A wedding in the great outdoors can be absolutely amazing… but the planning process can be pretty stressful! There are so many things to think (and worry) about, from the weather to the wildlife to the bathroom situation, it’s a lot to take on! If you’re thinking of getting married al fresco, here are 15 ways to keep things running smoothly.

1. Rules + Permits: Figure out what kind of rules and permits you’ll be subjected to before you plan anything. Getting married at the park near your childhood home may seem like the best idea ever, but that park may have a lot more rules and regulations than you realize. (Photo by: Ira Lippke Photography on Mindy Weiss via Lover.ly)

2. Make Guests Comfortable: Make your guests’ comfort top priority by making sure your site is well-equipped with things like fans, outdoor heating units, well-lit paths to the bathrooms, refreshing non-alcoholic drinks, and citronella candles. Nail down a plan for buying or renting the things your venue doesn’t offer as early as possible. (Photo by: Kellie Kano on Inspired By This via Lover.ly)

3. BYOB: Look for an outdoor space that lets you bring in your own alcohol, as this is one of the best ways to cut your budget. (Blooming Shoppe Straws From BHLDN via Lover.ly)

4. Prepare for Weather: Organize weather-appropriate accessories for the bridal party and parents: gloves, scarves, and nice (sturdy!) umbrellas. Then ask someone in the bridal party to be in charge of bringing it the day of. (Photo by: Stephanie on Saltwater Studios via Lover.ly)

5. Cover Up: Make sure you have a nice jacket or cover up to wear in case it’s cold during your ceremony or the reception. (Cherished Heirloom Scarf From BHLDN via Lover.ly)

6. Photography: Talk to your photographer about where the sun will be during your ceremony so you can plan the ceremony and seating arrangements accordingly. You don’t want to realize the morning of that you’re going to be hidden in shadows or squinting into the sun in your photos. (Photo by: Brittany Putnam Photography on Brittany Putnam Photography via Lover.ly)

7. Sunscreen: Assign someone to be on SPF duty the day of so no one ends up with a sunburn. (Photo by: Craig Paulson Photography on Craig Paulson Photography via Lover.ly)

8. Windproof Decor: If wind is a possibility (and it is most places), double check that all your decor can withstand a very strong breeze. (Photo by: Brittany Putnam Photography on Brittany Putnam Photography via Lover.ly)

9. A/V: Make sure everyone will be able to hear you! No one wants to strain to hear your vows or the toasts. Depending on how open and/or busy your space is, you may need to hire someone to set up audio equipment. (Photo by: Brittany Putnam Photography on Brittany Putnam Photography via Lover.ly)

10. Find an Expert: If you don’t consider yourself a wedding expert (and you don’t want to become one), find an outdoor venue that does weddings regularly. A venue that does dozens of weddings every year will either have the details covered (i.e. they supply the chairs and the tent) and have advice on best practices for couples getting married (i.e. “Those chairs are beautiful but they will sink on the beach”). (Photo by: Love Bird on Bridal Musings via Lover.ly)

11. Details, Details: Your wedding website is the perfect place to put details about your outdoor wedding so your guests can plan accordingly. Include a photo of the venue, the kind of weather you’re expecting, and the worst-case scenario weather they may want to be prepared for. (Photo by: Kristin Cheatwood Photography on Kristin Cheatwood Photography via Lover.ly)

12. Footwear: Your website is also a great place to post info about what kind of shoes the guests may want to wear. Something simple like “The bridesmaids are wearing wedges so they can walk in the garden without issues!” will reduce your guests’ stress (and urgent text messages to you) the week of the wedding. (Photo by: Kristin LaVoie Photography on Every Last Detail via Lover.ly)

13. All Ages: Keep your very old and very young guests in mind as you plan. For example, if there will be a lot of walking from the parking lot to the clearing in the woods where the ceremony is, let them know ahead of time on the website or even the invite. (Photo by: Love Bird on Bridal Musings via Lover.ly)

14. Welcome Bags: Stock welcome bags with any last-minute things that may be useful to guests: think bottled water, gloves, or and inexpensive sunglasses. Order everything online a few months ahead of time so you aren’t making a midnight run to store with your maid of honor the night before your wedding. (Aloha Chevron Stripe Welcome Wedding Tote Set of 20 From WeddingChicks via Lover.ly)

15. Fans + Parasols: Fill pretty baskets with things like parasols, fans, or pashminas to help guests deal with the elements on-site. The less you’re worried about guests’ comfort, the easier it is to focus on getting married. (Crinkle Fans (10) From BHLDN via Lover.ly)

Are you thinking about planning an outdoor wedding? Or been to any with genius ideas? Talk to us in the comments below.