Summer is almost upon us, and many couples enjoy having their ceremonies and receptions outdoors to take advantage of the warm weather.
But I have played dozens and dozens of summer weddings where the weather has not played along, and there was no back-up plan for the inclement weather. However, rain isn't the only thing you should be prepared for; couples should also account for sweltering hot weather and how to make their guests more comfortable.
Below, a few helpful suggestions to make your summer wedding comfortable for you and your guests:
RENT A TENT -- IT'S GOOD FOR YOUR DJ AND YOUR GUESTS!
If you're having your ceremony or reception outside, it's prudent to have a tent ready in the case of a weather emergency. From a DJ's perspective, most will require a tent for their setup if they're asked to play outside. Why? Because even mist can damage equipment, but so can heat. With a tent in place, there's less risk to their gear and their ability to do their job. You might end up spending a little more money than you had initially planned, but there's nothing worse than NOT having one and there ends up being a downpour. And if it's really hot out, the tent might be a nice place for guests to go to get some respite from the heat. Your piece of mind will be worth the small extra cost.
SPEAKING OF HEAT....GET PORTABLE A/C UNITS
Some venues will supply A/C units if your event is in an enclosed tent, so that you and your guests don't suffer a "greenhouse effect" from intense heat. Remember, not all people like heat -- especially the kind of oppressive heat common in New England -- so you want to make them as comfortable as possible. If your event is in a tent or even outdoors, you should have some place for a "cooling station" if possible.
KEEP GUESTS UPDATED WITH TEXT ALERTS OR ON YOUR WEDDING WEBSITE
In the event that the forecast predicts bad weather, tell your guests on your save-the-date or invitations to check in on your wedding website the day of the wedding to see if there's any last-minute changes. There are several places online to make a free wedding site that doesn't require any web design knowledge. If your ceremony is somewhere that closes in bad weather (a park, a beach), this is useful if you need to move venues. But even if your outdoor wedding is still going forward, guests will have the opportunity to come dressed for the weather or bring an umbrella if needed.
CHANGE THE ORDER OF EVENTS
Depending upon how strict your venue or vendors are, you may be able to switch around the schedule to work with the weather. Instead of doing the ceremony first, perhaps hold the cocktail hour then the ceremony, if you think the weather might clear in time. This is often at the hands of your caterer, venue and DJ/band, but it may be a possible option.
HAVE ESSENTIAL ITEMS READY
A few days before your wedding, check the weather forecast. If rain is predicted, head over to a dollar store or other discount place and stock up on umbrellas, ponchos, or blankets. Have those at the ready if any part of your wedding is open-air. With some more advanced planning, you can even personalize these, like a wedding favor. Bring some cheap painter's tarps to cover up table cards, food, or anything else exposed to the elements. And if there may be a power loss, you can buy a few backup generators for about $100 each (Duracell makes a quiet, portable one) for your DJ or other electrical needs.