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Stay Cool and Celebrate: 8 Essential Outdoor Summer Wedding Ideas

by Ariel Dreicer
Stay Cool and Celebrate: 8 Essential Outdoor Summer Wedding Ideas

Ah. Sweet, sweet summertime. The sun is shining, the flowers are blooming, and love is in the air. The perfect summer wedding takes advantage of all the natural beauty of the season. But even the most beautiful summer wedding can go south quickly if Aunt Phyllis keels over from the heat. From yard games to a hydration station, celebrate the season and keep your guests cool with these essential ideas for outdoor summer weddings.

Throw them lots of shade

There’s nothing worse than sweating through your shirt 10 minutes into the ceremony. If you’re getting married somewhere hot and sunny, do your guests a favor and provide shade for the ceremony and reception. If you can’t arrange overhead coverage installed for the ceremony, hand out parasols to guests who want them. For the reception, go with a tent or choose a venue with indoor and outdoor reception space.

Have a hydration hour

People don’t generally drink as much water as they’re supposed to — especially at a hot summer wedding. Consider allotting half an hour to an hour before the cocktail hour starts for hydrating drinks only. Serve up water, iced tea, and juices to encourage hydration before everyone gets caught up in the merriment.

Play yard games

What gets your guests mixing and mingling better than whimsy and a little friendly competition? Bring out the cornhole, bocce, and giant Jenga for an unforgettable reception.

Hand out personal fans

Hand out personal fans as favors or even wedding programs.


barbecue summer wedding ideas

Red Shoes Photography

If I’m being honest, I have been to weddings where, half-way through my ostentatious (and lukewarm) salmon entree, I wished the couple had just gone with a simple backyard barbecue. Meaning no offense to a nice catered meal, sometimes comfort food is the perfect pairing to even the most elegant of weddings. Consider it for yours. By barbecuing at your summer wedding, you could save some money, take advantage of the great weather, and, let’s face it, give the people what they want.

Provide a “Relief Station”

relief station outdoor summer wedding ideas

The last thing you want is your uncle interrupting you on the dance floor with his sudden need for bug spray. Arrange things like sunscreen, tissues, fans, and bug repellent in the bathrooms or outside at a special “Relief Station” so your guests can help themselves.

Use sparklers instead of rice

sparklers outdoor summer wedding ideas

Photo by Joel Horst

Although the myth that uncooked rice kills birds has been busted many times over, you still may want to go for a post-ceremony tradition that makes less of a mess. Sparklers are a festive, mess-free, and photogenic alternative.

Bring out the beer canoe

beer canoe outdoor summer wedding ideas


Ease the line at the bar and let your guests help themselves to beer, soft drinks, and water from a self-serve canoe.

What are your favorite outdoor summer wedding ideas? Tell us below!

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