Planning A Spring Wedding: Bad Dates, Outdoor Problems, And Other Issues

Planning an outdoor wedding for the spring? Here are some tips on how to prepare for bad weather, bad dates, or hidden surprises ruin your special day.

Romance is in the air and many a future's bride's thoughts will turn to spring.As lovely as the months of March, April and May can be for outdoor nuptials, however, they also come with a set of problems that can turn perfection into panic.Here are some tips on how to cope with Mother Nature, the Tax Man, and the Easter Bunny.

MARCH WINDS

If the location of your wedding is an area you've lived in for awhile, you should be familiar by now with its weather patterns and what the odds are of a Nor'easter becoming an uninvited guest.Certainly after spending hours on a glamorous wedding "do," the last thing that you need is a gust of strong wind to ruin it.Nor do you want your breeze-swept veil obscuring your face for all of your wedding pictures.

If you have control over the set-up for your outdoor ceremony, visit the site on a windy day prior to the actual date.This will allow you to experiment with a Plan B to reposition you and your bridal party to a more sheltered area or, if need be, move the entire thing indoors.This is, of course, a major question that should be addressed during the planning stages if you are getting married at a resort, hotel, or other popular wedding venue.Having no doubt encountered these seasonal glitches before, the staff and your wedding coordinator will be able to assist you in determining alternate arrangements.Many couples also opt for the added protection of wedding insurance to cover the costs of having to reschedule in the event of unforeseen storms.

If you have opted for a park, a seacoast, or any other natural setting that's not part of an indoor facility, your options are a little more limited.In order to minimize damage, short hairstyles or upswept looks are generally less susceptible to the elements.Veils can also be temporarily anchored with safety pins to keep them from becoming airborne.Through the magic of technology and photo manipulation software, you can even have indoor poses seamlessly stitched into the outdoor backdrop.This trick is especially handy if you've chosen a windy coastline""regardless of the season""for exchanging your vows.

Last but not least, you need to take into account whether your wedding site is located near any rural roads, beaches or construction zones.Even a little dust kicked up by the wind can travel a long way!

APRIL SHOWERS

If you live in a climate that's given to spring rains, you will hopefully have lined up an indoor spot already and not even dared to chance it.At the time the invitations are mailed out, a separate card can be included that provides the address of your Plan B location.So as to reduce the chances of confusion, you may even want to record an outgoing phone message that morning with a confirmation of the locale.This can either replace your traditional recording for the day or, if you're concerned about security, hire a temporary answering service.

Inclement weather, of course, doesn't have to dampen the spirit of the day if you've laid in a stock of large golf umbrellas as well as umbrella stands and carpet runners by the doors to prevent slips and falls.Brides, grooms and their attendants may want to consider bringing their clothes and dressing at the site rather than dressing at home and then having to dodge raindrops and sidestep gutter puddles.Factor in extra arrival time for everyone, too, as the rains may slow down otherwise meticulously punctual guests.

If it's not possible to do a last minute relocation indoors, you may need to invest in the expense of tents"┬Žand not just for the members of the wedding party.They come in a wide variety of sizes that can even accommodate dancing and a full reception.The really pricey part, however, is the climate control (they can get humid and sticky in relatively short order) and the generators for running sound systems and keeping the food items at their proper temperatures.

Not even a thunderstorm, though, has the power to take away the happiness of your day for you and your guests.Legend also has it that the presence of rain on a bride's wedding ensures that she will not shed any tears during her marriage.

MAY FLOWERS

Achoo!That's the sound of allergies kicking in when the world turns to full bloom.If it's a problem you've lived with all your life, you're probably well stocked with antihistamines and decongestants to get you through "I do."It goes without saying, of course, that your wedding day isn't the time to be experimenting with new medication or self-prescribing how much you think you're going to need; the combination of stress, sunlight, sweets and champagne could throw you for an unexpected loop!

Many a May bride or bridesmaid has also made the discovery that bees can't differentiate between bridal bouquets and free-range flowers.An alternative that is gaining in popularity (although understandably not popular with florists) is the use of bouquets made of silk flowers.Not only do they provide a lasting memento of the day but will cut down on the amount of sneezing throughout the ceremony.It's also been my experience that one of the things that makes a bride most anxious is whether her flowers will be delivered on time or, worse, be delivered too early and start to droop.

The heat of pre-summer weather brings with it drenching humidity.If your dress is high necked, long sleeved and has a train the size of a boat, do you really want to be standing outdoors in it for a couple of hours?Morning and early evening weddings are a popular choice for brides who are dressed to the nines and want to avoid the possibility of fainting away in the midday heat.These time slots are also much kinder to hors d'oeuvres and cakes, which have a tendency to not stand up well to direct sun.Trying to keep the bugs at bay?Citronella candles and torches will add to evening ambiance and dissuade mosquitoes from inviting themselves in for a bite.

THE TAX MAN COMETH

If you're planning an April date to exchange your vows, try to avoid the weekend just before April 15th.Why?Because that's the date most people finally hunker down to rummage through their receipts, wrack their brains about deductions, and make resolutions about spending less in the coming year.Pleasant a respite as coming to your wedding will provide for them, the truth is that a lot of them will also bring along their grumpiness and/or beat a hasty retreat soon after to get home in order to meet the impending deadline.

AND THEN THERE'S EASTER

If you're planning to get married in a church, you're not likely to find one that's available on Easter Sunday unless you're of a faith that doesn't observe it.That obstacle notwithstanding, you've also got school vacations to contend with.Depending on whether you live on the East Coast or the West Coast of the United States, the week prior to Easter and the one immediately after are popular times for families to spend some spring R&R together.What this means is that not everyone on your list will be able to come or, if they do, will be bringing their children with them.Accommodations are also going to be harder to come by for out of town guests.

It should be kept in mind as well that spring is usually one of the busiest times for conventioneers, especially if you live in a large city that routinely hosts such events.If in doubt, consult with your local Chamber of Commerce on upcoming events that could interfere with lodging, transportation, and restaurant reservations, especially if you are inviting a large number of guests.

THE THINGS YOU CAN'T REHEARSE FOR

My two favorite wedding anecdotes in the "unscripted" department come from spring brides who opted for public parks.The weather was perfect for both of them and it seemed as if absolutely nothing could go wrong.

As Bride #1 turned to her beloved and opened her mouth to recite the vows she had spent several weeks writing, the air was suddenly pierced by the loud wail of fire engine sirens, a sound that continued for several minutes and so flustered her that it knocked all of her careful memorization right out of her head.Just as she was finally able to compose herself, a news helicopter reporting on the nearby blaze and its impact on local traffic decided to hover directly above them, apparently oblivious to the amount of noise it was making.

Bride #2 and her new husband actually made it through the entire ceremony and were about to exchange their first kiss as husband and wife when all of the rainbird sprinklers in that part of the park came on at once.Even though they had gone through the city to acquire the proper permits to hold their wedding on the grounds, no one had bothered to arrange for the automatic watering system to be turned off that afternoon.

Speaking of grass, by the way, even a backyard wedding can be problematic if the ground is wet or muddy.Or, dare we say it, if the hosts haven't been judicious in cleaning up after family pets.

PICTURE PERFECT

Last but not least, make sure that your memories are captured by someone who has experience with outdoor shoots.Bright sunlight, shadows cast by trees, or overcast skies can be a challenge.Always ask to see samples of the photographer's work under a variety of different conditions.

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