Tips for Attending an Outdoor Summer Wedding

You can have fun, look nice and stay cool

the grassland wedding
Zhang Zheng / Getty Images

When you first get the invitation, you're thrilled. And then you realize. It's an outdoor wedding. In the heat of the summer. As a guest at an outdoor wedding, how do you survive the heat while still looking chic and lovely? Here are some top tips.

What to Wear to a Summer Wedding

Look for a cotton sundress or other clothing made of natural fibers. Loose-fitting clothing will be your friend. We love this green cotton party dress 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 can't wear to a summer wedding (unless expressly sanctioned by the bride) is a white dress. All eyes should be on the bride, and you don't want to look like you're trying to compete.

Stay Hydrated

Everyone knows water helps keep you cool. So carry a bottle of water in your purse. If you're a man, ask your date to hold it for you, or bring it in a white gift bag. It may take some creative camouflage, but better to have water handy than pass out during the vows.

Keep Sweat to a Minimum

To combat sweat, don't 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 great, but they won't work at an outdoor wedding. Whether sinking into the grass or tripping on cobblestones, you'll wish you'd 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're traveling to another city, 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, preventing skin damage or sunburn.

Wear Sunscreen

It may seem like a no-brainer, but sunscreen is a must. Especially when you're 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'll 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. 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, but it's not likely at most weddings, especially if it's very formal. Plus, it will be hard to keep from blocking others' view of the bride and groom.