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10 Tips for an Outdoor Summer Wedding

Publish On 2015-05-19 , 3:45 PM


1. Have a Plan B. This is probably the most important component of all—what will you do in case it rains? It’s hard to predict the weather when you’re setting the date on average about a year in advance, so it is imperative to have a backup location in case of bad weather. You could use a large outdoor tent if there’s only mild rain, but if it’s anything more severe than that you’ll need to move the ceremony someplace inside; since most people have their reception indoors you could move some chairs around to convert the reception space into the ceremony location during a weather emergency.

2. Make Sure Your Guests Stay Cool. Nobody likes going to a wedding and sweating like crazy because of the heat. Be sure to have some sort of cooling device, like large, quiet fans or air conditioners. Also provide individual fans for your guests when handing them their programs, and consider providing small water bottles or a frozen non-alcoholic beverage to keep them refreshed and happy.

3. Shield from the Sun. Consider providing sunscreen and sunglasses for your guests, as people always forget to bring these items. They can even double as wedding favors.

4. Don’t Forget about Bugs. If there is a swarm of flies or mosquitos buzzing around during your ceremony everyone will be focused on swatting those pesky bugs, stealing focus from the ceremony. To prevent this either use insect repellent lamps, which make no zapping noise, or use candles that contain oils that repel insects such as: citronella, cinnamon, castor, rosemary, lemongrass, cedar, clove, geranium and peppermint oils.

5. Plan your Pictures. Don’t take your wedding pictures at noon or too close to noon—the sun will be directly overhead and will cause unflattering shadows. With that in mind, aim to take your pictures in the morning or later in the afternoon/evening. Consult with your photographer for more lighting recommendations.

6. Choose your Location Wisely. A beach may be beautiful but it may also be very windy, and crashing waves may be hard to hear over. Be sure to plan accordingly based on your location. If you’re at any public place where there is residual noise, look into renting clip-on microphones for the officiant and bride and groom so that everyone can hear the ceremony.

7. Provide Chair Cushions/Covers. If the sun is out, chairs (especially metal ones) can heat up in a hurry. So don’t forget to bring chair cushions or chair covers for your guests so they don’t burn themselves when sitting down. This can also be a great opportunity to decorate!

8. Have Summery Food. During your cocktail hour, don’t serve anything too heavy; instead try serving fruit skewers, shrimp cocktail, crisp veggies and other light appetizers, instead of cheese or other dairy-based products that would melt in the heat.

9. Experiment with Decorations. Instead of having a bunch of flowers that will wilt, consider lanterns or other decorations that are beautiful but much less expensive and hold up better in the sun.

10. Be Mindful of Fabrics. Whether it’s your wedding gown, the bridesmaid dresses, the men’s tuxes or any other decorative fabrics, look into lighter material that breathes and won’t make you and your wedding party sweat excessively. Examples include: cotton organdy, chiffon, crepe or voile over silk.