Summertime is a common time for weddings with easier breaks from work or school and warm weather.  Though a favorite wedding time, the hot weather can cause its own challenges. I’ve seen my fair share of sweaty grooms and melting brides. In fact, I was one myself.

I was one of those brides who had an outdoor reception in August. Some people like to remind me of that tragic fact, but I remember it as all sunshine, daisies, and happiness.

Summer wedding bouquet

Here are my best tips to a pleasant and prepared warm weather wedding.

Hydration.  Be sure that all members of the wedding party have enough water to drink.  It might be tempting to fill your cooler with beer, soda, or lemonade, but water is best. I’ve seen my fair share of events when the water ran out.

Bride and groom giving high five outside on a sunny, warm day

Air. Hand-held paper or electric fans are so valuable.  My favorite tip from when I worked for another photographer in college was to lay a fan on the ground under the bride’s skirt when she is standing still for a while (such as during family portraits).  If she has a lot of layers to her dress, it can be really hot.

Sweat is real, and so is the midwestern humidity. Menswear on a wedding day has a lot of layers and is often black.  The materials of women’s dresses are also delicate and show wetness easily.  Packing a stack of washcloths and hankies can be helpful to blot sweat and stay fresh. You can even freeze a few in a baggie and keep it in the cooler to help cool down fast.

Playful bridal party in sunglasses

Change of clothes.  I like to encourage summer brides and grooms to consider packing an extra set of undergarments for a midday change.  An extra undershirt, bra, or panties can go a long way to feeling like you can handle your reception with grace.  You’ll be hugging a lot of people on your wedding day and doing so in a sweat-soaked undershirt holds a lot less appeal than feeling fresh for the party.

Staying fresh- in your bag for the day along with lipstick and Advil, throw in your deodorant! Reapplying before the receiving line or the reception is probably a good idea.

Handsome groom in sun

As I plan the wedding day schedule with my couples, I make sure that weddings during hot weather seasons don’t have long stretches outside.  Consider multiple, short stops so there are breaks in the car or party bus to cool off, or stick to your venue and step inside to cool off as needed. Coordinate with your photographer to make sure your schedule is appropriate for the weather.

Smiling summer bridal couple

Check out what I keep in my wedding day emergency kit for my wedding couples. 

We all snap photos of our kids and, these days, even of ourselves.  We snap photos of almost everywhere we go, each date we’re one, and document even what we ate for lunch. Even though I was late to the smartphone world, I’m still guilty as charged.

And as I reviewed my cell phone pics to illustrate this post, realistically I have photos of that chair I cleaned really well. The cool pattern the syrup made in our yogurt when I was shaking the last drops out of the jar. A selfie to ask a friend if I can actually pull off this look (I wasn’t exactly trendy- I was wearing a bonnet). And endless LEGO and magnet creations my kids couldn’t bear to take apart without a picture.

My hubby, though technically a partner in Purple Lemon Photography, who even attends photography conferences like a champ, isn’t a photographer. He collectively owns our cameras and uses the camera on his cell phone like many other people. Yet, he isn’t a photographer. If I say to him, “Pssst! Look at the boys, take a picture of that!” he’ll dutifully whip out the cell phone, take 14 frames in a row that all pretty much look the same and aren’t at all what I imagined. Yes, the boys were still doing the cute thing that I wanted to see again, but the timing and composition were not quite up to par with my imagination.

For example, he thought it would be clever for our sons to become a mermaid, a unicorn, and a fairy for my birthday. A picture would certainly help us remember this whimsical moment of fantasy and good cheer. But… rather we have a cluster of blurry, confusing pictures of my sons in half of their PJs.

Series of images of children in handmade costumes

This is so easy to have happen! There is a time and place for new photographers to learn and grow, and I certainly needed and appreciated those friends and clients who provided that for me.  However, there is now, more than ever a need for couples and families to find professional photographers who can help them have photos that are better than imagined, not less than.

Portrait of young boy

A professional will weed out the 14 weird faces when you are half blinking or chewing your last bite of dinner roll.  A professional will have a compelling composition and lighting that flatters, not distracts. A professional will deliver your product in a timely manner and treat you with respect. They will not require you to have all the ideas because that’s their job. You get to keep being a teacher, a mom, a social worker, graphic designer, or- like my hubby- a software developer. I’ll be the professional photographer so you don’t have to be.

Moody photo of woman with afro

Although I have been photographing for many years, and photographing portraits since 2004, I completed the hard work to become a Certified Professional Photographer in 2012. This process requires passing a challenging exam on technical photography, passing a portfolio review including client work, and also a review of professional standards, websites, and a commitment to maintaining professional standards over time.  To maintain this certification, I attend conferences, workshops, and classes each year to keep learning and keep my standards high. I also serve as a CPP Liaison who assists incoming candidates in completing their certification process.

Close-up of a woman's white wedding dress

When considering your photographer, consider their qualifications in helping you celebrate your family, children, or wedding day. You can use Professional Photographers of America’s database to help find a professional or Certified Professional Photographer.