Ladies, wedding season has arrived—and in the beautiful landscapes of western Maryland and West Virginia, that often means an outdoor ceremony or reception. While nature can provide one of the most memorable backdrops for a wedding, outdoor weddings also present unique challenges.
From choosing the right dress that’s both comfortable and appropriate for outdoor occasions to remembering to wear waterproof makeup for those tearful toasts, here are some of the best ways we’ve found to look effortlessly chic in the great outdoors, even as the temperature rises.
1. Dress for the venue.
While many outdoor weddings call for more casual attire, this isn’t always the case. In a rustic location such as ThorpeWood, the popular retreat center in Thurmond, MD, a tea length dress and flats should fit right in. In contrast, an evening indoor/outdoor wedding at Catoctin Hall near Frederick may be the time to dress to the nines. Of course, if you are unsure, ask the bride or groom’s family.
2. Don’t get stuck in the sand or grass.
If the ceremony is taking place on grass, at beach or even on a wooden deck, high heels are a definite no-go. Pack heel covers to protect your shoes and prevent an unsightly face-plant. It may be best to opt for a nice pair of flat sandals with a jeweled embellishment that makes them look great for a wedding—and will let you dance the night away in comfort and style.
3. Prevent a makeup meltdown.
There’s nothing fun about an outdoor wedding when the humidity has us all dripping sweat before the ceremony even begins. You may not be able to control your friend’s venue choice, but you can make smart choices to keep your makeup in place. Opt for light concealer, skip the liquid eyeliner, and stash an all-in-one, cream-to-powder multi-purpose makeup stick in your bag. Lastly, don’t forget to choose waterproof mascara. When it’s time to touch up your makeup, use an oil blotter sheet to remove excess sweat before lightly applying powder to stop shine.
4. Pack a light wrap to transition from outdoor ceremonies to indoor receptions.
Deciding what to wear to a wedding with an outdoor ceremony and indoor reception can be especially tricky. While a cute sundress may keep you comfortable outside, you could be freezing during the reception once the A/C kicks on. Be smart about layering: bring a light wrap to cover your shoulders during the dinner until the dancing gets started. A matching lightweight pashmina is always appropriate attire for a wedding.
5. Smell as fresh during the reception as you did during the ceremony.
Come cocktail hour, that deodorant you applied post-shower may already be fading. Stash a travel stick in your bag for a quick touchup. And remember to go light on the perfume. Even a quick spray of scent can be intensified by heat and sweat—you don’t want to overpower those around you. Remind your date to go light on the cologne, too.
6. Hope for sun, and plan accordingly.
Sure, every bride dreams of a sunny wedding day, but that doesn’t mean the sun is your skin’s friend at an outdoor wedding. To prevent looking like a lobster when the reception rolls around, apply a light layer of UVA/UVB broad-spectrum sunscreen underneath your makeup. This is especially important if you’ve had a peel or facial as part of your pre-wedding preparations, as many women do. Top the sunscreen off with powder to prevent excess shine. Also, pack your shades; you won’t be able to see the bride and groom saying their vows if you’re squinting in the bright light. Sunglasses are also great for hiding those tears that we know can come out of nowhere during the emotional vows.
7. But do prepare for rain.
While many couples planning an outdoor wedding have a “plan B” that includes shelter in case of rain, there’s always the chance you’ll be subject to a few sprinkles. Consider this when choosing your shoes—it may be best to leave your cherished Italian leather pumps in the closet. Also, carry a compact, stylish umbrella in your clutch.
We hope you find these tips helpful as you prepare to attend your next outdoor wedding. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about what you can do to look your best as a guest, bridesmaid, or even if it’s your big day coming up. We’ll be happy to assist you.