Tips for Attending an Outdoor Summer Wedding

How to have fun, look nice, and stay cool

the grassland wedding
Zhang Zheng / Getty Images

When you first get the invitation, you are thrilled. And then you realize, it is an outdoor wedding and it will be during the full heat of the summer. If you are going to be a guest at an outdoor summer wedding, check out some tips to survive the heat while still looking chic and lovely.

What to Wear

Women should look for a cotton sundress or other clothing made of natural fibers. Loose-fitting clothing will be your friend. Something like this green cotton party dress is fitting for a summer outdoor wedding because it strikes the right balance between comfort, formality, and stylishness.

For men, consider a light tan suit, or the old-fashioned chic of seersucker.

In case it needs to be said: The one thing you cannot wear to a summer wedding (unless expressly sanctioned by the bride) is a white dress. All eyes should be on the bride, and you do not want to look like you are trying to compete.

Stay Hydrated

Everyone knows water helps keep you cool and can help you avoid heat stroke. Bring water. Ladies can carry a bottle of water in your purse. And men, you can ask your date to hold it for you or bring it in a white gift bag. It is better to have this creative camouflage and water handy than passing out during the vows.

Keep Sweat to a Minimum

Ladies, go light on the makeup. To combat sweat, do not cover your face with a thick layer of powder. Instead, use what top beauty editors do to rid themselves of shine: blotting papers. These powdery pieces of paper will absorb oils without coating the skin. Some blotting papers come in chic little packaging. But there are less expensive options that work as well.

Choose the Right Shoes

Stilettos are a great shoe, but they will not work at an outdoor wedding. From sinking into the grass or tripping on cobblestones, you will wish you had worn a more sensible shoe. A wedge heel will be far more comfortable. Or, you can go for the very trendy ballerina flat.

Prepare for Any Temperature

In New York, it seems like every summer has an unseasonably cold day in the middle of June. And visitors to San Francisco are frequently surprised by how chilly it is in July. If you are traveling out of town for the wedding, make sure you pack a cardigan or jacket that coordinates with the outfit you plan to wear to the wedding. Even on a warmer day, a light sweater will keep the sun off of your shoulders and can help to prevent skin damage or sunburn.

Wear Sunscreen

It may seem like a no-brainer, but sunscreen is a must. Especially when you are trying to stay cool, the last thing you want is a blistering sunburn. You never know when the sun will shift, and chances are you will be standing in full sun, without the possibility of moving to shade.

Consider a Hat or Parasol

In Europe, wearing a hat to a fancy wedding is de rigueur or in fashion. So adding a hat to your outfit will not only shield your face, but it will add some European punch to your ensemble. Make sure this is in keeping with the theme of the wedding; obviously a hat might look out of place at an evening affair.

You might be able to get away with a parasol (some beachside weddings), but it may not be likely at most weddings, especially if it is very formal. Also, you need to think about the other guests behind you, you might be blocking their view of the bride and groom.