A Guide to Organizing a Mountain Wedding
What could be more romantic than exchanging your vows in a woodland meadow? Warm summer sun and a gentle breeze laced with the scent of alpine flowers sounds beautiful. Before you commit fully to this idea, there are a few things to consider.
It's easy to get caught up in the moment, and the general idea of a non-traditional wedding, but it takes planning.
Before you begin planning your mountain wedding, find out if you need permission. Restrictions might be in place, due to an increase of traffic, lack of parking, or the need for public services including restrooms for your guests.
If you book through a wedding planner or hotel that specializes in this, they would have all the permissions in place.
Ask yourself why you want to have your wedding outside. Perhaps you love mountain climbing, hiking, or are just a casual visitor who loves national parks. Any of these may be the reason you want to have your ceremony outdoors.
My aim with this article is to help you understand and identify a few potential pitfalls.
1. Preparing for Inclement Weather
Nothing can spoil an outdoor wedding faster than a sharp and sudden downpour. Because a wedding is planned well in advance, the weather will be a factor in your decision. Choose a month that is most likely to have favorable weather, but it's wise to have a backup plan.
A backup plan can be as simple as moving into a marquee, although not as romantic, more practical.
It's easy to think that it's only rain that can cause a problem, but what about excessive sun, heat, and humidity? Depending on who is attending, some guests may find the heat unbearable. People who aren't accustomed to being in high humidity, don't understand the potential risks. They may also be dressed up and wearing clothing unsuitable for the climate.
Action steps you can take are:
- Provide shade in the form of a marquee, parasols, or trees.
- Have fans available. These can either be hand fans, many can be with your wedding details, or electric fans powered by a portable generator.
- Encourage your guests to stay hydrated with water and fruit juices. Although you'll likely be serving alcohol at your wedding, make your guests aware that drinking alcohol dehydrates the body.
Let's not forget about the wind, this can wreak havoc, with your hairstyle, dress, and flowers. If you're having your wedding in a meadow, the wind can whip down a valley stirring up leaves, dust, and debris.
If there is a chance of cooler weather, provide fleece blankets for your guests.
Be aware that the wind will also cause sound problems if you are trying to video your wedding. Your videographer should take the venue into account and make preparations to deal with any potential sound problems.
2. Location and Accessibility
Although you and your soon to be spouse may easily be able to walk, hike or climb to the site for your ceremony, some on your guest list may not. Is there parking nearby? Is the terrain, sloped, rocky, or potentially slippery?
Can you make it more accessible? Questions like this will help you assess your location and decide if it's the best choice for your nuptials. The majority of guests can attend a reception immediately after the wedding in an easy to reach area.
Mobility issues don't only apply to those in a wheelchair. There could be elderly guests with walking problems. This could be someone who wears a prosthetic or someone who is partially sighted. Some people may have temporary mobility problems such as a broken ankle.
Because you may not know everyone's fitness levels, it's a good idea to mention difficult terrain on the invitation.
3. Altitude Sickness
If you're having your ceremony at a high altitude, know the signs for altitude sickness. Guests who aren't used to high elevations could become ill. Altitude sickness occurs above 8,500 feet. Make guests aware of the telltale signs, which include:
- Coordination problems
Although it's easy to think that destination weddings are at the beach in exotic places such as Hawaii or on a Caribbean island, many are in the mountains.
Switzerland tops the list of destination mountains weddings because of its picturesque mountains, and the Swiss' attention to details.
There are many companies that will organize your wedding ceremony for you or with aforementioned guidelines, you can do it yourself.