June is barely here and it officially feels like August. High wedding season in New Orleans skips over these hot, summer, hurricane-risk months, but weddings do still happen (I got married here in July!). And even if your wedding is in May or October, the heat can already be stifling, making outdoor weddings, or even partially outdoor weddings, an uncomfortable experience for your guests. While a wedding is definitely about what the couple wants, it is ultimately a party you are hosting for the friends and family, so guest experience should be one of your top priorities.
Here are a few suggestions:
Do not do have your entire wedding outside. You don’t want to force your guests, especially elderly guests, to not have the option to be indoors when the temperatures climb. Pick a venue that is either all indoors or has indoor/outdoor space. If your ceremony is outside, keep it short and sweet. Any time I’m doing an outdoor ceremony in the warmer months we always have some elderly guests that need to either wait inside until right before the ceremony starts, or skip the ceremony entirely.
Have a water station set out so guests can drink water freely. This is easier to access than having to wait in the bar line for water, and your caterer can use cucumber, lemons, or other fruit to make it a little extra.
If your ceremony is outside in the daytime (i.e. any time before the sun sets), consider providing sun cover through tents or large umbrellas. Also, a pre-ceremony cocktail never hurt anybody (it may not do much to cool guests down, but it makes them happy!)
Make sure your guest transportation is timed correctly. Timing guest transportation and making sure it’s executed correctly by the drivers is one of the more difficult parts of my job. You want the guests to arrive on time, but not too early, especially if they are waiting outdoors on the ceremony to start. This is where a professional planner can be extremely helpful, and all of my planning packages will include either planning of or review of your transportation timing to make sure it will run smoothly.
Have your catering selections match the season--light and refreshing appetizers and cool treats. I’ve had couples offer ice cream instead of and in addition to cake, as well as couples offering snowballs, and those were both big hits—you can even do spiked snowballs for the adults!