It's that time of year again when wedding ceremonies head outside into the hot summer sun. Women trade heels for sandals and men forgo their jackets. Everyone feels happier, more relaxed, and ready for a breezy ceremony in the sun.
However, taking a wedding ceremony outside, away from the air conditioning, lighting, and even a roof can create some seriously sticky situations. Rain, excessive heat, or a swarm of bugs can quickly turn a picture-perfect memory into one you'd rather forget. But don't worry! There are plenty of ideas to keep you cool and calm on your big day!
1. Time of day. Generally, morning is the most humid time of day, while mid-afternoon is the hottest. This is particularly important if you're planning a midday ceremony. Try to avoid noon, when the sun and humidity are both at their peak and shade is at a premium. Instead, consider a sunset ceremony. As the sun goes down, heat and humidity will go with it, leaving plenty of shade and comfort. Also, with the rich sunlight off to the side, your wedding photos will look stunning!
2. Decor. What works inside doesn't necessarily work outside. Candles, flowers, and other decor can all be doomed when it comes to summer weather. Take candles, for example. Tea candles can provide a touch of romance indoors, but they can be blown out (or worse, knocked over!) by the wind outdoors. Take note to cover candles with glass hurricanes to prevent accidents at the altar.
Flowers are another indoor staple that may not translate outdoors well, as most flowers like it cool. Choose hardy blooms such as roses, gladiolas, and Gerber daisies. Keep them well-hydrated, and they should withstand a short bout of summer heat. Otherwise, work with your local florist to keep the flowers in the cool indoors until the last possible moment prior to the ceremony.
3. Look down. Way down. Is it sand? Grass? Dirt? While the scenery drew you to the location, it's what's beneath your feet that could potentially sink your fabulous wedding. High heels will sink into grass or sand after a few minutes. Chair legs, altar decorations, or tables may wobble if the ground beneath tends to give. Check several times before the wedding to test the ground and make plans to bring in a dance floor or runner to make getting around the ceremony easier. And speaking of chairs, don't rent metal chairs. Choose wooden or plastic seats that will not scorch guests if left in the sun for a long time.
4. Rearrange the schedule. Normally, guests are invited to enjoy refreshments following the wedding ceremony, usually in the form of a cocktail hour. However, because guests will be sitting outside for an extended period of time, it is a good idea to provide drinks before the ceremony. Lemonade, sangria, or iced tea will quench their thirst and add to the laid-back feel summer weddings are known for.
5. Have a Plan B. Whether it be a tent, nearby reception location, or house, having a place to go in the event of bad weather is a crucial to pulling off an amazing summer wedding. Note the location on the invitation or send out a mass e-mail so guests will not miss the ceremony if it rains. And don't worry if you have to turn to your Plan B. Decorations and guests can easily make their way indoors, and what is truly most important–you marriage–will still go off without a hitch.
With just a little planning ahead and a touch of luck, your outdoor wedding will make beautiful memories that you and your guests will treasure for years to come. After you follow these 5 tips for an outdoor wedding, the only thing left to do is take a deep breath and step out into the sun!
This blog post is sponsored by Caldwell, New Jersey Florists.