An outdoor wedding is par for the course here in L.A.  Because we have no real seasons (except for a bit of rain in the winter and a hellacious few weeks in the summer – when global warming doesn’t get in the way), outdoor venues are fair game nearly the year ’round.

There are a few important things to keep in mind when working with Mother Nature – and of course, the #1 factor in keeping an outdoor wedding a a success is, the weather.

If you’re looking to wed in an unpredictable time of the year, build into your budget about $2k or so for a large tent in case of rain, and an install day as well.  Most venues will add some sort of fallback into the contract, but many don’t.  Talk about your options.  But fret not:  Heavy rain is rare here in L.A., and the weather forecasts tend to be super conservative.  Watch for:

  1. Anything greater than a 50% chance of rain a week out, surrounded by days before and after with a similar forecast. That means a real storm is on its way.
  2. A forecast for a high percentage of rain, within 2-3 days of the event.  The closer to the date, the more accurate the forecast.  A 30% chance predicted 7 days ahead, just for the day of your wedding? Be alert, but don’t lose sleep over it.
  3. Tent requests.  Call your rental company a couple weeks in advance and put a hold on a tent if you have concerns.  If the forecast looks nasty leading to the week of, you may want to put down a deposit – every rental house in town will have clients asking for them.

Many spots, like the L.A. River Center, have indoor spaces that work well as backups.  Others provide other outdoor areas that lend themselves well to tenting.  Just cover it extensively in your negotiations so you can rest easy.

The fountain at LARC - a conversation piece in and of itself.

The benefits of outdoor weddings, however, far outweigh the meteorological dangers.  Natural greenery is so beautiful, and it lessens the need for large and expensive floral arrangements.  Many outdoor spaces are also full of character, from the beautiful Hidden Chateau to private estates.

We have a Malibu estate wedding coming up, and the space is just stunning. The view is without compare, and the different nooks and crannies built into the living space provide the clients unique opportunities in designing the look and feel of the event.

For example, there is a built-in seating area that, with additional chairs, can hold up to 20.  In the middle is a fire pit, which will come in handy after dinner when the sun goes down.  It’s an ideal place for parents of the bride or other VIPs.

A unique grass/stone "checkerboard" space with the banquette/firepit in the corner.

Up on the back patio is a small cove that is ideal for cake. It’s raised above the main party area, so everyone can admire dessert while they mingle for cocktail hour.

We'll replace the small table with a 42" round for the cake.

Architecture is something you see beautifully highlighted in many outdoor venues, from SmogShoppe’s living wall –

The living wall at SmogShoppe, with a Gilly centerpiece.

To LA River Center’s famous tower, here lit up with a gobo.

The tower at LARC, lit up at night.

Parcans or LED uplights can show off arches, and laser-cut gobos can splash a design or your initials on a tall exterior wall.  Some spaces will even allow for projecting an old movie on the exterior of a building.

At the risk of using a cheesy exterior pun…folks, the sky’s the limit when designing your outdoor wedding (groan…I couldn’t help myself!).

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