Friday, 21 June 2013

Pros and Cons of an Outdoor Wedding in Utah

As a state, Utah has more than its fair share of natural beauty, which makes outdoor venues for weddings particularly attractive to brides from the shadow of the Wasatch front to the sunny climes of Southern Utah. I’m a big fan of outdoor weddings, but you have to balance the good and the bad.

  • Outdoor Wedding Pros

Sunny Weather: Utah has a great track record of sunshine during wedding season, with a high average number of clear-skied days each year, so you’re less likely to be rained out (on the Wasatch Front) than you are in other places around the country.

Wide Open Spaces: An outdoor venue is typically easy to scale to any size wedding party, though you will need to account for trucking in seating for the wedding and the reception. Larger reception halls can start to get pricey if you have a large wedding party, so an outdoor setting could actually save you the cost of a bigger space and prevent you from settling for a cramped one.

Gorgeous Views: Some lines of sight at indoor venues leave a lot to be desired, both architecturally and decoratively. A stunning outdoor venue gives you visuals that you’ll never get inside a church or a meeting hall or (hmph!) a gymnasium. The Rocky Mountains make for a particularly stunning skyline when your venue has a nice view, and you’ll often get outdoor architectural features in the setting (like a vine-covered arboretum or stone cloisters and archways) that an indoor venue doesn’t have. That’s priceless wedding d├ęcor and natural beauty that is built into the price of your venue.

  • Utah Outdoor Cons

Weather: In know I said this was a pro, but Mother Nature swings a double-edged sword, and we’re not immune to outdoor hazards. We’re in a desert, but you’re gambling for rain with a September or April wedding! You can hedge your bets with tents, but that won’t save you from the heat, which can reach into the triple digits on a good summer day in Northern Utah. If you’re trying to avoid the heat by going early or late in the season, a spring or fall wedding could leave you more vulnerable to moisture. One way to get around the weather is to choose a venue, like Thanksgiving Point, that has both indoor and outdoor spaces for your nuptials and reception, depending on how the meteorological cards you’re dealt.

Lighting: Indoor lighting is already under control in most venues, so you can take it for granted. But depending on just how “outdoor” your wedding is, you may have to bring power with you. That can mean generators, extension cords, etc. Not only are you at the mercy of the weather for pictures on your special day, the time of day for your reception, and the electrical systems available can put limits on what kinds of lighting you can bring in at all.

Photography Challenges: Like I said, indoor lighting is readily available and easier to control. Your photographer may have her work cut out for her battling shadows and other lighting features at an outdoor wedding venue. Ask your photog’s advice about how to handle pics at the venue. They’ll likely give you some good advice on scheduling pictures for the best lighting conditions, and the best locations for shots, making sure that your outdoor decision is a pro rather than a con.

 All of these pros and cons carry different weight for different people. Weather may or may not be a factor, and your photographer may (if you give them a heads-up) have enough moxy to handle whatever the venue throws at them. And depending on what setting you want to create, an outdoor wedding venue might introduce new costs, or cost savings.

Have any of you done an outdoor wedding in Utah? What are your individual pros and cons?

Rebecca Tulley is an event coordinator and wedding planner who writes for Thanksgiving Point, a non-profit educational and cultural foundation in Lehi, Utah. When she isn’t helping brides plan their big day or setting up a swanky corporate event, you’ll find her at the Thanksgiving Point Gardens on her lunch break, eating chips and reading a book.

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