The best & worst things you've seen at picnic/casual weddings?

posted 1 year ago in Reception
Post # 2
577 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2018

The weather has to be right. Not 1000 degrees outside. Bugs are a problem. I was once at an outdoor reception where the groom’s family started smoking cigs right at their table.  Make sure there is ample food and drink, a chair for every butt, and some entertainment. But the key elements for a picnic wedding failure are weather and bugs, IMO.

Post # 3
2917 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2018

everwoods :  I have only been to one wedding like this (so far) and it turned out nicely! It was like close to 10 years ago so I don’t remember everything that well but it was on a river, had a little undercover area where they had a bunch of home made food. I want to say that everyone in the family put it together like potluck style. The ceremony was short and sweet, there was beer, lots of grass for the kids to play on. 

We had to use porta potties which I wasn’t a huge fan of, but they were clean and no one really cared. I generally don’t mind porta potties but I was dressed up so it would have been nice to be able to use a mirror, make sure I didn’t tuck my skirt into my undies, etc. 

Since we were on a river and it was summer time there were some people floating by, drunk, cheering on the wedding which was actually pretty funny but I suppose that could be a negative for some people ๐Ÿ™‚

Honestly, if I had a home or a family members home big enough to host an awesome backyard wedding with lots of yard games, I would have gone that route. It just sounds like such a good time without all of the fuss!

Post # 4
3710 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2019 - City, State

I havent been to an outdoor wedding like this one, but it sounds really fun! Here are my suggestions: Have a rain plan, make sure people know where they can and cant smoke (per PP), treat for bugs prior, make sure there are adequate restrooms available, have a plan to keep food hot/cold and bugs off, make sure guests know they will be outside so to wear/bring appropriate footwear (wearing heels all day on a grassy field would be awful). Make sure to buy lots of booze (if you’re serving booze)

Post # 5
2099 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2018

My first wedding was this way.  It was awesome.  Make sure you have some people who are in charge of things like refilling the water containers and making sure the booze is all out on display – you won’t want to worry about that stuff yourself.  Make sure you provide sunscreen and bug spray and shade and chairs to guests.  If it gets dark, make sure there is good lighting, or people might leave once they can’t see each other.

Post # 6
6358 posts
Bee Keeper

I agree about rain and bugs per pps. 

One thing I will stress is ACTUAL CHAIRS. I’ve had to sit on hay bales (scratchy and gross), rugs/poufs on the floor and plain benches. The benches weren’t terrible, but honestly sitting on hay bales or directly on the ground was awful. 

It sounds like you have a good set of priorities, and as long as you are thinking about your guests during the planning I’m sure it will go great.

Post # 7
379 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

I’ve been to a few really sweet casual outdoor weddings.  One thing that I appreciated and recall was that each table had mosquito spray on it (one natural and one not).  We needed it when the mosquitos came out, and it was thoughtful that they had planned ahead!  They also had lots of beer in coolers so you could serve yourself.  We enjoyed that.  One of the weddings was by a river and guests were invited to camp, which we didn’t do but sounded fun.

Post # 8
11 posts

I recently attended one like this and it really wasn’t my thing, which is unfortunate because now Fiance has decided he wants a small wedding like the one we attended. 

Worst: it rained before the ceremony but the chairs and everything that was set up got wet. Wet butts aren’t fun. Flies were an issue during the ceremony. I wasn’t fond of the bridal party ( and other people) being barefoot, especially in the muddy grass. The food options weren’t plentiful. There was no dancing.

Best- the cake was homemade, beautiful, and most importantly delicious. The bride, groom, bridal party, and family seemed incredibly happy, which is most important 

Post # 9
4477 posts
Honey bee

I’ve been to one ok one and several blech ones.


Not enough seats

No back up plan for wet and/or heat and/or bugs

Not enough bathrooms/port-a-potties

Poor food planning (this includes grilling when nothing was done at the same time so we all ate like 10 at a time as well as insufficient ice and planning to keep cool things cool)


Post # 10
9606 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2016

I’ve been to two pretty laid back weddings. One at a camp and the other in an arboretum.

Downfalls: crazy hot weather. We were all sweating bullets at one of them.. no one had any interest playing lawn games or even drinking the mimosas cus we were all busy chugging water and sitting in the shade trying not to melt. ๐Ÿ™  I love love love the bride of this one, seriously a great person.. but she screwed up.. it was over 105 that day and that is perfectly normal for that time of year. Don’t hope for unusually pleasant weather…

Upsides: at the other the weather was lovely and it was just as you described. Laid back, everyone laughing and having a good time.  It was actually an entire wedding weekend.  Darling Husband hated the spiders in the cabins though baha. 

Post # 11
1054 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2019

Heat is a major issue for me, as I’m the kind of person who starts to melt if it’s above room temperature. At one friend’s wedding, they had those power bank fans available, the ones you can charge through your phone.  MUCH appreciated.  Also, lots of larger fans, shade, cold water and available ice are all must haves.

Post # 12
1689 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2019

I’ve been to one (very very very very) casual wedding in my life, but it was too casual. Jeans, peanut butter sandwiches, and Pringles. Their first dance as husband and wife was literally, I swear to God, the chicken dance. On the plus side, they were incredibly happy (though divorced a year later haha) and the day went smoothly. The DJ was just a boombox stereo with a CD of music on it. There was no dance floor, but just a grassy area in a public park. The bride’s dress was a dark blue polka-dotted knee-high shift, and the groom wore plaid shorts. 

I mean, it was still a good time, but too casual for my taste. And there was no alcohol because the park didn’t allow it, so that kinda sucked (and there was no after-party either so we actually COULD have alcohol). There was no cake, just a bunch of chocolate chip cookies from a local Wegmans. The officiant was an uncle of the groom and had a beard down to his knees, which moved weird when he talked – that’s all I recall from the ceremony haha! There was no sound system so no one could hear what was going on, anyway. There were no chairs – everyone just sat on our blankets we brought for the picnic and watched the ceremony like that. Oh, and you know how public park restrooms are. Ack.

Good things though: we got to go swimming at the beach, and the weather was PERFECT. It was like 85F and sunny, plenty of shade, and zero bugs. 

But it did not feel like a wedding. It felt closer to our Memorial Day family picnics than ANYTHING like a wedding.

Post # 15
835 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2019

Very informative thread! Thanks for the bump. 


My only other suggestion besides what was mentioned would be, is the location suitble and accessible for any handicapped and/or elderly, assuming your grandparents can attend? 

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