Wondering how to plan your perfect summer wedding? Follow these six easy steps, from outdoor entertainment, to invitation etiquette and outfit inspiration, to make sure you have everything covered.
Whilst we’re all still battling through the bleak January weather, summer may feel like a distant dream. But if you’re one of the lucky couples who made it official this engagement season or you’ve had enough of waiting and want to get planning underway, then now is the perfect time to start. Follow these six steps to make sure you’ve got everything covered for your perfect summer wedding.
Choosing your dream summer wedding venue
We all know the Great British weather is unreliable, and it’s no different in the summer months. Opting for a summer wedding in the UK may increase your chances of the sun shining on your special day, but there is no guarantee.
Selecting a venue with inside space as well as outside gives you the option of migrating indoors should the weather you throw a curveball. Having a weather contingency plan is not just for when the heavens open, but also for strong sun. You don’t want you and your guests to feel hot and uncomfortable, so picking a venue with indoor spaces means you and your guests will have a good time, come rain or shine. Venues with a large outdoor space will have the capacity for a marquee or stretch tent, so shade or shelter is readily available for your guests. These can be set up to hold the wedding reception, or simply as an escape from the heat. Heaters can also be added to keep guests warm if the temperature drops when the sun starts to set.
Creating your summer wedding theme
So, you’ve chosen your venue, now it’s time to think décor!
You could pick a wedding theme that compliments the summer season - think bright and airy with bursts of colour. Having a white wedding canvas interspersed with pops of summery colours like coral, blue or green, creates a playful and refreshing backdrop, whilst remaining classy and elegant.
A summer wedding is the perfect opportunity to get creative with the flowers, just make sure to choose flowers that can handle the heat. Flowers that can’t will wilt as soon as they’re exposed to hot temperatures, so make sure you’re going for seasonal or tropical flowers to ensure they stay fresh all day. So, whilst hyacinths or daisies might not be the best choice for a summer wedding, the colours and textures of tropical plants like orchids or anthuriums, means you can create something fun and unique.
Summer wedding outfit ideas
Keep the weather in mind when choosing the attire for you and your bridesmaids. Move away from heavy fabrics or styles that cling to the body, such as silk. Whilst you aren’t expecting blistering Tuscan sun in the UK, temperatures can still soar so don’t be caught off guard. Light and breathable fabrics will keep you cooler in the height of summer and allow you to move around freely. Lightweight sleeves are also a good way to keep the sun off your skin throughout the day, although be careful with lace as that could make for some pretty interesting tan lines for your honeymoon. And don’t forget to apply sun cream to avoid sunburn!
Unfortunately, if you’re planning on wearing a suit there are fewer options to avoid overheating if temperatures climb. A three-piece suit, whilst it looks fantastic, is not going to be practical for a hot summer wedding so again opt for a lightweight fabric like linen to keep you cooler. A sunny outdoor wedding, however, provides the perfect canvas to step away from tradition and experiment with colours. Light blue, white, tan, or grey suits look amazing in a summer setting and add in a pop of colour with a bright bow tie or boutonniere.
Send your invites with some helpful information
It is customary to send your official wedding invitations about 2 to 4 months ahead of the big day, giving guests enough time to RSVP and organise their calendars.
There is a lot of etiquette when it comes to sending out wedding invitations so make sure to specify who is (or isn’t invited) as well as reception times and directions.
If you’re hosting a summer wedding, try to avoid holding the reception when the sun is at its peak. With the sun setting later in the summer months, consider an evening wedding with a 4 pm ceremony followed by an evening reception to beat the heat. There is also the potential for some stunning sunset wedding shots.
This one is a given, don’t forget to include the address! It is advised not to leave guests to their own devices when getting to the venue on time. This can be more complicated for a city wedding with guests potentially navigating public transport to get to you. Include a list of public transport stops (such as tube, train, or bus stops) within walking distances so guests know exactly where to find you. You can include this information in a separate ‘directions’ card if you wish.
Organising a group mode of transport, such as a coach to the venue from a specific location, may also help to take some of the stress out of travelling for your guests, and you can ensure they will arrive at the venue when they are supposed to.
Let the guests know what they are expected to wear. Remind them that the wedding will be held outside (weather permitting). A hat is an effective and stylish way to keep the sun off their face and packing a cardigan is a good idea should the temperature drop. Remind them to pack sun cream too.
Summer menu suggestions
Selecting what food you and your guests will enjoy on your wedding day is a big decision, and there is a lot to consider. Heavy dishes in the middle of summer aren’t hugely desirable so opt for a lighter selection. Salads don’t have to be dull when you use seasonal fruits and vegetables, like figs, peaches, avocado, and watermelon, decorative and delicious! With a large selection of seasonal produce available, there are plenty of options for vegetarian guests too. Include a cold dessert to keep the guests refreshed. Discuss your thoughts with your caterer to get some amazing ideas and find out what seasonal, sustainably sourced produce they can use to create a delicious menu.
Make sure you have a suitable drinks list to compliment your summer seasonal menu. Champagne is a given to toast your special day, but there is a plethora of delicious and refreshing summery cocktails too.
Outdoor summer wedding entertainment ideas
There are endless options for entertainment when planning a summer wedding outside, so here are a few of our favourite ideas to give you some inspiration…
This might seem a little extravagant, but it is certainly a unique idea and a great way to make use of outside space. The view from the top of a Ferris Wheel would certainly make for some incredible wedding shots too. For a scaled-down fairground experience, stations with games like hook-a-duck or ring toss could be set up around the venue.
Photo booths are always a popular choice for weddings, because they’re so simple but so much fun! Having comical props and backgrounds are always a crowd pleaser and guarantee your guests will be laughing. They also provide a lovely memento for them to take home with them to remember your special day.
Magicians and circus performers
There are so many ways to wow your guests with this one! Acrobats, jugglers, fire breathers, contortionists- you name it. It’s the perfect interactive entertainment for your guests.
Live band or DJ
This is a fantastic, yet simple, option should the wedding party have to migrate inside to avoid any undesirable weather. Take it one step further and have a silent disco so guests can pick which music they want to dance along to.
Summer weddings at The HAC
At The HAC, we offer a variety of rooms with capacity from 40 to 350. Our Artillery Garden boasts five acres of outside space with plenty of room for a marquee and outside entertainment, nestled away in the heart of London. As much as we’d like to be able to, no one can predict the weather, so we like to offer couples the flexibility needed to ensure that the British weather doesn’t spoil the big day.