micro weddings austin outside

Why Outdoor Wedding Venues in Austin Are Trending

If you’re planning a wedding, we don’t have to remind you that COVID-19 has changed everything. Perhaps never before have brides and grooms had to deal with so much change when preparing for their big day. Many have postponed their weddings in hopes of brighter days to come, while others have scaled down their original plans to host only a handful of guests in a modest venue. This has given rise to “micro weddings,” all-inclusive wedding packages for cost-effective, intimate weddings.

Related: The Best Wedding Venues in Austin: Even During a Pandemic

The good news is that we have all learned ways to cope with the pandemic challenges, finding new ways to do old things and appreciating the little things a bit more, like celebrating life’s events with those we love. The pandemic may have brought us to our knees, but it doesn’t have to delay bringing you to the altar, at least not anymore. Outdoor wedding venues in Austin are safe and provide a beautiful backdrop for your special day.

As you likely know, the CDC recommends any gatherings be outdoors. From dining at a restaurant to hosting a wedding, the outdoors appears to lessen the COVID-19 risk. Indoor wedding venues may have been the go-to before the pandemic, but if you want to have your wedding anytime soon, an outdoor venue is your safest bet. Even if you are willing to take a risk, your guests may not. An outdoor wedding ensures most will be able and willing to attend, and you won’t have to worry as much about your event exposing guests to the virus. Plus, you will be able to invite more guests to an outdoor wedding because there are fewer restrictions.

We are fortunate to live in Austin, particularly during the winter, where the weather is often the best of the year. Who can complain when it’s in the mid-seventies in the middle of December? Most of our fall and spring are typically pleasant as well, giving brides- and grooms-to-be the perfect environment for an outdoor wedding. Summers? Well, that’s a different story for a different time, but hopefully by summer 2021, the pandemic will be in our rearview mirrors. Fingers crossed.

Austin also has a beauty and charm that naturally creates a beautiful setting for outdoor weddings. From the hills and lakes to historical sites and rich greenspace, Austin is unlike any other city in Texas. You can’t go wrong by bringing your event outdoors to enjoy why so many people love Austin.

How to Make an Outdoor Wedding Event Safe

With COVID-19 still raging, you have to put safety front and center in your wedding planning. You will likely have vulnerable guests and those who may care for others who are vulnerable, so anything you can do to reduce the risk of infection is time well spent. There is so much changing information to digest these days about what to do and what not to do when it comes to the pandemic. It is challenging enough to think through all of the details of a wedding, let alone the safety protocols you must now consider. It is easy to look at Pinterest and other idea boards to get inspired on wedding decor, but there is yet to be a whole lot of creative, pretty COVID-19 ideas.

When you are working with an outdoor wedding venue in Austin, be sure to ask them about their own COVID-19 protocols. They can help you plan and ensure you have everything you need to keep people safe. Here are a few ideas:

Prepare Guests Ahead of Time

Your guests may be apprehensive about attending any group gatherings. Let them know the steps you are taking to ensure their safety. If you are sending paper invitations, include a sheet with a list of all your are doing, what they can expect, and what they can do to protect themselves.

Related: 4 Reasons Why Intimate Weddings and Events Keep Us Connected

You may want to mention that your event is outdoors, how many people are invited, whether you will require masks and provide them, how food and beverages will be served (no self-serve!), and whether hand sanitizer will be provided. You may also want to extend them a little grace, letting them know that while their presence is desired, you understand if they choose to decline due to COVID-19 concerns. 

Consider The Details

From the time your guests drive up to the venue to the time they leave, walk through your event as if you were them. For instance, if you were considering a valet, how will your guests feel about someone sitting in and touching their car and their keys? Would a masked and gloved driver bring any comfort? Likely not, unless the valet replaces their gloves between (and in front of) each guest. Alternatively, choose a venue with plenty of self-parking or opt for a small shuttle that can bring individual families to and from the event.

Before the guests enter the venue, you should provide masks and hand sanitizer, even if you asked them to bring their own. Chances are, someone will forget, and you don’t want any of your guests to be turned away or feel uncomfortable.

Food and drink stations should be manned by masked, gloved individuals instead of asking guests to handle anything another guest may touch. Place hand sanitizer at every station as well, along with signage throughout your outdoor space that reminds them to use the sanitizer and keep their masks over their nose and mouth when not eating or drinking.

Think about spreading your guests out at tables so they can maintain a proper distance from others. For instance, instead of seating 6 or 8 at a table, place only 4 chairs around the table. Consider assigning families to their own table and asking guests not to move the chairs to sit in a larger group.

Your guests will likely need to go indoors to use the restroom. Depending on the size of the facilities, you may want to limit the number of people allowed to enter at one time. Place a trash can next to the door so guests can dry their hands, touch the bathroom door handle with their towel, and easily toss it into the nearby trash without touching the door handle with their hands.

If you use a microphone during your wedding, have several available and assign someone to disinfect it between uses in front of the guests so they can see it is clean. Just to be safe, ask anyone who speaks to hold the microphone as far from their face as possible.

While these suggestions seem overwhelming and like they take away from the beauty and simplicity of your wedding, they will go a long way in giving you and your guests peace of mind.

How to Make an Outdoor Wedding Event Beautiful

Even with all of the COVID preparations, your wedding can be spectacularly beautiful. Partner with your outdoor wedding venue manager to see all of the possibilities, what’s included in the price, and what you are allowed to bring in. String lights, clusters of candles, tree-hung chandeliers, flowers and greenery, ambient sound or your favorite music will set the stage for a special event, day or night. 

Of course, check out Pinterest, Instagram and other sites that will give you design ideas for outdoor weddings. Remember, you don’t have to go overboard if you’re looking for a simpler wedding. The outdoors will already add a unique beauty to your event, and you can even save costs by taking advantage of the existing setting. 

About Vuka

Vuka began as a small yet mighty idea in a warehouse off of South 1st Street in Austin. With a belief that everyone deserves the space and resources to wake up to their fullest potential, we began designing shared workspaces, programs, and event spaces that inspire and spark change. In Zulu, Vuka means to wake up. It's a verb the symbolizes resurrection and understanding. When we live a life that is more awake, we can be more connected to ourselves and to our communities. We at Vuka are inspired to create space where people can do just that; we provide the space needed to be inspired, to be connected, and to create a better world for everyone. That mighty idea has expanded to two locations in Central Austin that creates, cultivates, and provides dynamically-designed spaces for the community at large. Vuka exists to create modern-day community hubs that foster connection and drive impact. The dynamic spaces offered are used for public and private events, shared workspace, and offices, as well as Vuka’s own leadership workshops and business accelerators, focused on community and global issues congruent with today's evolving landscape.