As a wedding planner in Chicago, we are constantly suggesting ways to make the guest experience at your wedding or event the best possible from beginning to end. Many times, this includes finding creative ways to keep guests cool on a hot summer day. In the summer of 2012 we had many weekends with temperatures approaching 100 degrees! With summer wedding season rapidly approaching – keep these fun and creative ideas in mind as you finalize the details of your outdoor soiree…
- Program Fans – Your guests can keep cool while they peruse the program for the wedding or event
- Flavored water station – set up a self service water station where guests can wet their whistles while awaiting the start of an outdoor wedding ceremony
- Tents – Tents are not only to provide shelter from the rain – but are also perfect for providing a bit of shade on a hot summer day
- Don’t let guests expire in their attire – Invite guests to wear “outdoor appropriate” attire for the event. Advise in your invitation for men to leave their jackets and ties at home. Phrase it in a fun way like, “Summer Savvy Attire Invited.”
- Timing is Everything – Consider a wedding or event starting late in the day after the height of the afternoon heat
- Ceremony savvy - Try and face an outdoor ceremony AWAY from the sun, and keep it short! If a ceremony is 15-20 minutes or less, it’s much more likely that your guests won’t become anxious in the heat. Keep elderly guests indoors until the ceremony is ready to begin.
- Wedding Party Woes – Make sure the members of your wedding party (especially guys in tuxedos and the bride in that full gown!) don’t drink alcohol before the start of your event, and keep water handy near the front of the ceremony site in case someone feels lightheaded. Remember not to lock your knees and if you feel lightheaded – SIT DOWN before you pass out!
- Always have a backup plan – It’s hard to release the thought of your ideal outdoor event – but always have a Plan B and remember to use it. Those backup plans aren’t only for rain – but can make a world of difference in the heat as well. Guests will ONLY remember how hot it was and not the beauty of the venue if you force an outdoor event in extreme heat.
Creating a wedding guest list can be painful to say the least…
As you are making your list and checking it twice (and 3 times, and 10 times), keep in mind these rules of thumb and common pitfalls when it comes to crunching the numbers…
Photo Credit – Heidi Zeigler Photography
5. If you have already chosen a venue, make sure you do not invite more people than your venue can accommodate. While it is commonly safe to assume 15% of your invitees will decline, there are exceptions to every rule and I’ve seen more guests accept than expected and the venue wasn’t compatible.
4. Keep in mind that your guest list will eventually become a multiplier for many elements of the wedding and will therefore directly affect your budget beyond just the cost of catering. The more guests you have, you will need more waiters, tables, linens, chairs, centerpieces, pin spot lighting, invitations and a bigger dance floor.
3. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself reigning in your guest list so you can include those design elements you’ve been dreaming of or alternatively letting go of one or two priority items so you can invite your co-workers. Sometimes you can’t have it all.
2. Set ground rules. Maybe those ground rules apply to how many friends each side of your parents can invite or possibly the rule is no one from high school or everyone gets a date. Once you find the rules that work best for you, set them and stick to them.
1. Check with your planner for suggestions on the best format for tracking your guests – for example, the LOLA pros have developed a spreadsheet format that works for the caterer, the calligrapher, us as planners for the day of the wedding and for you in keeping track of your guest details throughout the planning process.Read More
Not only can it be a challenge to get all the etiquette of a wedding invitation correct – it can be tricky to word your wedding invitation so that it properly reflects the mood and formality of the event… Especially if you are having a more unique reception that may not be the traditional ceremony, dinner, dancing format. It is important that your invitation sets the correct tone, so that guests can set their expectations accordingly. It also helps ease their stress on attending something less “cookie cutter” in terms of helping them choose an appropriate gift and the proper attire to wear to the affair. Here are a few of my favorite client invitations that reflect the vibe of their event perfectly!
Jade and Raj are having a semi-formal multi-cultural affair, and want to make sure that both bride and groom guests are excited and informed as to what to expect from their ceremony. The design of the invitation as well as the wording and fonts are all reflective of this objective, and it has transformed into one of the major inspirations for the entire event. This invitation was created by Visual Affair specifically for the client.
Mary and Victor had a semi-casual affair on the Chicago Lakefront and created this invitation themselves as a DIY project. They wanted to make sure guests were aware of the location so they wouldn’t wear shoes or clothing inappropriate to the beach or their outdoor venue. We also loved that they invited their guests to wear certain colors that reflected the time of day – which inspired the decor for their event.
Lori & Bryan had married in a private ceremony previously, and wanted to host a very casual cocktail reception to kick off the 4th of July Weekend and celebrate the recent nuptuals. To make sure guests knew what to expect from the evening and keep the mood extremely casual and festive – they got creative with their invitation. They weren’t serving dinner and wanted to make sure that was reflected as well.Read More