Cool Weather Weddings

By Chandra Orr

July 16, 2010 5 min read

You planned an outdoor wedding for fall, but you didn't plan on it being quite this cold. Luckily, there are plenty of last-minute options for keeping guests comfortable during the ceremony, from insulating tents and portable heaters to small comforts, such as warm blankets and hot chocolate. "The easiest way to prepare for an outdoor event during cooler months is to make sure your guests understand the event is outdoors. That will allow them to plan ahead," says event planner Melissa Phillips. A simple note in the invitation should do the trick. If the date is set for a cold month, guests will know to bundle up. "Garden weddings are always tricky, but if a cold snap arrives, the guests will arrive in their fall overcoats. They're not going to freeze in half an hour," says Gerald Fierst, wedding officiant and author of "The Heart of the Wedding." Still, a few creature comforts can't hurt. Talk to your event rental company about keeping portable heaters and tents on hold. They may require a deposit, but they're well worth the money if you expect cool weather. "Plan ahead. Even if the weather looks great through a window, it may not always feel the same," Phillips says. "Add heaters to your rental orders, and make sure to have walls for your tents to help with wind. They will help lock in heat." For late afternoon or evening ceremonies, consider renting a few fire pits for extra ambiance -- and be sure to choose a location that offers protection from the wind, which is often the culprit in cooler weather. "When you walk through the outdoor venue, see whether there is a possibility of blocking the wind with a wall or tall hedge," says event planner Sara Gaum, founder of VendorBar, an online community for wedding and event planners. "A slightly enclosed space will make your wedding feel more intimate and allow guests to be comfortable."*Break Out the Blankets When a chill sets in, look beyond the ambient temperature to keep guests comfortable. Stimulate all their senses to create that cozy fall feeling. From flickering candles and autumnal accents to hot drinks and blankets for bundling up, the little comforts go a long way. "If you're hosting a more casual event -- perhaps on a farm or lakeside -- roll up blankets and put them in a basket at the front of the aisle," Gaum says. Ask close friends and family to lend lap blankets for the occasion, or stock up on inexpensive fleece coverlets that coordinate with your wedding colors. "Guests can take the blankets if they think they will be cold and share them with other guests in their row; think of it as a chic football game," Gaum says. If your budget allows, provide inexpensive gloves, mittens, hats or scarves for guests to grab on the way to their seats. Pair these cool-weather comforts with a clever sign. "When you hear the weather report, make a quick trip to the hardware store and buy a stack of inexpensive cloth work gloves," Fierst says. "Put up a sign: 'Keep warm. We are BUILDING a life together.' Everyone will laugh and use the gloves. The gesture is the important point." Inexpensive chemical hand warmers, the kind campers and skiers use, are another great option. Wrap each packet in a piece of paper bearing the couple's names and the date of the event for a more personal touch.Choose a 'Cool' Theme "Fall is a loved season -- beautiful colors, fabulous scents. Use that to your advantage," Phillips says. Use the d?cor to create an illusion of warmth. Incorporate autumnal hues; decorate with natural fall elements -- such as pumpkins, gourds and leaves -- and be sure to use plenty of candles. Flickering flames create visual warmth, and candles infused with seasonal scents, such as apple or pumpkin, help set the mood. "As you plan, think creatively. Go with the season," Fierst says. A few comforting concoctions will complete the theme. Who says you have to save the drinks for the reception? "A warm drink can go a long way," Phillips says. "Beverages are probably the quickest last-minute heat helper, so have a refreshment station set up for serving coffee, tea, hot chocolate or apple cider." It's a quick and inexpensive way to incorporate cool weather into the theme. Set up a hot-chocolate bar with garnishes, such as whipped cream, marshmallows, flavored syrups and chocolate shavings. Serving cider? Offer cinnamon sticks and caramel syrup on the side. Most importantly, remember why you're there. Don't rush the ceremony on account of the weather. "A good ceremony makes people pay attention, and when they do, they forget about the chill," Fierst says. "Don't make short shrift of the words that everyone has come to hear."COPYRIGHT 2010 CREATORS.COM

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