Michigan is among the most beautiful states in the nation, and you've made a great choice if you've decided to have an outdoor wedding here. Unfortunately, many people give up on having an outdoor wedding due to unique challenges such as rain, wind, and bugs. Or, even worse, someone plans an outdoor wedding and doesn't prepare for these factors! There's hardly anything worse than your special day coming along and an unexpected wind blowing everything away.
However, none of these issues should stop you from holding an outdoor wedding. If you prepare properly, you can plan the perfect wedding whether the weather cooperates or not. We've done the research for you so that getting ready for the elements will be a breeze.
When is the Best Time for an Outdoor Michigan Wedding?
Your first step to planning your wedding is choosing the best time of year for outdoor weddings in Michigan. The average weather in Michigan is generally mild, although the summers get fairly hot and the snowfall is normal each winter. Snow or shine, people schedule outdoor weddings in Michigan year-round; there are even some brave souls who book winter weddings.
If your heart is set on snowy forests and frozen lakes, Michigan winters aren't too harsh. On the other hand, Michigan summers experience substantial rainfall and strong winds. While you can have a wonderful wedding in these seasons, more comfortable weather can be more convenient for the bride, groom, and guests. Everyone will be more comfortable, and it will be easier to plan the wedding.
Spring vs Fall Wedding
If the choice is a spring vs fall wedding, fall is the better choice. It's a hard choice between blooming flowers and green trees or the auburn leaves of fall, but the weather should be able to make that decision for you. Michigan springs are racked with rain and bugs, while fall temperatures are the most stable. Using Grand Rapids weather averages, you'll see April tends to stay chilly, with average lows around 38ºF and average highs around 58ºF. As the saying goes, 'Marry in May and you'll rue the day!' May is among the wettest months in Michigan, and the temperature is quite inconsistent. Not to mention, the plants aren't the only thing that returns in the spring; so do the bugs!
A Michigan fall wedding has the advantage of mild weather, thanks to average lows of 53ºF and average highs of 73ºF in September. While October isn't a poor choice, it tends to be a bit chilly; there's even a chance of snow in the later weeks. As an added plus, a September anniversary means you'll have gorgeous sapphires as your wedding month stones. However, if your heart is set on a spring wedding, there are steps you can take to make sure that your wedding is perfect, such as renting a tent with sides to protect from potential rain and bugs.
The Best Time of Day for an Outdoor Wedding
September weather in Michigan is generally predictable and stable, with the most mild average monthly temperatures in Michigan. The best time of day for a wedding is in the earlier part of the day, around noon. Rainfall is still common in September, but it typically falls late in the afternoon or evening. If you begin your wedding reception shortly before noon, you should have hours and hours of pleasant weather.
While this is all true of Michigan in general, you'll have to tailor your plans to the specific location and the local, day-by-day weather forecast.
Places to Have an Outdoor Wedding in Michigan
There are dozens of outdoor wedding venues across Michigan, but you can also organize your own wedding at any number of scenic locations. There are eight RedWater Events wedding venues with unique settings and beautiful views, and they each deserve your consideration. On the other hand, Michigan is full of national parks and other public lands where you're free to organize your own wedding. The stunning old-growth Sylvania Forest and the beaches of the Old Mission Peninsula are only the beginning of the options available to you.
Things to Consider Before Scheduling an Outdoor Wedding
When you're asking how to plan an outdoor wedding ceremony, the first step is to prepare an outdoor wedding checklist. Follow these outdoor wedding planning tips to help make your big day as wonderful as you deserve.
This is especially important on a garden wedding checklist. Most heels, especially high heels won't be suitable for walking on the ground. While an elegant bridal gown with a long tail is beautiful, it's liable to get dirty during an outdoor wedding event. Consider buying a wedding gown made of a heavy, insulating fabric if you're expecting to be chilly. You can handle minor changes in weather while staying fashionable by accessorizing with scarves and pashminas. Make sure your hairdresser knows that you're going to be having an open-air wedding so that they can style your hair in a manner that won't be ruined by wind or humidity. Leaving your hair down can look perfect in a gentle breeze, but a tighter hairdo is preferable in stronger winds.
Be Prepared for Wind if You're Planning an Outdoor Wedding
Everyone loves Marilyn Monroe, but no one wants a windy day blowing their dresses up at a wedding! Wind on your wedding day can be a nuisance if you're not prepared. You can keep a skirt from blowing away by using fashion tape to tie nickels down the seam line, weighing down the skirt enough to resist the wind. Tablecloths and fabrics blowing in the wind can be held down by taping or stapling the fabrics, or using strategically-placed food platters as weights.
The wind is unavoidable at an outdoor wedding on the beach. A few outdoor beach wedding ideas to combat the wind include wearing suitable dresses and styles: longer dresses made of heavier fabrics will resist the wind better than short skirts. The bride and the bridesmaids leaving their hair down can be a good idea. However, bring extra hair spray, hair ties, and bobby pins in case the wind isn't cooperating and the women need to secure their hair. If you dream of a waterfront wedding but don’t want the hassle of planning a beach event, there are event venue options on lakes that offer the best of both worlds, with the convenience, accessibility, and amenities of a modern event venue as well as the breathtaking lake views and nautical ambiance.
Have a Rain Contingency Plan
A rain plan for outdoor weddings is key. You can never be certain of avoiding bad weather; if rain is on the forecast for your big day, you need to be prepared. Are you working with a venue that has a covered, indoor area to continue the celebration? If not, you'll need to settle on a plan B. Is there a nearby covered area for you to move the ceremony? If not, bring the covered area to you: rent or buy some tents that are large enough for you and your guests.
Planning a tent wedding isn't too difficult, but it requires extra attention to your open-air wedding floor plan. You don't want to make people spring between tents to avoid getting wet. Try to make sure you have a continuous, covered area the wedding goers can consistently stay under. Legend has it that rain on your wedding day is good luck. We're not so sure about that, but getting married in the rain can still be everything you hoped for from your wedding day.
How to Prevent Bugs at an Outdoor Wedding
Dealing with bugs at an outdoor wedding is a common problem; there are even bug spray signs for weddings and bug spray wedding favors! 'Be smitten, not bitten' bug spray has featured in countless outdoor weddings. Spraying insect repellent for your outdoor wedding is simple enough, but how do you keep bugs away outside? Additionally, bugs generally find food by scent. While the smell of citrus repels most insects, some may approach anyway if the scent of your food is floating through the air. Covering your food until it's time to eat, either in sealed platters or in a cooler will help keep bugs from bothering you. Again, a tent with sides with help prevent bugs from crashing your outdoor wedding.
Powering An Outdoor Wedding
Whether it's music, food preparation, or running some fans on a hot day, you'll need to know how you're going to power your outdoor wedding. When it comes to music, a nice amp and a fully-charged phone should be perfectly suitable. If you think your wedding will need electric light or if these solutions aren't suitable, consider renting or buying a generator. Luckily, if you are working with an experienced venue, they will have a plan for powering your wedding.
Understand Your Venue
Venues typically have their own rules, requirements, and amenities. A covered area, running water, readily available power sources, restrooms, and other features that may or may not be available are critical to planning an outdoor wedding reception. If they're not available but you still want to stick with your current venue, you'll need to provide these necessities yourself. Don't go renting portable bathrooms, a generator, tents, or other outdoor wedding essentials without being sure you'll be allowed to operate them onsite!
Choose a Top-Notch Michigan Venue
Here at RedWater Events, we've helped countless newly betrothed plan the perfect outdoor wedding in the great state of Michigan. Give us a call or contact us online so we can help you choose a great venue.