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Planning the Perfect Outdoor Summer Wedding (12 Actionable Tips)

Bride and groom in their summer wedding

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Summer is a brilliant time of the year to have an outdoor wedding. There’s a lot more than just the warm weather to enjoy – with the warmer months comes the availability of extensive varieties of florals and the flexibility with themes and colors gives you an abundance of options to choose from.

If you’re planning a gorgeous summer wedding and looking for ideas on how to make it a perfect outdoor event, we’ve got some tips for you!

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1- Go floral!

Bride holding flower in her summer wedding

Getting married in summer means you have access to stunning summer flowers to fill your wedding with delicious scents and give it a happy summer vibe. Flowers can be incorporated into practically anything at a wedding. You can use them for centrepieces, garlands, the bride’s bouquet, groom’s boutonniere or to decorate the table. If you want to wow your guests with something extravagant, consider a gorgeous flower wall as a backdrop!

If you’re planning to use many different types of flowers at your wedding, choose a matching color palette and floral varieties that go well together or the result could be gaudy and hard on the eyes.

2- Rustic Cakes

Rustic wedding cake

A delicious rustic cake loaded with fresh juicy berries and sandwiched with fluffy buttercream is ideal for a summer wedding. Naked cakes are light and summery, and the simplicity of the stripped down style shows that less is definitely more. But don’t forget to keep it out of the sun to avoid a literal meltdown.

3- Have a little ‘relief’ station 

sunscreen station is a must for summer wedding planning

If you’re thinking about having a summer wedding, it is important to keep in mind that summer typically means heat, pesky bugs and sunburn. It would be a good idea to fill a little basket or crate with relief items that your guests could use to protect themselves from these nuisances. You could put in a few cans of bug spray, sunscreen, some hand sanitizer and some bottles of moisturizer either in a gift bag as favors or at a common station. Your guests will thank you for it! In order to avoid getting sunburnt, don’t forget to remind the bridal party to use sunscreen before the ceremony. It could save you a great deal of discomfort later on!

4- Keep the menu light

Light summer wedding menu

Filling up on heavy food in the summer heat is not a good idea. Instead, stick to a menu which includes fresh fruits, grilled meats and sweet summer vegetables. Remember, don’t keep your food in the hot sun – temperatures spike in direct sunlight and this can make the food unsafe. Make sure you have a wide range of beverages to keep you and your guests cool and well hydrated in the summer heat.

5- Wear cool, breathable clothes

Couple at their wedding day

Feeling comfortable, beautiful and confident on your wedding day is one of the most important aspects on your wedding. If you’re going to enjoy your day, the last thing you want is to wear a dress that is heavy and difficult to move around in.

For the bride, it might be a good idea to choose a wedding dress made of light breathable fabrics like chiffon, lace or tulle. You could also go for a shorter skirt for a comfortable, modern look but if you feel like you simply can’t do without the traditional wedding gown, have another dress to wear after you exchange your vows. For the groom think a suit that’s light in both color and weight would make it easier to beat the heat in.

6- Have a sunset wedding

Sunset wedding in summer

The best time for a summer wedding is from the late afternoon to early evening. A midday wedding means that the sun is directly overhead, making it the hottest time of the day. Your guests won’t appreciate running the risk of heatstroke, so it might be a good idea to have a sunset wedding provided the sun doesn’t set too late on the day. Planning your wedding around the sunset can give you the perfect lighting for your wedding photos. Plan the ceremony at least 30 minutes before the timed sunset so that you have enough time to capture those beautiful shots.

Here’s why midday weddings are a bad idea:

7- Have a barbecue!

bbq at summer wedding

Why not have a barbecue to give your warm weather celebration a relaxed, summer vibe? Barbecues officially mark the beginning of summer and are a good way to make the event fun and sociable as guests and family members each take their turn at handling the grill. You could try some unusual BBQ choices instead of the everyday burgers and sausages to bring some excitement into it. Why not try swapping grilled lamb meatballs for lamb served with salsa verde? Also make sure you have a lot of salads, chutneys and cheeses to accompany the BBQ to add variety and sophistication to your BBQ.

8- Go for a beach wedding

Beach wedding setup venue

Some couples tend to think that a beach wedding would rob them of having the elegant, traditional wedding they’ve always dreamed of, but this is far from the truth. While the wedding attire would need to accommodate the temperature and the environment, you can still make your beach wedding comfortable, elegant and as sophisticated as you want it to be. Having a beach wedding with the sound of the ocean in the background can provide a beautiful and romantic setting for your wedding.

9- Have welcome bags or baskets for your guests

Summer wedding welcome bags

Giving your guests welcome bags or baskets is a way of saying ‘We are thrilled to have you and thank you for being here to share our special day with us!’. For a summer wedding, add summer-related items like sunglasses, a parasol or fan, a reusable water bottle and some miniature bottles of alcohol or champagne. Be sure to add in a ‘thank you’ card or note for your guests. They will surely appreciate it.

10- Comfortable practical shoes

Bride wearing sneakers at her summer wedding day

Wearing stilettoes for your outdoor wedding is a big mistake and surprisingly, a common one. Stilettoes sink into loose soil and grass, ruining the shoe and putting you at risk of falling and hurting yourself on your big day. If you must wear a high heeled shoe, opt for something with a sturdy block heel or go for wedges. Pick a shoe that looks great, keeps you steady and is comfortable to wear all day outdoors – like flats or even sneakers.

11- Have a pool party theme

Pool party wedding

A pool party can be a great way to kick-start your summer wedding. If you choose to have a poolside wedding, try including a variety of games and activities to make the party more enjoyable for your guests. Be sure to have plenty of snacks on hand, because there’s something about pools that makes you want to keep snacking! There are many ways to decorate the pool area using balloons and paper lanterns or you can go for tropical theme décor with palm leaves, orchids and coconuts to give a refreshing look to the venue.

12- Live music

Man playing guitar in a wedding live music

When it comes to listing the most important things to plan for a wedding, music would be somewhere at the top. Rather than hiring a DJ for the evening entertainment on your wedding day, why not create a happy summer festival vibe by choosing live band instead? Live music can set the tone for your wedding reception, making it an unforgettable one. Having a live band at your reception is unique since people hardly get the chance to experience the energy and excitement of having a live performance up close and when they do get this opportunity, they hit the dance floor with all they’ve got. Even guests who don’t plan to dance will have something to watch. It makes for a relaxed, fun and entertaining option for your music all evening.