Sure, a rainy day is at the top of the list of factors that drive weddings into Plan B mode, but did you know that backup plans aren't exclusively used when storms are in the forecast? Extra hot temperatures and dry air can also push couples towards their Plan B. After all, you wouldn't want your beloved 90-year-old grandmother sitting through an outdoor ceremony and cocktail hour on a day when temperatures are hovering at or above 100 degrees. Rather than being faced with a last-minute decision of what to do about a scorching weather forecast, here are some things you need to know about creating a backup plan that will keep guests safe and cool.
How Hot Is Too Hot?
Wedding planner Stefanie Miles of Stefanie Miles Events says, "When the weather is 80-85 degrees and higher, outdoor events just aren't comfortable for guests." Of course, you can't predict the exact temperature it'll be on your wedding day, but if you know the region is hot in the summertime, it's probably worth planning an event that puts guests outdoors for just small increments of time.
Making the Call
There are a number of factors to consider when determining whether or not to use your backup plan for a ceremony. Wedding planner Alia Wilson, co-owner of Firefly Events, says, "It depends on where your ceremony location is on the property, how long the ceremony is, and who your guests are. Even if it's quite a hot day, if your ceremony is 20 minutes under a shady tree and you provide cold water and parasols, it should be fine. However, if it's a very hot day, there's no shade, and you have a number of older guests in attendance, you'll want to use your backup plan."
Both wedding planners recommend bringing in additional hospitality items to keep guests cool on a hot day. This could range from shade-providing canopies, hats, and umbrellas to passing out popsicles and refreshing, ice-cold beverages. You can have handheld fans available, or ask the catering team to provide chilled hand towels like you'd find at a spa.
Consider Your Backup Plan Early
Miles says, "True hospitality considers the weather and the comfort level of guests when first making venue and date decisions." Though you don't have to make a call on whether to resort to Plan B until the weather forecast comes in, it's never too early to start preparing yourself for what you'll do in the event of very hot weather. When you're touring venues for a summer wedding, educate yourself about the air-conditioned options for all the wedding festivities. Is there a ballroom on the grounds you really love and wouldn't mind hosting your ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception in? Is there a nearby hotel or restaurant venue you can partially reserve as a last resort? Is a delayed start time best to prevent midday sun? Your venue manager should be able to talk you through the options.