If you’ve lived in Southern Maryland for any length of time, you know that summers can be hot and humid. (Heck, sometimes this extends into spring and fall!) You can take simple measures to make sure you and your guests are comfortable and safe in the heat.
Timing is everything. If you’re worried about the heat, plan the date and time of your wedding carefully. During the hottest times of the year, schedule your events earlier in the day or later in the evening when the sun is coolest. July and August are going to be the hottest months in this area, so if you’re set on a midday wedding outdoors, you might want to plan your wedding for May, June, or September.
Give your guests a handout. Guests will welcome parasols or fans for moving the air or blocking the sun. Make them available at outdoor ceremonies — you can ask the ushers to offer them — or place them at the entrance to your reception area/tents. Or, give these items as favors; place them on guests’ seats at the ceremony or at their places on the tables.
Pay attention to those at risk. Elderly guests and small children are especially susceptible to extreme heat. Consider special arrangements if you have very old or very young people on your guest list.
Water, water everywhere. Make water available to your guests and vendors (your DJ, caterer, consultant photographer, and others will be working hard, perhaps in a tux or long dress) at the ceremony and reception. Alcohol is a dehydrator, so make sure guests have plenty of opportunities to stay hydrated.
Cover up. Besides parasols, you might want to make sunscreen available to your guests. You can put it with the water, fans, and parasols at your ceremony or in baskets in the restrooms.
Plan ahead. When you send your invitations, encourage guests to dress for the heat. Be as formal or as casual as you’d like: “Dress: Cool and comfortable.” “It’s going to be hot! Dress cool.” “Dress for warm weather.” If you’re planning a casual wedding, you can let them know whether shorts or sandals are OK.
Provide shade. Tents are the easiest way to ensure your guests don’t spend too much time in the sun. You can even get fans and air conditioning units for tents. If you’re expecting guests to dance the night away, you’ll need to do something about the temperature under your tent.
Indoor/outdoor. If you’re expecting hot weather, plan part of your day indoors: ceremony outside, reception inside or vice versa. You’ll be building in a break from the heat.
Sprinkler system. Ask your rental company whether they have water misters. These lightly spray anyone who walks past them (don’t worry — it’s not enough to soak your dress or ruin your hair). Your guests will find the little burst of water refreshing.
Don’t forget your attendants. You and your bridal party will likely be wearing tuxedos and gowns. Make sure you all have enough water to stay cool, and if it’s a very hot day, consider letting the men ditch their jackets for part or all of the festivities. You can also take the heat into account when you choose your bridesmaids’ dresses, too: look for shorter styles made from light fabrics.
Protect your cake. Heat can wreak havoc on your cake. Avoid disaster by choosing icing and filling that can withstand the heat. Whipped cream, fondant and cheesecake will not stand up to the heat; only choose these if your reception is indoors where it’s air conditioned. If your reception is outside, consider a butter cream frosting and a fruit filling; these can take the heat better. As always, take with your cake baker about your plans. He or she can help you design a cake that stands up to the weather.
Be ready for storms. Heat and humidity breed strong thunderstorms, and they can often come up suddenly. Watch the forecast before your big day, and have an indoor Plan B if storms are headed your way.