Photo: Jeff Lewis 619 Photography
Frequently, summer weddings are more casual than those held during the colder times of the year. Ceremonies and other wedding activities tend to start earlier to take advantage of the beautiful weather and, the earlier the start time, the higher the temperatures will be, and the less clothing people want to wear. So couples tend to forgo the formal black-tie dress code for their guests in favor of a more laid-back affair. But just because a wedding is informal, doesn't mean guests should forgo the proper etiquette that a wedding entails. With that said, there are some things that should be avoided at summertime weddings that might not come up when the weather is less than temperate.
Nobody likes to feel sweaty and gross for an extended period of time, but unless the bride and groom have specifically instructed guests to bring a change of casual clothing for the reception, stay dressed up. Sure, the guys can shed their jackets (and later in the night, neckties) once the ceremony is finished, and cocktails have begun, but it's important to keep in mind that the photographer will be taking pictures all evening, and even when you're not posing, you'll probably appear in the background quite a bit. Don't swap a blazer for a golf shirt when most people are still dressed up — you'll stand out in pictures like a sore thumb.
Accidentally Drinking Too Much
It's easy to get drunk when it's hot out. Even people who rarely drink will be sucking down icy cocktails if they're attending an outside reception on a hot day. As a guest, it's up to you to monitor your consumption and alternate with water. Heat and dehydration coupled with a slew of strong cocktails can lead to really embarrassing behavior (and a pretty gnarly hangover to boot).
Making a Splash
Many outdoor wedding venues have water features, including fountains, swimming pools, and actual waterfront acreage. After a few drinks, taking a dip may seem like a really good idea during a fun party, but stop and think before you jump right in. Is anybody else swimming? Have the bride and groom suggested guests take the plunge? The simple fact that there is water doesn't mean the bride and groom want all their wedding pictures to consist of soaking wet guests holding cocktails. If EVERYONE is doing it with the bride and groom's blessing, be sure you are dressed appropriately for a dip. Thin boxers, white dresses, etc. are not appropriate swim attire at a wedding, and stripping down to your briefs is totally against the rules. And don't expect there to be towels on hand after your plunge — it's a wedding, not a pool party.
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The only person wearing a white dress (or an ivory dress, or a pale gold dress, etc.) at a wedding is the bride. (The one exception to the rule is for "White Weddings" where all the guests are asked to wear white.) But this rule gets a little tricky in the summer when so many cute dresses have a lot of white in them. Take a good look at it and think about how you would feel if a guest wore that dress on your wedding day. When in doubt, find something with more color.
Sandy Malone is the owner of Sandy Malone Weddings & Events and author of How to Plan Your Own Destination Wedding: Do-It-Yourself Tips from an Experienced Professional. Sandy is the star of TLC's reality show Wedding Island, about her destination wedding planning company, Weddings in Vieques.