Post # 1
I have a bit of a dilemma. My fiance and I have our hearts set on a fall wedding at his parents’ farm in Southeastern Tennessee next year. Both the ceremony and the reception will be outside and we don’t have a back up venue. We have set the date for October 17, 2009 and plan to throw a late afternoon party, rain or shine. This past weekend we were so excited to see how pretty the leaves would be, as it was our "negative one-year anniversary." To our dismay, it was freeeeezing all weekend! (Note: to this Tennessee girl, "freezing" is 40 degrees in the evening.) It’s usually warm until early November down here, so I was shocked, and now I’m torn. Do we go through with our plans and hope next year is warmer, or do we move the date up to late September to increase our chances of warm weather? I realize I can’t control the weather, but I hope to try to avoid the cold… What do y’all think?
Post # 3
gives you historical weather data for selected locations in Tennessee. You can take a look at the low, high, and mean temperatures for years’ worth of data. Although obviously, if the leaves have started to turn, it’s going to be getting cold at night. As with all outdoor plans, you would probably want to have back-up plans (tent) and if you’re doing an evening wedding, and getting a tent anyway, it seems like you might as well rent patio heaters just in case. Your guests might be pretty hardy – but honestly, once I get cold I would just leave unless there was somewhere to get warm. If you’re doing something casual enough that it lends itself to everyone wearing sweaters, fleece, and sensible shoes you might be okay, but otherwise I would think earlier in the year might be better.
Maybe you can find a venue that has a nice outdoor garden, or really great grounds, so that guests could enjoy the view even if it was too cold to be outside – and if it was warm, they could wander around outside with their drinks? That would seem like a good compromise if what you’re really after is letting your guests appreciate the fall color.
Post # 4
Thanks, Suzanno. Patio heaters! Brilliant!!!
A couple things I forgot to mention in the original post: We are NOT considering changing locations, only moving the date. It’s FH’s parents’ property meaning it’s FREEEEE! It will all take place under a large pavillion, which will shield us from rain, just not from cold. And finally, we are dressing very casually. We were actually thinking about having a bonfire as well. Keep the suggestions coming! Thanks!
Post # 5
I think if you were to have a bonfire, patio heaters and maybe blankets/pashminas/shawls you’d be fine so long you can also get out of the rain. Also, if I were a guest I’d be sure to bring a jacket. But I’m a cold loving Colorado girl, so maybe take my advice with caution. 🙂
Post # 6
Hey, I am in the same position(sort of). I am also from TN and we are marrying in Santa Barbara in September. We plan to have an at-home reception on guess what date – October 17th. I thought it was a great idea b/c (1) it is Sweetest Day : ) and as a Northerner at heart Sweetest Day is still a holiday; (2) I love the fall and the look when the leaves change; (3) September is usually very hot and my fiance has allergies so it would not be fun to be outside.
Well, I marked my calendar in order to check the weather and the color of the leaves. Suprise, suprise, it was freakin cold the 3rd week of October and the leaves have not changed at all. I was thinking aobut changing my date as well and moving it up at least 1 week. However, remember that the 2nd week of October was very hot – I remember. And, for us, I can’t push the reception too close to the wedding or we might not have any photos to show.
IF I was you, I might consider moving it up by 1 or 2 weeks. I don’t know if I would change it to September b/c it is still very hot. Plus, with folks who have bad allergies, Sept is a tough month for being outside. Or, maybe you could move the time up for the wedding a few hours. Right now the weather is perfect and it is 6:00 p.m.. I plan to start our reception at 4:00 or so, rather than 5:00 as originally planned (if I keep the same date). It does start to get cooler as the sun goes down, so by moving up your time you have at least a few good hours for the reception.
I still like the idea of a fall reception and I kind of want it to get a little cooler as the night progresses, just not so cold that people can’t enjoy themselves.
I checked weather.com today and it registered the high temp for the 1st and 2nd week of October at 80, or thereabouts for my area. To me, that mght be a little hot for older guests with an outdoor reception, especially if there is no option for moving indoors. I think today’s high (according to weather.com) is around 67 for my area. I can live with that, just not the low 40s in the evening b/c it was miserable.
Keep me posted on what you decide. I am totally baffled as to why the weather was different this year and I feel your pain.
Post # 7
We got married this past weekend, on Oct. 18, in central Virginia. The weekend before the wedding, I got sunburned at a football game I went to. It was in the eighties on the days leading up to the wedding. The weekend of our wedding? Not so warm. It was in the mid-fifties and windy, which is not great for a tented reception. A few days before, we decided to pay extra to have sides put on the tent, and the temperature was good inside the tent without any additional heating. We did have an afternoon reception, though, and we were done by 7. If it had gotten later we might have been chillier but people’s body heat did warm up the tent. It ended up being really good that it was a little cooler because no one was sweating; even the ones who danced up a storm.
