10 Ways to Beat the Heat on Your Wedding Day

by Jennifer Cram Brisbane Marriage Celebrant © (14/11/2019) 
Categories:  | Wedding Planning |
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Statue of Lady Justicia
                    holding the scales of justice
It is no secret that Australia is a hot place during the summer. And that a very large proportion of wedding ceremonies are planned for outdoors.

Your various wedding service suppliers (vendors) will tell you the various ways a very hot day could be a problem on the day - flowers wilt, sweat stains your lovely wedding attire, red faces show up in the photos, batteries in equipment such as PA systems discharge, being overheated can shut down devices, seats can be too hot to sit on, guests can desert seating in the sun and seek shade on the edges of the ceremony space, and the list goes on. And of course, if either of you faints, that's the end of the ceremony! Legally it isn't as simple as a matter of bringing you round and carrying on because you will need to be medically checked and cleared to make sure that your capacity to give consent has not been compromised.

Beating the heat depends largely on your planning


So here are 10 ways to make sure that, if your wedding day is a hot one, you beat the heat
  1. Pick your ceremony space carefully
    If you are planning to have the ceremony outside make sure that there is plenty of shade, for everyone. I've officiated ceremonies at venues where the wedding party is standing in the shade, and everyone else is in full sun, and vice versa - the guests are all seated in the shade. And some where half the guests were in the shade and half were in the sun.
  2. Shade
    The importance of decent shade can't be over-emphasised. But it needs to be ventilated shade. A cheap temporary marquee with no venting will turn into a sauna that is much hotter than the outside temperature
  3. Minimise the distance between where people park and where the action will be
    This applies equally to the ceremony and the reception. If your guests have had to park and then walk a long distance in the heat they will be uncomfortable and grumpy even before they arrive
  4. Make sure there is a seat for everyone
    Standing in heat is no joke. Being seated helps - as long as the seat itself doesn't heat up. Some do. Check that before you sign on the dotted line.
  5. Ensure that you have a viable Plan B
    That is, a plan that might involve a change of venue or ceremony space and/or one that allows you to take steps to minimise the time everyone is outside. If you're having the ceremony and the reception at one venue, make sure that the venue will allow your guests to come inside into the air conditioning before the ceremony.  Be aware that the hotter the day, the shorter the time people can be out in the heat without risking heat exhaustion or heat stroke (a life-threatening condition). The ACTU guidelines suggest that once the temperature gets to 32 degrees or above, the time spent outside without a break in cooler conditions should be limited.
  6. Choose your wedding attire wisely.
    Formal clothing, as we know it, originated in Europe and was designed to keep the heat in. I've lost count of the number of times I've told red-faced grooms and groomsmen to take off their jackets and waistcoats while waiting for the rest of the wedding party to arrive and the ceremony to start.  There are so many elegant and fashionable options for both men and women.  Oh, and ditch the Spanx, panty-hose, stockings and any unnecessary layers. So choose your outfits knowing you are not going to resort to heat-containing extra layers that will make you pour with sweat, and be hot and bothered and red-faced, all of which will show up in your photos. Even the best waterproof makeup may not stay the distance on a very hot day. And many luxury fabrics wilt or worse when they get hot and damp.
  7. Choose heat-resistant flowers
    There are some flowers that turn up their toes within minutes of being in the heat - and others that stay smiling no matter what the temperature, for example, tulips vs proteas

Beating the heat also hugely depends on what you do on the day


  1. Go easy on the booze - Hit the water instead
    Yes, we all know it is traditional to indulge a little bit while getting ready - but that could result in you being dehydrated and more susceptible to being affected by the heat. Cold water should be the watch word. And make sure there is plenty of cold water available for your guests too
  2. Be punctual
    There is nothing worse than a late start on a hot day, for the guests, for the photographer, for musicians, etc etc.
  3. Be Realistic and Sensible. After all the whole point of the day is that you are happily married at the end of it. And part of that is marrying happily!

ACTU Guidelines on Working in Heat


The ACTU guidelines are based on medical advice and are therefore a good guide as to the danger posed to your guests, the wedding party, photographer, musicians/DJ and celebrant when in full sun or extremely hot conditions.

 The ACTU guidelines state that the maximum time people should be exposed to the heat is
•    40 minutes if the temperature is 32 - 34° C
•    30 minutes if the temperature is 34 - 36° C
•    ZERO time if the temperature is 36 - 38° C (yes, the ACTU guidelines say that everyone should stop working and move out of the heat once the temperature is 36 - 38° C)

Bear in mind that all the people present,  except for the people who formally walk down the aisle to start the ceremony (usually the bride and her attendants), have usually been there waiting for 15-20 minutes before the ceremony starts.

How to deal with heat exhaustion or heat stroke


Anyone suffering from heat stroke or heat exhaustion should be helped into a cool place, somewhere with air conditioning or with shade, and made to lie down. All unnecessary clothing should be removed to expose as much skin to the air as possible. Apply a wet cloth to cool their skin. Put cold packs under their armpits and around the neck as well to cool the body down. Fanning the person will also help. Give lots of cold fluids, ideally either water, fruit juice, or a rehydration drink. If you are tending to someone with heat stroke or heat exhaustion, you should stay with them until they begin to feel better – this should be within 30 minutes. If they do not recover in this time an ambulance should be called.

Thanks for reading!

Jenny xxx Let's talk
                    soon about how you can have the best ceremony
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