This year more than ever I think we’re all looking forward to those beautiful long days of Summer, especially with the hope of us being well on the path to more freedom and a healthier, safer country by then! With the hope of weddings being able to go ahead this Summer in one form or another, and the excitement brewing as couples plan for big celebrations in the years to come, here are 7 tips plus lots of inspiration to consider when planning your summer wedding.
Get Planning Early
Summer has always been the peak season for weddings, and even though the wedding scene might have looked a bit different over the past 12 months with hundreds of postponements and cancellations, this only serves to add to the demand for those key Summer dates in the years to come. The love of big and beautiful Summer weddings is going nowhere!
Many of the amazing trusted suppliers I know and love to recommend are booking up fast for 2022 and 2023, so if you’re dreaming of a Friday, Saturday or Sunday celebration between May-September then it’s time to get your planning brain into gear. Whilst your venue plays an important deciding factor in the date you settle on, this advice spreads further beyond your venues availability and applies to planners, photographers, caterers, florists, entertainers, the whole collection really!
Giving your guests plenty of notice is also advisable. I think it’s very reasonable to assume that once they can all of your family and friends will be jumping at the chance to travel, go on holiday, and fill their diary with social gatherings, so make sure yours is one that gets in their diary quickly. Save the dates are ideal for this; they require minimal information so can be sent very early in the planning process.
Make the most of the season
Summer has so much to offer, so why not make the most of it! At this time of year British flowers are abundant and available in almost any colour under the sun, making the sustainable option of locally grown and seasonal flowers an easy choice for any celebration. It’s also an interesting time for fruits, berries, and foliage, so why not incorporate those too. With so much choice, why not embrace it all and opt for an opulent ombre effect to your floral displays, with this beautiful table centrepiece even including locally picked crab apples too!
With the hope of nicer weather, Summer can also be the ideal time to make the most of nature’s ready-made backdrops for an outdoor ceremony. Minimising the need for extra décor, nature is sometimes all the beauty you need! Take this gorgeous view for example, framed by the arch of this derelict Church and only accentuated further by the foam free florals that appear as though they’re clambering up the wall to catch a glance of the view for themselves!
Summer is also the time of many edible delights, with berries aplenty, fresh beans, greens and salads all tempting our tastebuds. Your caterers won’t need much encouragement (if any) to get creative with the best of the seasons offerings and embrace using local where they can. Maybe you can even find caterers who grow and forage for their ingredients themselves! Oh, and don’t forget your wedding cake … why not leave behind the classic and traditional flavours and embrace the season with something different, like this Strawberry and Elderflower delight!
Be prepared for the chill
Even on the hottest of days, here in the UK the temperatures drop as the sun sets and the evening takes hold. With a bit of forethought you can still ensure you embrace the fresh air and Summer evenings though. Whilst some guests will keep warm busting moves on the dancefloor, hiring a large collection of blankets will help to ensure the remainder of your guests stay comfortable whilst they sit and chat, relax and take it all in.
If your venue allows and it is safe to do so, why not also consider the option of a firepit or two. The dancing flames act as a natural draw for guests to huddle together and chat, plus who could say no to a few toasting marshmallows or a smores station!
Make a few days of it
Bank holiday weekends are a very popular option for weddings, so if you’re hoping to secure one of those then definitely get planning early! However, even if you have opted for a regular weekend or a weekday, there’s nothing to say your celebration has to be on one day! Many people enjoy the ability to turn your wedding into a mini Summers trip away, especially if they have had to travel to be with you or are attending without their children so get to let their hair down!
Sharing details of local camping, glamping and hotel options with your guests can help to spread the fun across a few days and allow you to organise additional activities. If your venue does not include accommodation or additional time onsite then collating a suggested list of local independent hotels and B&Bs plus local places to visit, eat and drink can be a great way to sustain and give back to the local economy around your chosen venue.
Whether you choose to organise activities as a group or just encourage your guests to make the most of their own visit to the area, this can be a lovely thing to include in your invite details. If you’re at a beautiful venue with a swimming pool or lake, such as the amazing Horsley Hale farm, then don’t forget to encourage guests to bring their swimming costumes for a dip or leisurely row across the waters!
Trust your photographer
Having complete faith in your wedding photographer is important for any time of year, but one of my key tips for Summer wedding planning is to consult with your photographer for their input on the timings of the day and follow their guidance about the best lighting. As much as we all love the Summer sun, it can be the enemy of your wedding photographer when the sunlight is too direct and harsh! If they suggest a particular space, backdrop and moment at a particular time they will be saying it for all the right reasons and will be helping you to get the very best out of them and their skills.
Seek their advice for when you are best to schedule in your couple shots, as there’s no reason why they have to be during your drink’s reception if the lighting at 7pm would create more magical moments. As your wedding planner, factoring in sunset timings and liaising with your photographer plays a vital part when I create your wedding day schedule.
Whilst the dinner wine and stock of alcohol behind the bar tends to be the first thoughts when planning your wedding beverages, alcohol is great at dehydrating you at the best of times so your guests really need protecting on a hot summers’ day. Did you know that licensed premises in Great Britain are legally required to provide free water? Make sure your wedding bar is no different; large dispensers of ice water with added fruits for a fresh flavour not only looks great but will be gratefully received by your guests. Locally produced juices, pressés and mocktails can also be lovely thirst-quenching drinks to add to your bar selection to cater for non-drinkers and make rehydration an appealing option.
Beyond the drinks, consider the amount of shade available at your venue and whether additional structures or parasols are available to hire and give some protection from the sun (or more adverse weather if it decides to join you instead on the day!). Sunglass stations, reusable paper fans, ice cream carts or frozen yoghurt vans can also provide a welcome refresher and are worth considering as an extra for your day.
Plan for all eventualities
Whilst thinking about refreshments for those hot summer days, it’s also important to bear in mind that we have unpredictable weather and Summer doesn’t guarantee sun! When planning your Summer wedding ensure that you have backup options for any aspects you intend to have outside.
Most venues offer an indoor ceremony option as well as outdoors, so even though you might have a preference ensure that you factor in a bit of time to think about how you’d want both setups to look and communicate this to your venue or planner. This ensures you can make the most of the space you have regardless of whichever one the weather decides to allow.
For dry hire venues, especially those at which you plan to use a marquee, yurt or tipi as your main structure and event space, ensure that you consider your guests numbers and how comfortably they would fit amongst the structure if the weather was poor and left you without the option to venture outside. Hire companies will be able to help with this, but my tip is, budget allowing, to err on the side of having a little more space than you need to allow for all eventualities. Remember your tables, chairs, cake setup and bar all take up space, and, whilst moving furniture to make room for the dancefloor is possible, this task is more complicated when the space is limited and guests can’t move to another area or be outside.
I hope these 7 tips are helpful when putting together the plans for your beautiful Summer wedding! It’s such a gorgeous season in which to say your ‘I Do’s’ and creates so many opportunities of activities, décor and seasonal touches to add to your day.
If thoughts of back up plans, logistics of outdoor ceremonies or dry hire venues, and so much choice, are leaving you feeling lost then please reach out, my various wedding planning services ensure I am ready to help in whichever ways you might need and I’m always happy to chat!