How to Make a Hot Outdoor Wedding Comfortable for Your Guests

A bride and groom dancing at their summer wedding with guests around them.

Outdoor weddings in the height of summer are incredibly beautiful; enjoying the bright sunshine is one of the reasons why the “wedding season” centers on the summer months. However, it can become downright uncomfortable to be dressed formally and sitting on a plastic chair in the height of summer’s heat. Here are a few ways you can make the experience of a hot summer wedding a bit more comfortable for your guests.

Consider a Morning or Evening Ceremony

If you are up for it, one way to minimize the heat for your ceremony is to have a morning or evening ceremony outdoors. Morning ceremonies lead very nicely into bright brunch receptions, and evening ceremonies can skip the cocktail hour and get people to dinner quite promptly, with dancing and cocktails available afterward. Consider these options if you fear that your location is in an area with truly dangerous midday heat, such as Southern states of the United States. One of the perks of making this choice is that many venues will cut you a very good deal if you and your wedding party can be done before an afternoon-wedding bride needs to get onsite, letting them book two weddings in one day.

Choose Shaded and Breezy Seating Options

A wedding ceremony set up under a tree in a park.

When you realize that an outdoor ceremony is likely for your wedding, talk with your venue’s coordinator or owner to determine your options for where to hold the ceremony. Usually, there is at least a little wiggle room on the arrangement of the chairs or the location where you’ll have your ceremony, and just a few shade trees can make a big difference on a 90-degree day. Especially if you know that you’ll have elderly relatives or anyone in poor health attending, try to arrange for at least a few shaded spots. Another option is to ask where there might be a good breeze that will give your guests a bit of refreshment from the heat.

Prepare for Hydration and Sun Protection

If your outdoor wedding is simply going to happen in the sun and at a warm part of the day, there are still plenty of things you can do to make the experience pleasant for your guests. Include a water bottle under each chair once the ceremony area is arranged to keep everyone hydrated. If possible, leave small tubes of sunscreen in a cute basket tied to the end of each row. If women are wearing sleeveless or strapless gowns, they’ll appreciate the chance to add a layer of protection on those sensitive shoulders, especially if cocktail hour is outdoors as well.

Create a “Cool Zone” Tent

A white event tent in a backyard at a summer wedding.

One option for an outdoor wedding is to get a large event tent to cover the entire ceremony; ask your venue if they may already have one that can be included. These tents may be prohibitively expensive if not included in your venue fee, so a nice compromise can be to borrow or buy a few “easy-up” canopy tents. These tents provide a small square of shade that can be offered to those who are feeling a little faint or uncomfortable, possibly with a fan hooked up if they are close enough to a building for an extension cord. Just the chance to cool off for a moment may be all that some of your guests need to get through the heat of the day.

Get Creative with Your Program as a Fan

A box of white paper fans at a wedding ceremony.

This may not be ideal for a more formal wedding, but many people at outdoor weddings end up folding their wedding programs accordion-style and fanning themselves anyway, so why not order your programs printed as inexpensive personalized fans? Otherwise, consider adding a folding template on the back of the program along with a heartfelt thank you to your guests for braving the beautiful but sunny weather with you. This way, your guests still get the important information on the front about the order of the ceremony, but they also get a little bit of breeze during the more stifling moments of the hot afternoon.

Order Personalized Phone-Powered Fans as Favors

One extreme, but rather fun, way to acknowledge and mitigate the heat is to make your favors little battery-powered or phone-powered fans. Newfangled fans click into the charging port of a typical cell phone and draw on the battery of the phone to keep you cool, or they may also use standard batteries. Not only are fans a pretty useful item that can be carried along on beach trips or other occurrences of hot weather, but you can often order a bulk set of these fans with a monogram or other message on them. How’s that for a good way to remember a special day and keep from getting sweaty at the same time?

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