We all know summer is the season for weddings. And if you're like the rest of us, you're probably trekking from city to city, coast to coast, and country to county every other weekend for yet another friend's special day. And as much as we hate to say it, the pattern can start to feel the same. (Ceremony, cocktails, dinner, dancing, you know the drill....) So, with that in mind, we got to thinking: How do you make your wedding stand out among the rest?
Well, first and foremost, recognize that your wedding day is about you and your partner. It's your day and your friends and family should leave thinking just that! So if you're sailors, consider a waterfront ceremony. If you're foodies, make the menu a priority. And so on. But beyond all the personalized details (which, believe us, we can't get enough of!), there's another secret to making your wedding stand out—and that's to make your guests happy, well-fed, and comfortable.
With those three principles in mind, we curated a list of 15 fun, seasonal ideas that are sure to please every single person on your guest list. But, before we get started, we need to add one final principle: In 2019, a memorable wedding is also Instagrammable! Cause if your friends' feeds are blowing up with sunset group portraits, boomerangs of signature cocktails clinking, and videos of your killer band on stage, we'd say that your summer wedding was quite the success. And we think everyone can agree on that.
Embrace a seasonal setting
There's something special about a setting that evokes summer memories, which is why it's smart to first consider the season when selecting your wedding venue. With this idea in mind, think about what evokes summer memories for you and your partner. If it's the pool, consider a pool setting like the one above. If it's a favorite vacation spot, think about a destination wedding there. And if it's summer camp, consider a group getaway at a summer camp, bunk beds and all.
Create a memorable environment
After you choose the spot for your ceremony and reception, remember the time of year and make sure everything is in some way shaded—especially if the event will be taking place before sunset. We love this table set up because it lets the location shine, while also providing a comfortable, shaded environment for everyone at one table. And that installation up above? How could you not remember that?!
Consider comfortable seating
If your guests are comfortable, they'll likely be more present in the moment. The easiest way to ensure comfortable guests—at both the ceremony and reception—is to give them a nice place to sit and rest in those heels. We particularly love this set up by Alison Events because their team took comfortable seating to the next level with picnic tables (hello, more summer vibes!), individual throw pillows, and lounge-style sofas in the dinner area.
Involve your guests in the ceremony
Make your guests really feel part of the day but involving them in the ceremony. You can take many approaches to this idea and make it your own, but we have a few thoughts to get you started. First, you can make like this bride and groom, who asked guests to read their intentions, or goals for the couple, aloud before the vow exchange. Or you can take after the ceremony shown here, where the couple had their wedding party pass their wedding bands in a circle before handing them over for the big exchange. Other ideas we love? A group call-and-response reading (from a favorite book, poem, or song) and a group sing-a-long of a fitting or meaningful tune. In all cases, you'd inform guests of their involvement and print any needed materials on the ceremony program.
Have an interactive moment
Take the idea above and translate it for the reception. A great way to accomplish this is to set up a special display where guests can actually do something. This can be as simple as serving their own drink from a pre-made batch cocktail or something crazy cool, like making their own G&T from an ice luge. If alcohol isn't your thing (and even if it is!), think about hiring a tarot reader, illustrator, or cigar roller to further the guest involvement.
Give fun (and festive!) favors
This is another idea that takes the weather into account. Hats—especially cute ones, like these panama hats—are a fun favor because your guests can utilize them at the wedding. We recommend handing these out before cocktail hour so guests can put them on, pose for photos, and shade themselves from the sun.
We found a cute (and affordable!) panama hat option on Amazon to pull off this look!
Serve refreshing drinks
As with any party, the food and drinks are essential elements to everyone having a good time. We suggest starting before the ceremony with drinks—think bubbly in flutes or even tea and lemonade in pretty dispensers—at the entrance so guests can sip throughout your vows (and toast at the end!). That said, if you do decide to wait until cocktail hour, make a display of it and serve something festive like these coconut water treat.
Get creative with the apps
It's a fact that everyone loves tiny versions of their favorite foods. So serve just that—but in a creative way, with unique flavor twists and an unexpected presentation. Case in point: These mini tacos served atop cut lime slices. For more ideas, head here for some of our favorite appetizer pairings.
Pair popsicles and Prosecco
Add a popsicle to each glass of Prosecco, and you have a cool summer cocktail. Freeze edible flowers inside the clear pops to make them (even more) picture-perfect and ready for a Boomerang moment.
Games can be great icebreakers for friends, family, and co workers just meeting each other. We love this concept of a wheel-of-fun, in which guests take turns on the wheel, spin it, and then do whatever it lands on. As you can see, some expressions are to "hug a stranger" and "pick a couple to kiss!"
Make the first dance a moment
The first dance is a chance for you and your partner to shine together—and a chance for everyone else to document the sweet moment on social media. Of course, you can make this tradition unique by choosing a special song or practicing a choreographed dance, but we also love the idea of making it a "moment" visually with floral mandala on the dance floor. To execute this idea, you just stand in the middle of a colorful design of blooms—this one was planned by Bash Please and executed by Marigold—then dance away. There's no need to worry about the petals once you've taken the first swing!
Provide party-ready props
Guests of all ages will love a prop on the sure-to-be-raging dance floor. And while all props are fun—think glow sticks, funny hats, etc.—we especially love the idea of these pretty, personalized tambourines. For more personalized wedding favor and prop ideas, head here!
Play up the after-party
This may seem obvious, but keep the party going after the last song with an after party. It's fun to change spaces for this final hoorah if you can, and we especially love when couples treat it as yet another moment to play up their love story. A few ideas? Incorporate go-to late-night bites, put favorite throwback tunes on the playlist, or even recreate the decor in your neighborhood dive bar as this couple did.