By Nadia Anderson, CPA with Virginia Grace Event Management

Outdoor weddings are wildly popular in central Virginia, other locations in the South, and across the country. Outdoor venues that regularly host weddings may offer comparable services and pricing to indoor venues. However, having your wedding at a venue that wasn’t designed to host large gatherings may be costlier than you think. Before you sign a contract with an outdoor wedding venue, consider the total cost and be sure that it fits within your spending plan. These are a few big-ticket items that may influence your venue choice.

Does the venue provide tables, chairs, linens, or basic décor items like vases for flowers or floating candles? Is there a focal point that exists on the grounds or will you have to build an arch or an arbor to create a backdrop for your ceremony? Increase your budget to allow for the items that you will have to borrow or build.

Relish Photography by Lee

Wedding music and entertainment, catering, and lighting all require an electrical source. The requirements of your specific vendors will dictate how much power you’ll need, but don’t forget to ask the venue its plan for getting you connected and whether or not you’ll have to bring in a generator.

Kristine Pringle Photographers

The county dictates the number of toilets that are required based on occupancy regulations. Check with the venue to be sure they have enough bathrooms to service your guest count. Be sure to compare the cost of a luxury bathroom trailer to a series of port-a-johns. You may discover it’s worth the upgrade to ensure the comfort of your guests.

Ask the venue about parking restrictions and the number of spaces that are available to ensure there are enough to accommodate your guest list. Also, be sure that you’re aware of how far the parking lot is from the actual ceremony or reception location on the grounds of the venue. You may consider providing group transportation from the hotel or golf carts to assist older guests and those with physical limitations to help them make it safely to the wedding.

Paige Stevens Photography

Be aware of the sound ordinance in the city or county where you’re getting married. It will only cost you research time to be sure that your contracted band or DJ is in compliance with the noise regulations. Trust us, you’d rather spend that time than pay a fine.

Nadia S. Anderson is a CPA, certified wedding and event planner, the owner of Virginia Grace Event Management, and the preferred planner for three venues in Richmond, Virginia. To learn more about how her team can help you create stress-free wedding memories, please visit