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Summer Weddings
Saying “I do” during the glorious days of summer
By Maeve Kelly

What better time to celebrate your happy nuptials than during the season known for sunshine, relaxation and sweet refreshing air. Many wedding planners say the simple summer season is a perfect time to get married, so you should make the most of it.

Event planner Kim Blackman prefers the summer season for her outdoor events. An outdoor wedding, she says, brings together tradition with nature’s beauty to create an intimate ceremony.

“The most unique wedding I’ve been to was on a barge. The ceremony took place on the dock, and the wedding party marched onto the barge for the tented reception. It looked like a magazine shoot; the views from the boat were fantastic,” says Blackman, president of KSB Events in Moorestown. “I’ve also seen weddings at local wineries.”

Blackman has noticed an increasing trend toward nature-inspired themes in summer wedding decor. Using the season’s whimsical colors and tranquil settings, many brides consider the simplicity of nature as the ideal backdrop for a warm summer wedding. These brides will bring elements of nature into all aspects of the wedding.

“Couples will use branches and bamboo for decoration instead of flowers,” says Blackman. “They can also go for the country theme, using mason jars and other homey elements, or sometimes they’ll want a greenhouse feel with lots of plants.”

Blackman suggests that couples turn their wedding space into a sanctuary. Decorate the space with a bright color palette and choose shades like turquoise, lemon yellow and tangerine to mimic the season’s colorful character. She advises couples to match linens, flowers, napkins and chair accents to create continuity at their celebration. It also pays to add a few personal and intimate touches to the outdoor space. For instance, hang fabric or lanterns from the ceiling or add decorative features to the reception entranceway.

At the Collingswood Ballroom, some summer brides choose to have their ceremony outside beneath the property’s massive trees. Garden- and beach-themed weddings are popular during the summer, says Heather Meddings of The Collingswood Ballroom.

“For a garden wedding, the bride will choose bright colors like fuchsia, sherbet and yellow,” she says. “Butterflies can be incorporated into the bridesmaids’ jewelry and the table centerpieces. You can be as creative as you want. I did an outdoor wedding where the bride rode up the aisle in a horse and carriage.”

Another prime reason brides settle on a summer date is because of the abundance of summer blooms. There is a wide variety of in-bloom flowers this time of the year, and brides can dazzle their guests with stunning bouquets and fresh table arrangements. Blackman urges couples to get especially creative with flowers for the wedding party.

“I’ve seen boutonnieres that are made from herbs you would find in your garden,” says Blackman. “And then herbs are also incorporated into the bride’s bouquet.”

The summer months also mean the arrival of SJ’s freshest local cuisine. Although the bride and groom should choose foods they personally enjoy, they should also keep guests happy by serving food that is catered to the season. Keep guests limber on the dance floor; do not weigh them down with traditional meat and potatoes. Instead, summer is a great time to opt for lighter dishes like crab cakes or sushi.

shutterstock_73887928“Many couples go with tapas-style dishes,” adds Blackman. “In the summer, you can choose produce from New Jersey; it’s sustainable and fresh. Often couples can say, ‘This chicken is from XYZ farm nearby,’ and guests appreciate that. Foods can also be paired with local wine or beer.”

The couple might also carry a summer-inspired theme from the dinner table to the reception celebration. Meddings weighs in on the popularity, and individuality, of themed wedding favors.

“At a beach wedding, for example, favors might include salt water taffy, homemade fudge or kettle corn from the boardwalk,” says Meddings.

Despite its many perks, a summer celebration can also come with unanticipated side effects. For instance, heat and humidity can wreak havoc on everything from the bride’s up-do to the wedding cake, and most importantly, the comfort of guests. But look on the bright and sunny side of things. Blackman offers advice on how to ensure smooth sailing on your wedding day.

“On a hot summer day, couples can have pre-ceremony drinks when the guests arrive. They might serve spritzers, lemonade or iced tea.”

Avoid major heat complications by planning your wedding for the late afternoon or early evening. A midday ceremony might leave guests exhausted and cranky from the heat. Be particularly mindful of your guests at an outdoor ceremony. Supply friends and family members with comfortable seating and protection against any pesky, uninvited guests who will show up nonetheless: mosquitoes.

In addition, consider the accommodations offered by your venue. Does the indoor wedding hall have air conditioning? If you choose an outdoor location, Meddings adds, make sure to supply guests with plenty of relief throughout the day.

“We will often place buckets of ice water around the reception area,” says Meddings. “One couple supplied programs that could be converted into fans if guests became too hot.”

Location for your summer wedding is key. Blackman reminds couples to be considerate of guests, especially those who have traveled long distances to be there on the big day.

“During the summer, couples often keep the ceremony and reception in one location,” says Blackman. “This helps limit the amount of time and money guests spend on outside transportation.

“My advice,” she continues, “would be to have a game plan for the day. Think about the comfort of your guests. Put yourself in their perspective. Pick a venue that will give them something to do when they aren’t busy with wedding-related activities.

“Think of every possible thing that could go wrong in advance. If you do, it won’t go wrong. If you don’t plan for it, something will definitely go wrong.”

July 2012
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