A vision of your ideal wedding has always been swimming around in your mind. You can just close your eyes and see all the smiling faces looking on while you and your partner lean in for the kiss.
But now that it’s time to put the plan into place and bring the vision to life, stress comes creeping into the picture. You need to make a maddening array of decisions. It can overwhelm, indeed. But you just can’t let the raft of looming decisions wreck all the fun. Just take ’em on one at a time. Today, we’re here to help you work through a critical matter all couples leaning toward an outdoor wedding need to wrangle with early: When should it all go down?
Before we get into it, let’s run down some of the wins you’ve already accrued so you can fully appreciate how far you’ve come: Perfect partner? Check. Unique wedding rings? Check. A bevy of friends and family who can’t wait to celebrate with you? Of course.
It’s clear that you’re already crushing it. So let’s kick the wedding planning into high gear and determine the perfect month for your outdoor nuptials.
Not Too Hot, Not Too Cold, Just Right
If you’re looking for the best answer, sometimes you have to take a peek at what’s most popular. As we all know, you can find wisdom in trends. And when it comes to the most popular months for outdoor weddings, there are trends, indeed.
“Early summer and early fall typically have mild, temperate weather with a lower risk of rain, snow, or super-high heat or humidity,” wedding guru Jenna Miller told MarthaStewart.com. “If you have your heart set on an outdoor wedding, these months are your best bet.”
For a general rule of thumb, that’s good advice to take to heart. But, of course, what’s good for the masses may not be good for your individual circumstances.
Duh — Location Matters
The window for outdoor weddings in Charleston, South Carolina is much wider than the window in Cleveland, Ohio. It should go without saying, but you have to take the climate of your preferred locale in mind. That’s why you can’t simply roll with the national trends.
In a warm climate like Charleston’s, you can theoretically get away with outdoor weddings any time of year. In Cleveland, you’re absolutely playing with fire — or, more accurately, playing with ice — if you schedule an outdoor wedding that doesn’t fall within the sweet-spot window.
Wherever and whenever you schedule, craft a plan for bad-weather contingencies. Tents if it might rain. Heaters if it might get too cold. Cold drinks, fans and shade if the temps could potentially soar.
Weather Isn’t the Only Thing That Fluctuates
You can’t talk weddings without talking money. And when it comes to wedding-related money matters, the basic economic rules apply: Demand pushes prices higher. From venues to vendors, when you schedule a peak-season wedding, you’ll be paying peak prices.
According to figures compiled by The Knot, nearly three-quarters of weddings go down between May and October, with October just barely edging out September as the most popular month. So if you’re booking within that window, you’ll be paying more. Higher prices aren’t the only thing you have to contend with, either. The onslaught of ceremonies also means it’ll be more difficult to book your preferred venues.
An Off-Season Outdoor Wedding
Those factors might make an off-season wedding seem more appealing. That’s an understandable reaction. And, frankly, there’s something cool about throwing a curveball and bucking trends. If you go with an outdoor winter wedding in a cold-weather clime — well, it’s not hard to imagine how magical your wedding pics would look with a thick blanketing of snow as a backdrop.
Of course, you have to think about your guests in that snowy scenario. Sure, they can probably handle the cold for a quick outdoor ceremony — you might even encourage those revelers to get the party started early and stay warm by nipping from a flask — but potentially unfavorable conditions on the roadways could prove perilous or simply impassable.
So, conditions could be hazardous. But an off-season event will probably be easier for guests to fit into their schedules. Who knows how many wedding invitations they’ll be receiving for those peak-season affairs?
There are always pros and cons you need to contend with.
What’s the Conclusion?
When it comes right down to it, is there a hands-down best month for an outdoor wedding? For your individual situation, yes, there might be. Say you have your sights set on a venue right out of your dreams, but it’s only available in June. Well, for you, June is probably the best month to get hitched outdoors then.
But in general, you should absorb the info we just laid out. Use that knowledge and let it guide you toward the best possible option for you and your partner.