How to Manage a Wedding During a Heatwave

Written by Katrina Otter
Image by Imogen Xiana | Planning by Katrina Otter Weddings.
Does anyone remember the 13th of August 2022?! Well, let me tell you, I certainly do, and it’s a weekend I won’t forget in a hurry!

Think an idyllic walled garden outdoor ceremony setting, a marquee filled with an abundance of garden blooms, a tiered buttercream cake with delicate sugar flowers… and temperatures averaging 36°C IN THE SHADE!!! Yes, it was a truly stunning wedding, but it’s safe to say that the refrigerated drinks trailer became my best friend that weekend, and frequent trips to sit on the 10°C floor surrounded by bottles of rosé were very much appreciated and required (oh, the glamour of it all!).

The moral of the story is this – PLEASE trust me when I tell you that as much as we all wish, dream and hope for a sunny wedding, you HAVE to think about, prepare for and manage a wedding in a heatwave, as not everyone gets the luxury of a refrigerated drinks trailer!!!

There’s no getting away from the fact that everywhere is getting warmer; June was the hottest June on record, 2022 was the hottest year EVER recorded in the UK, and 2023 is heading in a very similar direction. Whilst previously we might have been more concerned about rain dampening a wedding day, during the summer months it’s just as likely that we’ll be in for a scorcher, which can be just as challenging! And with this in mind, here are my top tips on how to manage a wedding in a heatwave.


Whilst the UK’s infrastructure isn’t really built to cope with soaring temperatures, there’s still plenty of things you and your wedding team can do to make managing a heatwave wedding a LOT more bearable. 

First things first, in advance of your wedding (ideally at the time of booking), talk to your venue about shade/shaded areas or indoor (plan b) spaces, as well as options for ventilation, fans and air-con (including any bridal prep spaces) to create a suitable flow/breeze.

If you’re hosting your reception in a marquee, how can you cool this down – can the sides be rolled up or removed first thing in the morning (and who is responsible for this)? Can a cover be added if it’s a clear marquee, and is there enough space to move tables if they’re directly in the sun when the time comes for guests to be seated?

Regarding outdoor ceremonies, expecting your guests to sit in direct sunlight during the hottest part of the day might be pushing it a little. Therefore, is there an option to relocate, have a plan b stretch tent erected, or have parasols and gazebos added, especially for whoever is officiating your ceremony and any musicians (which is usually a contractual requirement)?


Talk to your suppliers and ask for their advice on any elements that they’re providing and the impact the weather may have, i.e. can your caterer offer more refreshing and thirst-quenching beverages or cold snacks (i.e. popsicles and ice cream)? Does your wedding cake need to be refrigerated and how long can it safely be displayed (pre-melting)? Does your florist need to amend their set-up timings, do they require a shaded/cooler area for prep and what about access to a/multiple water sources?

Your suppliers are the heatwave pros, so ask the question, and they’ll be able to advise you accordingly.

Whilst heatwave pros they may be, they need looking after too. Check in with them regularly (or ask someone to do this on your behalf). Make sure they’re not spending extended amounts of time in the heat and that they have access to plenty of cold drinks.


Think about your on-the-day timings – does your schedule afford you some flexibility to work around daytime temperatures and/or mix things up, i.e. can you push back/change when you cut your wedding cake so that it can be displayed without the risk of melting, or can you shorten the amount of time your guests are seated pre-ceremony (I usually advise 30 mins prior, but when temperatures are 24°C plus, ideally this would be 5 to 10 mins prior MAX).


It’s easy to forget to drink water during such a busy and joyous day, especially when there are refreshing alcoholic drinks available. But remember to keep your guests hydrated with ALL the hydration stations (pre and post-ceremony kilners of favoured water go down a treat, which can then be moved to your evening bar) and ask your caterers/venue to ensure that these are kept cool and topped up throughout the day.

Mini bottles of water or refreshing homemade lemonade are also greatly appreciated, and if you’re providing transportation between locations, ensure that refreshments are provided as well (if allowed).


Think about and invest in your vulnerable guests (including kids and any fur babies) and create priority shaded chill-out areas for anyone that needs to sit down and cool off. Allocate a responsible person(s) or specific suppliers to then keep an eye out for these guests and ensure that they’re attended to and kept comfortable throughout the day.


Get ready to thank your past self for being so organised ahead of a heatwave with these shopping essentials (head to Amazon and Etsy as a starting point). Have them readily available throughout the day, and consider buying some mini versions that can easily fit into handbags, purses, and pockets…

  • Parasols
  • Hand-held fans
  • Flip flops
  • Sun cream
  • After sun
  • Aloe vera
  • Face sprays/mists (I wholeheartedly recommend THIS mist which is a total bridal game changer!)
  • Citronella candles
  • Insect repellent


It’s fair to say that most wedding outfits aren’t particularly heatwave-friendly, but where possible, dress accordingly for the heat and advise your guests to do the same. Breathable fabrics, half-lined suits and floaty dress styles will offer respite from overheating! And IF the budget allows, why not consider a more lightweight second outfit to change into once the formalities are over?

If you don’t want to change your dress code and men are in more formal attire, ask your MC to make an announcement post-ceremony so that anyone in a suit feels comfortable/able to take their jacket and tie off.


Talk to your hair and makeup artist about suitable hairstyles (i.e. an updo), powders, blotting papers, primer, SPF etc. and get their advice and recommendations in order to avoid any shine and ensure longevity. You might even want to ask about options/costs for your hair and makeup artist to stay a little longer for any touch-ups post-ceremony and pre-dining.

Planning a wedding months, if not years in advance, means there can be a LOT of educated guesswork (and flexibility) that goes into accounting for the British weather. But if you take one piece of advice from this feature, please don’t let a heatwave take you by surprise! If you are worried about a heatwave affecting your upcoming wedding, feel free to get in touch and I’d be happy to help with any questions you might have. Alternatively, you can check out my previous planning articles for advice on topics such as budgets, tablescape styling, and how to plan a more sustainable, eco-friendly wedding.

Featured Image Credits

Photographer Imogen Xiana

Planner Katrina Otter Weddings

Marquee Sail Tent Company

Flowers Liberty Lane

Furniture The W Collection

Tableware Duchess & Butler

Stationery Deabill & Quince

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