6 Things to Consider When Having an Outdoor Summer Wedding in the Hudson Valley
It’s no secret that summer is prime wedding season and no matter where you are in the country, summer, especially June is, by far, the most popular season to get married. In fact, last summer, over 3,800 weddings took place in the Hudson Valley alone just between June and August*! So, if you are one of the couples who were lucky enough to book the few summer weekends available for your wedding, we want to share a few tips that you and your guests will appreciate.
But first, a small history lesson on why summer weddings, specifically June weddings, are so popular. First, the word “June” comes from the name “Juno” who was the Roman goddess of marriage. Second, back in Medieval times, when personal hygiene was almost non-existent, most people took yearly, yes yearly, baths, in May or June when the weather was warmer. This meant that people smelled better during those times, which, for such an important day, you want to be smelling your best. P.S. This is also where the tradition of carrying bouquets comes in. Women carried bouquets hoping that the smell of the flowers would disguise their body odor.
Today, it’s easy to see why Summer is so popular. after the long winter and rainy spring, couples, especially in the Hudson Valley, are eager to break their cabin fever and spend as much time outside as possible. And since summer doesn’t last too long, you want to take advantage of it as much as you can.
So if you are a summer bride or groom, here are 6 things you need to take into consideration…
I don’t need to tell you that while the sun is beautiful and warm, it’s also dangerous. But, so many people still forget to use protection. If you are having an outdoor wedding remember to apply sunscreen! Between the ceremony and pictures, you can be outside for quite a few hours. You don’t want to get sunburned on your wedding day. If you are red and burned in photos, your photographer can only do so much with editing. Even if you don’t burn and are one of the lucky ones that get gorgeously tan, SPF is your best friend. You don’t want those harmful rays damaging your skin in years to come.
Also, make sure there is shade too, your guests will thank you. If your guests are sitting out in the sun for your ceremony, they’re going to want shade. Whether it’s from trees, tents, shade from the building, or visors, make sure your guests are comfortable. Remind them to wear sun protection too.
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Hudson Valley summers can get hot, even triple digits, and the last thing you want is to be sweating on your wedding day. Shade, as I mentioned before, can obviously help here too. However, if you can’t get shade, make sure you dress appropriately. Choose a gown that’s sleeveless and light, with loose construction. Beading and structure (boning, corsets) can make a dress VERY heavy, so you want to make sure that when you choose your dress it’s weather appropriate. Also, make sure your makeup is properly set, so that if you do start to sweat, it doesn’t start to drip off your face.
Again, think about your guests too, especially if they are older or very young. They are more susceptible to heat-prone illness. If your reception is outside, make sure that your venue has fans or ceiling fans that can keep you and your guests cool while you’re dancing. Tents, even with open sides, can get very warm, and remember, most barns weren’t built for events. If heat is a serious issue for you, skip an outdoor ceremony or reception altogether.
Summer can be rainy, even if it’s just a passing afternoon storm. Always have a plan “B”. If rain is predicted for your ceremony, can you move it indoors? If it rains overnight before your outdoor wedding or reception, are walkways going to be muddy? What about the parking lot? Are guests going to be parking in a mud puddle or is it a concrete parking lot? Is water going to seep into your reception area, especially if your reception is in a tent? These are all things you need to consider and knowing what your plan “B” will be is a very important conversation you need to have with your venue or wedding planner.
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Bugs and mosquitos
Bugs come with summer, but after the rain, they seem to be more abundant. What is your plan to prevent summer bugs from bothering you and your guests? I went to an outdoor June wedding once, and by the time I left, my legs were covered in bites! Are you going to have bug lights around your perimeter? Are you going to leave little bottles of bug spray for your guests? This is a detail that you might not think about until you’re at your wedding smacking and swatting bugs all night.
Food & drinks
When you think of summer fare, you think light and fresh, maybe even BBQ. Have some fun with this. What are some of your favorite summer foods? For me, watermelon is right at the top. Maybe do watermelon slushies, or even have a cotton candy booth, reminiscent of county fairs. You can even do mini corn dogs or mini crab cakes as a passed appetizer. The possibilities are endless.
You want to make sure, though, that you stay away from really heavy foods. Think roasted potatoes over mashed, salad instead of soup. Heavy foods in the summer tend to make people feel even hotter. Also, check with your venue or caterer to make sure whatever food you have, especially if it has any sort of cream in it, is held at the right temperature to prevent illness.
Remember your drinks too. Because of the summer heat, you want a good mix of non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks as you don’t want to consume too much alcohol if you’re really hot. Slushies or frozen drinks are always fun. Light spritzers are a good addition as well.
Think about adding cool desserts like shaved ice, ice cream or ice cream floats. Maybe even rent out an ice cream truck for the night.
Summer is a popular time in the Hudson Valley. Between graduations, festivals, and yes, other weddings, hotels are at max capacity. Make sure you reserve your room blocks early. Since most hotels will only allow you to book 10 rooms at a time, and will not let you reserve more until the first 10 are reserved, you may want to get room blocks at a few different hotels. This is also helpful for your guests, too, because it gives them a choice in location and price point.
Are you having a summer wedding? What are you doing to beat the heat?
Featured photo credit: J. Ferrara Photography
*Source: The Wedding Report