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Outdoor Weddings Mean More Effort
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- In reality, outdoor Mississippi weddings are often very different from the imagined clear skies with a cool breeze rustling through the flowers.
Mississippi has many beautiful outdoor wedding settings with fresh air and open spaces. But it is very hot in the summer with humidity, bugs and afternoon rains that must be planned for.
Ann Stevenson, area extension agent in the northwest district (Panola County), said outdoor wedding can be successful, but require more time and effort.
"Every aspect of the wedding must be done slightly differently when it is outside, and there are so many things you don't think about until you get into it," Stevenson said.
When planning an outdoor wedding, have a Plan B. Always plan for the weather.
"If you're going to plan an outdoor wedding, have the attitude that if something doesn't work, it's not the end of the world," Stevenson said. "You're going to have to make changes and adapt without crying and without a lot of tears."
Stevenson suggested holding the ceremony under a tent, unless an alternate location is also prepared as a rain contingency. Position the tent so the sun will not shine in guests' eyes during the ceremony.
Lawn grass should be cut and bagged at least a day in advance. Carpet is useful down the aisle in the tent so guests do not trip or get grass on their shoes.
Plan lawn care and shrubbery at least one season ahead to allow time for flowers to be in bloom. Also, make sure the lawn has no problem areas guests may step in unknowingly.
Consider the heat when planning the wedding's time. This includes both the starting time and the length of the ceremony.
"Late afternoon weddings are good because the air is cooler," Stevenson said. "If the reception is also outdoors, make sure there will always be sufficient light for guests to see."
Outdoor wedding ceremonies should typically be kept short. Receptions can be longer as guests can move around and get drinks. Be sure to provide plenty of seating for everyone.
Stevenson planned one outdoor wedding in June with temperatures in the high 90s. Keeping everybody from getting too hot was a major effort.
"We provided lemonade and fans at stands when the guests arrived," Stevenson said. "Both were desperately needed."
Valets were provided to park cars in the proper places. And because the ceremony took place near a pasture, flowering plants were placed around to mask any smells, Stevenson said.
She recommended using fountains or water gardens as decorations. These not only are pretty, but the sound of water gives the illusion of cool to otherwise warm events.
Keep candles at a minimum as these add to the heat. Choose wedding flowers for their ability to withstand heat. Place them in oasis or individual vials and kept indoors as long as possible.
Even the wedding party's apparel should match the event, Stevenson said. The bride should consider a sleeveless gown, a shorter train and a lower neckline for herself and her attendants. Groomsmen wearing light colors also give the illusion of cool to an outdoor wedding.
"As with any type of wedding, don't get uptight and expect everything to go perfectly," Stevenson said. "If something unique happens, it's just something to remember about the day."
Contact: Ann Stevenson, (601) 578-9208