Tips for an Outdoor Summer Wedding

Summer is here!  It doesn’t matter if your ceremony is in Maine or Arizona or this year or next, I’ve got some advice on how to beat the heat and keep your guests (and you!) happy.


  • Pick a shaded spot if possible.  Gardens and beaches with trees (pine or palm) will help your guests from getting too baked in the sun.
  • Be mindful of what time of day your ceremony starts.  Will your guests be boiling at 2:00pm?  Will they be blinded at sunset?
  • Be mindful of what direction they’re facing and where the sun is at that time.  Again, will they be blinded at sunset?  Will your photographs show your guests all in sunglasses?  Will your photos even come out because of all the backlight?


  • Put little bottles of sunscreen in gift bags or have larger bottles for those who forgot.
  • Bug spray is also important.  Want to have fun with it?  Create a “Ceremony Prep” spot with sunscreen, bug spray, programs and anything else they may need to avoid melting.
  • Fans or parasols can be a fun choice depending on your theme or style.
  • Flip-Flops for boat or beach celebrations go over well, especially for women in heels.


  • Concider a non-wool suit or tux for an outdoor ceremony.  You will thank me.  The vest and white shirt with rolled up sleeves is a nice trend this year.
  • Love that dress with 14 petticoats?  Go for it!  But be realistic about how disgusting you might feel 15 minutes into your day.  You don’t have to sacrifice a full length gown – just cut down the number of layers and go with a fabric that breathes.
  • If your bridemaids have clutches instead of flowers (a handy trend that I love), have your maid of honor put some powder in hers so you can touch up your makeup if you start to feel shiny.
  • Put on sunscreen.  If you do nothing else, do this for me.  Don’t forget your arms and the back of your neck if your hair is up.


  • Heat may wilt your arrangements if you schedule your florist to arrive 6 hours prior to the event.  Be choosy with your floral selection or have them come at the last-minute.
  • Outdoor buffets leave us with many things to consider.  Ice Cream cake?  Not going to work.  All hot food?  Not very appealing on a 105 degree day.  If there is an indoor space of some kind near your reception, try having the buffet in there.  Also (to be quite blunt) consider things like bugs, sand, birds pooping, kids throwing dirt, sand and if you’re on the beach…lots and lots of sand.  This will find its way into your food.
  • The sun will not always be out.  Yes, this sounds like an obvious one, but it needs to be said.  Make plans for non-sun produced lighting (be they electric, candle or otherwise).  In addition to the evening, take into account how much natural light you’ll have if it’s cloudy and overcast.  A shaded area might get really dark even early in the day.


  • Making a rain plan will not jinx your luck with the weather.  It is a smart thing to do if you don’t want to get wet.  I fully endorse making a plan that you will really enjoy, not just tolerate.  Sure the outdoor wedding is what you’ve also dreamed of, but you’ll keep that smile on your face if you choose an alternative location that you love as well.
  • Or…don’t make a rain plan.  Bring umbrella’s and have a good ole time in the rain.  It can’t hurt, so why not have fun with it!

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