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Outdoor Wedding Tips

We love a good outdoor wedding. Promising your life to one another out in nature, surrounded by those you love…. It’s pretty awesome. Tyler and I had an outdoor wedding, and we wouldn’t have done it any other way. But there are, of course, a few more variables involved in outdoor weddings, and those are important to talk about. It’s way easier to just cross your fingers and pray for no rain, but there’s more to it than that! So here are a few outdoor wedding tips we’ve found to be helpful for brides as they plan!

For Brides

Outdoor Wedding Tips: How to Make Sure Your Pictures Turn Out Beautifully!

outdoor-wedding-tips Outdoor Wedding Tips


1.Do a first look.

Ok, I swear we’re not trying to force you to do a first look. It’s completely up to you. But with an outdoor wedding, weather is your biggest variable. Choosing to do a first look (and planning the rest of your day around that) means that we have plenty of time to take pictures outside before the ceremony, just in case the weather later in the day isn’t so great (and vice versa – if the weather earlier in the day isn’t ideal, we can always shoot some pictures before just in case, and then wait to shoot more later in the day if the weather is forecasted to clear up). It also means you can……

2. Schedule your ceremony for near sunset.

Closer to sunset = prettier light, cooler temperatures, and a more pleasant experience for your guests. We recommend getting started about 1 – 1.5 hours before sunset. Assuming your ceremony is about 30 minutes, and we need 30 minutes for family pictures after the ceremony, that will put you in great shape (with a 30 minute buffer) even if things run a little behind, or if we lose our light early due to clouds, weather, etc.

For summer weddings when the sun is setting at 9PM, this obviously isn’t always possible. But if you do a first look, that will still let you plan for a later ceremony so that your guests (and you!) can stay cool, and can grab a cold drink at the reception immediately after the I-dos. No waiting around for pictures to finish up!

3. Look for shade.

At the very least, try to find an area where you + your wedding party will be in the shade. It’s better for light, and I promise you’ll enjoy that much more than having the sun beating down on you/shining directly into your eyes when you’re saying your vows! But if you can find a space where all/nearly all of your guests can be in the shade too, that’s great! Always look for even, consistent shade rather than spotty, uneven shade that leaves you with sunspots all over your body!

Which brings me to….

4. Be mindful of where the sun will be.

It rises in the east, and sets in the west. Personally, I love it when the bride/groom + wedding party are backlit. So if you can have your ceremony set up so that your guests are facing west or even lightly northwest or southwest, that’s just perfect!

5. Have a rain plan… And make sure you LOVE it.

This was going to be my first tip, but I figured it was the most obvious one, sooo I bumped it down to the bottom. :)

But, in all seriousness, it’s so hard when you envision your wedding happening outdoors on a beautiful, sunny day, and then a hurricane blows through. It’s even harder when you don’t have much of a rain plan, or when you have a rain plan you really don’t love. When you’re looking at venues, really consider your rain plan. Inclement weather happens way more than we’d all like to talk about. If you love your rain plan as much as you love your outdoor plan, it’ll save you a whole lot of stress and heartache. (Plus, you won’t have to obsessively check the weather from the minute your wedding day shows up in the 10 day forecast!)

Bonus tip: Trust your vendors.

We do this for a living. We see weddings every weekend. Rain, sun, wind, clouds, hail, snow, 105 degrees, 25 degrees…. We know how all of those weather variables affect different parts of the day because we’ve seen it happen. And there are already an endless number of non-weather-related variables on a wedding day to take into account, too. Hire people you love, trust, and get along with, and let them do their thing. Nail down what your biggest priorities are for the day, communicate those priorities to them, and hand over the reins. We see your wedding day from an outsider’s perspective, and we might be able to help you make those tough day-of decisions!

Lindsay Campbell is a wedding photographer specializing in natural, romantic wedding photography with a bright and airy film look. She photographs weddings in Chattanooga, Franklin, Nashville, and the surrounding areas, and travels across the country to photograph weddings! If you’re looking for a Chattanooga wedding photographer, Nashville wedding photographer, or Franklin wedding photographer, get in touch!