Special Feature by Claudia Copquin of Getting Married on Long Island
Wineries …. Beaches …. Backyards… Lighthouses …. Parks ….Nature Preserves… Long Island brides frequently do it outdoors. Get married, that is. There’s something very special about exchanging vows surrounded by a natural setting – even for those of us who aren’t necessarily trying to have the greenest possible wedding.
Based on my years of experience with Long Island weddings, I have some tips to offer:
1. First, define “outdoor wedding.”
Meaning, decide if you are going to have both the ceremony and the reception outdoors. You can have the ceremony on a beach, for example, and then have transportation on hand to relocate everyone to a nearby indoor facility. Or you can have the entire event outside, all in the same location.
2. Research your options for getting married outdoors. Your best bet is to look for catering halls, private home rentals, restaurants or mansions that have lovely grounds as well as indoor reception spaces, in case of bad weather. Generally, it’s less risky to have the ceremony outside – at an arboretum, for example – and then taking the reception inside on the ground’s catering venue. Here on Long Island, Planting Fields Arboretum
in Oyster Bay offers both outdoor ceremonies on amazing grounds, plus indoor receptions in a historic mansion. A celebrity hot-spot, The Montauk Yacht Club
on the east end of Long Island, is a great example of a location that has it all – beach, marina (in case you want to marry on a boat), grounds and indoor reception rooms. Another lovely option is a winery. Bedell Cellars
on the North Fork of Long Island has a lush orchard or even a lavender field, for an outdoor ceremony, with the reception moved into their barn-style mahogany pavilion that provides stunning views of the grounds (the tasting room is also available for weddings).
3. If you’re set on having your entire wedding outside at a beach or park – both ceremony and reception -- you must contact your town, village or city hall and ask about permits and fees. Permits are usually required for an outdoor ceremony and reception, for parking for your guests, for entertainment, for alcohol and food consumption…It can seem daunting, but –
4. Often, catering companies,
or wedding planners,
can obtain many of these permits
on your behalf. They should know what the rules for outdoor weddings are and advise you on what is required for the location of your choice.
5. Finally, if you decide to have an outdoor wedding like many Long Islanders, and have both ceremony and reception
at a location such as a park:
--- make sure there’s ample room for large tents, in case the weather doesn’t cooperate.
--- ask about restroom availability (will they be clean and suitable for a wedding?) and parking lots (is there space for all of your guests?).
--- pre-pay for any parking fees so your guests don’t have to.
--- take into consideration elderly guests (will the walk to and from the parking lot be hazardous for them?).
--- inquire about electrical supply (where will the DJ plug in his equipment?
--- find out who is responsible for the clean-up – before the wedding and after.
Thanks to Claudia of Getting Married on Long Island
for sharing her expertise.