With longer days and warmer weather, there’s no denying the draw of a beautiful outdoor summer wedding. There are fewer worries about April showers and springtime allergies, but that’s not to say summertime nuptials are without their concerns. Still, such risks are easily managed with proper planning and the right vendor team, so you can still have the outdoor celebration of your dreams. Wedding experts weighed in on the top summer event challenges, so keep these in mind as you plan your outdoor wedding!
Typically the first consideration to mind, most couples know that renting a tent is key to having a backup plan should Mother Nature decide not to cooperate. But, as Keith Willard of Keith Willard Events explains, a tent is only one piece of the puzzle. “Tents are easy enough to get to protect guests from the falling rain, but what about drainage?” he says. “You have to be aware of where the tent runoff will go. You may be protecting your guests from things that are coming from up above only to have what is running under their feet create havoc.” Working closely with your venue and planner to ensure proper drainage will ease these concerns and keep everyone’s feet dry!
Another common challenge of summer weddings, heat isn’t just about guest discomfort—it’s a safety issue. While renting a tent and providing fans can help, there are other steps couples can take to combat the summer heat. First off, creating your timeline to avoid peak sun is critical. “If you're planning to have a summer wedding, always take into consideration where the sun is going to be at the time of your ceremony,” encourages Caroline Robert of Caroline's Collective. “The sun will make a big difference in your guest's comfort! Try not to have your ceremony in the middle of the day when the sun is still high in the sky.” Likewise, providing plenty of shade with tree cover, tenting, and parasols can help keep guests cool even as temperatures climb. But shade isn’t enough to ensure people remain hydrated, as Jamie Chang of Mango Muse Events explains.
“Besides shade, a great way to combat the heat is with your food and drink selections,” Chang states. “Choosing items that are naturally cooling will help guests feel cooler (or at least won't add to the heat). In addition, having lots of water, and refreshing and hydrating drinks will also help guests naturally combat the heat. Another subtle way to beat the heat is by choosing food items that are not heavy. Going with lighter options will make your guests feel better and, in turn, help combat the heat.” Maureen Cotton of The Soulful Wedding agrees, adding, “A cold drink goes a long way—it provides essential hydration and makes people feel comfortable. Greet your guests with herbal water, seltzers, or iced tea upon arrival, and they will settle into the beauty of the moment.” Securing the proper rentals and coordinating with your caterer are essential steps to keep your guests cool and hydrated during your summer wedding.
Of course, with heat comes sweat—it’s the body’s way of self-cooling, so there’s no avoiding it. So Jen Avey of Destination Weddings Travel Group recommends planning ahead to dress appropriately for the weather. “We recommend your wedding day attire be light and airy, as opposed to heavy fabrics or colors that may show any sweat for photos,” Avey says. “Ask your hair and makeup artists for their opinions on the best style and face products to use to avoid your hair going flat or your makeup falling off in the midst of the hot heat.” It also doesn’t hurt to pack an extra antiperspirant in your wedding day emergency kit!
Whether you’re on a nature hike or saying “I do,” being outside means spending time in insects’ natural habitat. So if you’re planning an outdoor wedding, prepare ahead of time to mitigate the annoyance associated with bugs. “Many beautiful summer wedding spots have bugs, and just like you’d pack bug spray for an afternoon outside, be sure to have some at the entrance or welcome area for guests,” suggests Cotton. “Luckily, these days, you can find plenty of nice smelling herbal options.” “And when it comes to bug spray, consider offering a few options varying in strength level - not everyone likes to use Deet,” chimes in Janice Carnevale of Bellwether Events. If you want to go the extra measure to prevent bugs, Timeless Event Planning’s Sandy Brooks recommends for couples to “hire a company that will spray for ticks, as you don’t want these pests getting in the way of your celebration. Also, hiring a company that will spray for mosquitoes is very important as you do not want your guests to leave with bug bites all over their bodies!” Your venue coordinator will have the best insight into the areas and times of day that are most active with insects, so work with them to plan accordingly!
Nobody likes a noisy neighbor, especially when it gets in the way of their wedding vows. Who wants to hear construction during their first dance? As Laura Maddox of Magnolia Celebrates notes, “take into account the surrounding properties and potential noise. Are your neighbors having their trees taken down that day? Is there a music festival down the street from the venue? Are we worried about construction noise?” While there isn’t always a solution for noise, Maddox recommends planning ahead to reduce overlap. “For influences such as music festivals or construction, you will want to do a bit of research,” she says. “Usually, festivals fall on the same weekend or a few weekends every year. Look into this before booking your event.” Maddox adds, “For construction or other disturbances, you'll need good relationships with the surrounding area—either you, yourself or your venue owner. It's not easy to mitigate these things on the day of the event, but with good communication, prior to the event day, you can usually come to an understanding that will allow for, say, the construction to happen but perhaps halt for a lunch break or dinner break during your outdoor ceremony.” Simply put, don’t wait until surrounding noise crowds out your maid of honor’s toast. Instead, coordinate with your venue and planner to ensure nothing will get in the way of the big moments of your wedding day!
While indoor events can rely on pre-installed lighting (and power to track in decorative lighting), outdoor venues may require a “start from scratch” approach—particularly if you’re planning a wedding in a park or other space not explicitly developed for events. As Willard of Keith Willard Events explains, “Outdoor locations may look amazing during the day but maybe totally pitch black at night. If it is, not only do you need to worry about providing lighting but a power source for those lights.” “Couples should check out their space at all times of the day,” he encourages. “Go during the daylight, sunset, and nighttime. This will go a long way in knowing what kind of lighting you are going to need to ensure everyone is able to see where they are going.” Be sure to bring your planner along for these check-ins, as they’ll need to help you secure the right equipment and hire a lighting and A/V specialist if necessary.
As you can see, all of these concerns present challenges that must be addressed to ensure a safe and comfortable wedding day for you and your guests. However, the right support team will help you overcome these obstacles, mitigate risk, and execute an outdoor summer wedding that will be remembered for years!
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