An outdoor summer wedding provides a beautiful, natural backdrop that is both elegant and comfortable. However, without the proper planning, the summer heat can make an outdoor venue quite uncomfortable for your guests.

If you’re thinking of saying “I Do,” under the open summer sky, take special care to ensure you and your guests keep cool! A little planning can go a long way to help everyone thoroughly enjoy the celebration even during the hottest summer months. To get you started, here are six pieces of advice for beating the heat when planning an outdoor summer wedding.

Use a Tent to Create Shade

One of the most essential things you can do to counter-act the summer heat is to rent a tent! The most popular use of a tent at an outdoor wedding is to create the reception venue where guests can enjoy dinner and dancing in the comfort of a shaded space.

Additionally, you can use tents to shade your guests during the ceremony and cocktail hour. There are many variations as to the type of tent you can use and here’s a helpful guide to give you a basic idea as to your options (you can also surf our inventory here). Summer heat is just one element of the outdoors you have to worry about. Summer rainstorms are a whole other force to be reckoned with. Having tents ready to go will help you react to whatever Mother Nature has in store for your big day!

This tent creates an elegant reception space while shielding guests from the hot summer sun.
This tent creates an elegant reception space while shielding guests from the hot summer sun.

Provide fans (big and small!)

The addition of fans to your wedding can really help guests to keep their cool and find relief from the heat. During the ceremony, consider handing out fans as favors or designing your program to do double-duty as a fan. These mini fans will also give southern-charm to your outdoor ceremony. For the reception, invest in renting fans to place under your tents. Our tent fans attach directly to the tent poles so that guests feel the breeze while hardly noticing they are there. Our barrel fans offer a more powerful breeze with a very low noise level for especially hot venues.

Keep Your Guests Hydrated

From the time your guests arrive until they say goodnight, make sure you have plenty of water and non-alcoholic beverage options available. One idea is to provide each guest with a bottle of water as they are seated for the ceremony. You can also place pitchers (you can rent ones like these) of ice tea and lemonade at each table so guests can easily self-serve. Beer and wine can liven up a party, but keeping your guests hydrated will help keep the party going longer.

Serve a “Cool” Menu

Hot and heavy foods like fried entrees, soup and mashed potatoes will only emphasize the summer heat. Instead, select a menu that helps keeps guests feeling light and refreshed as they indulge. For appetizers, you might choose fruit skewers, sushi or shrimp cocktail. For dinner, a selection of chicken or fish with fresh steamed vegetables will keep guests satisfied and full while giving them energy to hit the dance floor. Finally, finish off the night with a sweet treat that also provides a cooling effect like Sno-Kones (you can rent a machine like this one), mini ice cream sandwiches or chocolate mousse.

Have your guests sit down to a cool and light dinner menu to keep them full but energized.
Have your guests sit down to a cool and light dinner menu to keep them full but energized.

Plan an Evening Celebration

One of the most important details for planning an outdoor summer wedding is what time to you choose to start the ceremony. If you’re planning to have guests sit outside, avoid the hottest hours of the day. Preferably, wait until after 5pm when the sun is less direct. An evening celebration will allow you to take advantage of the cooler hours of the day which will keep guests comfortable as they celebrate with you into the night.

Carefully pick the time you start your ceremony! Avoid the hottest hours of the day or provide a tent for your guests to sit under.
Carefully pick the time you start your ceremony! Avoid the hottest hours of the day or provide a tent for your guests to sit under.

Make It Casual

A formal affair requires jackets and ties for men and long dresses for women. Asking your guests to adhere to a black-tie wardrobe for an outdoor summer wedding could turn into a sweaty and uncomfortable request. Instead, take advantage of the casual and comfortable atmosphere of the outdoors by allowing guests to dress a bit more casually. Button-downs with dress pants for men and sun dresses for women will still maintain an elegant atmosphere and will also keep guests considerably cooler!

Have you planned or attended an outdoor summer wedding? Share your own experiences and tips for how you “kept your cool!”

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