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How to heatwave-proof your wedding - Nine tips for keeping guests cool during sunny summer nuptials

As Ireland lies on the brink of an almighty heatwave, no doubt many brides and grooms due to tie the knot this week are in a sweat about how their guests will hold up during a sun-filled outdoor ceremony. But don't panic! There are plenty of ways to keep your cool when wedding season hots up...

It's going to be a hot one, lads.

The dream for many a bride and groom, a big sweaty sleepless 'mare for others.

But don't panic! There are plenty of ways to ensure guests keep their cool during an sunny outdoor wedding and drinks reception.


Here are some of our faves.

1. Set up a suncream stand

No doubt some guests will have forgotten to lather themselves in some SPF pre-wedding, so setting up a little stand with a few factors should prove quite handy throughout the day. If having a full stand dedicated to various sun creams is a bit at odds with the vibe of the wedding (and unless you're a skincare professional or PR person it probably is), pop these into the ladies and gents' rooms in your 'bathroom basket' with other hot-weather essentials like deodrant, baby wipes, bug spray, blister pads, plasters, tissue packs, blotting paper and mini makeup wipes. Your guests will thank you.

2. Use mass booklets as fans

A cute trend in destination weddings many couples go for is printing their order of ceremony on a paper fan. There are lots of printables available online to create your own fans too - just check out Etsy for lots of great ideas (you'll find an example in the photos below from CiaoBella on Etsy) - all you need is a printer, some card, and some thick wooden sticks. If you've left it too late for all that don't fret either - your guests will no doubt have discovered their own inner-oragami specialist with whatever booklets or papers have been left on or near their seats.

3. Hand out sun hats and glasses

If you're freaking out about guests keeping their cool during the day, cobbling together a few pieces to pop around your venue could set your mind at ease. Little things like sunbrellas handed out to the older guests and younger kids for an outdoor ceremony may be appreciated. Floppy straw sun hats or boaters, sun glasses, flip flops and light scarves to wrap around the shoulders could all be popped into a couple of baskets or boxes near the ceremony setup or as guests make their way to the drinks reception. Grab a few items from the likes of Penneys or the two euro shop that guests can swap around as they need. They may even double as good photo booth props for those all-important Insta snaps!

4. Quench thirsts at a hydration station

'Water water everywhere so let's all have a drink' should pretty much be the motto of every event in the summer, weddings included, so whether that means popping a bottle on everyone's chair with their mass booklets, or having some cucumber or fruit-infused iced water in Kilner drinks dispensers around your venue (get these in your local hardware or discount store), keeping hydrated is key when it comes to long sun-filled wedding days. If you're all for practical wedding favours and don't mind a spot of DIY, creating personalised labels with guests' pics - or even just their names if the colour cartridge is low in the printer - would be a lovely token to double as name cards at the table.

5. Serve your beer in a bath (or anything else you can find)

Get into the festival vibe with some unorthodox drinks stations. Think baths, buckets, paddling pools, wheelbarrows or whatever you have to hand that will hold a good drop of ice, and pop some bottled beers and non-alcoholic alternatives in there for guests if your venue allows for it. If this doesn't meld with the tone of the wedding, try it out for the day-after BBQ instead. 

6. Cool down with cool pops (or ice cream!)

If you've invested in an ice cream van for your big day, now's the time to pat yourself on the back for a good idea well planned out. Guests are sure to be delighted seeing that sweet sight of dairy goodness at any time of the day - but particularly after the ceremony when breakfast is a distant memory and they're attempting to stave off the thirst. If you've not opted for the nostalgic 99 or a flashy gelato, buy a couple of old school cool pops and stick them in a bucket for guests instead and have the venue staff hand them around at the drinks reception.

7. Throw some shade

It might be tempting to have the ceremony and drinks reception outside to make the most of the weather, but having a little indoor area with a few electric fans going will be appreciated by guests. If you're keen to keep things outside, setting up a cool yurt or tipi tent like those from the like of the Nordic style tipis from Irish suppliers Magnakata could do the trick, and keep everyone within mingling distance from each other. Stretch tents are a good way to provide shade without cutting anyone off - Extreme Structures based in Dublin have some cool small versions perfect for a private wedding (above).

8. Play outdoors

So that guests aren't stewing away in the sun, add some outdoor games to the mix for your drinks reception. Giant Jenga, Inflatable Xs and Os, bowls, croquet and Connect 4 are just some of the games you can hire to keep guests busy - and get some great photos for the album., and Propmeup Ireland are a few to try, or ask your wedding venue coordinator for some recommendations. It may not suit your attire on the day itself, but we're guessing a full-scale wedding water fight would make for a seriously memorable day-after activity!

9. Have the first dance al fresco

For a romantic addition to the day, why not have your first dance outside? If it works for the band or venue you could ask for the music to be played outdoors (or sure pop it through a speaker from Spotify if it's easier than the alternative) and hand some sparklers out to guests before the music begins - it'll make for quite the photo! And if your outdoor drinks reception is going well and it suits, have the speeches outdoors too to make things more relaxed.