Wedding Advice: Beating the Summer Heat

Now that we are in the dog days of summer, I wanted to share some advice on how to best prepare for the heat you may encounter at your summer wedding. I have a lot ideas for keeping your guests as comfortable as possible, but I also want to make sure you think about how the heat at your summer wedding will impact your venue and vendors.


outdoor interfaith wedding ceremony Photo by Kurstin Roe


Guest Considerations

I know that you will want to keep your guests as cool as possible. The first step is keeping them hydrated. You will want to have a water station available as soon as they arrive – and they will begin to arrive thirty minutes before the listed ceremony time on your invitation. If possible, leave this station open all night. Yes, they can get water from the bar, but having something always open is a great option. You can add a lemonade or tea to the station, but always offer a simple water.

If you are going to have your guests in the sun, you need to offer some form of protection. Simple options include sunglasses and parasols. You can also make your ceremony programs a handheld fan. Make sure you have sunscreen on  hand for guests to apply if they want. You can set this out on the water station, or in the restrooms. More complicated options can include patio umbrellas and strategically placed draping that can be set up by a wedding tent or wedding decor/production company.

During cocktail hour, be mindful of the temperature of your hors d’oeuvres. If you can, go with all room temperature items. I’d even suggest passing some popsicles or cold soup sips. You might also want to cut the cocktail hour short, to 45 minutes if possible, to give your guests the {presumed} relief of sitting down to dinner.

If you want to offer a cool options for dinner, you’ll probably want to plan for a dinner buffet. This will allow you to offer a number of room temperature side dishes and salads, and even an entree. I do think a room temperature plated meal would be possible, but it might seem odd to your guests. After dinner I think you should not slow down on the cool treats – popsicles, ice cream, slushies, and milkshakes come to mind.


Wedding party eating ice cream Photo by Kurstin Roe


Venue Considerations

When it gets close to your wedding date, check out your wedding venue during the timing of your wedding celebration. What is in the sun and what is in the shade? You might need to tweak your wedding floor plan once you see where the sun is hitting. Maybe you need to make a significant change your plan to include more shaded areas. Or possibly you simply need to re-position the cake table.

Something else to consider is how strongly does the AC work? There are some old churches in DC who have to turn on their AC a solid two hours before your guests arrive in order for the ceremony to be comfortable! If there isn’t a loading dock at your venue, the AC will be wasted when vendors are loading in through the regular doors. It might be useful to assign someone to staff the door so that it can stay closed as much as possible. Older buildings (that are often lacking in proper loading docks) also frequently have weaker AC systems.

If you are outside or in a tent, you can add fans and misting fans to your rental order. Keep in mind that these draw a lot of power, and you might need a generator for them. You will want to make sure you have dimmers for your tent lighting, because those lights will put off heat that you don’t need.


ceremony program fanswedding ceremony drinks

Vendor Considerations

Something I have discovered over the decade I’ve been a wedding planner is that wedding set up takes a little longer in the heat. Its hard to hustle when the sweat is pouring off you, and you’re pausing to hydrate. Your set up team should be given a longer time frame in the summer.  You’ll also want to think about what your catering staff will be wearing. Often the summer dress code is a long-sleeved shirt, tie, slacks and apron. If it is particularly hot out, you may want to consider allowing them to roll their sleeves up and/or ditching the tie.


Photo by Michelle Lindsay


Did I miss anything? Do you have any questions about beating the heat at your summer wedding? Please send me an email if I can help you with your summer wedding quandary with the summer heat. Finally, for even more tips and tricks, check out this wedding advice video.