When planning an outdoor wedding, many different things come into play, from the time of year to the weather to the décor. While tents tend to be the preferred version of protection during a wedding or reception there are other options if you are willing to take a chance on the weather. No matter what you choose, it remains best to have a backup, sheltered location in case the weather does not cooperate.
A canopy is similar to a tent but allows the venue to feel more open to the outdoors. Different sized posts will be arranged and material will be draped from post to post. It can be light fabric such as organza or tulle and can match the colors of the wedding or be simply white. This configuration allows you to choose whether you want a long rectangular shape or circular arrangement. This does not provide shelter from the elements but offers a bit of decoration to the area.
Pergolas are typically wooden structures that somewhat protect an outdoor deck area. The structure allows for the hanging of lights and decorations while not impeding with the connection to the outside. You can construct your own pergola or find a location with one available for rent. Sometimes there are ways to cover the top of the structure should there be unfavorable weather. This gives you a nice backup should things not go as planned. You can have one large pergola made of wood or individual table coverings giving some separation yet still joining the group together.
Parasols or Umbrellas
Parasols and umbrellas work well for sunny wedding locations. The parasols can be handed out before the ceremony offering shade to your guests. During the reception, the tables can be divided and individually covered by an umbrella to offer decoration as well as protection from the heat. In this configuration, the dance floor is usually in the open, but you can put a canopy over the dance area to give it some extra flair.
Gazebos or Covering Vines
Many popular wedding locations have built gazebos so guests can plan an outdoor reception without concern for the elements. This leaves the event in touch with the outdoors while offering piece of mind during the planning process. Some wineries have built gazebos or shelter from growing vines up and over a seating area. You can decorate with various types of lighting or balloons while still enjoying the sunset of the surrounding area.