By Jaimie Mackey. Photos: Our Labor of Love Photography.
The sun's coming out, flowers are blooming, and it seems the world is buzzing with life—and spring sounds like the perfect season for a wedding! But a spring wedding comes with its own set of challenges that you might not face at another time of year. We asked wedding pros from around the country to give us the inside scoop on some of the difficulties that might pop up for a springtime bride. They share their expert tips for making sure your spring wedding is as stress free as possible.
As the snow melts and the temperature slowly starts to rise, spring can bring with it some crazy weather, from rain and slush to high winds and even tornadoes. "Weather is the largest challenge during the spring here in the Midwest," says Alliey Kline-Weichelt, lead planner of Sash & Bow. "We can go from beautiful 60 degree days to snowstorms and tornadoes in a flash." All that unpredictable weather means you'll need a backup plan for any outdoor event—and it might as well be one you love. "Even for indoor events, we always recommend having a backup location if you plan to take any pictures outside," says Kline-Weichelt. If you're saying "I do" before June, she says renting heaters and tents, along with purchasing umbrellas, should be done ASAP. "In fact, I wouldn't really advise a tent for this time of year, with the risk of high winds and strong rain," she says. "Make sure you have a great backup plan in place, and have more than enough professional hands there to help you make a change due to weather. The last thing you want is a guest lending a hand to put up a tent sidewall or start a heater!"
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You've got a Plan B in case of rain on your wedding day, but don't forget to think about how weather before your wedding can impact your plans. "Even if rain isn't in the forecast for your actual wedding day, a rainy season prior to your big weekend can also impact plans—especially for tented, outdoor, or at-home weddings," say Amber Karson and Emily Butler of Karson Butler Events. "Grassy areas can require a week or more to dry out and get firm, which is a problem if you've got wet ground and are trying to host a reception in the grass!" Karson and Butler recommend installing a floor in tents instead of placing furniture right on the ground. "Make sure you also check any service roads at the venue well in advance to ensure a smooth vendor load-in. Work with your team to create a solid plan in the event of wet and muddy ground so you can prepare financially (and emotionally!) for any challenges that come up."
With wedding season also comes spring break and all the rabble-rousing that entails. "If you're thinking of getting married in a location that could be considered a go-to destination, there's a chance you'll encounter spring breakers," says Marina Alexandra Birch, principal at Birch Design Studio. "Do your best to avoid peak dates, or flights will be costly and the travel experience will be unpleasant. Hotels will cost extra (if they let you reserve a room block at all!), and they'll be overcrowded—not the atmosphere you want for a wedding." Instead, try to avoid the height of spring-break season, opting for a date a few weeks before or after the rush. "Things will feel more civilized, you'll get the attention you deserve as clients, and your guests will have a relaxing and enjoyable experience," says Birch. Teissia Treynet, founder and CEO of Firefly Events, also advises skipping Cinco de Mayo. "The last thing you want is frat boys crashing your elegant black-tie affair," she says. She recommends checking with the venue's director of events to see what the area is usually like on your chosen weekend. "Check with nearby bars and restaurants to get an even better sense of the scene during the spring season!" Treynet says.
"You never know what to expect weather-wise, which impacts more than just your outdoor photos," says Jackie Reisenauer, owner of Munster Rose. "It can also cause limited or unreliable floral options. Sometimes we'll have lilacs in June, and other years they're gone by mid-May. Peonies and lilies of the valley? We might have them, we might not—it's nearly impossible to predict, especially if you want local flowers." The only real way to handle these question marks is to be flexible. "We are always honest about what a springtime wedding means when it comes to flowers and make sure our clients know that that could be not knowing what's available until the week of the wedding. Instead, we talk alternatives. What can we use if those lilacs are already gone? What are the chances peonies will be blooming, and what's the backup if they're not? We also offer to look beyond our local resources. That could mean paying extra to fly in lilies of the valley from Holland in April, but it will be beautiful!" Instead of getting your heart set on a certain flower, Reisenauer recommends focusing on color, texture, and feel so you'll get the style you want, even if those lilacs aren't around.
If you're having a spring wedding in a church, keep the season's holidays in mind. "Most churches will not let you decorate during Lent," says Annie Lee, principal planner of Daughter of Design. Instead, she thinks about bridesmaids' attire and bouquets as part of the decoration. "Bring the altar to life with stunning bridesmaids' dresses and gorgeous bouquets. Consider something larger or more eye-catching, and have your 'maids flank the altar instead of standing on just one side." And of course, your choice in church is key! By choosing a venue that's pretty on its own, you don't have to worry about whether or not you'll need to add decor.
Quickly changing weather will affect more than just whether or not you decide to pitch a tent. "Travel delays can prevent anyone (or anything) from getting to your wedding," says Amy Nichols, owner of Amy Nichols Special Events. "This might mean some guests aren't able to get there in time for your welcome dinner, or those perfect favors you picked could get delayed in transit." If you've got some advance notice, work with your planner to rectify the situation. Find new favors locally (or skip them altogether; your guests will never know), or figure out a replacement for any other important wedding items that won't be there on time. "Remember that travel days are out of your guests' control. They may be able to drive or find another flight, but the show must go on, even if your favorite aunt won't arrive until the reception is under way," Nichols says. "People look to the couple to see how they should react to any unexpected bumps in the road. If you look relaxed and like you're having fun, your guests will follow suit!"
This story originally appeared on Brides.
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