Wedding Etiquette Forum

How hot is too hot?

We are in love with a botanical garden venue. The problem is that the only available date is July 12. We live in the southeast. July is not exactly cool and comfortable. Both FI and I are willing to be a little warm to be able to be surrounded by all the green and beauty, but I am concerned for the comfort of our guests.

Ceremony would be outdoors. Uncovered, though we would tent if it rained. Cocktail in an orchid conservatory, so temperature controlled though a bit humid, with the option to be outside as well or grab a drink and walk around the grounds (including shaded trellis areas or patio seating). Reception would be indoors, with the option for outdoors IF it is cool enough. it too hot for an outdoor ceremony? Average high in the area is 89, average low 68, and overall average is 79. Ceremony would be either at 6:30 or 7pm to try to escape the hottest part of the day. Farmer's almanac predicts average temperatures in the Southeast during July.

Determining it to be too hot would mean scrapping the venue altogether.


Re: How hot is too hot?

  • blabla89blabla89 Atlanta member
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    I'm not sure where in the Southeast you are, but here in Atlanta I do not like to sit outside in mid-July. Especially in a nice outfit.

    More importantly though, you don't want your makeup to melt or your face to turn pink from the sun. I would look for a different garden-type venue with more dates availability, or move the ceremony later into the evening (the sun doesn't set till after 8:00 in July, and it's still hot at 6:30 or 7) - hope that helps!
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  • @alisonmarie658, it would be a short ceremony. Less than 1/2 an hour. We are not religious, so it would just be a quick intro, vow exchange, rings, and a kiss. :-) And we will certainly have a seat for everyone! We'd add in cold bottled water and perhaps a mojito or other cool cocktail for guests upon arrival.

    @lalalaurita We can move the ceremony to 7, but any later and we're really pushing dinner. I'd love to find another venue, but everything in our area is booked. This is the only date for a garden within an hour drive.
  • I think you need to tent it for sun as well as well as rain.  Being very fair-skinned, I burn quite easily and would not be able to sit in direct sunlight for long. Even at 79 degrees, direct sunlight can overheat people quickly, especially the elderly and young children.  Otherwise, I think you're fine to have a ceremony outdoors.

  • Temperature is one thing but have you taken into account the humidity in the SE in July. Having just finished my first summer in FL, I would not want to sit in 85 degree weather with say 60-80% humidity. Oh and then there are those nasty mosquitoes, gnats and other bugs that like to make their presence known. 
  • If you're in the Southeast, you're probably dealing not just with heat but with humidity as well, right? I think a short ceremony at 7 pm or later will probably be tolerable, but any longer or earlier than that will be pushing it.
  • Can you pick a date in 2015? Maybe a cooler Spring or Fall date would be better. I know you and your FI are willing to do this, but you're the ones getting married! I don't think your guests will be very comfortable. I know it sucks to wait, but IMO it's either waiting and getting the venue you want or looking at an indoor venue. I just think you'll have a much more successful event if everyone is comfortable.

    If you're in the Southeast, I think humidity (in addition to temperature) should be a major consideration. Check out the humidity index for averages in your area for July 12th. 

  • If you're really set on this venue I think you should tent regardless of whether it rains or not. I'm from the southeast and even at 7 in July it can be uncomfortably warm but being shaded can help a bit. And you could consider having programs that double as fans? Or even having battery powered fans running right up until the start of the ceremony? Honestly though, if I were in your shoes I would find somewhere else. I would be too worried about people being uncomfortable.
  • InkdancerInkdancer The Shire member
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    A good friend of mine was married in a botanical garden in NC this summer. The wedding started at 5:30, so the day was starting to cool down by then. By the time the dancing and dining started, the sun was setting and everyone was comfortable.

    But if you are going to be further south, you may want to opt for a tent, or go evening or morning.
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  • @Inkdancer, we're in NC.

    I'll check humidity indices, too. Unfortunately, we aren't willing to wait until 2015, so it's either this venue in the heat, or another venue entirely on a different date.
  • InkdancerInkdancer The Shire member
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    IMathlete You wouldn't be looking at Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens, would you? That's where my friend was married and it was gorgeous. Also, their building has AC.
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  • @Inkdancer yep, that's it. See why I am willing to suffer? I just don't want my guests to suffer. Everything but the ceremony would be indoors.
  • InkdancerInkdancer The Shire member
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    Knowing the venue, I say go for it. The west side garden is nicely shaded in the evenings, and would be very easy to tent. Or, if you want to go for the yard beside the aviary, a tent would be easy there too.

    There is definitely enough shade and enough room in the building for everyone to be comfortable. I don't think asking everyone to spend 15 minutes outside for the ceremony is too much.
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  • As long as it has shade and your ceremony is short, I'd say that's fine. My October wedding was 80+ degrees. Your July wedding could be a freakishly cool day. I'd make sure that the ceremony is in the shade and your guests know that it's outside and you'll be fine. Try to push it back as late as possible too.

