I’m sat here, sweltering with a brain that’s not great at functioning in a top floor flat that must be close to 36 degrees with a giant iMac radiating explosive heat. It’s not pleasant, cold showers and ice cream are my only saviours right now and don’t even get me started about trekking across London for meetings on public transport with people who are clueless about that thing called deodorant. Not pretty.
So I thought i’d jump on this whilst it was fresh [or not so, actually!] with me and give you some of my tips for handling hot weather weddings. Now rather than just providing you with pretty pictures of ice lollies, cute DIY fan ideas and refreshing cocktails I thought it may just be more useful to impart my wisdom as a wedding planner with practical information on having a wedding in the heat rather than just pretty inspiration [although there is a bit of this, as of course, I love that too!].
Chances are, if you are getting married in the UK, planning for a ‘warm’ wedding is somewhat rare and probably quite far from your mind for most of the planning stages. Therefore it may be only in the last week or two that you see that 10 day forecast that you’ve been glued to and have a small freak out that it won’t in fact be rain that you have to worry about, but the unexpected visit from glorious sunshine instead!
Having just done my fair share these past few weeks of weddings in this heat I wanted to give you a few quick and easy tips to think about that can be managed in the last few weeks in the lead up to the big day. Of course if you have a wedding planner or on the day co-ordinator they can help you with these things so you don’t have to [had to get that in there didn't I?!].
If you have invited children, if it’s a venue with outdoor space, hire or buy a gazebo that can be popped up to provide some much needed shade for the bubbas [and the mummas!]. Try Argos or Amazon, it will be £40 well spent and you can decorate them if you so wish with bunting etc and after the wedding, it’ll be great for BBQ’s!
Buy some small bottles of factor 30-50 suncream from a chemist and just pop them in a basket in the ladies and gents. You really don’t want lobster red guests in your photos and while some may have sensibly applied cream in the morning, it may not fit in their oh so beautiful clutch bag and as the day goes on and they sweat, chances are this will be much needed if you have a lot of outdoor action. Same goes for insect repellant spray!
For your appearance, speak to your make up artist about how to keep your flawless look throughout the heat. Make up artist Lucy Baker advises that sunscreen is very particular to each bride, so it will depend on your skintone which to go for and they do vary as some won’t be great for on-camera either! Lucy advises to stick to a powder with an SPF rather than with the base for less ‘flashback’ on camera [definitely don't want a ghost-like appearance!]. Blotting papers are also a good thing to keep in the handbag [in all weathers in fact!] to keep shine at bay, a favourite of my own which I have in my emergency kit is the blotting sheets [which don't have powder on] by Bobbi Brown.
MELT IN THE MOUTH
Think about the cake! The poor poor cake. The delicious delight can really suffer in this heat, so think about where it can be stored chilled – especially if it’s tall you’ll need either a big fridge or a chill room of some sorts. I wouldn’t advise bringing it out early for show unless it’s in a very well air conditioned area or will get eaten quite quickly. Also be aware if it is cream based as this will definitely need to be stored chilled before serving. Again, do check with your cake maker for their expert advice!
Food wise, you may have thought warm dishes such as Beef Wellington were going to be a good idea but speak to your caterers and see if you can offer salad instead of vegetables with it. Or perhaps get ice cream as an addition to go with your dessert. Your guests eating habits will change in the heat and heavy hearty food may not get touched. You’ll need to do this a few days in advance though to ensure they can order in the right quantities of food.
ICE ICE BABY!
Whatever you do, ask your caterer to triple the ice order!
Water, you need lots of it. Whilst that may sound obvious, rather than waiting for your guests to ask for a glass of water at the bar, ask your bar staff to have some ice cold jugs with cucumber and mint at the bar or on tables constantly topped up for guests to help themselves. Alcohol really dehydrates so you’ll be amazed how much water guests will actually choose to drink to stay hydrated throughout the day and into the evening and if it’s there, for those that are a little less sensible, they’ll be inclined to top up with H20 too if it’s right there.
Think of before the reception, it can get warm in churches or civil ceremony rooms too, or if there’s a long route on a bus, bulk buy mini bottles of water for your ushers to hand out to guests or consider tray service of ice cold orange juice or sparkling water before the ceremony, I wouldn’t advise alcohol at this point!
Jazz up a glass of Prosecco by popping in some frozen raspberries or strawberries. It’s a simple easy thing to do for whoever is looking after the bar and will ensure the bubbles stay nice and chilled for the toast or during the reception.
Another cocktail idea is a little teaspoon of sorbet such as lemon into the bubbles. It’s so refreshing and pretty straightforward for the staff to accommodate.
I’M YOUR BIGGEST FAN
Hire in floor fans, OK so they may not have been included in your budget and they aren’t the prettiest or smallest of items, but believe me when you are rocking the dancefloor for your first dance, you will want to act like Beyonce in a music video with your own personal fan. They will only circulate air but in rooms that don’t have ventilation or air conditioning it’s a welcome relief. Trust me [and it's fun to watch guests behave like Marilyn Monroe!]. You can also tie lace or coloured ribbon to them for fun factor!
Whilst I would always condone trying to keep your budget sensible, if you have a heavily lined or embellished dress or one with long sleeves, you may feel much more comfortable with a second option for switching into the evening. I know it wasn’t in the plan, but a cute white shift dress, or prom style dress could be a saving grace and hey, who doesn’t want a second dress? Hit the high street such as Monsoon, Phase Eight or try online Kitty & Dulcie who have some super cute and good value short wedding dresses or search vintage shops for a pretty ivory/white dress.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING
Be prepared to be flexible with your timings. You may decide it’s just too hot outdoors for a long drinks reception, or that you need some break out time after dinner for guests to get some fresh air. Keep in touch with your wedding co-ordinator (or venue manager!) depending on how your guests are feeling after all you want happy guests!
Whilst we all shout ‘hurrah, it’s sunny’ – photographer’s often sigh as bright sunshine isn’t actually that great to shoot in. It inevitbly makes guests squint, it causes harsh light on subjects and it’s generally harder to shoot into as it causes strong shadows. Trust your photographer on what they advise for your portrait photos and where to have them. You may be surprised that they choose something a bit shadier rather than that beautiful open field you had in mind! You will also want to keep them as short as possible so it’s worth again being flexible and doing a few quick shots and family portraits after the ceremony and then to go back out after dinner [for 'golden' hour light] romantic portraits which is a great opportunity and still means you get quality time for photographs.
Hope that’s helped a little for those about to get married this week – always good to have a plan B and hopefully the above are useful and stress free tips on how to handle the hot weather! If you have any top tips of how to stay cool, do share them!
Photo Credits Clockwise From Top Left: Katie Gardner Photography via Style Me Pretty / Mel Wilde Photography / Portraits by Lucinda via Elizabeth Anne Designs / Polly Alexandre Photography via Rock N’ Roll Bride / Gabrielle Kai via Patchwork Harmony / I go by Katie /