12 Ways to Stay Cool During an Outdoor Summer Wedding

It’s that time of year again. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping and your vague acquaintances are having a three-hour outdoor ceremony that you have to go to. Ah, summer is back. Look, strap in and accept you’re going to sweat. You can’t make it perfectly comfortable, but you can do your best to make it bearable.

For the Guests

Look, there’s only so much you can do as a guest. You can’t control the timing, structure or venue of the wedding. You’re a bit on your own, but there are still some things you can do to stay cool.

Dress Appropriately

Unless you’re going to the wedding of two monsters who want everyone in tweed but also want a summer wedding, the dress code is going to lean casual and more comfortable. Do your best to stay cool by wearing linens, light colors, looser fitting clothing and even swapping out your manly metal band for silicone wedding bands for men instead.

Bring a Fan

As hilarious as it would be for you to show up with a box fan and extension cord, this isn’t what we mean. If you’re really good friends with the bride and groom, though, it could be a funny bit. Proceed at your own risk. What we mean is the classic church lady fan. Don’t knock it till you try it — those church ladies know what they’re doing. That tiny fan is going to be a game-changer.

Find the Shade

There’s only so much you can do on this one as well. If there’s shade, get there early and seek it out. Of course, if there’s assigned seating, we recommend praying you get sat in the shade. Yes, science nerds. We get it. The shade isn’t technically cooler. However, it still feels better, so just go with it.

Misters and Spray Bottles

You can go DIY on this one or just buy a mister for the occasion. Either way, it’s a game-changer, and you’ll likely make some friends by passing it around. You don’t have to show up with a giant bottle. In fact, you should avoid doing that. A small one will do.

Bring a Water Bottle

It won’t solve all your problems, but you’ll be hydrated, and that’s certainly a good thing. You don’t want to be the guy passing out at the outdoor wedding. Your friends Juniper and Jasper — saying their wedding vows on top of a mountain in 100-degree weather — don’t want that either.


Wear a Hat

Fellas, you’ve got fewer options than the ladies on this one. If you’re willing to show up in one of those obscenely large floppy hats, though, more power to you. You’re basically choosing between a fedora and one of those cliché Millennial hats that make you look like you’re cosplaying as a member of Rainbow Kitten Surprise. You know the cliché Millennial hat we’re talking about. Deep cut, but whatever — we’ll see you at Red Rocks.


Sunscreen will keep you a little cooler. Not much, but every little bit helps. If nothing else, you won’t head home looking like you attempted to toast yourself on the surface of the sun, so you’ve got that going for you.

For the Hosts

Timing Is Everything

Whatever you do, don’t plan your wedding during the heat of the day. Do you hate your friends? Do you want your friends to hate you? Just don’t do it. First thing in the morning or anytime past the late afternoon is the way to go. If you get married at high noon, your friends are going to revolt.

Shade. Create Shade.

Please, please do this. Tents, cabanas, giant umbrellas. We do not care how you do it. Just create shade so your guests are not being slow roasted as you exchange vows. Again, we know it’s not technically cooler in the shade in terms of temperature. It’s perceived as cooler, so just do it.

How Outdoors Do You Need to Be?

There are some great spaces out there that allow guests to easily move between indoors and outdoors. Think somewhere with a large open courtyard. Even if you have the ceremony itself outside, having everything else with the option of moving into the AC when it gets too hot is key.


Cold Food and Drinks

Unless you’ve got your fraternity letters tattooed in a place that would horrify your mother, you cannot serve beer during your ceremony. However, you can (and should) have drink stations in as many places as you possibly can so that your guests can have quick and easy access to water before and after the ceremony. Maybe even during the ceremony if you plan on taking your sweet time exchanging your trendy wood wedding bands.

What’s Essential?

Not to be an old man shouting at clouds, but remember when ceremonies didn’t feel like a small eternity? You can still have a beautiful wedding even if you go simple and short. Consider what you need to have at the ceremony, what you can cut and what can be moved to the reception. When you’re outside, every minute counts.

At the end of the day, if you want to be there for your friends (or have your friends be there for you), a little sweat is just a given. As long as there are cold drinks to be had after the ceremony, all will be forgiven.

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