Outdoor weddings are beautiful and timeless. Many couples choose to have an outdoor wedding at the place they first met, to be closer to nature, for the lovely pictures, or because outdoor wedding venues tend to be more affordable. However, you must plan carefully when choosing a bridal gown for an outdoor wedding, because there are several evil forces of nature out to get your precious outdoor wedding dress! photo by A. Whitmore Photography Protect your outdoor wedding dress from these culprits: 1. Heat: A summer wedding dress, or a destination wedding dress if you're going someplace where the weather is usually hot, should be a light material, such as linen, organdy, or chiffon. Consider choosing a bridal gown that is tea-length and strapless for optimal heat stroke-avoidance. Bonus tip: Make sure you wear waterproof make-up, so it doesn't run if you're sweating! 2. Cold: A winter wedding dress needs to be a warm material, such as velvet or brocade, and definitely long-sleeved. If you have your heart set on a short-sleeved or strapless bridal gown, pick out a furry shawl or warm bolero jacket. You don't want to be shivering so badly you can't say your vows! 3. Dirt/Sand: Especially when shopping for a beach wedding dress, avoid ball gowns and long trains to minimize dragging your dress through the dirt or sand. Consider an ankle-length or tea-length bridal gown to better your chances of keeping the bottom of your dress dirt-free. Bonus tip: It's difficult to walk in heels on grass, and even more difficult on sand. Solemates help for most outdoor weddings, but choose flats or just go barefoot with a beach wedding dress. 4. Rain (and other precipitation): Even if your wedding day is the driest of the year, be prepared for seasonal precipitation. This might mean having umbrellas for the wedding party, a canopy, or an alternate location ready. You may even want to have a plastic tarp or large rain jacket to protect your dress. photos by: Staja Studios (left) & Lola Mae Photography (right) 5. Wind: If you're choosing a beach wedding dress, or a gown for another windy location, avoid ball gowns. It's easy for the wind to get caught underneath the big skirt, and you don't want your dress flipping over your head in front of all your friends and relatives! Also avoid long trains and veils; they are easily blown about by the wind and might ruin photographs, or worse. Bonus tip: Plan for the wind when you choose your wedding hairstyle. Have your stylist secure your hairdo so the wind won't ruin it, and decide whether leaving it down is worth the risk of having your hair blowing in your face. 6. Wildlife: A beach wedding dress could easily fall victim to seagull droppings, and any outdoor wedding risks falling prey to the terrors of mosquitoes and other bugs. Consider a canopy to protect yourself during a beach wedding. Check your location's bug population at night before settling on it, and light citronella candles to ward off mosquitoes if necessary. 7. Night: Many weddings take place in the evening, and dancing the night away under the stars sounds so romantic! However, consider if that's worth potentially sacrificing the quality of your photographs. Flash photographs typically aren't as pretty as naturally-lighted ones. Talk this over with your wedding photographer. Not to mention, you won't be showing off your dress as much in the dark! 8. Sun: On the other hand, an outdoor wedding during the middle of the day presents its own challenges. If you're going to be outside all day, make sure you wear and bring along plenty of sunscreen. You don't want to look like a lobster halfway through your wedding album! Illusion necklines and sleeves can add a little extra skin protection without making you too hot. Bonus tip: Bring sunglasses for a fun photo op with the wedding party, but make sure you won't NEED to wear them. You'll want most of your wedding photos with your whole beautiful face showing! 9. Bathroom Options: Major downside of an outdoor wedding? Your bathroom options. If you choose a park or similar venue, you may have to share restrooms with the public (and who knows how clean they'll be?). An unconventional outdoor location means you'll have to bring in portable bathrooms. Either way, choose your wedding gown accordingly; a large skirt that you can't lift yourself will be pretty much impossible to fit in an outdoor bathroom option. 10. Wedding Crashers: Everyone loves the Owen Wilson-Vince Vaughn movie, but real wedding crashers at your wedding? Not so enjoyable. If you're celebrating have your wedding in a public place, there's the chance that strangers will be around during your wedding. While they can usually be edited out of the background of wedding photos, you might find yourself providing food and drinks to a few unplanned guests. Plus, random guests are more likely to not care where they spill those drinks (read: all over your beautiful outdoor wedding dress!). Are outdoor wedding dress obstacles too frightening? Have outdoor engagement pictures instead! Do you want to avoid risking defeat on your wedding day? Forego an outdoor ceremony and prevent nature from destroying your wedding dress. Instead, opt for outdoor engagement pictures. You can still celebrate your love for the outdoors or that romantic spot you first kissed, without having to worry about your dress' natural enemies! Are you braving an outdoor wedding or will you be opting for outdoor engagement pictures instead? Tell us whether or not you think it's worth the risks!