Outdoor Wedding Planning & Rental Checklist

May 4, 2023
By: Marquee Event Rentals

Our outdoor wedding planning checklist is designed to make sure you remember everything you need to plan an outdoor celebration. Learn more here.

Outdoor Wedding Planning & Rental Checklist: 13 Ways to Prepare for Your Big Day

Nothing beats a romantic, relaxed, magical outdoor wedding. But as any wedding planner knows, creating the open-air wedding of your dreams requires careful preparation.


We’ve created this outdoor wedding checklist for anyone wanting to host a beautiful and comfortable outdoor wedding. If you are planning an outdoor wedding celebration, follow our checklist to make sure you don’t miss any of the details.

1. Have a Backup Plan

You may be getting married rain or shine, but no guest wants to get drenched while you say your vows. Having a backup plan is essential for an outdoor wedding celebration.


Some outdoor wedding venues offer an indoor alternative that you can relocate to in the event of inclement weather. Another option is to rent a wedding tent to protect your guests from the sun and rain.

2. Reserve Parking Space

Many outdoor wedding venues have parking lots, but if you are planning a wedding at a park, in your backyard, or at another open-air location, you may need to check if there is enough street parking to accommodate your guest list.


If there isn’t enough parking nearby, consider hiring a valet service to handle parking for your guests. Instead of wasting time searching for a spot, your guests can spend more time celebrating.

3. Add Directional Signage

Without hallways and doors to guide your guests, they can easily get lost. Add plenty of directional signage to point them in the right direction. Make sure to include signs for how to get from the parking lot to the venue, how to find the restrooms, and how to get from the ceremony to the reception area.

4. Rent a Wedding Tent

A wedding tent is the perfect addition to an outdoor wedding. Tents provide your guests with shade from the sun and cover from the rain, and they also create a hub for the evening, marking a spot for everyone to gather throughout the night to eat, dance, and celebrate.


You can rent a wedding tent in any size, shape, material, and color, depending on the atmosphere you want to create:


  • A-frame tents are a classic option, giving your guests plenty of space to dance the night away.
  • Sailcloth tents enhance natural light during the day and give off a warm glow at night.
  • Tents with a clear top are perfect for a wedding where you want your guests to have a view of the sky.
  • Clearspan tents fit any venue and provide maximum space for your tables, chairs, and dance floor.


Whether you want to create a casual outdoor atmosphere or plan an elegant alfresco wedding, contact a local wedding equipment rental company and find a tent that matches your style.

5. Consider the Weather

An outdoor wedding means you and your guests are exposed to the elements. What season is your wedding? What is the weather like? You need some sort of climate control to keep your guests comfortable. For a winter wedding, rent tent heaters or patio heaters to keep guests warm. Summer weddings may require air conditioning units in the tent as well as plenty of fans so everyone can stay cool.

6. Install a Portable Dance Floor

Every wedding needs a dance floor. If your wedding is outside, and there isn’t any sort of hard surface where guests can safely take a spin, then you should install a portable dance floor.


These dance floors are easy to install in outdoor venues and come in a variety of shapes, styles, colors, and textures. Find one that fits your wedding theme and get ready to dance the night away.

7. Set the Mood with Lighting

Lighting not only ensures your guests can see but also sets the mood. String twinkling lights along the tent canopy, line the walkways with small lights, decorate mason jars with tea candles, and hang lanterns from nearby trees. Then, your guests will be able to find their way to the dance floor and enjoy the romantic atmosphere that only the right lighting can create.

8. Consider Your Electric and Power Needs

An outdoor event comes with unique challenges. Every venue offers different levels of access to essential elements like power and electricity, and it may or may not be enough for what you’re planning.


Check in with your caterer, baker, florist, musicians, and wedding planner to see what is needed in terms of refrigeration, electricity, temperature control, and power access. If your venue doesn’t have everything on your list, consider renting additional electrical or kitchen equipment.

9. Lease Portable Restrooms

We’ve come a long way from porta-potties. Today, you can rent luxury portable restrooms that are worthy of any outdoor wedding—and they may even include amenities like in-room music, air conditioning or heating, and granite countertops.


To impress your guests, add a few extras like fancy soap bars, floral centerpieces, monogrammed towels.

10. Add a Variety of Seating Options

You want your guests to be comfortable, so add a variety of seating options. While chairs and tables may be traditional during the meal, you can also rent couches, benches, or other seating to install around the outdoor venue. A wooden bench or swing is the perfect addition to a rustic wedding theme, and a loveseat draped with flowy fabric and covered in cushions could be an excellent choice for a vintage style wedding.

11. Ward Off Pests

Bugs are an unfortunate side effect of any outdoor event—depending on the season. If your outdoor wedding venue is at risk of pests like mosquitos, flies, ants, or other creepy crawlies, consider how you can ward them off. See if you can hire an exterminator to spray the area a few days before your wedding, and add citronella candles to help keep the bugs away throughout your special day.

12. Decorate Your Venue

It’s the details that take a wedding from good to great. When it comes to decorating your venue, pay attention to the little things.


Start by draping fabric from the tent’s ceiling to create sections or make the space flow. Rent eye-catching chargers and flatware to take the table décor to the next level. Add cushions to chairs so guests are comfortable. Your guests will appreciate anything you can do to enhance your wedding’s unique theme.

13. Take Advantage of Nature’s Beauty

One of the best features of an outdoor wedding celebration is, of course, Mother Nature herself. Whether your wedding venue is on the beach, in a garden, or has a mountain view, take advantage of the beautiful scenery and incorporate nature into every aspect of your planning.


For example, add local, in-season florals and greenery to your wedding arch, set up chairs and tables to give guests a good view, or lean into a bohemian theme to match the beach vibe.

Rent All Your Outdoor Wedding Essentials at Marquee Event Rentals

At Marquee Event Rentals, we have the finest selection of party and wedding rental equipment in the Midwest, including furniture, tents, and lighting. Our resources, experience, and inventory allow us to help our clients throw the outdoor wedding of their dreams, no matter the size, venue, or theme.


Every day and every event, we’re here to make your vision a reality.


Are you ready to bring your outdoor wedding plans to life? Contact us today to get started with a complimentary consultation.

venue: private residence
planner: Hitched
photographer: Claire Ryser
florist: Good Earth
caterer: Olive Events