Decorating an Outdoor Wedding

Outdoor weddings are enormously popular in the summertime. Few of us can escape the months of June, July, and August without receiving at least one invitation to an outdoor nuptial ceremony. For those planning and coordinating these events, decorating becomes a special challenge. The great outdoors isn’t a clearly defined space like a church or reception hall. Where do you begin? In this article, we’ll cover some of the basics that you’ll need to know for decorating an outdoor wedding of your dreams.

In an outdoor wedding ceremony, there are three primary areas of decorating that need to be addressed: the entrance, the seating area, and the altar. By defining each of these areas with unique and meaningful decorations, you will help set the tone of your wedding and a theme, if so desired. We’ll address each of these areas separately.

The Entrance:
First impressions are everything. When your guests arrive, you want them to feel excited about the special occasion they are about to witness. This can easily be accomplished by creating a unique pathway to the wedding site. The beginning of the pathway should be marked and recognizable. Consider placing garden fountains on either side of the path or an arbor draped in flowers for your guests to walk through. Large urns of flowers can be used and also placed along the path to lead the way. If you are having an evening wedding, consider including landscaping lights to outline the pathway and provide lighting.

The Seating Area:
Seating is always a challenge at an outdoor wedding. You’ll likely have to rent chairs for your guests to sit on. You’ll want your guests to feel like they are part of an intimate setting, so be considerate of how the chairs are arranged. Make sure that each person has the best possible vantage point of the bride and groom. When decorating the chairs, consider using strings of flowers and ribbons along the backs of the last row of chairs to add an elegant touch to the seating area. If your guests are entering and exiting from a center isle, you might consider draping the outsides of the rows with flowers and ribbons, as well. Consider placing urns of flowers or even free standing patio trellises along the outside of the chair rows. This can add a burst of color, as well as some privacy for your ceremony.

The Altar:
The altar is arguably the most important part of decorating in a wedding ceremony. After all, the bride and groom should be the center of the day. It is important that your guests have the ability to see and hear you during the ceremony. If it will be a large outdoor gathering with more than 50 people, you may want to use a sound system so guests in back can hear you.

If the ground is relatively flat, you might also want to elevate the bride, groom, and officiant. This can easily be accomplished with a sturdy platform to stand on, and the platform can be decorated as desired with flowers, bows, and cloth. You may also want to create a special backdrop or surround for your vows. An overhead structure such as a wedding arbor or garden pergola can be a great option for this. Arbors and pergolas can easily be purchased as ready to assemble kits, and they come in a variety of colors, sizes, and configurations. After the ceremony is over, the garden structure can then be gifted to the happy couple for their new home.

Planning any wedding is a lot of work, but decorating an outdoor wedding doesn’t have to be. By paying attention to the three most important areas, the entrance, seating area, and altar, you will ensure that the event is beautifully decorated and your guests are dazzled on your special day.

Fantastic Ideas to Help With Your Home & Garden

If you have been thinking of tackling the garden around your home, then you might be searching for some ideas. The right look and style can make your home even more attractive. This can make for a great selling feature if you are thinking of putting your home on the market. It can also just make your living space a more appealing one to be in. Decorating a home & garden can make for a great summer project.

Having the right garden can make you want to be at home and living in it. When you can set your patio area up in a way that promotes the space around you, it can give you a great view and open up the outdoor living space around you.

The right garden area can make it the perfect place to enjoy whether it’s during the evening or through-out the day. Many people are spending the same amount of time and money, as they would a room within their home.

There are several different ways that you can construct your patio space. You might choose a deck, some interlock, or a gazebo over top of grass. All three designs can be custom fit. You can pick from several designs when you pick a deck to be built. The color, design of wood and construction of it, can all be built to meet your expectations and wonderful ideas and concepts. A nice pattern could be found in a magazine and duplicated with an expert.

One of the nice things about decks and interlocking patios is that you can have them designed around a favorite table or outdoor couch set. And not only will your furniture have a perfect spot on the patio, but you could ensure there is a nook for a fountain, bar area, or even a fire pit.

Finding the right plants to put in your backyard, can be made easy when you learn some tricks and get inspired from garden magazines. The right combination of plants and flowers is waiting for you to discover. You could also ask a professional who works in a garden center to help you plan out the garden area.

A home & garden that is developed and created by you, might always be a work in progress, but can be the perfect spot to unwind and focus energies, when you want to just escape from the hectic stress of your day.

Enough With the Burgers and Hotdogs Already

I won’t lie; I love a big, thick burger fresh of the grill as much as the next guy. And I don’t shy away from a slightly charred hot dog either. But, as convenient as these staples of American backyard grilling may be, wouldn’t it be nice to mix things up now and again?

I’m a firm believer in subtly themed events. I love the idea of a backyard gathering with a tropical mood. My wife likes a spicy Latin theme. Sometimes we like to get back to our roots and welcome our guests with some down-home southern hospitality. Our themes aren’t always regional, either. There have been plenty events centered around seafood or sausages. The point is, we mix it up and so should you. Because, it’s those events where we pull out all the stops that our guests remember most fondly.

Save the burgers and hotdogs for small, quick and easy gatherings. For bigger events, take some time to consider a theme and then decorate and plan meals that are appropriate. It might take you a few tries to master more exotic recipes, but if you get it right you’ll be glad you took the time.

One way we like to spice things up is by serving pineapple salsa with salmon dishes for a sweet, fresh and delicious bite. We use fresh fruit centerpieces our guests can munch on while waiting for their main course and we always go the extra mile and serve clams and mussels fresh from our grocer. It’s our good fortune to live near the coast so all our seafood dishes are fresh.

Speaking of salmon, if you’re considering giving it a try, pickup some cedar planks from your local hardware store. It’s an incredibly aromatic way to prepare fresh salmon on the grill and one of those small touches that add up to make for big events.

And don’t forget about decorations. Throwing a memorable theme party is about more than just the food. Plan decorations that help the event pop. For any event with even the slightest tropical feel, my wife and I always light up garden torches that invite our guests to explore our yard. If we’re serving Mediterranean dishes, we light up the string lights over our patio. When we feel really brave and serve Asian-inspired dishes, we light paper lanterns and place them strategically through our garden and around our patio.

The point is to live a little and have fun. But one word of wisdom; practice before you party. The last thing you want is to tackle a complicated exotic dish only to find you’ve botched it entirely. Have a go at it in advance. Make a smaller portion for you and your family to enjoy. If it’s a hit, you’ve found your main course. If it flops, grab another recipe or pickup another book on backyard grilling and try again.

With a little planning ahead, your next backyard event could be the hit of the season. Your guests will remember you fondly for the effort you went through. But, even though I told you not to, go ahead and keep a few hotdogs and hamburgers in the fridge on standby. There’s no accounting for some people’s tastes and kids will always be shy when it comes to experimenting with new foods.