Expert Advice: How to Plan an Outdoor Wedding in B.C.

With no end to social distancing restrictions in sight, planning a small outdoor wedding may be the only option for many wedding-planning couples right now.

In beautiful B.C., outdoor weddings have always been a popular choice—and in this age of COVID, it might be the most prudent option as well. “Thanks to the worldwide pandemic and a move to smaller guest counts, our clients are reconsidering their own backyards,” says Jordan Maxey, principal event planner at Smitten Events. “We love the intimacy of getting married at home. In many ways it feels like returning to the way our parents and grandparents celebrated.” If you’re hosting in the backyard, here’s what to keep in mind.

Assume it’s going to rain. The smartest thing you can do to ensure a flawless backyard celebration is to book a tent. Even if you never unfurl it, just knowing it’s there will alleviate your weather-related worries in the lead-up to the big day. With options like clear ceilings or coloured tops, the right tent might actually enhance your decor, even on a blustery day.

Deal with the dirty details. Porta-potties are no one’s idea of wedding day glamour… but having 40 people trek through your parents’ house (pandemic or no pandemic) to line up for the washroom over the course of the night isn’t feasible either. Consider booking a washroom trailer—which features sinks with running hot water—as a more elegant option for your guests’ needs.

Light it up! If your outdoor soiree is running late into the night, you’ll need some illumination to see all the smiling faces on that dance floor. A generator might be required to run lights where you need them, so don’t leave your light set-up to the last minute: do a test run in advance to make sure you’ve got the juice you need. (And layer in some candles for some soft, warm, natural light too.)

Be a good neighbour. A little preemptive apologizing can go a long way when it comes to appeasing your neighbours. Explaining that it’s a wedding will usually give you some leeway, even with the crankiest of neighbours… but better to do that in advance than at 2 a.m. Pop by with a bottle of wine and an explanation that things might get rowdy to help ease any grumpiness.