Garden CanopiesIt’s an open secret among brides around the world: planning the perfect wedding reception is just as hard as planning the right wedding ceremony. In fact, planning  the reception is a bigger challenge in so many ways! There’s hundreds of details that brides-to-be and their helpers have to oversee on a limited timetable.

But the outdoor wedding reception’s benefits pay off in ways that are nothing short of spectacular. As you put your event together, remember these ways of keeping all your guests cool and happy no matter how warm the weather.

Keep Cool By Serving Frozen Drinks

Even if you’re planning a formal wedding reception, serving frozen drinks offers your guests a way to keep cool as they mingle outside. The frozen drink station can stand under a small canopy off to one side of the reception grounds, or adjacent to the reception bar. Guests can serve themselves, of course, but having a wait staff member serve the drinks will make things flow smoother. Offer at least several different kinds of fruit flavor drinks, and give your guests the choice of juices or slushy drinks.

Ideally, for medium- and large-sized events you should plan to have two frozen drink stations, one alcoholic and one non-alcoholic. If your wedding has a lot of children in attendance, offer milkshakes at the non-alcoholic drink station.

Make Your Wedding Party Comfortable

Keep your groomsmen and bridesmaids cool by inviting them to shed their ceremonial jackets and heels once the reception begins. White shirts with tuxedo vests will still look elegant in an outdoor garden setting, and your bridesmaids will have an easier time navigating across the reception area’s lawn (some wedding boutiques even offer specially-decorated bridesmaids footwear). And of course both groups will understand that shedding of formal trappings is your go-ahead signal to cut loose and party.

Provide A Sheltered Party Area

Not everyone – especially your older guests – will necessarily relish the idea of spending hours in the summer sun. Install a canopy or party tent along one side of the reception grounds, and make sure there’s enough tables and seating to accommodate at least a third of your guests. Remember that the canopy should be big enough that guests can move around freely, much as they would indoors.

Treat Yourself To Some Comfort

There’s no strict rule that says the bride must wear her wedding gown for the entire reception. After you and the groom are presented and all pictures are taken, feel free to change into the travelling clothes you’ll wear later that day. Your guests won’t mind, and you’ll be free of your dress’ (stifling) constraints.

Use Different Kinds of Flowers and Installations To Create A Garden Effect

Garden Canopies One of the great advantages of the outdoor wedding reception is that your design scheme isn’t limited to traditional floral arrangements. Accentuate the garden motif by using arbors, latticework, gazebos and vines and climbing plants throughout the dining and party area. Arbors and trellis work especially convey a garden theme to guests, as do table centerpieces of wildflowers and other less traditional (but more carefree) floral arrangements.

For an environmentally-conscious twist, make sure the flowers are locally grown (to reduce pollution in their transport) and rent reusable glass vases instead of plastic. Recycle the flowers at the wedding ceremony for use at the reception, and arrange to donate unused, untouched reception food to a shelter and the flowers to a retirement community.

Install Misters and Fans Throughout The Reception Area

When it comes to cooling off outdoors, the outdoor mister is probably the greatest invention since the garden hose. Set up several mister stations at different locations around the reception area, and install low-noise area fans around its edges.

Remember these ideas are only some of the strategies you can use to make sure you outdoor reception isn’t bogged down by heat. Your guests will appreciate the effort you made to keep them cool, and they’ll feel more inclined to help you celebrate for as long as you like. Good luck!