The terrain is important, too. Remember that high heels can sink into wet grass and sand, and that some guests might not be dressed appropriately (or be physically fit enough) to hike to a forest clearing or across the sand to an ocean-front venue.
City parks, the grounds of an estate, poolside at a hotel, or the roof of a building with a fabulous view may be easier for everyone to maneuver, and may also have better access for such things as chair delivery, gift tables, and restrooms.
No matter where you conduct your outdoor wedding, you'll have to arrange for nearly everything to be hauled in. "Even if it's private property, all furniture must be brought to the site," Souza says.
Besides the obvious -- tables and chairs, for example -- consider heat sources (if the temperature might drop as you kick up your heels) and portable restrooms. You may also need to rent a large trash receptacle and an electric generator. And be sure to hire a caterer who is familiar with setting up an outdoor kitchen.
Finally, don't forget about the dark. You might even want to consider hiring a lighting expert. "You need lighting not only for safety, but for ambience," Souza says. Lighting possibilities include placing candles near the food so guests can see what they're eating, hanging lanterns around the dance floor, and stringing lights to lead the way to the restroom.
It's the little details that make everything run smoothly. If parking is limited, for example, hire a valet service or arrange for a shuttle bus to transport guests to the site.
For the bride and groom who say "I do" in a public place, Souza suggests having a friend greet your guests to weed out party crashers or curious onlookers.
What is Souza's final piece of advice for a bride who's planning an outdoor wedding? "Hire professional vendors for a professional job," she says.
And check into whether you need a permit for any outdoor location. The last thing you want is to be kicked out of your wedding!
Continued on page 3: Setting the Mood