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Bride's toolbox

Getting married and hosting a wedding in a natural setting, such as The Morton Arboretum, takes some preparation. Here are the top 3 tips for planning an outdoor wedding from Margaret Martin, the Arboretum wedding expert and facility rental manager.

1. Have a back-up plan

When planning an outdoor wedding, many brides make the mistake of not securing a back-up ceremony and/or receptions location. "What's great about the Arboretum is that we have many indoor back-up locations that still have an amazing view of nature," Martin said. "Some brides are reluctant to take the risk of an outdoor wedding, but I always encourage it. Their reward is stunning pictures among thousands of flowering trees and sparkling lakes."

2. Make the most of the outdoor setting

An outdoor wedding adds a whole new breathtaking backdrop. With flowering trees and vibrant groundcovers surrounding your ceremony and/or reception site, there's a brand new color palette to work with. "An outdoor wedding provides unique and interesting nature decor," Martin said. She suggests using the season's natural elements to enhance your theme.

3. Consider taking photos before the ceremony

As ancient times dictate, it's bad luck for the bride and groom to see each other before vows are exchanged. Now a days, it's common to see each other privately for a "first glance photo" before the ceremony, or have professional bridal party photo-shoots. "Pre-ceremony photoshoots allow you more time for different poses and various backdrops among our beautiful trees, gardens and lakes," Martin said. "Plus, it provides you with more moments to mingle with guests during the cocktail hour."