The heat has finally hit the DC area! After a really long winter and a very short spring this year, we can all finally feel that beating hot sun and the humidity that we all know and love! If you are getting married this summer (or next), there are a few locally specific things to keep in mind for the big day – everything from timing to ideas for cooling stations for your guests. Of course, I couldn’t do all of this on my own, so I went to a few of the top wedding professionals in the DC area and asked their advice on how to plan and survive a wedding in the summer ’round these parts. We all love a beautiful wedding in the summer, but here are the best summer wedding tips straight from the pros who have been through it all!

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Photo Credit: Rebekah J. Murray; Design Credit: Events in the City

Timing

“Everyone thinks August is so hot around here, but traditionally, it’s actually July that is miserable. June is rainy. July is miserably hot. August? Not that bad!! So, definitely consider August for your summer wedding. The nights are a lot more pleasant than they are in June and July!” — Rebecca with Blue Canary Events

“Be sure to know what time the sun sets and how it will affect your overall décor and timing of the day. A lot of my summer weddings are doing quite a bit of décor with café lights and B lights. You want to make sure you are getting the look you want! Not to mention since the temperature tends to drop in the evening, a later ceremony will also help people cooler into the reception.” — Diane with eventi planning

“Since the sun is hottest between 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. in the summer, we encourage our clients to have their ceremonies at 11:30 a.m. with a brunch reception, or their ceremonies at  7:00 p.m. with a late dinner reception.”  — Kawania, owner of Howerton-Wooten Events

“Be sure to always consider your guest’s comfort first if the elements will be hot and humid. If you are having an outside wedding in the sunshine, schedule it for as late in the day as possible. Do not expect guests to be in super formal attire. Also, provide cool beverages as soon as guests arrive, and a plentiful amount of market umbrellas for guests to take shade under.” — Maria & Kelly with Ritzy Bee Events

Location

“With the summer sun not setting until almost 8:30pm, there is really no relief in terms of timing a wedding other than to find a venue that gives you an indoor air conditioned option that rivals the outdoor options in terms of elegance and beauty.  Indoor options with many windows work the best!” — Antonio, general manager at Foxchase Manor and Rose Hill Manor

“Pay attention to the position of the sun when planning your outdoor ceremony and, if possible, hold the ceremony in the shade. Invest in fans or A/C if dinner and dancing are to be held outside in a tent during the hot days. Help to make your guests more comfortable by creating air circulation or cooling down the space. Also, make sure you talk to the caterer about ordering extra ice since it will melt quickly!” — Elizabeth, owner of Elizabeth Duncan Events

“Make sure to discuss the air conditioning situation with your wedding venue. Some venues, especially the historic homes, struggle to stay cool in the summer with all the bodies and doors opening and closing. While a venue may seem perfectly air conditioned during your site visit, once it fills with your guests dancing the heat may become an issue. Also, avoid clear top tents in the hot and humid months. While clear top tents are beautiful, they can turn into greenhouse when the temperature rises.” — Cindy with A. Dominick Events

Beverages

“Whenever we do a wedding during the summer months we always remind the wedding party and family members to go easy on any pre-ceremony alcohol. You never want the combination of alcohol and the heat to lead to a wedding party or family member passing out during the ceremony (it happened to a groomsman once, true story!).” — Sara, owner of Bella Notte

“To beat the heat, we always have water with cucumbers and lemonade right as guests enter the wedding. Another suggestion would be to do popsicle treats for each guest to have for the ceremony, or ice cream tini’s. Several ice cream makers and bakers are making ice cream tini’s where they add ice cream and a special vodka flavor to make a cool refreshing drink. A last option would be mini root beer floats on a tray for guests to take to their seats.” — Angie, AJK Events

“A huge trend right now are alcohol infused Popsicles! A few caterers are offering them on their summer menus including RSVP catering. A good way to cool off for sure!” — Courtney, owner of A Sweet Soiree

“One suggestion would be to do lemon and cucumber, or raspberry and mint spritzers, for guests as they arrive for pre-ceremony, and non-alcoholic ‘cocktails.’ Always try to match colors of the fruits to the colors of the wedding. So, blue with blueberries; green with mint/cucumber/melon; yellow with lemon, orange and kumquats. It is also nice to do sorbet station or late-night pass of mini sorbet cones or frozen berries.” — Katie, owner of Elegance & Simplicity

Food

“Offer an ice water (and lemonade!) station for your guests upon their arrival. Consider specialty cocktails at your bar. We have a popular mixer that uses cucumber, mint, and lavender to refresh guests. Provide light and cool options on your menu by thinking local and seasonal with the ingredients (cool melon soups or gazpacho, ceviche). Finally, consider having outside weddings and receptions at dusk, when the temperatures start to drop and all can enjoy a cool breeze.” — Oliver with Eat & Smile Foods