If I had to do it over again, I would still have my October wedding. The colors on the leaves were exactly what I wanted, and it was wonderful for my guests who had never been to Virginia. Most people will check the forecast and dress appropriately. You could have bad weather at any time of the year (too hot, pouring rain, etc), so I would check the average forecast for the past few years and use that as a gauge.
Post # 8
Stick with it! I got married this summer, planned for the first week in June when the high temp should have been somewhere in the high 70s. I avoided late June, July and August because I was freaked out by the extreme heat possibility. Well in the Hudson Valley NY on June 7th it got up to 96 degrees (the day before it was chilly though)!!! All this is to say that you can NOT predict the weather as much as you would like to. Pick the day that works for you and you will adapt if it happens to swing a different way! We did and we had a fabulous, wonderful day 🙂
Post # 9
I say GO FOR IT! You’ll feel so foolish if you move it up and it’s cold anyway! You’re right, you can’t predict the weather, so why even try. SOunds like you have shelter for the rain….now just make sure you have some heaters and fires and whatnot like others have suggested, and everyone should have a good time. I think it’ll be fantastic. Oh yeah, the BOOZE will warm everyone up too! And I know y’all have some good whiskey in Tennessee!
Post # 10
I’m getting married next year on Oct 10th in Rhode Island. I was a little worried about this too but I think it’s supposed to be "brisk". It’s such a sweet time of year I doubt anyone will mind a little chill. We are having those large fancy heaters and a campfire after the ceremony but I think once everyone drinking and dancing no one will even notice! Good luck!
Post # 11
Thank you so much, everyone! This has been such a tremendous help! I really needed to hear that it would all turn out okay and not to dwell on the things that are beyond my control. It’s so helpful to hear from those of you who have dealt with situations like this or will be dealing with it also. Gracielou, you’re right… I can’t predict what the crazy weather in East Tennessee will do, so why stress over it?
After hearing all of your stories and words of encouragement, I don’t think we’ll be changing our date after all. You all have reminded me of exactly why we picked this date to begin with… Caliwed, like you, I love that it’s “Sweetest Day” (a fact that I didn’t even know about until after we’d set the date – when Mrs. Pineapple wrote a post about it), FH and I absolutely adore this time of year (even if it is a bit nippy), and, most of all, our closest friends and family will be with us, so who cares if we’re a little chilly? I seriously doubt that the weather will be the most memorable thing about the wedding. Plus, I think a fire would be sooooo romantic. I even found a blog post that describes a unique way to incorporate a fire into the ceremony!
Even though this is my first case of doubting a wedding-related choice, I am positive it won’t be my last! Thank you ladies for all your help. I’m sure I will be turning to you again sometime before next October! 😉
Post # 12
I have been to 3 outdoor October weddings. All in the same weekend, strangely, but 3 different years – it was 10/13 -10/15. The first was 3 years ago. It actually did not end up outside because they got torrential downpours, almost hurricane weather. At the last minute we had to move it inside. The following year, it was sunny out, but VERY cold. The wedding stayed outside, but all the guests were very cold. This year, they got the best weather….sunny, nice and warm….my point is, in these 3 years, there were three completely different weather situations, all in the same weekend. SO, there is no way you can really compare what is was like this year and hope it isn’t like that next year. You just have to plan and hope for the best. I am in MA, so its slightly colder here. I think where you are, you are okay to do it. The only issue is of course, rain. If you have no backup plan, you will have no wedding, unless you and all your guests are willing to stand outside? So what you plan is keep everything as it is. Serve warm drinks, like hot apple cider, which is a great fall drink, and they even have an alcoholic variety of that. And like above mentioned, rent space heaters no matter what. Guests will know to dress warm, if they know it is outside. As a backup plan for rain, be open to renting a tent. Its not the worst thing. October weddings are so popular for a reason – I think your chances are great to get the wedding you want!
Post # 13
I live in Central Virginia. I have seen snow the first week of October. I have seen Christmas Day warm enough to wear short sleeves. It is soooo unpredictable. The leaves in Central Virginia are the prettiest the 3rd week of October, but you get color earlier. It is the most beautiful time of the year in Central Virginia, in my opinion.
I just always cringe about outdoor weddings unless there is shelter or an alternative. In your case you have the pavilion. Have you thought about any type of walls? You could make that happen pretty cheaply. You could run a type of clothesline around the top and bottom, and use fabric walls. That would really do a lot. If it were semisheer you could still see out but block wind. You could do it in panels so that you could make openings wherever you wanted them, and they could be gathered so that you could make it as open/closed depending on the weather. You could also use rope lighting for the “clothesline” which would be really pretty. That even comes in colors. The fabric could be in autumn colors also.
Where, exactly, in Central Virginia are you? Just wondering…..since I am near Lynchburg.
Post # 14
duhhhhhhhhhhhhh – you already got married. Hope everything turned out well for you!!!!!
Post # 15
Ragtop if it’s any consolation I think I replied to a really old post here on WB once myself. Heck I’ll probably do it again if I know myself.