  • OP, my H and I went to an evening wedding in the Atlanta area at the end of May this past summer and absolutely melted.  And we're both from GA and now live in AL.  We are used to the heat. 

    Like PP said, the heat really isn't the problem, it's the humidity.  A lot of men sweated out through their suits and some of the women had sweat stains as well.   Like you venue, just the ceremony was outdoors for this particular wedding.  But still - it was awful.

    Even if the ceremony is short, people will be arriving up to a half hour (or more) early.  NC isn't as hot as GA, but it can still boil, and in July I absolutely wouldn't do it.  I've spent a lot of time there over the summers, and it can still be uncomfortably hot.  And yes, there are lots of bugs.

    Notice that all the southerners here are saying to reconsider this idea.  And we all live here and are used to it.

    It's like my second cousin who has decided to get married on Jan. 6 in Wisconsin.  And her H's family is entirely from Mobile, AL.  Which means, not only do they hate the cold but most have never experienced that kind of cold before.  And don't even get me started on how they aren't capable of driving in snow.  She insisted on "following her wedding dream," and it's going to make at least half of her guests ridiculously uncomfortable, not to mention potentially dangerous if there is snow or ice.

    Don't do that to people.  Even if a venue is lovely, it's not worth making your guests uncomfortable.

    Finally - let's talk for a moment about how I got light-headed in my dress on April 6 when it was literally 70 degrees outside with no humidity whatsoever.... but my dress had 0 ventilation and it was like a furnace.  You couldn't have paid me to do that in the middle of summer.
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  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
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    H and I went to a wedding this September in MD where it was about 90 degrees and 80% humidity. It was also later in the day like around 5:30ish. It was still hot as fuck. Everyone was sweating. The groom ended up sweating through his tan suit to the point where it looked like he almost wet himself. And even though your ceremony is short remember that people show up anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes early so some people could be sitting outside for an hour.

    It was not fun to get all dolled up only to look like a sweaty mess by the end of the ceremony.  Oh and they provided water and programs in the shapes of fans.  They did not help.  The only thing that would have helped was if I had put my feet in the ice water where they had placed the water bottles.

    Finally I would not go by the farmers almanac.  Weather is fickle but July in the southeast is primarily hot and humid, not 79 degrees.

  • @hoffse Thanks for the advice. I know I seem to have made up my mind, but we are taking it ALL into consideration. We are brainstorming other venues, but also ways to make our guests more comfortable (battery-powered personal fans, a sun shade, cool drinks). The venue treats for mosquitoes early in the season, and I have heard from many people that they are not an issue there. The heat is weighing heavily on my mind.
  • I went to a wedding in northern Florida in August at a golf course.  The ceremony was at 5pm and we were herded outside because it was about to start.  It wasn't.  It was about 90 degrees and we were all melting.  They did have water for us to drink but it was still very uncomfortable.  It took several days for my son to get over the diaper rash caused by it.  There was a pregnant woman at the wedding, she wouldn't let her husband sit next to her because it was so hot, she had him leave a chair between them so she could get some air.  
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  • The situation the OP is describing sounds miserable to me. If I were invited and I knew the ceremony and reception were going to be outside in July, I probably would decline because I know I would be uncomfortable to the point where it wouldn't be worth going. I'm from the north (I wilt around 85 degrees and cannot stand humidity), but if most of your guests are from the south and are used to this kind of weather, they may be better prepared to handle it. That said, if you're expecting your guests to dress formally, the least you can do is provide a comfortable environment for them. No one wants to sweat through a cocktail dress or dress shirt/jacket.
  • Another thought - I went to an outdoor wedding in Texas last August. It was in the shade but still about 90 (and this is dry heat we're talking - way more tolerable). They served ice water, sweet tea and lemonade before the ceremony and had a basket of fans if people wanted them. Everyone was sweating and of course at a family/friends function there were lots of hugs. It was pretty gross. 

    However, they had dinner in a tent that had sides and air conditioners - it was very comfortable. Perhaps you could get a tent (your rain plan anyway) and rent the tent sides and air conditioners as a back up. If it's too hot/humid, you could roll down the tent sides and fire up the A/C.

  • IMathlete, I'm glad you haven't made up your mind.  Don't get me wrong, H and I do brave the (Atlanta/Birmingham/South GA) heat in the middle of summer regularly.  But when we do it, we expect to sweat out and we dress accordingly.  There's not really a good way to do that for a wedding.

    And do consider your dress.  I had read that wedding dresses could get ridiculously hot, and I naively assumed that because it would be April (and likely to be in the 50s-60s) I didn't have to worry about it.  Well the weather was absolutely, 100% "perfect" for everybody else.  70's, sunny, breezy, no humidity at all....  in fact our family from out of town thought it was just glorious.  But I was a hot mess and still felt like I was melting.  Probably TMI, but I went through several bottles of water before I even had to pee because I was so overheated.  If I had done that in 85-90 degree weather, I very likely would have actually passed out.

