Decorate your wedding

Decorating for your wedding: some things to keep in mind

Central Wisconsin has some utterly gorgeous places to hold an outdoor wedding: the Eua Claire dells Park in Wood county or the top of Rib Mountain, from the Red Mill near Waupaca to Door County on the shores of Lake Superior; there is something to provide the perfect backdrop for your special event.


Still, no matter how lovely your venue, whether it be a bluff’s edge at sunset or that wonderful bed and breakfast, outdoor events demand their own special considerations. Here are a few tips and tricks to make certain that things go well with your decorating schemes.

First of all, keep the weather in mind. You may be planning for a sunny day, but summer storms can blow up quickly, especially around large bodies of water like the Great Lakes. Always have a backup location, such as a nearby shelter or dining hall, or a rented tent. You want to make sure that your guests will be safe and comfortable. If a sudden change in the weather appears, can the decorations be moved quickly?

If it is a windy location, choose your materials well. Votive candles will need to be in heavy holders to prevent them tipping over and causing a fire.  Long trailing ribbons may not be an option if they are going to be flailing in the breeze, and that magnificent floral arch you have been dreaming about will need to be staked down securely. If you are going to have an aisle runner for the Bride to walk down, use small weights at the edges to keep it from flying away.

If the weather cooperates and the day is sunny and bright, there are still a few things to keep in mind. Live floral arrangements will need to be kept watered to avoid wilting. Candles should only be lit when needed to avoid accidents, and someone needs to be assigned to keep an eye on them. Ice sculptures will melt quickly in the summer sun, so check with the caterer if they need to have a freezer available to keep them until the unveiling.

When placing chairs for your guests, make sure the ground will support them without sinking too far into the soil. If it rained the night before the ground will still be spongy. Small squares of cardboard under the feet of the chairs will help, but only so much.

Garland is a good choice instead of ribbon, as it will wave and sparkle in the sun giving a feeling of motion, without the long ends of ribbons flying through your photos later. It’s also very easy to take down, which is another thing to remember: What goes up, must come down, especially if you are in a public park.

If your wedding is indoors, then we have many other options to consider. The same warnings about candles, ice sculpture and your floral arrangements come into play, of course, but those are just common sense.

Large vases are often used as centerpieces in the reception hall, but again, be sure they have a minimal tipping factor no matter what you put in them. Ribbons, banners and swags should be hung high enough up and securely fastened to keep them from being accidently torn down if a guest bumps into them.

Talk to your event planner or the reception hall manager. Most of the time they will already have a system in place, since they have done this before. Trust them and use their expertise to make your job easier.

The whole point to this is that no matter what your theme is for your wedding—Wisconsin chic, city sophisticate or even Star Wars, keep in mind that safety and careful planning are your best friends. They’ll make your special day one to remember and talk about for years to come.

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