It's been a wild weather ride these past couple of weeks in Portland, Oregon. We've had a chilly and rainy early June 2017 and now as we approach July we're hitting 100-degree temperatures. This reminds me of the summer we did a wedding at Bridal Veil Lakes for almost 200 people that took us through the full complement of sun, overcast, and finally rain late in the evening. Thankfully, the couple had made weather plans: renting scores of white golf umbrellas from Barclay Event Rentals, providing tent heaters, using the site's two existing covered areas wisely, and checking the weather forecast regularly with the option of adding more tents if necessary.
Image: EJP Events
Most of us often think of rain as the only thing to prepare for when planning an outdoor Portland wedding, but unusually hot temperatures can throw a monkey wrench into the works as well. Here's a hot-weather planning checklist for your outdoor wedding or event:
- Make sure you have shade and ample drinking water for those warm summer wedding days. Visit the ceremony site around a similar time of day and see where the shade and sun tend to fall; plan your seating configuration accordingly.
- Offer your guests parasols and hand fans for use during the ceremony.
- If temperatures approach the 90s or >gasp!< even higher, rent portable A/C units and fans for un-airconditioned indoor spaces; or swamp coolers and spray misters for outdoor events (warning: misters cool well, but they will get your guests wet! So place them carefully). Large fans can also be good for bringing a breeze into a tent. Talk to your venue manager and rental company about the electrical needs of all these appliances and ensure that there are enough power connections and amperage to support this. You'll also want a way to hide all the cords and prevent guests from cord-trip accidents.
- Have a "chilling station" featuring large tubs of iced washcloths, spray bottles with essential oils like peppermint and lavender, and iced water dispensers.
- Keep a tent with breathable fabric shadewalls on reserve if you're planning a wedding in the summer months. If the weather is nice and you don't need it, you can always cancel it by the deadline for a nominal fee.
Whatever weather you're trying to prepare for, make sure to get your backup arrangements in well in advance, as many rental items sell out and backup venues can get booked up.
Don't forget, that even if your wedding is indoors, weather can affect the drivetime/photo schedule, your hair style, shoes, travel arrangements, and your comfort level. Plan for umbrellas from your favorite rental companies (I like Barclay Events and Bella Umbrella for umbrella rentals; and Luna Bazaar for parasols), perhaps consider valet parking or golf carts, and think about extra shoes and hair touchups.
Is there any possible way to know the wedding weather in advance? I recommend two great tools: The Farmer's Almanac for historical data, and also Accuweather.com for forecasts. If you pay for a premium membership, Accuweather.com will present a detailed, hourly 15-day forecast as well as give graphical historical data. No forecast is perfect, but I've found this one to be really close. On the day itself, the DarkSky app is great for realtime weather updates.
Here's hoping for perfect weather on your special day.
A version of this post originally appeared on the blog in July 2010. This post contains links to affiliate shopping sites and EJP Events may be compensated if you make any purchases after following these links.