While holding weddings in a church remains the most popular venue for marriage celebrations, more and more brides are seeking alternative settings. Summer can be a great season to embrace the great outdoors and work with the beauty of nature for your wedding.

Consider the pros and cons of the following options.

A backyard

Pros: If you know someone with a large backyard or have one yourself, this location can be a great option for keeping costs low. There will be almost no rules for how you can decorate and who you can work with. (Be respectful of your host, of course.) Stringing lights across the yard? Go for it. In love with a certain caterer? Book them without worrying if they are on a preferred vendors list.

Cons: Be aware that outdoor venues don’t hold the same acoustics as many indoor venues; this can make it hard for guests to hear the ceremony. Consider small microphones that can be worn discreetly, or be prepared to feel like you’re shouting in order for the back row to hear the nuptials.

The beach

Pros: The beach can be a magical place to get married. Imagine walking barefoot toward your significant other, a gentle breeze blowing through your hair, all with the sound of waves crashing softly against the shore behind you.

Cons: Of course, the gentle breeze could be a strong wind, depending on the day. And this might not be the venue for you if you are worried about your dress getting untidy and perhaps a bit wet.

Inns and B&Bs

Pros: Probably the best aspect of hosting an outdoor wedding at an inn or bed and breakfast over the backyard of a loved one is that there is an option to stay. Don’t want your guests to worry about transportation? They can book a room and stay the night. The celebration can continue for as long as you wish.

Cons: You may have to rent out the entire place in order to host the ceremony or reception at a bed and breakfast. While incredibly beautiful, bed and breakfasts are usually on the smaller side, so if you have to move the party inside for any reason, it can start to feel cramped very quickly.

Vineyards and wineries

Pros: These venues also normally offer stunning indoor options in case of inclement weather, making your investment feel more secure.

Cons: Wineries and vineyards can be very expensive. These locations have gone vogue for wedding venues in the last decade, so expect to pay top dollar for the privilege.

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