Summer weddings are incredibly popular, but the accompanying temperatures often leave much to be desired. The heat and humidity in the Philadelphia area during these months means brides and grooms need to be strategic with their wedding choices. Today, Steph’s sharing seven tips for keeping your guests cool when the weather heats up, having planned and attended more summer weddings than she can count.
Without further delay – here’s Steph!
With Philadelphia getting over its most recent heatwave (and the fact that my central air decided to stop working 36 hours ago!), it’s been hard to focus on anything other than the heat this summer.
My priority has been on ways to stay cool on those oh-so-hot days when I have to be outside. As a teacher, most of the weddings I attend are in the summer due to it being the most convenient time of year for one of us to wed (see our tips for picking your wedding date here). However, while summer in Philadelphia can mean fantastic blue skies, it can also mean a humidity-filled mess. Here are several suggestions I’ve used and seen used to keep your guests cool during an outdoor summer wedding.
Photo sources, clockwise from top left:
Couple at sunset: Juliana Laury Photography
Set up a tent
You may be thinking, “well, obviously I’d use a tent” – but I have been to more than one summer wedding without any kind of shade! The only thing worse than sitting outside on a 90+ degree day is sitting there in a beautiful dress, baking in the sun.
Tents are a great choice for shading your guests while outdoors. Not only do they provide for some relief from the sun, but if a mid-day thunderstorm does arise, your guests (and you!) are protected. There are several amazing rental companies in the area that can provide any variation that you may fancy; your venue may also provide them.
Tents are not all created equal, however – clear-top tents may be gorgeous, but are better suited for evenings when the sun won’t roast your guests sitting underneath. Walled tents and certain fabrics may also increase the heat inside the tent. If you’d like to cover up tent poles, consider some draping (as in the above photo), rather than full walls.
In addition to a tent – or even if a tent isn’t an option – consider renting misters or portable air conditioning units.
Offer cold beverages to guests
A cool refreshment can be a lifesaver on hot day. Beverage stations (or passed / butlered beverages) can be a great way for your guests to cool off and relax as they wait to see you walk down the aisle. Your drinks can be alcoholic or non-alcoholic (the strawberry lemonade in the above photo looks amazing!), but make sure to have some cold water available, too.
This is also a great opportunity for you to make a signature drink for your wedding! Try a fresh twist on your favorite beverage or ask your caterers to come up with something special. [Kim’s note: despite what Pinterest might have you believe, neither wine crates nor mason jars are required.]
Have fans available
Consider motorized rental fans or hand-held fans (or both). If you’re looking for an efficient solution, have your ceremony program printed on a fan and you can both inform and cool your guests. Some of our favorite options are personalizing each one with a special note for your guests, having fun facts about your bridal party or reception, or creating a petal fan with your program (like the fans in the photos above). In favor of a classic program? Attached a small fan with some ribbon to your program and your guests get both.
Summer weddings can scream “outdoor ceremony”, but that doesn’t mean yours has to be outside. Having an indoor summer wedding is perfectly reasonable (if not, at times, recommended!) Philadelphia has temperamental weather and there is nothing worse than having a rainout of your outdoor wedding. If you’re set on having an outdoor event, make sure you have a back up plan in the event of inclement weather, one that goes beyond “the venue says they know what to do.”
Also, don’t expect that a tent will be the solution – even if a tent will prevent the rain falling on your guests, it can’t stop the ground from being soggy or muddy.
Have a sunset wedding
Have your ever watched a summer sunset from a rooftop in Philadelphia? If not, you need to stop what you are doing and run to Assembly Rooftop Lounge or SkyGarden immediately. While sunset is later in the summer (think: 8:00-8:30pm,) having a short ceremony will be key if you don’t want to go late into the night, but your guests (and pictures) will thank you – just check out the Jersey Shore sunset shot above! Early birds? Sunrise weddings are just as magical.
Help keep the bugs away
Oh, mosquitoes. The absolute bane of my existence. I have skeeter syndrome (it’s a real thing!) which means I have insane reactions to minor bug bites – more itching, more swelling, sometimes even bruising. All that to say, it’s terrible, and as a wedding guest, I don’t want to worry about being bit. If bugs are likely to be an issue, think about ways to prevent this from happening to your guests.
You might have bug spray available near the entrance or in the bathrooms. [Kim’s note: I once attended a wedding where the coordinator went around to alert (and spray) guests, of which I was initially skeptical but later appreciative! Also, Pinterest seems to be fond of signs reading “be smitten, not bitten,” for what that’s worth.] Citronella candles or sticks may be an option as well – think about displaying them as you would regular candles (lining a walkway, etc.)
“The More You Know”
Quite possibly the best tip for keeping your guests cool during your summer wedding is making sure they are informed – tell them it is an outdoor affair! Guests can properly prepare and dress for you wedding if they know part (or all) of it will be outdoors. You can easily add this to your wedding website, or have family spread the word. I can’t walk in heels on my best day, so I will always plan ahead if I know I have to walk in grass in my stilettos (or really ever, but again, clumsy!)
The Philadelphia area has so many gorgeous outdoor venues, but if you choose one of them, it’s important to keep weather concerns in mind, particularly as they relate to the comfort of your guests. Make your guests’ experience a priority!
Leave a comment with your summer wedding experiences – what have you experienced as a guest? Did you have a summer wedding, and if so, what did you do for guests? Or, let us know if you have other summer wedding questions!
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