For brides who aren't put off by a little bit of extra heat and humidity, summertime is the perfect season for a beautiful wedding. Out-of-town guests appreciate summer nuptials because their kids are out of school and bosses are often more lenient with vacation time. Top it off with radiant sunshine and clear, blue skies, and you've got the perfect backdrop for wedding pictures. What's the downside? It's entirely likely that a heat wave will be in full effect during your wedding.
With weather-related inconveniences being a serious concern, it might seem surprising that so many brides opt for a summer ceremony. According to The Knot, 34.5 percent of all weddings take place in June, July or August, making these months the second, fourth and third most popular for weddings. Love the sunshine, hate the pit stains? There are many creative and cost-effective options to ensure comfort on your big day.
Take the Party Inside
I know this one seems like a no-brainer, but it still needs to be said. If excessive heat is a concern, you should rethink the outdoor ceremony and reception in the name of heatstroke.
My husband gave me carte blanche during the wedding planning process, but he had one very important request: Don't set the date during college football season. Since every month leading up to that sacred time of year was already spoken for except August, you can guess when we were married. Given that and the fact that we were married in Georgia, where humidity and mosquitoes the size of bowling balls run rampant in the summer, and you'll understand why everyone thought we were crazy.
Nevertheless, we plunged headfirst into planning the perfect indoor nuptials. In fact, the only time anyone was outside was when they walked from their cars to the various air-conditioned events. Incidentally, a random cool front happened to blow through north Georgia that weekend, making the high around 78 degrees. Beat that, springtime brides!
If you have your heart set on an outdoor ceremony, consider providing guests with a provision or two to make the heat of the day a little more bearable. Nicole Reddam of Atlanta once attended an outdoor event where the bride kept guests cool with some pretty creative programs.
Whether you create your own hand fan or come up with a similar idea, your guests will surely appreciate your creativity and sensitivity during the wedding.
Duck and Cover
Is there anything less forgiving than the noonday sun? Consider shielding your guests from one of the harshest elements known to man. A cover of some sort is sure to provide some much-needed relief to outdoor wedding or reception attendees. Canopies or tents can be rented and installed cheaply and easily, although many venues offer them as part of the wedding package. Even if you do have to pay a little bit extra, I'm willing to bet that you'll look back on it as the best money you ever spent -- especially if one of those sudden summer thunderstorms sneaks up during the vows.
Obviously, if your outdoor nuptials take place late in the day, the sun will be well past its peak damage potential. However, if you plan to wed anytime in the morning or afternoon, you might do your guests and their skin a favor by providing sunscreen to slather on as needed.
Be sure to give them a nice variety to choose from, particularly options that are designed for children, babies and people with sensitive skin. The spray-on versions are more expensive than traditional lotions, but they go on much more easily and quickly. Just make sure that the cake is placed a safe distance away … unless you enjoy a little SPF in your frosting.
Keep 'em Hydrated
Before you even ask, beer and wine don't count toward keeping you hydrated. If your outdoor wedding day is forecasted to be a scorcher, be sure to supply extra bottles of water and other hydrating beverages to keep your guests in tip-top condition. You want guests to remember your wedding as a magical day -- not the day they spent thousands of dollars on an ambulance ride to the hospital as a victim of heatstroke.
Play it safe and encourage guests to enjoy a variety of libations, including the nonalcoholic kind. Ask your mother or wedding planner to keep a special eye on tykes and elderly people in attendance; these groups are more apt to become quickly dehydrated.
It's fine if you're a traditional bride at heart and you want your guests in their formal wear best. But if you're a summer bride getting married in a garden at noon, rethink your attire expectations.
Address wardrobe options via an invitation insert. You can choose your own wording, but you might say something clever like "Stiflingly hot jackets and ties forbidden!" or "Lightweight clothing advised." In my humble opinion, I think people will be so grateful for this reprieve that you'll benefit exponentially in terms of the quality of gifts. As an added bonus, fewer people will duck out early to shed their sweat-drenched attire.
Choose Makeup Carefully
You know how butter tends to melt if you leave it out in the sun for more than a couple of minutes? Well, liquid makeup has the same unfortunate tendency. But it's melting on your face -- not in a dish. To that end, steer away from any liquid eyeliners, foundations or blushes. Instead, pick the powdered or crayon versions to ensure that your makeup stays put from start to finish. In fact, consider applying a primer to help everything stay put. Above all else, top off your look with waterproof mascara. A few tears or sweat droplets are all it takes to turn you from a radiant bride into a rabid raccoon.
Give the Groomsmen a Break
It hardly seems fair that the women in your wedding party are going to be outfitted in lightweight, strapless gowns while the groomsmen will be sweating it out in tuxes. Consider relaxing the wardrobe requirements for your groomsmen if your venue is casual enough to allow a more chilled-out look.
I'm willing to bet that you'd balk if someone told you to don dark pants and a jacket with a bow tie in near-100 degree temperatures! At the very least, don't be offended if the groomsmen ditch their jackets and ties once the photos have been snapped.
I'm sure you have a delectable spread of beef tenderloin, martini glass mashed potatoes and other assorted side items selected for your reception. Although delicious, all that heavy fare will probably make the heat seem that much more oppressive. If you want to be the "coolest" bride around (get it?), offer your guests a light treat that'll be sure to lower their core body temperatures. Whether you rent a snow cone machine or set up an ice cream bar, providing a chilly childhood treat will make your guests love you even more than they already do!
A little bit of mist goes a long way toward helping people cool off. If heat is a major concern, provide small spray bottles filled with water that the guests can use to spritz themselves. If you have a little extra room in your budget, you can consider renting mist sprayers for guests to wander in and out of when the heat gets to be too much to handle. Make sure they're placed off to the side so that no one gets doused accidentally. Your Aunt Shirley will be none too happy if her designer dress is soaked without her permission -- even if it is only water.
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- Baliday, Jenifel. "Wedding Reception: Keeping Guests Cool At Your Summer Wedding." Bridal Book. April 25, 2011. (May 19, 2011).http://www.bridalbook.ph/articles/keeping-guests-cool-at-a-summer-wedding/?filter=1
- Rones, Nancy. "Summer Weddings: Dos and Don'ts." The Knot. May 22, 2009. (May 19, 2011).http://wedding.theknot.com/real-weddings/summer-weddings/articles/summer-wedding-dos-donts.aspx
- "Summer by the Numbers." The Knot. (May 19, 2011).http://wedding.theknot.com/real-weddings/summer-weddings.aspx
- Mayo Clinic Staff. "Dehydration Symptoms." Jan. 7, 2011. (May 19, 2011).http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dehydration/DS00561/DSECTION=symptoms