Today’s guest post comes to us from Melissa Lande of Lux Light Photography, based in Traverse City, Michigan! Enjoy:

Outdoor weddings are some of the most beautiful and memorable wedding days. If you are planning to have your ceremony and reception outside, there are some must-know secrets that deserve consideration, when planning all of your details.

SECRET #1: Pay Attention to the Sun!

Many brides look on Pinterest and see these gorgeous sunny photos of brides on the beach, walking down a sandy aisle towards her groom. What many couples forget to pay attention to, is the sun’s location. If the sun is directly in front of the bride and groom, they will be silhouetted to not only your guests, but to your wedding photos as well. In the case of photography, instead of seeing beautiful blue water, everything behind you will be over exposed and white, and you will be super dark (especially because most officiants forbid the photographer’s use of flash). The way to fix this dilemma is turning your wedding slightly to the side, so that the sun is hitting the couple at a 45 degree angle. Ideally, the sun should be in the back of the ceremony if at all possible. This will create beautiful side light and still allow you to get married overlooking your preferred destination.

Read the full post after the cut!

SECRET #2: Consider Your Guests Footwear

Most wedding guests dress up for your big day, so I wouldn’t be surprised if many women are wearing heels and men are in their dress shoes. If your outdoor wedding is positioned anywhere with soft ground i.e. sand, grass, dirt etc, many women will be stumbling and sinking through the ground with their heels, and damaging their footwear. A tip to avoid this is to make sure you are being frank on your wedding invitation, about your desired dress code. Many popular weddings these days have DIY signs asking their guests to remove shoes before entering their ceremony!

SECRET #3: Consider the Wind When Planning Your Hairstyle

One of Mother Nature’s most forgotten elements on a wedding day is the wind. If you live in a place that has the potential to be windy, consider your hairstyle for yourself and your bridesmaids. Brides traditionally stand on the left side of the aisle — if the wind typically blows straight at you, which side should your hair be styled? This might determine if you have an up-do, have curls framing your face, or if you have your hair down. The last thing you want is your hair blowing in your face and blocking you from view of your guests or your groom!

SECRET #4: Consider Having Designated Shade Areas for You and Your Guests

When your excitement is running high, and nerves are increasing, you will automatically be feeling hotter than normal. Add that to your bridal gown, or your groom’s tux, or the beautiful outfits of your guests, and it is a recipe for lots of sweating! If your outdoor location is directly in the heat, consider having a designated shaded area to relax and regroup in. This is also a great idea if your crowd has elderly guests in attendance. Shade not possible at your venue? No problem! Consider inserting a popsicle stick into either side of your wedding program so that guests can fan themselves!

SECRET #5: Remember the Extra Costs

There are a few things that we usually take for granted when having an indoor wedding — electricity, water, and most importantly, restroom access. You will need to figure out how to still have all of these necessities while being outdoors. Consider having easy access to restrooms for your guests that are both clean and sanitary (do your research on porta-potties)! And with this, keep in mind any extra permits you might have to draw from your county to have access to these utilities!

SECRET #6: Light Up the Dark!

While candlelight is extremely romantic, it is not enough light for your guests or your photographers during your reception. Make sure that you are lighting up all areas possible with soft white, globe or Christmas lights — the more the better! If you neglect to put up lighting, you will have dark, empty spaces in all of your wedding photographs. Some places to put up globe lights are trees, tents, dance floor, tables, ext. Consider how much electricity you need, so that you do not blow a fuse (and while we are on the subject, have a generator on hand just in case)!

SECRET #7: Warm Up Your Guests!

One of the cutest wedding trends I have seen are providing your guests with shawls in the colors of your wedding, if you are anticipating a cooler day. Placing a basket of these shawls at the entrance to your ceremony helps prompt guests that it is ok to use them throughout the day and evening. It is a great trick to use for cohesive wedding photos too! It adds an extra pop to your wedding style and helps all your guests look cohesive with your reception details and centerpieces too!

Following these easy tips for planning the perfect outdoor wedding will ensure a stress-free day, and help your guests (and yourselves) enjoy it even more!

Melissa Lande is a wedding photographer for Lux Light Photography, and specializes in beach and rustic barn weddings in northern Michigan. A lover of all events outdoors, she is happy to help any couple plan their destination wedding in northern Michigan and achieve beautiful imagery capturing their day! To learn more about Lux Light Photography, please visit her WeddingLovely Vendor Guide profile or head straight to her website.