How to beat the heat on your wedding day

Sarah & Williams hot-as-hell wedding
The bride fans herself while her bridesmaids try to blow cool air on her. Sarah and Williams' wedding took place during a heat wave. Oi.
Our wedding is shaping up to be 4th of July weekend… and it's gonna be hot. I've kind of got my heart set on having at least part of our wedding day outside, but man, the heat.

I'm concerned about our elderly guests, and then those friends who may over indulge on drinks. I'd really rather not move everything inside. What do you think? -bluefoote

We already gave you some great ideas on how to keep warm on your wedding day, but what if it looks like your date is smack dab in the midst of a summer scorcher? I know it's hard for some of you to imagine being all hot and sweaty because it might only be April, but we know that some of you are already starting to plan your summer wedding. Here are a few ideas of things you can do to help you and your guests feel more comfortable on a hot wedding day.

Avoid the heat

Hot ceremony
Venue by the water, check. Fans as favors, check. Guests in shorts and flip flops, check. This is doing a hot wedding right. Photo by Carlos Carpentier.
  • Adjust the time. Push the ceremony back so it's as late in the evening as possible. Think about a sunset wedding or a nighttime wedding.
  • Keep it short. Have a short ceremony and then bring the reception inside.
  • Find a venue near water. Lakeside or beach wedding anyone? Or, hell, get married ON the water on a boat — the breeze from a moving ship should keep everyone cool.
  • Shade is your friend. Definitely try to set up your ceremony in a shady location.

Cope with the heat

  • Have a pool party wedding. Pool parties are the coolest parties. (See what I did there?) You can totally take the "first plunge" instead of a first dance.
  • Fans and parasols. Turn your wedding programs into fans, or have fans readily available as favors. Or set out a bucket full of cheap paper parasols.
  • Dress code. Dress in breathable fabrics and inform your guests to dress for the heat — shorts, flip flops, light cotton shirts, sun dresses etc.
  • Hydration station. Have water, iced tea, and/or lemonade readily available
Djinnaya & Jason's wedding of WINNING
Photo by ME!
  • Hose it down! Spray down any concrete, stone, or brick areas with a garden hose to it cool off.
  • Rent tents. If there's no natural shade to be found, you can rent large tents to provide an escape from the sun.
  • Misters. You can get yourself an outdoor mist cooling system, hook it up to your garden hose, and set these fabulous misters up anywhere.
  • Frosty treats. Treat your guests to cool treats like popsicles or these awesome DIY ice pops.

Your turn! What ways are you planning on beating the heat on your wedding day?

  1. These ice pops look amazing.. what is in them??
    (and are they really as big as they look?? ^^)

    1 agrees
  2. We're only having a short (like ten minute) ceremony outside, and then our reception will be under a tent. Our invitations specified that it's outside AND casual, so they can either dress casually or bring a change of clothes. Since we're probably going to have a water balloon fight at some point during the festivities, staying cool shouldn't be a problem. (Also, it's Maine. We don't usually hit 100 degrees.)

    3 agree
  3. My dad and stepmom got married at their friends' lakeside home. It was perfect, even if I do distinctly remember being very, very sweaty. The big family photo has my cousins in bathing suits dripping wet from jumping in the lake–makes me smile every time I see it!

    2 agree
  4. I really should have thought of this when we booked our date…middayish in July…so it'll be hot! As hot as the UK can get but our reception is outside, so thanks for the ideas :) We'll be making sure we have bottles of sun screen dotted around and plenty of cool drinks and access to the house so people can cool down :)

    0 agree
  5. We got married in Washington, dc in August…it was 98% humidity and 100 degrees (no joke). We planned from the beginning for the heat.

