How To Plan A Summer Wedding

Having a summer wedding? We went to the guru of all things decorating and interiors – Apartment Therapy’s Maxwell Ryan – for tips on how to throw the perfect one from start to finish…

From Maxwell Ryan

1. GET WORD OUT EARLY. Summer is the prime time for vacations. To be sure your guests keep your wedding weekend open, send save-the-date announcements early, around six to eight months in advance.

2. KEEP AN EYE ON THE WEATHER. When choosing a date, you can look on weather.com to see historical data on different summer dates and determine which weekends in your area have the mildest temperatures or the lowest chance of rain. Also, if anyone in the wedding party suffers from allergies, check to see when pollen counts are usually at their highest to steer clear of those dates.

3. PLAN FOR AN EVENING WEDDING. Timing is everything. To make sure everybody is in the mood to eat and drink with you, steer clear of the sun-drenched midday hours and opt instead for a later-afternoon or evening wedding.

4. CATER TO OUT-OF-TOWN GUESTS. No matter where you’re getting married, summer is probably the best time to be there. Let traveling guests know – either by word of mouth, on the wedding website or with a piece of paper in the welcome bag – about weekend festivals, museums, baseball games and other fun things to do while they’re in town.

5. KEEP GUESTS COOL. Choosing an indoor/outdoor venue will let your guests enjoy the great weather, while offering a respite for anyone who’s overheating. If your ceremony or reception is to take place totally outdoors, consider renting fans or A/C units to keep everyone cool, including any older or pregnant guests.

6. TAKE EXTRA CARE TO LOOK YOUR BEST IN THE HEAT. Choose a sleek hairstyle that will stand up to the elements, and ask a bridesmaid to hang on to some blotting papers and powder for your face.

7. CHOOSE SEASONAL FLOWERS. Good news: Summer is a great time for some of the most beautiful blooms, like dahlias, zinnias and sunflowers. One catch: Thirsty summer flowers, like hydrangeas, should stay in water to stay looking their best, so keep them out of bouquets and boutonnieres and leave them in centerpieces instead.

8. ANOTHER FLOWER TIP: Before the wedding and between photos, keep a cooler nearby to keep your bouquet looking its best – the heat outside will zap the moisture right out of your flowers after a while. Take a Styrofoam cooler and place a few freezer packs in the bottom, then cover them completely with crumpled paper or packing peanuts before resting your bouquet gently inside.

9. KEEP THE MENU SEASONALLY APPROPRIATE, TOO. Before dinner, please the crowd with cool appetizers like shrimp cocktail, ceviche or gazpacho shots. A picnic or grill-inspired menu is perfect summer fare. Then dessert can be popsicles, pies or a cake garnished with fresh fruit. And remember an outdoor summer wedding might not be the place for creamy and heavy comfort food, no matter how much you love mac and cheese.

10. SERVE AN INSPIRED WATER AT THE BAR. Weddings are a time for celebration, and many of your guests will be sipping on champagne and spirits. But with the warm weather outside, it’s important to stay hydrated. Service ice water in a drink dispenser infused with lemon, lime, mint, cucumber, or anything else that goes with the theme of your wedding. Bonus: It’ll help prevent post-wedding hangovers for anyone who celebrated a little too hard.

Don’t forget to read this article with Brides Magazine Editor-in-Chief Keija Minor. Going to a summer wedding? Here is what to wear