Summer in the South West is a beautiful time of year. Long days, blue skies and beautiful beaches...it's no wonder it's such a popular time to get married. But we all know that the summer heat can bring with it some challenges, and having been photographing weddings for over ten years we have learned a good few tricks to beat the heat and make sure couples can enjoy the Big Day they've always dreamed of, with the perfect pictures to boot. So here, for all you lucky Summer brides, we have put together our top ten tips for surviving summer weddings and ensuring you have your perfect day.
1. Find the Shade
We all love an outdoor ceremony, but standing in the full sun for up to an hour while you say your "I Do's" and greet your guests can be a recipe for disaster. Guests will be too busy melting to really focus on the special moments, and brides with lily white complexions (like us) could quickly change from snow white beauty to Larry lobster, which is never a good look! A simple fix is to simply find some shade. For garden ceremonies trees provide beautiful natural shade and a great backdrop, so make the most of them. If you're having a beach ceremony then consider hiring a marquee or some pretty market umbrellas to protect everyone from the sun - you can even jazz them up with lots of white flowing fabric to create a gorgeous romantic setting for your Big Day. Whatever you do just make sure you're all fully in the shade and not half in and half out - trust us, your guests will thank you for it and your photos will look much better too!
2. Look after your Guests
So you have invited all your closest friends and family to come and share your special day with you, and they of course are excited to be there. Look after your guests so that everyone enjoys the day and looks back on your wedding as the awesome celebration it is. Choose bonbonnieres that help your guests stay cool and give them out at the start of the day. Personalised water bottles look super cute and pretty fans, parasols or beach shoes can also be a great idea.
3. Slip, Slap, Slop!
It seems like a no-brainer, but in all the excitement of getting ready and becoming a Princess for your Big Day it's easy to forget the sunscreen. You'll be in and out of the sun all day, so before you get your hair and make up done remember to apply a liberal layer of high sun protection. As talented as we are at Photoshopping, editing the skin colour of a bright red bride is not the easiest task!
4. Don't let things Slide
Summer heat is not the greatest friend of carefully tousled hair and gorgeous makeup. Of course you want to look perfect all day for your Wedding, so keep plenty of tools on hand to stop everything from sliding. Spray mist is a great way to keep yourself cool without wiping off your make up, and blotting paper and powder are also helpful. Choose a talented, experienced hair and makeup artist who can help you choose the right style and look for the time of year, and put your Maid of Honour in charge of looking after an emergency touch up kit for you on the day, so that you can stay looking perfect all day.
5. Dress For the Occasion
We all love the idea of being a Princess for the Day, but that doesn't necessarily mean we need to wrap ourselves in layers and layers of heavy satin and taffeta. When it's hot, you need to dress to stay cool. Flowing fabrics and lace look beautiful in Summer, and you could even consider going short and cute. Don't force your fella into wearing a waistcoat or even a jacket. Make sure you choose outfits that you will be comfortable wearing all day in the heat, and don't be afraid to think outside the box!
6. Choose Summer Flowers
We all want the perfect flowers for our Big Day, but if you've always dreamed of a big bouquet of fresh Calla Lilies or Frangipani you might want to consider getting married at a cooler time of year, or even faking it (but make sure you find a quality substitute for the real thing - nothing looks worse than a cheap bunch of fake flowers). While some flowers thrive in the heat, others wilt like us girls at the sight of a topless Brad Pitt (here he is, just for you girls...;-) )
Baby's breath is a hot current trend and copes great in warm weather, and there are lots of other great choices too. You could even forego the veil and choose a summer inspired floral headdress to complete your summer look. Ask your florist and really listen to them - they are the experts after all!
7. Don't forget to Hydrate!
Ok it might sound obvious but you wouldn't believe the number of wedding parties who pack Eskies full of beer and champers and forget all about the basics - water! We wouldn't want you to give up the booze, just leave some room for good old H2O - we promise you'll last the day much better if you stay hydrated!
8. Location, Location, Location
We know that beaches are synonymous with summer, but in reality if you are planning a beach wedding you might be better off getting married in the Spring or Autumn months. Summer beaches are full of tourists and beach goers which can make it tricky to find a private spot away from curious eyes and scattered beach towels. Beaches can be very hot and windy in Summer and skies tend to be clear blue which doesn't make the most interesting backdrop, so consider choosing a location where you will enjoy spending time for your location photos, or at least have a back up plan if it really does turn out to be an unbearably hot day. Parks and gardens with plenty of shade are a great option and have beautiful backlight in Summer, and awesome indoor venues with plenty of air con can also save the day. If you're having an indoor reception make sure the venue has good air con or at least good airflow to keep you all cool while you party on down. A quality photographer will help guide you through the options and find locations to achieve the look that's perfect for you. Those of us who have been shooting South West weddings as long as we have will know lots of amazing local spots so that you will enjoy the experience and capture stunning images whatever the weather.
9. Romantic Sunsets
If you've always dreamed of that perfect image of you kissing your sweetheart in front of a beautiful South West sunset then there are a few things to consider. During Summer Sunset is often not until 7.30pm, which is often long after your reception has started and you are already well on your way to letting your hair down and partying the night away. The last thing you will want to do is put those high heels back on and drag yourselves away from the celebrations for more photos. If you really have your heart set on a sunset shot then consider the timings of your Day and push everything back an hour or two, but be prepared for the fact that there may be no clouds in the sky and the sunset might not be too impressive anyway. Again, chat about this with your photographer. The best of us will use our knowledge and expertise to help you achieve exactly what you want from your Big Day.
10. Have fun with it!
Ok so summer can be hot and uncomfortable, but Summer weddings can be truly awesome if you just follow our simple tips to stay cool and think outside the square to take advantage of the (almost) guaranteed great weather. Have some fun and really add some Wow Factor to your Big Day with cool stuff. If you're having a beach wedding perhaps you could surprise all your guests and arrive by boat, or if you're further up on shore convertible cars are über cool. Fans, parasols, thongs, Sunnies and the like can make really cute gifts and can really add an element of fun to your photos and help to tell the story of your unique Summer Day.