    If you haven't bought your dress already, go for something breathable for that time of year.  If you have bought it and the fabric doesn't have good ventilation (which is likely), then find yourself a building that provides some serious A/C for your venue.  Nobody wants the bride to faceplant into the officiant because she overheated and passed out in the middle of her vows.
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  • I'll be honest. I never wanted an outdoor wedding, because I had seen so many brides throw hissy fits and feel like their day was ruined when it started to rain on their "perfect venue". When we picked our venue, we could only justify the extra cost by having the ceremony there instead of paying the extra fee for a church ceremony as well. It was covered, and had sides that could be closed in case of rain.

    Long story short? It was 90 degrees at 5pm and my husband puked during the cocktail hour from standing around in the heat and then chugging ice water to try and cool off. Don't let "the perfect venue" make you change your mind on things.

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  • I've lived in Florida my whole life and I don't recall it ever being 79 in July (99 maybe). It's almost December and it is still 81 out RIGHT NOW. I would not recommend an outdoor ceremony in the south during summer.
  • Please OP, even if your guests are southern don't assume they will like it.  My H calls himself "a child of the summer."  As in, when the temperature drops below 60 degrees he shivers and hates it.  But still - he typically wears a coat/tie to weddings, and he hates to dress that way when it's really hot because he feels it's inappropriate to remove his jacket while the ceremony is taking place, and then he sweats out.  So he feels gross and grimy the rest of the evening.

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  • missnc77missnc77 member
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    edited November 2013

    I've been to two summer outdoor weddings.

    1. Arizona at the end of May. Ugh. I felt so bad for her bridesmaids in their long dark silk gowns. I have no idea what she was thinking.

    2. I went to a wedding this past late June in Raleigh. Ceremony outside, I think around 6pm. It was a very, very long 20-minutes. The sun was setting right into my eyes, and I was more focused on when it would be over than what was going on (I couldn't hear anything either).

    Both were a beautiful setting, but they weren't enjoyable as a guest. However, it is what it is, and I don't hate them for it. It's just 20-minutes of being uncomfortable so they can have their beauty. I was relieved it was over quickly and had forgiven them by the time I was inside with a glass of wine.

    BUT - I will say the experience contributed to me doing an all in door ceremony for my wedding next summer. I don't want my guests to be counting the minutes until we say our vows. I was so hot at both of these events, it was hard to get caught up in their moment. :( Plus keep in mind, heat and older people don't mix too well. And I say this as someone who grew up in the deep south.

  • OP, it really sounds like you need to change your venue. I know H & I would be miserable, probably even in the sub at 70 degrees, H would be melting. It's just not worth it in the long run. 

  • IMathlete said:
    @Inkdancer yep, that's it. See why I am willing to suffer? I just don't want my guests to suffer. Everything but the ceremony would be indoors.

    I'm a BM in a wedding there in May...If you do a late, short ceremony, you should be fine.  It will be tolerable outside by 6:30 or 7.  I'd actually be more concerned about the orchard conservatory since it is set up to be humid in there for the flowers...make sure you get the bulk of your pictures done before you go in there, as your hair and makeup may not survive it.  I'd also suggest posisbly having an outdoor area available during the cocktail hour - i think i'd almost be more willing to stand outside in Charlotte in July at 7pm than in an intentionally humid building at that same time.


    If most of your guests are from the area, they'll be used to the heat.  85 degrees is usually a relief here in July.  If most of your guests are from, say, Minnesota, they might feel differently.  The only wedding i've had a heat issue with was one in Charleston in June when the ceremony was outdoors at 3pm on a day when it was over 100 degrees - we literally had to go back to our rooms and change our clothes before the reception because we sweat through everything.  It wouldn't be that hot with the sun almost down at 7pm.  i think you'd be fine.

  • @delujm0 Thanks for the input. Late May was what we were shooting for, but alas.

    If we go with it, the orchid conservatory would be an option for our guests for cocktail, but they would be able to stroll through the garden, hang out under the trellises, or gather on the covered patio for some respite from the sun. We wouldn't start the ceremony until 7pm.
  • If you have to ask if it's too hot, it's too hot. No one will care about the beauty of the space when they are melting. People will leave early, and they will always remember your wedding as being hot and sweaty. Not the lasting impression I would want to leave.
  • PrettyGirlLostPrettyGirlLost A Land Filled with Unicorns and Cat Hair member
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    I think an outdoor wedding in the south in July is a bad idea, and as a guest I would decline.  As others have said, not only do you have to deal with nasty heat you also have to deal with nasty humidity, and at 7pm there is still a large chance that it's going to be in the 80's and very humid.  I do not enjoy literally sweating my ass off, especially when I'm in nice clothes and makeup.

    As a beautiful bride do you want to be all sweaty and gross?

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  • WeeshWeesh NY member
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    I don't have any advice to offer other than good luck!  I'm getting married on July 4 in NY and I'm worried about the heat for 20 minutes for our ceremony.
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