Share with us a funny story of an obstacle or challenge you faced when doing an outdoor wedding, and tell us how you dealt with it.

I was excited to have a wedding ceremony and reception on the roof of Navy Pier. It was a beautiful but windy day. After all, Chicago is known as the “windy city.” The bride wanted rose petals down the aisle, but the wind wasn’t allowing it. Luckily, I never go anywhere without a roll of duct tape. After laying down double-sided loops, we scattered and stomped the petals onto the tape. Crisis averted.

Holly Milburn
The Finishing Touch Florist
Crete, Ill.

Beach weddings are challenging in California, but the biggest issue is curious tourists. We had a rock-star-style wedding and started drawing attention as we placed beautiful “maypole” floral- and-ribbon designs in the ceremony area. During the vows, a Speedo-clad runner, a girl in a pink bikini and an old man with a metal detector edged into site. Then a busload of foreign tourists arrived with cameras and made a beeline to the ceremony to snap pictures. Thankfully the bride and groom had a great sense of the absurd.

Suzanne Smith
Suzanne M. Smith Designs
Temecula, Calif.

I was doing a “little” wedding in the country four hours from my shop. When I got there, I saw not one but three large chandeliers (we were contracted to decorate only one). After an initial gulp, I went for a little drive and stopped at a house that was for sale. It was clear that no one was living there, so I took clippings off the Rhododendron and other tasty bushes, along with other roadside offerings. Comments from the guests included, “The florals look so natural, like the woods. How perfect!” I’m glad the house down the road was vacant!

Neville MacKay, CAFA, PFCI
My Mother’s Bloomers Halifax,
Nova Scotia, Canada

Last summer, we had a huge wedding at a local country club. Ten minutes into set up, the skies opened, and the biggest rainstorm I’d ever seen poured down on us. We had just set up the entire ceremony outside when the bride made the choice to move indoors. We looked like a bunch of drowned rats trying to re-setup indoors in front of 300 guests.

Rebekah Casey, AIFD
Ballard Blossom
Seattle, Wash.

We set up a chuppah (pipe-and-drape style) on top of a flat cliff-type area. The wind kicked up and blew the chuppah over, bending the metal pipes. Even the DJ’s speaker fell over the cliff! I quickly created an old-fashioned tallit/canopy, like the type attendants used to hold over the couple. I quickly wrapped the poles with fabric, cut holes in the canopy drape and used ribbon to make streamers to tie the drape to the top of the poles. Voila! A more intimate ceremony setting that the bride and groom gushed over.

Christi Lopez, AIFD, EMC
Bergerons Flowers Springfield, Va.

I had a waterfront ceremony last May. As can often happen on the Outer Banks, the wind picked up. The ceremony was set on a golf course, with an arbor made by the brides’ father. This was flanked by two wooden columns holding urn arrangements. The wind was so strong that one urn immediately toppled over and broke, but I was able to zip-tie the other urn to the arbor. I turned the toppled arrangement into a “growing” arrangement on the ground and made it appear as if it was meant to climb up the arbor.

Shelley Boyer
Honeysuckle Events
Kill Devil Hills, N.C.

Last August, I had a bride who wanted to use hundreds of stems of her mother’s home-grown Hydrangeas for her aisle décor. Getting the flowers to the location was a challenge, with spiders and other garden critters popping out in the vehicle and scaring my assistant on the two-hour drive.

Courtney Kroymann,
AIFD Designs by Courtney Kirkland, Wash.

We all know how Mother Nature is. We did a beautiful wedding in a park in Michigan. We had the chuppah set up, with flowers and garlands, when the skies opened. Thank goodness, I had told the bride to rent another tent/awning to have the guests sit under. And we had four huge golf umbrellas in our delivery van. We walked the bridal party, from the bride’s house a block away, and the guests, from their cars, to the tent. In addition, I really didn’t trust the guys who set up the chuppah, so I had added guy lines to the chuppah and had staked the bottom of it. It just goes to show to trust your gut and remember to also be prepared, Of course, right after the ceremony, the sun came out. Gotta love what we do!

Darlene Nelson
DLN Floral Creations Naperville, Ill.