Image by Ben Adams
Outdoor ceremonies on a beach, high on a hilltop, overlooking the bay or even in a majestic park can be absolutely breathtaking, there is no question about it. However, ensuring one’s guests are focused on the couple making their promises rather than the scenic vista is no easy feat! While not guaranteeing guests will pay attention, I believe there are a few small things that should be considered well in advance to help manage the distractions of scenic ceremony locations. I call these my three golden steps to ceremony planning.
- Step 1: Create the Focal Point
Putting the couple in focus in the forefront of the landscape is one of the first priorities. If guests are more likely to be watching boats sailing past, a sunset, or even the kids playing on the sand, it can be hard to keep them focused on the couple that they love and adore (and may have flown miles to see) take their vows. There are a number of ways to create a visual focus point from using a natural point in the landscape (like the cluster of trees in the example above), simple bunting and flags through to elaborate constructed frames, arches or the Jewish traditional chuppah.
Thinking about layout in terms of what the couple wish to look at to mark this moment in their memory vs what is their guests see can also assist in creating appropriate visual focus.
Image via Bella Figura
Step 2: Ensure the Ceremony is Audible
A PA or appropriate sound system (usually supplied by the marriage celebrant) is absolutely crucial to ensuring guests can hear and focus on what is being said rather than a boat’s motor, overzealous picnicers or a strong seabreeze.
An unplugged ceremony, or simply asking guests to refrain from taking photos in the heart of the ceremony, can also assist to create that magical quiet and intense atmosphere that makes truly special ceremonies stand out.
Step 3: Make Sure Guests are Comfortable
I know a civil ceremony is not a long time to stand but considering the comfort of guests well in advance can make a significant difference in keeping attention. Shelter from high wind, ensuring a back-up plan in case of wet weather and somewhere to rest those weary legs in high, high heels can mean guests are less worried about their hair and leg cramps and more focused on the magic that is your wedding day.
At the end of the day, you will still have an amazing time, even if it is just the two of you and your witnesses standing on a windy cape! However as a celebrant who adores a good wedding, I would love every couple to feel the amazing moment that is created when you have the undivided attention of those who love you most. Words cannot describe that atmosphere; and in most cases it is just a little forward thinking that allows this to happen naturally.
Ms Gingham says: Great advice when planning your outdoor ceremony. Thanks Danicia!
About Danicia Dutry Ceremonies: One of life’s most amazing milestones is to find a partner to share your life. Creating a bespoke ceremony requires exceptional planning, facilitation and people skills. It is my pleasure to offer this service to couples embarking on their life journey. I have worked in professional communications and research roles for over 15 years; including senior positions with some of Australia’s leading companies. I ensure my professional experience forms the base of each ceremony but add the warmth and magic that are the essential key ingredients to creating a wonderful ceremony that enables your friends and family to feel an active part.
Read more by Danicia Dutry Ceremonies here.