The Ultimate Summer-Wedding Guide

Pull off an unforgettable summer celebration with these tips

Updated 10/05/19

Emm and Clau; Illustration by Christina Park

It's no secret that summer is the most popular time to tie the knot. After all, it's easier for guests to take time off to travel, your risk of inclement weather is lower, and everything is flowering and bright. But since guests are likely seeing several couples say "I do" this season, how do you make your wedding stand out amongst the throngs of others? By throwing the ultimate summer wedding, of course.

It may sound like a lofty idea, but hosting an epic, seasonally minded warm-weather wedding is easier than you'd ever imagine. And it doesn't require you to have a limitless budget. Hosting the ultimate summer wedding means the event is just what you and your guests think of when they imagine sunny nuptials, and offers all the details they wished other couples had on their big day.

While there are countless ways to make your big day unforgettable, we narrowed down the list to just 10 simple things that help your party spillover with summery style. From keeping guests comfortable under hot, sticky sun to choosing dinner fare that won't leave them feeling heavy and tired, these items are almost too easy to complete—and to forget! So before you start finalizing the details of your upcoming wedding, make sure you've ticked all of these all-too-important boxes.

Ready to plan the perfect summer wedding? Then click through to see 10 tips to make your special day stand out from all the rest of this wedding season!

01 of 10

Choose Favors That Keep Guests Comfortable

wedding favor bag with sunglasses

Cassidy Brooke

Handing out sunglasses, parasols, or fans, before the ceremony starts, will keep your friends and family happy during what could be sweltering hot vows. Plus, they double as a favor your guests can take home after the wedding is over.

02 of 10

Offer Refreshing Cocktails and Wine

cocktail menu sign

Lindsay Madden Photography

No one wants to sip a warm liquor or heavy red wine during the heat of summer. Chilled white or rosé wine or a bright signature cocktail will keep guests cool as they imbibe and will help you stock your bar in a smarter, more budget-friendly way.

03 of 10

Ensure You Have Some Shaded Décor

tented wedding reception

Christian Oth Studio

If you're throwing a summer wedding, you're probably hosting at least the reception outdoors so make sure to have shaded areas where guests can escape the heat. A tent for dinner or plenty of umbrella-covered seating serves as an escape from the scorching sun.

04 of 10

Choose Flowers That Hold Up in the Heat

wedding bouquet with succulent

Michelle Warren Photography

You'll want to talk to your florist about heat-resistant blooms that won't wilt in high temps. Trendy succulents are an ideal, statement-making option that can withstand even the steamiest of wedding days. Also, as a rule of thumb, hydrangeas will wither in the heat, while tropical blooms like calla lilies, orchids, or fluffy flowers like garden roses or sunflowers can handle warmer weather.

05 of 10

Pick a Fresh Color Palette

tented wedding reception

Katie Stoops Photography

For summer weddings, skip darker tones in favor of lighter, airier shades. We love white weddings with pops of pretty pastels or bold colors, like bright yellows, coral, or blue. Figure out what works best in your space, but avoid heavy tones that make everything feel warmer than it already is.

06 of 10

Make a Smart Timeline

wedding ceremony fan

Nancy Ray Photography

The last thing you want to do is ask guests to stand around in the sun for hours on end. While we suggest keeping the time between your ceremony and reception short at any time of year, it's especially essential when temps spike. Minimize time without shade and try to plan your wedding to start at the cooler points of the day, like a sunset ceremony and evening reception.

07 of 10

Pick a Light, Refreshing Dinner Menu

wedding menu

Kristyn Hogan Photography

There's a time and place for a heavy, decadent five-course meal, and your summer wedding is not it. Stick to lighter, more refreshing fare, like simple grilled fish or chicken, a fresh salad, and seasonal vegetables.

08 of 10

Choose Airy Fabrics for Everyone

bride and bridesmaids

Troy Grover Photographers

Whether it's your wedding dress, your groom's suit, or your bridal party's ensembles, stick to lighter, flowing fabrics that will keep everyone cool. Sweaty brides, grooms, and attendants do not make for chic wedding photos.

09 of 10

Select a Summery Hairstyles for the Bride and Bridesmaids

bride with braided hairstyle

Feather & Stone

It's hard enough for most brides and bridesmaids to tame their hair into a perfect, flowing 'do. Add in heat and humidity and long curls or waves will be disastrous. To fight frizz and humidity, ladies should try pulling part or all of their hair off their face and neck to stay cool and picture-perfect. One idea we love? Trendy braided hairstyles that are an upgrade from more classic looks.

10 of 10

Go With Thoughtful Dessert Stations

ice cream cart

Jose Villa Photography

Want to really wow your guests? Have your caterer create a summer-friendly dessert station with chilly treats like ice cream or popsicles to help cool everyone down on the dance floor. Alcohol-spiked shaved ice is a delicious, adult-friendly option to elevate the idea even more!

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