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How to Have a Wedding During a Heatwave: 10 Ways to Keep Your (& Everyone Else's!) Cool

The last thing you want is sunburnt, sweaty, hot-and-bothered wedding guests right? Ensure your wedding is heatwave-friendly with these top tips

couple on a beach getting married during a heatwave wedding
Pexels / Jonathan Borba

couple on a beach getting married during a heatwave wedding
Pexels / Jonathan Borba

There’s nothing that us Brits love more than a heatwave. It only takes one weather forecast of a slightly sunny day for the entire nation to dust off the barbecues, fill up the paddling pools and lounge around in beer gardens. But what if your wedding falls during a nation-wide heatwave?

Lots of couples stress about whether or not it will rain at their wedding - but blazing hot weather should be just as concerning. Whilst a sunny forecast on your wedding day can feel like a lucky result, when the temperature soars, there can be complications for all-day celebrations such as weddings.

We’re not saying you shouldn’t look forward to having a heatwave wedding… There are plenty of advantages to a summer wedding day - but there also things that you should consider. Expecting your guests to sit and celebrate in direct sunlight all day long won’t end well. Sunstroke, sunburn and general sun-related fatigue are all real and serious issues. 

10 Ways to Have a Safe Heatwave Wedding

To ensure your heatwave wedding is everything you’ve ever dreamed of, we’ve rounded up our top tips for ensuring a sensational (and safe!) summer wedding

1. Plan Some Shade

Celebrating outdoors in the finest of Britain’s climate is all well and good, but expecting guests to melt in direct sunlight all day long isn’t feasible. 

Contact your summer venue to check that they are able to provide shaded areas for you and your guests. If you have exclusive use of your wedding venue, it may be that they move you to different areas where natural shade is available as the sun moves position. 

Alternatively, marquees, parasols and gazebos are great options for creating temporary shade. Most outdoor wedding venues should have a plan or resources readily available for extremely hot weather but it’s important to check in before the wedding day so that you’re not trying to problem-solve on the big day. 

READ MORE: The Best Summer Wedding Venues

2. Ask About Ventilation

If your venue doesn’t have any outdoor space you can use, discuss a ventilation plan with them - can the windows be opened? In lots of historic wedding venues, this isn’t always a possibility, so will they be able to provide fans or have doors open?

The last thing you want is the someone from the wedding party fainting in the middle of the best man speech, so make sure you talk with your venue about their plan to ensure your reception space remains cool. 

3. Keep Everyone Hydrated

personalised water bottle labels

It sounds obvious, but unless drinking water is right in front of you, it’s easy to become dehydrated and not drink enough during such busy and fun celebrations. Consider a ‘hydration station’ at your wedding reception where you and your guests can easily access drinking water. Consider personalised water bottles or a vintage water dispenser which you could fill with garnishes such as cucumber, lemons or lime to give it an elevated feel.

Make sure this station is either indoors, in the shade or accompanied by lots of ice to avoid warm water - no one wants to drink that! It’s also worth remembering that alcohol can induce dehydration and whilst most guests love a tipple at a wedding, it’s important to encourage everyone to drink soft drinks as well. Alcohol plus excessive heat and exposure to the sun can lead to dangerous consequences - something we know you’ll want to avoid at your wedding.

Consider swapping prosecco for flavoured soda water or ‘no-secco’, or adding some exciting mocktails to your menu. There are so many low and no alcohol options out there and it’s important to give your guests the choice, especially if your wedding is taking place during a heatwave. 

READ MORE: Everything You Need to Know About Alcohol-Free Weddings

4. Plan a Relevant Menu

summer wedding catering with salad garnish

Lamb shanks or beef bourguignon may be yours and your partner’s favourite meal, but rich, hearty dishes don’t lend themselves to the summer months and on a scorching hot day, they are the last thing your guests will want to eat.

Consider fresh, lighter dishes such as salads and fresh fruit, or a barbecued theme with colourful skewers and grilled delicacies. Grazing platters are also a great option as they allow people to choose how much they put on their plate!

Consult your venue or wedding caterers to get some recommendations and remember, they’ve done this before and will be able to give you plenty of options for your special day. If your wedding heatwave is unexpected and you’re worried about a stodgy menu, speak to your caterer about small swaps to make the dishes more warm-weather-appropriate. 

Roast potatoes or mash could be substituted for an up-scale potato salad. Sometimes a little swap or a fresh garnish can transform a hearty autumnal feast into an array of summer dishes. 

5. Consider Vulnerable Guests

Whilst it’s important to keep all of your wedding guests hydrated and in the shade, some will be more vulnerable than others. If you have young children or elderly guests, assign someone in your wedding party to make sure they are hydrated and not spending too much time in direct sunlight. 

Sunstroke and sunburn can become dangerous and often, people don’t realise it’s happening until it’s too late. This also applies for those who are planning on having pets or animals at the wedding.

 Whether you’re inviting your dog to your wedding, or having a petting zoo as a form of unusual wedding entertainment, these animals aren’t able to make sensible decisions for themselves so again, ensure someone is tasked with keeping them cool, hydrated and safe in the sun.

6. Look After Your Suppliers

Wedding suppliers work tirelessly all day to ensure your wedding is as perfect as it can be, and often their day doesn’t include breaks. If you’re having a wedding outdoors in the sunshine, designate someone to ensure that every hour or so, they have a nice cold drink and aren’t getting too hot. 

