. A fancy sit down dinner will accomplish the first part of that equation, but not the second. The answer may be a cocktail style reception, that will allow your guests to mingle more. But will your friends and family still be well fed? Absolutely, if you do it right!

We recently served a charcuterie board buffet for 65 at the Ottawa Wedding Chapel. Not only does charcuterie allow you to include some high end and expensive meats and cheeses, without breaking the bank, it also avoids the potential disappointment of hot hors d’oeuvres gone cold. You can have something for everyone and allow guests to explore their palate, while still providing some standard favourites.

Charcuterie = tastes & textures

We tempted the guests at our recent reception with pumpkin hummus (fitting our fall-themed table décor) and locally made rhubarb chutney. These slightly unusual tastes were balanced out by more familiar cream cheese.

Charcuterie is all about providing a variety of tastes and textures, so we included soft and hard cheeses, spicy salamis and subtle cured meats, crisps and soft bread, fresh grapes and dried apricots, olives and nuts. Because the food is meant to be served at room temperature, there isn’t a rush to get everyone fed. Folks can nibble throughout the reception.

A cocktail style reception also allows you to hold your event in a smaller (and perhaps more affordable) space, because you don’t need so many tables. We had a handful of tall cocktail tables, as well as some seating around the outside of the room. You are also saving on the cost of servers – far fewer catering staff are required for a buffet style reception.

Passing on a traditional sit-down dinner also gives you the flexibility to change up other wedding traditions. No one will notice if you skip out on the speeches, for example. While you’re at it, why not forego the fancy, and expensive, wedding cake and instead have bite-sized portions of all your favourite desserts.

Charcuterie restaurants are still riding a wave of popularity, don’t be afraid to jump on it for your wedding reception. The benefits are many, one of the biggest being you will spend more face time with your guests.