Your hot weather wedding: six ways to keep your cool

Your hot weather wedding ~ Sussex celebrant Claire Bradford of Creating Ceremony
 ‘when I said I wanted to look hot at my wedding…’

Most of the ceremonies I conduct happen in the UK and we’re not really known here for searing temperatures and hot weather weddings. In fact, couples I work with are often keeping all their fingers and toes crossed just that it won’t rain on their big day!

We are blessed with the occasional warm or hot spell most summers though and many couples bank on it being warm (or at least dry!) for their mid-season wedding ceremony. With the exponential rise in the popularity of outdoor weddings, whether it’s festival-style in a field, in a garden, on the beach or in amongst some castle ruins, a sunny wedding is most couples’ dream.

The problem sometimes comes when the British weather does its extreme thing and throws a heatwave on your wedding day. Or of course, if you’re jetting off to sunnier climes for your ceremony and saying your ‘I do’s’ on a hot, sandy beach in the Maldives for example (I’m totally available for these sort of destination weddings, by the way… Just putting it out there…!)

When I say ‘problem’, it’s only really an issue if you haven’t planned for hot weather and then it’s sprung on you. And, as you’ll know all too well by now if you’re getting married in the next year or two, weddings are aaaaalll about planning, whether you like it or not.

So, if you’re having an outdoor wedding and you’re lucky enough to be blessed with the sunshine on your big day, try some of these top tips so you and your guests can keep partying in comfort without keeling over…

Six tips for a cool hot wedding!

1. Shade

Hopefully, you will have some shadier seats which you can reserve for elderly guests or those more vulnerable to the heat of your hot weather wedding. If that’s not possible though, consider putting up a gazebo or placing a bench under a nearby tree, so that guests who are finding the heat too much can easily find a place to cool off but still be able to hear what’s going on. 

If those options don’t work, it might be that the best option would be for heat-overwhelmed guests to retreat inside instead (especially if there’s air-con).

Ask your celebrant to announce at the beginning of the ceremony where these places are and to let people know they can seek shelter there if they need to, rather than risk fainting. 

2. Seating

Most couples like to stand throughout their ceremony and sometimes the wedding party joins them, standing behind them. If it’s scorchio though, it’s wise to assess the situation before the ceremony. You can either decide that you’ll sit through most of it (just standing for your vows and to exchange rings or any other symbolic rituals you’ve planned), or you can tough it out and have some chairs tucked away somewhere in case of an oncoming swoon.

Again, talk these things through with your celebrant, who can whip out the hidden chairs at the slightest nod from you/your wedding party. This will enable you to enjoy your hot weather wedding ceremony without worrying that you’re about to hit the deck.

Oh, and if the mercury is rising well and truly outside, keep your guests in the cool if possible until just before the ceremony starts. You don’t want them lobster-like before you’ve even made your entrances!

Jess and Dan tied the knot on a sweltering day at Knepp Castle Estate ~ Sussex celebrant Claire Bradford of Creating Ceremony
Jess and Dan tied the knot on a sweltering day at Knepp Castle Estate

3. Clothing

If you’d anticipated hot weather when you were shopping for wedding outfits, you’re probably sorted on the clothing side of things. 

However, if a heatwave has snuck up on you, you might have to have a rethink. Jackets are obviously part of ‘the look’ for many wedding outfits, but if the wearer is bright red and ready to burst, they might not be quite the aesthetic you’re after… So consider asking your celebrant to tell people they’re welcome to take their jackets off. You can always put them on again for the photos later.

Oh, and though it’s not quite clothing related, if either of you have long hair, consider an ‘up do’ to keep you cooler.

4. Water

Big tubs of ice with bottled water at regular intervals will help to keep your guests hydrated and cool throughout your wedding ceremony. Don’t forget to have some to hand for yourselves, your wedding party and your celebrant! It’s quite easy to ‘hide’ bottles behind flower arches or ceremonial tables, for example – or just tuck them beside a chair.

It’s very, very easy to get dehydrated on your wedding day as you will be handed fizz on a regular basis, you’ll be happily distracted, and you’ll not have much time to get yourself a big glass of water. So nominate someone to be your water provider and to make sure you both have constant access to a cool bottle of water.

Keeping cool with a paper fan ~ Sussex celebrant Claire Bradford of Creating Ceremony
Photo by Jawm Ling from Pexels

5. Fans

Paper fans are an easy and stylish way to keep cool, and you can even personalise them or tie them into your wedding theme. Plus, your favours are sorted – what’s not to love?!

Check out this page for some examples.

6. Other thoughtful supplies to have on hand

Once during hot weather I conducted a wedding in a field where there was no shade. The couple had thoughtfully curated little baskets of necessities for their guests, which were placed at the end of each row of seats, along with buckets filled with bottled water. They included:

  • suncream
  • antihistamine tablets
  • sunglasses, and 
  • sunhats 

The sunhats and sunglasses were a very random selection that they had rounded up from charity shops and it totally fitted their boho theme, as well as being helpful and a big talking point later on. Lots of selfies were taken with some of the wilder items in the collection!

It’s certainly an idea to play around with – you might decide not to have baskets but to arm your guests with all the necessary before they take their seats for the ceremony perhaps.

Follow these tips to keep you and your guests cool during your hot weather wedding and you’ll be partying happily all day and night!

Oh, and if you did want to book me for that tropical island wedding ceremony (or any other sort…), get in touch today.