“If the couple wants to have their ceremony or cocktails (or both) outside in extremely hot weather we have a few tricks that work really well to keep their guest cool and comfortable. The overriding goal when planning food and drink options is to refresh, but avoid overhydrating, which only leads to sweating and is a common mistake. For inspiration, we look to cultures and cuisines that have always thrived in warmer temperatures. For food, spices works well in the heat.  Aromatic dishes from India, Persia and Afghanistan work the best. Flavors based on meat and vegetable work better than seafood, and you should avoid dairy and cheese.” — Antonio, general manager at Foxchase Manor and Rose Hill Manor

“Instead of having chocolates as favors that will sit out and melt, try something new. Why not repurpose your place card table and have your caterer or other vendors create an ice cream bar. Everyone loves a late snack snack, so make it fun for your guests!” — Ashlee, owner for Ashlee Virginia Events

“Last June our clients allowed us to set up a refreshment and snack station outside of their church for guests that were then going to be shuttled to the reception. This was a great way to cap off their ceremony and an even better way to lure them out into the heat on the street and then on to the shuttles. Guests loved the local Route 11 Chips and the mini bottles of ice cold champagne and personalized water bottles were perfect as guests headed to the wedding.” — Laura, at Events in the City

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Photo Credit: Rebekah J. Murray; Design Credit: Events in the City

Flowers

“All hydrangea centerpieces at an outdoor wedding in July or August just won’t work.  It’s too hot and they just can’t handle it. Go with a hardier flowers like carnations, mums, garden roses, sunflowers and dahlias. Keep your bouquets in water and in a cool place as much as possible if you want them to last all day.” — Alicia, owner of Alicia Jayne Florals

“Your flowers won’t love the heat, but your best bets are things like orchids, calla lilies, and even roses are pretty hearty. Don’t take photos way in advance of your ceremony. If you think you’ll be sweating, your flowers will have it even worse, especially if you don’t make time to put them back in water!” — Gerry with Petal’s Edge

Decor

“Make it chic by turning your everyday wedding items into things that will cool you down. Turn your standard programs into fans and offer your guests parasols to keep that bright summer sun from blazing down. They will look amazing in pictures too!” — Ashlee, owner of Ashlee Virginia Events

“If your ceremony is outside, try to set up as many seats in the shade as possible — guests will flock to those immediately, so the more there are, the better! You can also rent umbrellas to provide shade for the ceremony.” — Rebecca with Blue Canary Events

“I really love the idea of a “cooling station.” It a great example of extending gracious hospitality to your guests on a hot summer day. Provide ice-cold, rolled up facecloths, bottle misters, and a beverage station. The beverage station could be as simple as lemonade and water — just something that is cold and refreshing!” — Teresa, owner of Rex & Regina Events

Fashion & Beauty

“For the bride, consider lighter wedding gown fabrics, e.g. organza, lace or chiffon. Satin is a heavier fabric that will make the bride feel warmer and more uncomfortable.” —  Elizabeth, owner of Elizabeth Duncan Events

“Cool down without affecting your makeup by putting a cool (with ice, if you want) washcloth on the back of your neck. Cool the whole body down at pulse points – like running cold water over the wrists or over your ankles or under your instep.  If you start to sweat, blot your face with a blotting sheet or even one of the public restroom seat covers! You want to avoid using a tissue, which can leave residue on the face. Press, don’t rub. Pressing pushes the powder/foundation back onto the surface of the skin and absorbs the oil/sweat without disturbing the makeup. Although you’ve always dreamed of flowing locks down your back on your wedding day, if the temps are climbing to the 90’s – switch to a loose updo. You will enjoy the whole day just that much more!”  Barbara with Bridal Artistry

“I have seen more than one bridesmaid or mother of the bride mortified because a tight silk or satin dress shows sweat everywhere. In the middle of the summer you’re going to be dripping, so choose a fabric and color that won’t show it.” — Sarah, owner of Sarah Culver Photography

“A summer wedding can be more fun, playful and casual, especially when it comes to your bridal party attire. When it’s  90+ degrees – who wants to wear a full tux and gown?! Not that you shouldn’t do a formal or black-tie wedding during the summer, but if couples are going that route you should take the venue into consideration. My advice would be for couples wanting a very formal wedding is to plan everything for an indoor venue where the heat and humidity wouldn’t be a factor. Now, for couples getting married outside or a combination outside/inside venue, I would look into light color suits and short dresses for your bridal party.  Also, take fabric choices into consideration. Linen or cotton suits work well and chambray suits. For the ladies, there are beautiful options in chiffon, cotton and silk jersey.”  Margo, owner of Bright Occasions

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So, there you have it! Bring on the heat, the humidity and, of course, the summer weddings! Be sure to check out all of the other DC area wedding advice that we have put together for you or look through our list of the best Washington DC area wedding vendors!

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