How To Plan a Summer Wedding in the South

If you live anywhere in the southern United States you know how hot and miserable it can get during the summer! Here in central Texas, the temperatures in July + August easily top the high 90’s and come with humidity to make it even worse! So, if you want to have a summer wedding you need to be thoughtful about the weather during planning! Careful consideration of the conditions you are subjecting your guests to will greatly affect their experience throughout your wedding!

Location, Location, Location

If you are set on having your wedding during the summer, make sure to choose a venue with plenty of indoor space or shaded outdoor space. Many venues, especially in the Austin area, have outdoor and indoor spaces. As a standard practice when you are touring venues, ask what the “plan B” is for inclement weather. Inclement weather can refer to rain, or even if a huge heat wave comes through and you no longer want to do a ceremony outside. Make sure your venue has enough room for your whole guest count to be in a shaded or indoor area for the majority of your wedding.

If you are having any portion of your summer wedding outdoors, it’s likely to be the ceremony. Outdoor ceremony sites are often gorgeous, but keep in mind what it will feel like to stand there for 20-30 minutes during your ceremony service. Check for natural shade and even ask the venue manager how they manage the heat during the summer months. They might have a tent or tarping company they work with often that could be a source of shade for an outdoor ceremony site. Stand at the ceremony site and look around for large trees. Will those aid in shading the ceremony area, or will the sun be beating down directly on your guests? Ask yourself these questions before you commit to a venue or ceremony space!

Time of Events

Timing your wedding events right is a crucial part of managing heat and giving your guests a better experience during your wedding. What time do you plan to have your ceremony? What temperature will it be around then, and where will the sun be in relation to your ceremony space (directly overhead, setting behind you, etc.)? Ask those same questions for your cocktail hour and reception. The later in the evening, the cooler it will be outside!

In addition to start time, if you are having an outdoor ceremony, please keep it short! Your guests will love you for it! Typical wedding ceremonies are about 30 minutes long. Consider cutting it down to 20 minutes (or even 15) if your guests are having to sit out in the direct sunlight. You will also be thankful for this, because standing at an alter in uncomfortable dress clothes (heels, a tie around your neck, a long heavy dress, long black pants, etc.) under the bearing sun is not fun and you are sure to be pouring sweat in no time at all. Save yourself (and your guests) by keeping this element of the day short and sweet. Talk with your officiant about how to change the ceremony to make it brief.

Keeping Guests Comfortable

There are so many small things you can do to keep your guests comfortable at an outdoor wedding in the south. The first thing is to keep in mind how your guests will experience the day. They will arrive, park in a parking lot, then walk to the ceremony site where they will sit and wait for the ceremony to begin. After the 20-30 minute long ceremony, they will head to the cocktail hour space. Then after 45 minutes to 1 hour of time there, they will be invited into the reception area to take a seat. Receptions are typically 4 hours long and most of the time is spent sitting, while the end of the night has more dancing.

At your ceremony, consider providing water bottles or fans for guests to pick up on their way in. Have lots of water readily available during all aspects of the day. The more your guests sweat, the more water they will drink! Try to host different parts of the wedding day in shaded or air conditioned areas if possible. If you are not in a shaded or air conditioned area, keep the guests’ time there as short as you can.

An outdoor wedding in the summer can easily become a sweaty disaster, so take some of these tips to heart if you are set on a summer wedding in the south! At the end of the day, just keep your guests in mind, period. You will experience your wedding day in a totally different way than they will! Try to do your best to keep your guests comfortable and they will have a lot more fun! And if your guests are happy and enjoying themselves, it will show in pictures and during dancing, trust me!

Happy planning,

Shelby Kirchner

Owner & Head Planner

Plan On It ATX

I am an Austin based full service wedding planner for the modern, relaxed couple who wants to enjoy their engagement and wedding planning experience. We specialize in full weekend weddings that are centered on a high guest experience.

Email today to learn more about my services and how I can help you and your partner plan the wedding of your dreams!


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