    -the save the dates, invites and website all mentioned the heat and humidity and told people to dress lightly, loosely and casually.
    -we had a hydration station.
    -I wore a light weight dress and the men wore light grey suits with vest and no jacket. (we actually had a hard and fast "no suit jacket" rule for all our guests).
    -I made sure to do my hair in a way that wouldn't be a disaster in the humidity.
    -we have away fans to all our guests instead of programs.
    -my sister, the MC, kept reminding people to drink water through out the reception.

    2 agree
  6. I AM HAVING A POOL PARTY WEDDING! Nobody is supposed to know we're jumping in the pool as our "first kiss." Imade the mistake of telling my mom, who conveniently forgot it was a secret, and told everybody. And now, we have to tell people we're NOT, so they'll be surprised when se DO… Sheeeesh!

    But we will have hand fans, mist-emitters, a swimming pool, and airconditioning indoors to keep the food edible, as well as provide a respite from the July 29th heat. And it was my venue that suggested it, but it bears repeating, make sure that you consider what will happen to the food in the heat as well, because ols people and flowers may wilt in the heat, but so do cakes and shrimp cocktails…

    0 agree
    • Sam B – LOVE your "secret" first kiss ideas. I planned a wedding last year on a farm + they did a first "bounce" in a blow up castle. I LOVE the unique + fun loving couples. I hope that you have a magical + memorable day :)

      1 agrees
  7. July 28 in Austin, Texas. I'm having the guests seated for reception indoors during the ceremony. If it's even close to as hot as it was last year, it's just not feasible to have it outside, even in the shade with fans and ice pops. July is the off season in Austin so the venue was super cheap.

    0 agree
  8. I'm guilty of not reading all of the comments so I'm not sure if this was mentioned, but if you're having a hot outdoor wedding, practice SAFE SUN! Skin cancer is super serious and I would think about having sunscreen in your "Oh Shit" Kit, and spare bottles available at the hydration station.

    3 agree
  9. We're hoping that the weather will cooperate and be a nice "spring" temp in the 70's. If it does happen to be warm, we have the ceremony set up in one of the cooler areas of the gardens which is surrounded by big shade trees which should help a bit. I'm also planning on having my hair up which always helps since I have ridiculously thick and currently longer-than-ever-before hair. Oh and my dress is sort of in the "superleggera" class of a-line dresses since it's a floaty chiffon thing with minimal under structure. I'm actually a bit concerned that I'll be a little chilly.

    0 agree
  10. One wedding in our magazine was mid-July and they had spray bottles at their hydration station filled with distilled water and a few drops of lavender and mint oil. It gives a really nice cooling effect.

    If you're concerned about guests over-indulging in drinks (I'm assuming you mean the alcoholic variety) don't offer any until much later in the evening or until the MAIN eating event. By then, they should be plenty hydrated with normal drinks and will have food to help keep things less drunky.

    And a note on food–if it's a really hot day, a really filling meal might not be the best idea. Choose lighter fare that will sit well with everyone. I always get a little stomach achey if I've been sweating all day and I eat something terribly rich or heavy.

    6 agree
    • Dootsie, you're always such a wealth of information!
      Can I just keep you in my pocket for opportune moments at which time I will open the pocket, whisper "Doostiesayswhat?" and wait for the appropriately awesome response.

      9 agree
      • Haha Trust me, pocket-sized versions of me are way more officious.

        2 agree
    • GODDOMMOT DOOTSIE WHEN U START WRITING 4 US?!

      10 agree
      • Haha my mind instantly changed that to "Y U NO WRITE 4 US?!"

        *laughing*

        7 agree
        • I'm just envisioning all of us as the aliens from Toy Story, watching in awe as Dootsie is being lifted from the claw machine to the upper echelon of OBB contributors…

          "OooooOOOo…..DooooOOOoootsie…."

          LOL Start writing, Doots!

          6 agree
  11. Remind your guests to bring/wear sunscreen (or provide some). Last July, I went to an outdoor wedding, and sunscreen did not even cross my mind. I just don't associate nice dress with sun protection. Luckily, I knew a mom at the wedding and she had some sunscreen. Pro tip – A Mom is more prepared than you.

