When planning your wedding, you’ll inevitably develop a carefully curated checklist of everything you want and need for the big day. From something old and something blue, to the perfect table setting and of course, the cake, a wedding is unlike any other event.
One of the most important factors to consider is the venue. The perfect location will provide you with beautiful photos, all the right facilities and a setting for the day you have been dreaming of. However, it’s important to remember the criteria will differ slightly depending on the season. The summer months bring a unique set of requirements to consider, such as air conditioning, outdoor seating and summer refreshments.
The experts from Rivenhall Oaks, an Essex-based wedding venue, have provided a list of 10 things for the perfect summer wedding venue.
1 – Garden décor
Styling the outdoor spaces is one of our fave summer wedding projects, and you can create real wow factor from day into night. Choose bunting for daytime, and lighting as evening falls. Lining walkways with candles and lanterns looks beautiful, but do check that your venue will allow candles outside, and avoid any with overly fussy health & safety regs! Look for venues with quirky courtyards where you can string fairy lights or festoons – or hire a lighting company to help transform outdoor spaces into something magical as dusk falls.
2 – Summery foodie treats
The food served at summer weddings also differs as people often go for something lighter than the traditional roast. Offering something different can be what makes your wedding memorable and fit in with the rest of the day. Consider Mediterranean dishes like tapas, open air dining if you dare, and refreshing fruit sorbet and ice cream desserts.
3 – Seasonal refreshments
Weddings can be long days and you’ll want your guests to enjoy every minute. If it’s a summer wedding, guests will need a constant supply of refreshments to keep hydrated, whether this be jugs of Pimms or fresh lemonade. We love seeing ice cold bottles of water or beer for guests to help themselves to as soon as they step outside after the ceremony!
4 – A realistic indoor alternative
Unfortunately, living in England, we cannot promise the perfect weather! If the sun isn’t shining, you’ll need somewhere undercover. Choose a location that offers a beautiful outside seating area but also has enough room inside for the catering and shelter when needed. Think carefully about that indoor space – will seventy guests all be able to mingle, sit and chat comfortably? Or will they just about squeeze in? (We really don’t recommend the latter!)
5 – Outdoor heating and lighting
Make the most of the light evenings by providing outdoor heating and lighting so guests can enjoy sitting outside for as long as possible. Although the evenings will be lighter, the temperature will still drop, so choose a location that has outdoor heating, or provide a basket of blankets for guests to wrap up in.
6 – Easy access to the location
In the summer heat, parking close to the venue is essential. Neither you or your guests will want to arrive looking flustered after a long walk from the car. Craft your own quirky signage with handwritten signposts or palettes so your guests can find their way to the ceremony, loos and bar!
7 – Day entertainment
This can be completely tailored to your style, theme and taste. Sitting on hay bales sipping on pink lemonade is lovely, but games get everyone involved and keep any hint of boredom at bay. Giant garden games and photo booths are always popular, alongside acoustic musicians, even circus performers, musicians and caricaturists to keep guests talking!
8 – Wigwams for the little ones
Trust me on this one… it sounds weird but we’ve heard the most amazing reviews! Childcare providers who specialise in weddings are worth their weight in gold. The Little Top will pitch up and entertain hot, excitable and exhausted little ones with balloons and bubbles, stories and dressing up – and they travel throughout the UK. Hire them and you’ll find a few mums and dads can’t resist the fun-looking play tents either!
9 – Great photo locations
Summertime was made for beautiful photos, so make the most of your day by choosing a location that will allow for lots of photos with natural light, beautiful backdrops and cosy corners for romantic couple photos. If there’s a beach or mountains nearby don’t miss the opportunity to hop in the car with your photographer to grab some amazing shots (and a bit of alone time to realise you just got married!) Visit your venue the year before, and see if there are beautiful floral displays at the right time of year!
10 – Licences and permissions
While not as exciting, getting the right licencing and permissions is essential for a summer wedding. The idea of having a band playing late into the night while guests sit and listen under twinkly lights is wonderful, but you’ll need to know what time the venue will allow you to play music until, how loud, and whether they have the right facilities for your band to perform in the gardens.