Dr. Alan Viau

Hot Summer Wedding Tips

Summer is a favorite time of year for outdoor wedding ceremonies. It is also very hot. There are three things you can do to beat the heat.


Photo by Alan Viau

Predictably, one month after the summer solstice of June 21, the earth has warmed up. We experience that warmth as our summer heat waves. Similarly, one month after the winter solstice is the coldest period of the year. But let’s not talk about that now. Instead, let’s talk about having weddings in this hot sunny weather.

When I look at destination wedding pictures, they are usually in an exotic and hot locale. The groom is wearing cool linen pants and a loose fitting short sleeve shirt. The bride is in an elegant flowing sun dress.

It baffles me that although we have equally hot temperatures, we don’t dress as brides and grooms do for destination weddings. Our grooms are wearing black suits and brides are in heavy satin or silk gowns. I’m not any better standing there in my black suit.

Having a successful outdoor wedding ceremony in the summer heat means you need to plan for three things.

Hydration: Staying hydrated is probably the most important aspect of keeping healthy in the heat. Providing water for your guests is essential. The bride and groom also need to stay on top of their hydration. With all the running around and nervousness in getting ready, it is easy to forget to drink. For myself, I gulp one 591mL bottle of sugar-free electrolyte replacement drink per wedding ceremony.

Sun: Being outdoors means being in the sun. When scouting for a venue, you can choose one that has a gazebo or tree that provides shade. If you are in full sun, remember to put on sunscreen. Not only will you be exposed for the full length of the ceremony, but also for the photo sessions afterwards.

Timing: Contrary to popular thinking, the hottest part of the day is 3 til 5pm – which is of course the sweet spot for ceremony times. Please be considerate to your guests. They arrive about 15 minutes before the start time. If the ceremony starts late, they have been out there for that much longer. This increases the risk of heat stroke among the elderly and children in particular. When I work with a couple who want an outdoor ceremony at the height of the summer heat, I encourage them to have a meaningful SHORT ceremony to minimize the time in the heat.

I am looking forward to a Beach Themed wedding that I’ve booked for 2014. I won’t be wearing my black suit to that one.

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