Beat The Heat

10 essential tips for keeping cool at summer weddings
Written by
Laura Cross

Summer weddings are popular for their vibrant ambiance and outdoor charm. However, the scorching heat can pose a challenge for couples and guests alike. To ensure everyone stays cool, comfortable, and able to fully enjoy the celebration, it's crucial to have strategies in place for beating the heat. From careful planning considerations to guest comfort, these 10 essential tips will ensure that your special day remains unforgettable for all the right reasons.

  1. Select a Suitable Venue: "From the venue and planning perspective, discussing shade, ventilation and misting options is clutch. Of course, the most efficient way to beat the heat is to book a venue with air conditioning," says Justin Saylor from Vibrant Table Catering & Events

    Choosing the right venue is essential when planning a summer wedding. Look for venues that offer both indoor and outdoor spaces, allowing guests to retreat to air-conditioned areas when needed. Consider venues with shaded outdoor spaces, such as gardens with trees or covered pavilions, to provide respite from the sun's rays. An ideal venue should have ample ventilation, allowing for air circulation to keep everyone cool. Additionally, discuss with the venue management about their provisions for cooling systems, such as air conditioning, misters or fans, to ensure a comfortable environment throughout the event.

    Photo by Sweetlife Photography with Vibrant Table Catering
    Photo by Sweetlife Photography with Vibrant Table Catering & Events, Lewis and Clark College and Ella Events

  2. Optimize Timing: Since the majority of weddings in the Pacific NW are in the summer, Jennie Streitberger from Events By Jennie has to utilize many tips and tricks to beat the heat, including switching up the timeline to avoid direct sun. Scheduling your wedding at the optimal time can make a significant difference in beating the summer heat. Consider having your ceremony and reception during the cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or late afternoon. This will help avoid the peak heat hours and allow for a more pleasant experience for both you and your guests. 

  3. Provide Sun Protection: Shielding guests from the sun's harmful rays is essential during a summer wedding. Set up designated areas with sunscreen stations, offering a range of SPF options for guests to apply. By prioritizing sun protection, you show your care for guests' well-being and ensure their comfort throughout the celebration.

  4. Provide Refreshing Beverages: One of the best ways to beat the heat is by keeping guests hydrated. Create a refreshing drink station or mobile beverage carts offering a variety of chilled beverages. Jessica Gardner from Reedville Catering suggests, "Have water, lemonade, or a fun mocktail available pre-ceremony! This way early guests can have a refreshing beverage while waiting for the festivities to begin."

    The Mobile Scoop Shop also offers a refreshing Italian Cooler. This sparkling and light beverage is also vegan (unless you opt for whipped cream) and made with any flavor of their sorbet that you desire.

    Encourage guests to stay hydrated by strategically placing water stations throughout the venue. Remember to have an adequate supply of ice to ensure beverages remain cool throughout the event. Providing refreshing beverages will keep guests cool, comfortable, and ready to celebrate.

    Photo by Chantal Sokhorn Photography with Reedville Catering and Naomi Bennett Design
    Photo by Chantal Sokhorn Photography with Reedville Catering and Naomi Bennett Design

  5. Dress Appropriately: Choosing the right attire for a summer wedding is crucial to beat the heat. For the couple, consider lightweight and breathable fabrics, such as linen or cotton, for wedding attire. Brides can opt for sleeveless or short-sleeved gowns, and grooms can wear lightweight suits or opt for more casual attire. It's also a good idea to communicate dress code suggestions to your guests, recommending lighter fabrics and comfortable shoes. Providing a designated area for guests to leave their jackets or wraps can also help them stay comfortable during the event.

  6. Plan for Indoor Breaks: Even with the best preparations, guests may still need occasional breaks from the outdoor heat. Designate indoor areas where guests can cool down, relax, and escape the sun's intensity. Create lounges with comfortable seating arrangements and air conditioning, allowing guests to recharge and socialize in a refreshing environment. It's also advisable to have backup plans in case of extreme weather conditions, such as access to an indoor venue or a rain contingency plan for inclement weather. These indoor breaks will provide a welcome respite and keep guests comfortable throughout the event.

  7. Utilize Shade and Cooling Elements: Maximizing the use of shade and cooling elements in your wedding design is crucial for ensuring guest comfort. Strategically placing shade structures, such as canopies or tents, provides shelter from the sun's rays. Incorporating natural elements like trees or large umbrellas creates shaded areas where guests can relax and cool down during the event.

    Jeanette Schenk, an expert from Hammie The Photo Booth, emphasizes the importance of setting up shaded areas for guests, saying, "Be sure to set up shaded areas, such as large umbrellas, where guests can take a break from direct sunlight when needed." These thoughtful addition allows guests to find relief from the heat and enjoy the celebration without discomfort.Photo by Christie Q Photography
    Photo by Christie Q Photography

  8. Keep Food Fresh and Light: When planning the menu, opt for fresh, light, and seasonally inspired dishes. Summer is the perfect time to showcase vibrant salads, refreshing fruits, and grilled options. Avoid heavy or greasy foods that can make guests feel sluggish in the heat. Incorporate chilled appetizers, refreshing sorbets, and ice cream stations to provide delightful relief. Discuss with your caterer about proper food storage and serving techniques to ensure that the food remains fresh and safe throughout the event. By offering a menu that aligns with the season, guests will enjoy a culinary experience that complements the summer ambiance.

  9. Offer Cooling Amenities: To provide guests with additional relief from the heat, consider offering cooling amenities.  Haley Bringuel from Amanda Claire and Company suggests providing guests with elegant parasols or personalized sunglasses that can serve as stylish accessories while providing protection from the sun.

    Incorporating unique and practical elements can enhance the overall experience for your guests. Ashley Lachney, an experienced wedding planner from Alston Mayger Events, shares her thoughts on incorporating a personal touch, saying, "I love when clients incorporate their ceremony program as a fun fan! Your stationer can design a custom fan with ceremony details or order of the day's events with a color-coordinated tassel on the end."

    Kameron Holmberg from The Allison Inn & Spa suggests another refreshing option, stating, "At The Allison Inn & Spa, we prepare chilled lavender-infused towels with essential oil and fresh lavender locally sourced from our 1.5-acre Chef's Garden. The refreshing scent of lavender combined with the coolness of the towels provides our guests with instant relief from the heat." These amenities will enhance guest comfort and ensure an enjoyable experience for everyone.

    A plug-and-play handheld Co2 Cannon is another fun way to blast guests with a plume of cold air, says Jordan Morales of Lit Productions. "The Co2 comes out ice cold and blasts the crowd with a plume of cold air that instantly cools off any hot guests who have been dancing hard on the dance floor."

    Photo by Julia Duke Photography
    Photo by Julia Duke Photography

  10. Communicate and Prepare: Lastly, effective communication is key to ensuring a successful summer wedding. Keep your guests informed about the expected weather conditions and any specific recommendations they need to be aware of, such as dress code, outdoor activities, or potential heat-related challenges. Include this information on your wedding website, invitations, and any pre-wedding communication. Additionally, work closely with your wedding planner, venue coordinator, and vendors to discuss and implement strategies for beating the heat. By preparing and communicating effectively, you can ensure a seamless and enjoyable experience for both you and your guests.