Outdoor receptions let you have a lovey backdrop for your gathering and allow your guests to enjoy sunshine -- when everything goes well. While holding a reception outdoors is not difficult, it does require that you take a few extra situations into account. These situations directly affect your guests' comfort and ability to get through the reception without complaint. Both the venue site and suppliers for your reception will be able to help you take care of these issues.
Shelter From the Weather
If you're lucky enough to be in an area where the weather is predictably and reliably good, given the time of year when you'll hold the reception, you likely won't have to worry about things like rain and lightning. But you should provide some areas of shelter so that, should it rain, your guests can attend in comfort and stay dry. If there's no rain, you'll still want shelter so that guests don't become overheated from standing or sitting in the sun all day.
A tent is best, especially one with retractable or movable sides. On good days, you can roll back the walls and let fresh air flow through; on days when the weather has decided not to cooperate, you can keep the walls down and protect your guests.
If you're holding the reception at an established outdoor center, such as a garden that regularly rents outdoor space for events, pest control might not be a problem for you as the center will have taken care of it. But if you're going to hold your event in a park or other urban open space that isn't normally patrolled for pests, you may want to arrange for a pest control company -- with the permission of the city -- to do some preventative spraying for bugs like ticks and mosquitoes.
Ground vs. Shoes and Hems
If the area you're holding the reception in is on soil and not paved ground, add a few portable walkways to help people move around, especially those in heels. Women wearing long dresses and skirts will also appreciate not having to drag their hems through dirt.
Always talk to the people running the venue first; they may have already taken care of pest control and may have things like walkways available. Otherwise, ask your suppliers about tents, walkways, shelters, and other accessories that will keep the reception guests happy and dry.