    5 agree
  12. At one wedding I went to let us choose paper umbrellas or a few choices of paper fan styles which kept us pretty cool in middle of July weather in Ohio. You could also allow guest to wear stylish hats too. Some venues that are outdoor have outlets to allow fans to be plugged in.. just another thought….

    0 agree
  13. A dab of facial toner on your pulse points really helps to keep you cool – same effect as rubbing alcohol would have but not as harsh.

    0 agree
  14. If it's going to be really hot AND humid outside, consider adding gatorade or a sports drink to your hydration station. When people sweat, they're also losing a fair amount of salts, and that can do them in surprisingly fast. It's not an issue if people are sweating, but it can be a problem if they're not replacing everything. Also consider not serving alcohol at all, since that will dehydrate people even faster while making them thirsty.

    In my experience, having any ceremonies outside & then moving inside for more extensive festivities are a good idea. One way around this is to have everything after full dark (which can be pretty late, but really, after dusk will be when it finally starts to cool down). Go to town with white Christmas lights (fairy lights!), maybe some sparklers if there's no fire advisory. Stay away from grills or bonfires, but candles are another fun alternative light source.

    Finally, if you are having a beach wedding to include the waterfront element, make sure to check the tide charts so people aren't scrambling out of the way of high tide. It can be a lot cooler, but hopefully any soaking is deliberate and not frantic backpedaling from encroaching waves.

    2 agree
  15. Haha, "I know it's hard for some of you to imagine being all hot and sweaty because it might only be April"… Some of us live in the Southern Hemisphere, you know! I got sunburnt at my cousin's wedding last Saturday – no one expected it to be over 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit) mid-way through autumn.

    3 agree
  16. we are having an outdoors wedding at a friends organic flower farm just north of Fort Collins in September. It'll likely be near 90 (if not more) and we are planning the late afternoon. its going to be about 200 people and i'm really having a hard time deciding on food! i'm pretty set on the pot luck idea, but i hadn't thought of the heat+meat issue mentioned above! anymore ideas would be gold!!

    0 agree
    • we did a buffet and had a selection of cheese, crackers, pate and salads. Here are two of the salads we made and served. French style potato salad (no mayo) – http://www.marthastewart.com/315414/new-potato-salad Succotash – http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2010/07/summer-succotash-with-bacon-and-croutons/ (for the succotash I put the bacon and croutons on the side for the sake of the vegans and coeliacs) We also did mixed roast bell peppers, tomatoes and courgettes (zucchini) tossed with a little olive oil and salt/pepper/herbs and served at room temperature. Then some vegepate, cold cuts, cheese and crackers/bread. All really easy to make the day before and then forget about it. Also pretty unlikely to spoil easily.

      0 agree
  17. These are really helpful tips! My wedding actually is the weekend of July 4th, in Tennessee. I am definitely thinking fans, and now I'm thinking water outside as well as at the reception. We are doing it late in the evening, and the sun conveniently sets behind the building next to our courtyard! However, I have to say that having a wedding near water might not be the best idea in some areas… I mean, further north that might be great, but if you had a wedding outside near the river in Tennessee on July 4th, everyone would die of humidity – if they didn't get eaten alive by mosquitos first! I am also planning on using insect spray because at my sister's outdoor late summer wedding a few years ago, we all got feasted on by bugs.

    1 agrees
    • Mosquitos! Watch out for crazy bugs on your wedding, if you're outdoors! We only took pictures outside (end of May, Michigan) but we were on the water and honestly so many of the pictures turned out to be all of us fending off CLOUDS of bugs!

      1 agrees
      • I also have to add that I found a very squished bug INSIDE my corset that night…. not exactly a sexy surprise.

        2 agree
    • We're putting bug spray and sunscreen ALL over the place, and making sure to make an announcement about it as the festivities begin. We're having our wedding and reception at my parent's house on a gorgeous 40 acres in the Wisconsin woods which equals bugs and humidity.

