Many couples dream of exchanging vows on a pristine beach with the beautiful backdrop of waves and open waters. The element of wind can provide a nice, cooling breeze on a hot summer day. On the contrary, heavy gusts of wind may be common on any given day at the beach and present challenges with hosting an oceanfront ceremony or outdoor reception. On the most blustery days, gusts of wind in speeds of up to 25 miles per hour can occur on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. This explains why the Wright Brothers found Kill Devil Hills, NC as the perfect location for their accomplishments in the first flights of 1903. In preparation for this upcoming wedding season, I have recently spent some time evaluating the weather patterns in the Outer Banks and setting myself up for success to ensure I have effective solutions for the many opportunities wind may present at any given venue.
I also opened a discussion forum among some of the Outer Banks Wedding Guild vendors about this topic. Sharing these tips allows us to work cohesively as a team and ensure your wedding day turns out beautifully! Please continue reading to learn useful tips from experienced OBX wedding professionals.
From my perspective as a wedding planner with Socially Serene Events, there are many elements which may be affected by wind such as bridesmaids’ dresses, hairstyles, sand ceremonies, tablecloths, escort cards and table numbers, candles, and so on. For music and PA systems, Soundwavz Entertainment provides tips for overcoming challenges presented by a windy day.
#1: It is important to select attire for the wedding party which is appropriate in length and material for an outdoor celebration. When bridesmaids are wearing short dresses made of light fabrics and the wind is blowing heavily, they end up with one hand on their bouquet and one hand on their dress to keep it down. This presents the possibility of an embarrassing situation for your bridesmaids!
#2: Loose and flowing hairstyles do not hold up in the wind. I always have extra bobby pins and hairspray on hand. Pulled up or pulled back work best in the wind.
#3: I provide a sand ceremony table which has a drawer so that I can weight down the table with a heavy object placed in the drawer and then I bury the table legs in the sand. I remind couples to choose containers of substantial weight to ensure they will not fall over, spilling out their sand or breaking.
#4: In my emergency kit, I keep a number of items to glue, pin, tack, tape, and tie down anything which is too lightweight and may blow away in the wind. I keep double-sided tape, gaffer tape, glue, safety pins, spring clamps, tablecloth clips, thumb tacks, twine, adhesive Velcro, and zip ties. You name it, I’ve got it! I also advise couples to ensure any tabletop décor is weighted enough so that it will stay in place. Place card holders, table numbers, and menus can easily blow away if they are not attached to something else or presented in a way to keep them in place.
#5: For couples who want to add the romantic element of candlelight to their wedding style, I recommend the use of battery operated candles. Although some candles may be set in pillar or hurricane vases, even a slight breeze can blow the flames out in an instant. One great solution to keeping natural candlelight as part of your design element is the use of lanterns. Although there are too many tricks to share, these are the most common challenges the wind presents for me as a wedding planner and the tools I always bring with me to ensure I am well equipped to beat the wind!
#6 Local DJ Don Vaquera, of Soundwavz, explains how wind poses a challenge for sound – If you are using a microphone, be sure that your DJ provides wind screens for the microphones. On a very windy day the larger microphone on a stand does a better job than the smaller lapel microphones.
#7 For speakers and wind, be sure that your selected music ceremony DJ is providing at least 400 watts of power for the speakers. This is not a problem with regular DJ speakers. However, many times regular power is not available and battery-operated speakers are the only way to provide sound. Be sure the DJ provides at least 400 watts of power from battery-operated speakers so you can adequately hear the music and vows.
#8 Photographer and long-time wedding coordinator, Deborah Sawyer, adds, wind has to do with all aspects of a beach event. Deborah recommends that brides take the wind into consideration when selecting their veil or opting not to wear a veil. On a windy day, especially when the wind is coming from the north, a bride may find herself constantly pushing her veil away from her face during an oceanfront ceremony. This distraction may diminish photographers’ many opportunities of capturing heartfelt expressions while couples exchange their vows. To compensate for the direction of the wind, Deborah recommends having the bride and groom switch places to allow the wind to blow the bride’s veil away from her face. Although this may be breaking from tradition, it provides opportunities for beautiful photographs when the veil is picked up by the wind and flows nicely behind the bride’s back. Another alternative may be to have the maid or matron of honor position herself close enough to the bride so that she can hold the bride’s veil during the ceremony so that it stays close behind the bride.
With average wind speeds ranging from 5 to 15 miles per hour, the calmest time of year to book your wedding in the Outer Banks is July through September. When planning your beach wedding, it is important to work with vendors who have experience with your destination and know what to do in the situation of inclement weather, such as wind or rain. Socially Serene Events partners with the most knowledgeable and experienced vendors in the Outer Banks to provide our clients with first class service! With advance preparation and the proper tools and equipment any outdoor wedding can be beautiful even on a windy day!