kelsey lynne

5 Tips for Planning an Outdoor Seattle Wedding

Apr 6

Here in Seattle, we are known for a few things. Coffee and RAIN top the list. I LOVE Starbucks, but as a wedding photographer, rain is not so much on the top of my list of favorites.

As a bride, I am sure you have seen photos of beautiful outdoor weddings with golden light in the portraits and twinkle lights strung around the dance floor. But here in Seattle, planning an outdoor wedding can seem a little daunting. There are a lot of variables and not wanting to have wet hair on your wedding day is a valid concern for any bride.

However, I think that there are so many reasons to not give up your dream of an outdoor wedding! Here are just a few tips that I think will help you plan your wedding even in this beautiful, sometimes rainy state.

1.) Always have a back-up plan.

Over the past 5 years, I will tell you that the weather is unpredictable.  I have had December weddings be 60 degrees and sunny and July weddings with rain galore. There really is no assurance that the weather will cooperate, but don’t let that deter you! I would say that a wedding from May – October would be the ideal time in Seattle to plan an outdoor wedding. Those are months that have a good chance of warm weather.

However, expect rain. Even in August we have had weddings with rain. So have a plan! If the week of your wedding the forecast is calling for rain, you won’t be running around like a headless chicken. You will have already contacted a rental company about a tent, or your venue about utilizing their indoor space. It will make the week a LOT less stressful.

As my dad would say, “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.”



2.) Choose a Venue that has an indoor option.

Even if you the forecast calls for sun, having a venue with an indoor option will take the stress out of the day! If on the morning of the wedding, it is raining, move the ceremony indoors! Most of my outdoor weddings will have indoor receptions, just because in WA, it doesn’t stay warm once the sun goes down. So, consider moving the ceremony to the same location as the reception. Having guests sitting around tables is an option that I have seen done, which requires no “turn” of the space once the ceremony ends. As it might not be the most “ideal” situation for your wedding day, it will reduce the stress of having to set up all of your tables after the ceremony ends.


3.) When Decorating, Remember WIND. 

One of the problems with being outside is that even on a sunny day, there can still be wind. Think about everything from centerpieces to wedding programs. Loose pieces of paper such as wedding programs sitting on each chair might seem like a good idea, but one gust of wind before the ceremony will result in a lot of clean-up! Consider a basket with the programs so that it is one less thing to worry about!


4.) Shoes : To Heel or Not to Heel 

Grass & Heels do not go well together! Let’s just be honest! Consider opting for wedges, flats, or sandals! They will make it so you can walk around without sinking with each step! Think about your bridesmaids as well! When walking down the aisle, you want to be able to walk without worrying about your shoes! Plus, a pretty white pair of pumps might have brown heels after walking around the whole day while aerating the lawn. 🙂


5.) Ask Your Photographer about Ceremony Times

As with every photo, great light is probably the most important thing. With portraits, we have leverage to move around to get the best light, but with a ceremony, the position of the bride and groom is pretty set. Choosing a time when the sun is directly over the ceremony location might result in some unwanted shadows or light shining directly into the eyes of your guests or the bride & groom.

The photos below were taken at “golden hour”. Savanna & Ben had their wedding at the perfect time to ensure that there was still light, but the sun was low enough so that the light was even and flattering! No hot spots, no shadows, just even beautiful light! Look at the skin, THAT is what we are going for! It is the BEST light! 🙂


And Here’s Some Encouragement, as a bonus! 🙂

In Seattle, we might have rain, but we also have some of the most BEAUTIFUL scenery and when it is sunny, I’m convinced there is no place better to live OR get married! So keep on planning that beautiful wedding! There will always be a break in the rain in any day for some outdoor photos! So keep dreaming of sunshine!

Happy Planning!


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