      ALSO we're figuring out a way to sort of allude to these facts in the invites and on the site. More like telling people that they're going to want to wear bug spray, telling them it will be provided, and warning them not to wear too much parfume so as to not attract more bugs, which can be a big problem, too! We'll probably tell them that wearing clothes that stink can't be easily washed out of (ie dry clean only clothes) probably aren't the best idea for our wedding.

      2 agree
  18. So many great ideas here!

    I'm making fans for my friends wedding that will have the program printed on them for during the ceremony. Her date is mid-July so it should be roasty-toasty.

    0 agree
  19. I plan on passing out hand painted fans and having a snow cone cart at the cocktail area. My wedding is outdoors in a shaded area but it's going to be in the hot August Texas sun. We're getting married around 7pm (the sun doesn't go completely down until 9 in the summer) and we rented a Port-O-Cool which is an outdoor portable evaporative cooling unit. All you need is a plug and a hose.

    0 agree
  20. For our wedding it was a 40 degree day in March, which was very very unusual! A friend mentioned some kind of talc powder from the chemist that stopped you sweating. I got some and used it for under the arms beforehand, but in actual fact it was cool enough by the time we were outside that it wasn't really needed. But it was a good idea, and should be passed on!

    Luckily it wasn't so bad overall, particularly because;
    – we started everything at 5.30pm, later in the day
    – our venue had LOTS of shade, and the ceremony area was completely in shade by the time everyone arrived.
    – we gave the ladies fans for favours
    – our reception was partly indoors with aircon as well as having the outdoor area.
    – I was having far too much fun to let any of it bother me!

    0 agree
    • Don't use actual talcum powder….it's powdered stone and not good for you. Use unscented baby powder (ie, cornstarch). A light dusting helps to absorb perspiration.

      3 agree
      • Its not talc, that's just the closest thing its similar to in my book! This stuff is specifically designed for people with sweat issues, so has some kind of antiperspirant built in.

        0 agree
  21. Wow! I have been wanting someone to invent this for a while but it looks like they already have!!! This makes me so happy :) thank you!

    0 agree
  22. In the fall, you should do a "How to keep warm" segment. I am ALWAYS cold, but want a Christmas wedding.

    2 agree
  23. Reviving old comment thread!

    I'm English but getting married in December in Cape Town where it's going to be a tad warm so reading these tips avidly. We're making sun shades which will then be used as table clothes at the reception back home afterwards which addresses the direct sunlight

    What we're struggling with is the water – the main lodge is a good few minutes walk away. Is it worth putting a bucket of ice cubes and bottled water by the seats so that guests can help themselves during the ceremony if needed? Trying to find the cheapest option, but tap water isnt easy to move except by hose :P

    0 agree
  24. We're getting married in Orlando in September, which I'm sure Floridians won't blink an eye at, but coming from the UK that's a bid deal heat-wise for us! We've chosen a ceremony at a breezy, waterfront location at 5.00pm when the worst of the heat is going to have died down. The reception is also outside, during the evening. The venue has a water station set up as standard, which was great, and we've told guests to come dressed as they wish. I'm taking a fan in my bag and testing all my makeup at the gym beforehand (yep, I'm gonna be *that* guy!)

    0 agree
  25. We're having an early morning wedding instead, partly for this reason! We're in Australia and it can get over 40C (105F) here in December (when our wedding is), so we thought we'd have it at the coolest time of day and then head for a breakfast reception indoors since it starts heating up early. Nice light for photos too hopefully!

    0 agree
  26. I gotta be honest here: I think people who insist on getting married in the heat are just THE WORST. There is nothing like the entire wedding party being covered in sweat because the bride wanted a butterfly to bless her in the sunlight on her golden day. Heck no. Get me AC and artificial lighting. I will buy you a bigger present if you don't give me swamp ass in my fancy dress.

    0 agree

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