This could be someone in your wedding party, but it could also be your on-the-day coordinator or a member of staff from the venue. Vendors such as wedding photographers, videographers, wait staff, celebrants and toast masters are likely to spend a lot of time outdoors in the heat - we’re sure they’d appreciate an ice-cold drink or a 5-minute sit down in the shade. 

7. Have an Up-Do

blonde bride with chic updo

If you or your partner have long locks, consider having an up-do or a hairstyle that keeps your hair out of your face and off of your neck and shoulders. 

This can make the world of difference, especially during your ceremony if it’s outdoors without any shade. If you’ve got your heart set on wedding pictures with your hair down, perhaps you could wear a more heat-friendly style for your ceremony and then let your hair down (literally) in the evening when the temperature cools down a bit. 

If a down-style is non-negotiable, be sure to pack some bobbles and clips in your wedding emergency kit just in case it becomes too much. 

8. Get Some Makeup Advice

If you know the weather is going to be super hot on your wedding day, speak to your wedding makeup artist about sweat-friendly products. 

You’ll definitely want to consider using a lighter foundation and base to avoid suffocating your skin. It’s also worth investing in an on-the-day powder to blot your skin when it becomes shiny - which is literally unavoidable in soaring climates. 

Whatever your makeup look, we would also recommend taking some spare products to freshen yourself up between the ceremony and reception. If it’s really hot, you may even want to wash parts of your face and re-apply. 

Those who aren’t a dab hand at makeup may want to consider hiring their makeup artist for a few extra hours on the day for that essential post-sweat top-up. 

READ MORE: 20 Questions You MUST Ask Your Makeup Artist

9. Think Carefully About Your Outfits

Let’s face it, no wedding outfits are particularly sun-friendly, but there are some materials and styles that lend themselves much more to higher temperatures. 

Long sleeved wedding dresses and heavy, saturated fabrics will have you sweltering in the heat. Opt for breathable fabrics, and styles, such as sleeveless or a halterneck wedding dress to offer some air to under arms and neck. 

Summer wedding suits can be ordered in fabrics that are much more breathable and thin than more traditional styles. If you’re wearing a heavy wedding dress, consider a second outfit for post-ceremony celebrations that is more suited to the climate. 

Those wearing a summer wedding suit may want to choose a short-sleeved shirt to change into for the reception and maybe even a smart pair of suit shorts.

READ MORE: The Absolute Best Wedding Reception Dresses

10. Hot Weather Wedding Favours

Whether you're planning a wedding in a heatwave or you're booked in for a beach wedding where temperatures are going to be high, make sure you treat your guests to a useful wedding favour - something to help them beat the heat!

We've rounded up our favourite hot weather wedding favours below:

Heatwave Wedding Favours

There are so many cute wedding favour ideas that will aid a heatwave wedding and we can guarantee your guests will be super grateful. Even if you’ve already sorted your favours, we would highly recommend having some of the below products near your ‘hydration station’ or in the bathrooms at your venue. Trust us, it will make such a difference. 

Sun Tan Lotion

suntan lotion wedidng favour in white bottle with botanical print

Miniature bottles of SPF are a cute and fun way to remind your guests that sunburn is no joke. You want your friends and family to remember your wedding for the right reasons, not for the red and white ‘tan’ lines they’re now stuck with for the next week.

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embroidered white bridal parasol

Wedding parasols will provide a welcome respite from the sun and will allow your guests to live out their best Bridgerton lives. Find colours and styles to suit all your wedding guests and allow everyone to enjoy their own personal patch of shade while still looking amazing.

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Drinks Coolers

bride squad themed wedding can coolers

Personalised can coolers are a wedding favour that definitely won’t go to waste. Allow your guests to keep their drinks cool with personalised or patterned can coolers. They’re the perfect pick if you’re planning a festival-style wedding with food trucks and canned drinks.

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Flip Flops

white flipflops in a wooden crate

Flip flops and flip flop crates are a great heatwave wedding favour. They will keep your guests’ feet feeling both cool and comfortable and will allow the wedding party to carry on way into the night as no one will be complaining of painful feet - let the dance battle commence…

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Personalised Water Bottles

metal water bottles with grooms party personalisation

Channel those Love Island vibes and give everyone their own personalised water bottle! Your guests will be able to make use of it immediately, and will get plenty more use out of it if the hot weather lingers. 

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Wedding Fans

wooden fans with personalised wedding date

Hand fans are a great alternative if you want something for your guests to cool off with, whilst sticking to a chic wedding aesthetic. You could even take things one step further and have their names or your wedding date embroidered onto them. Consider placing them on your wedding ceremony seats instead of at the wedding breakfast so your guests can really make the most of them. 

Small electric fans are nothing short of heaven-sent when it comes to high heats. They’ll go down a treat with your guests but remember to provide batteries - the only thing worse than not having a fan on a boiling hot day is having a fan that doesn’t have any batteries…

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It's not just your own wedding that may be effected by the heatwave. Attending a wedding this summer? Browse our selection of amazing summer wedding guest dresses and gorgeous summer wedding suits. Meaning you can stay cool in the heat without compromising on style.