Happily ever after: What you need to know about outdoor wedding preparation

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Updated Jun 22, 2020
Photo: PixabayPhoto: Pixabay

Summer is one of the most popular seasons for nuptials, and customers might already have or will soon begin to ask you whether or not your landscaping company offers outdoor wedding preparation.

If this isn’t currently a service you offer but you’ve considered diving into it, take a look at some of the ideas and options you’ll need to keep in mind when determining what all you’ll be able to offer. Whether you strictly provide design ideas, strictly construction and installation or design and installation, having a plan in action ahead of time and understanding the intricacies of wedding planning and preparation can help the process go more smoothly.

Planning

Whether your company is only providing designs for a wedding or another outdoor event, only doing the installation work or will be performing it all, it’s important to begin the process with a well-thought-out plan.

Taking time to meet with the couple and wedding planner will help you and your team get a better sense of the space you’ll be working with, the amount of work ahead of you, what you will and won’t need to add to the space and more along those lines.

Be sure to see the site for yourself before making any kind of plans or promises to the couple, as photos of the space could be outdated or unreliable with scaling and sizing, and verbal descriptions can be equally as off the mark.

According to Arlene Pond, landscape designer with J. Montgomery Designs in Alamo, California, the planning process can be a bit different depending on your company’s role in the process.

For projects that will only involve softscaping, such as adding in plant material, pots, beds and more, the planning process is more simplistic. For this, she says, landscapers will typically only need to see the site, have a basic sketch of what the couple wants for the layout, then order the necessary plants. When said plants arrive, Pond says that typically, everyday landscaping tools will be used for the installation process. She also stresses the importance of checking to see whether or not irrigation will need to be installed and used throughout the event, as well as any water fixtures that will require refilling and electricity.

For projects where hardscaping is required, Pond says the process gets a little more complex. These types of projects, she says, require planning, drawing up sketches and designs, obtaining construction documents, being aware of what type of lighting will be used, the installation process, taking bids and more.

Preparation

For companies doing both the planning and installation work, there are a few details to keep in mind when looking at the space.

First of all, be sure to look closely at the grass and surrounding grounds. If the grass could use a little watering, fertilizing and mowing, don’t hesitate to jump in and start preparing. Take stock of any weeds or patchy areas in need of tender love and care, and try to begin the reseeding process in enough time to let those areas fill back in before the big day.

Likewise, be on the lookout for ant beds and other pests that could potentially put a damper on the outdoor festivities.

Applying pesticides in a timely and safe manner can help keep creepy crawlies from making an unwelcomed appearance on the couple’s big day and finding ways to add in candles and plants that ward off insects can be a creative way to add to the decorations while also providing functionality.

After reviewing the site, sit down and talk to the couple and the wedding planner about the theme and color schemes of the event. When preparing the designs, don’t be afraid to incorporate their ideas into the overall design to make a more cohesive look.

For most outdoor events, lighting will be a major focal point, especially if the shindig runs over into the evening hours. With the simple addition of some artful lighting throughout the venue, the area can go from an afternoon wedding to a serenely lit place for a reception.

Adding in a few artful light displays can create a completely different environment for your clients and their guests, and it can also act as a more aesthetically pleasing way of beckoning visitors to explore and wander when they have a spare moment or two during the festivities.

If there are concrete areas or patios that will be used, be sure that these are cleaned properly before the big day. If your customers have always wanted to add in a patio to their yard but never really saw a need for it until now, consider adding in a new patio or outdoor kitchen to the space while you’re in the preparation process. This can give guests more seating and an area to relax in during the rehearsal dinner, reception or another type of party.

Along with these details, Pond recommends taking stock of just how big or small the event will be.

“I think the main thing (you need to do) to be successful is to really think about how many people are going to be in that space and how functional it’s going to be for hosting a wedding,” Pond said.

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