Image of Sophie and Sean’s Christmas Hills wedding by Corey Wright Photography
For at least eight months of the year, outdoor events are the feature of our runsheet board here at Your Private Chef. And while the majority of outdoor events are a rustic dining style in buffet or BBQ formats, we certainly don’t limit this to what our brides and grooms want. We’ve done many a fine dining menu in a powerless shed with no running water, and while logistically it’s tricky, an outdoor wedding under the stars is something we love to help create.
Here are our top 10 tips to ensure that your outdoor wedding is successful – and easy!
1. Choose a venue with a wet weather plan, whether that is a hall, a rotunda, or the capacity to allow for a tent structure of your choice; it is so important to have a plan B.
2. Plan for extreme heat. There is only one thing worse than a wet wedding and that is a 43-degree total fire ban scorcher! Apart from being uncomfortable, it can completely ruin your venue plans if a total fire ban leads to a no-go bush fire zone due to blocked roads. Always check in with the local fire service ahead of time to introduce yourself and give critical information like the number of guests at your location and guest arrival and departure times so your group is on their radar. Hold a detailed debrief with your venue manager/shire on what their evacuation process is. And lastly, plan for the worst case…if you are in a bush fire prone area, have a city-space on stand by too like a friend’s apartment. Plan for the worst and chances are you will never need to call on that plan.
3. Check out the cooking facilities of your venue, like BBQ grills. Are they in good working order and can they be booked in advance for your event? Most caterers can bring in a full kitchen if needed as long as electrical supply is available. And gas BBQs are generally able to be used even if total fire bans are in place as long as fire guidelines are followed. Some parks won’t allow the use of external BBQs, so check on that detail. In older historic estates it is a good idea to ask about how reliable the power supply is. We once did a wedding where the generator failed and the entire wedding ended up dancing outside to an acoustic band (luckily this happened after mains had been served!)
4. Don’t forget to protect your staff from the elements by factoring in a small tent if cooking is to be done outside. Aside from being kind to staff, if your BBQ is totally exposed without any windbreak, this could lead to significant cooking delays …so plan ahead with positioning.
5. Check mobile phone coverage in your area. In regions where drop outs or single carrier networks apply, ensure your invitation has a good old-fashioned map with clear instructions in case Google Maps won’t come along for the ride. Ensure your staff and suppliers have the same map, especially if your venue is quite large with multiple entry points. There is nothing worse than being on one side of a river while your suppliers look anxiously at you from the bank on the other side.
6. Does your venue require you to obtain a permit? Some council do require permits for all gatherings in public spaces, while others only require this for larger groups or where structures are being erected. It is well worth checking to avoid having to move your whole party on the day due to authorities raining on your parade!
7. Any inner city park may be a challenge for unloading and car parking. Think ahead so you can advise your suppliers of specific loading areas and organise car parks to avoid long delays and a late start.
8. What is the rubbish policy of your venue? Do you need to take all rubbish offsite? If so check in with your caterer to ensure this has been quoted for and make sure to ask about your bottles too, particularly if you are doing BYO drinks.
9. Casual dining doesn’t have to mean no formalities. Work with your caterer to ensure that all the special moments of the night are worked into the runsheet. Like your first dance, cutting of the cake and speeches. And if there is no formal structure, we recommend asking your MC or DJ to announce that at the start of the reception, so your guests know what to expect.
10. Communicate your runsheet and all the finer details to your suppliers – we always recommend that all your key suppliers stay in close contact in the lead up to the event to exchange details and information. We offer this service for our couples, so make sure you ask your caterer if they do too. Food is the central point of your celebrations and the timing of meals and drinks is key to everything working out well.
And lastly, enjoy your outdoor wedding. You have chosen such a special format and with some careful planning, you will have the time of your life!
Ms Chinoiserie Says: Such helpful advice; particularly about checking whether power is available – and providing a map with clear directions!
About Your Private Chef: When every last detail needs to be utterly perfect you can completely rely on us to provide an unforgettable gourmet food experience with exceptional service. We deliver unforgettable wedding catering – Melbourne style – fusing fresh flavours with the best ingredients to suit all budgets.
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