Whichever of the four wedding seasons you choose, it’ll be a great one! We’ve gathered some of the most common things you should look out for in the spring, summer, autumn and winter. When you know what to expect, planning becomes so much easier.
Being by checking our list of wedding dates to avoid, to make sure you don’t pick a day when most of your guests would rather be elsewhere (sports fans, we’re talking to you).
Above, spring table decor from Sarah & Vinnie’s real wedding by AnnaCarriga Estate Killaloe
Watch the weather forecast diligently in the days leading up to wedding. Everyone’s travel times may be affected in case of a downpour (that’s guests and suppliers), and you’ll need to prepare brollies and wellies in advance.
If you’re having an outdoor wedding, make sure you have a Plan B if the weather isn’t perfect. Most venues with indoor and outdoor spaces know how to deal with this type of last-minute change, but you should still be asking all the right questions. Like – is there an extra cost, how quickly can the move be made for my size of party, and which room will I be moved to.
Wind can also be a problem, especially in a wide open space. While most couples plan for the rain, a windy day can affect an outdoor wedding too. Some common-sense precautions you can take are avoiding tall vases and candelabra that could easily fall over, paper decorations that could fly away, and electronic equipment that could topple over and break – for example, photo booth camera.
If you’re having a marquee on a venue lawn, ask how close it can be pitched – when the weather forecast isn’t perfect, the closer the better. The guests may need to walk to the venue to use the bathrooms or to their rooms, and even a short walk when it’s raining could ruin shoes, hats and hair.
With a marquee in a field, where a venue isn’t close by, make sure the loos are as close as possible (as the rules allow), for the same reason as above.
Be sure to add a antihistamine tablets for the guests with allergies to your bathroom basket, or to the emergency kit.
In the evening, there will be an inevitable dip in temperature. If you’re moving indoors, that won’t be a problem. However, if you’re staying outdoors, you should plan for making guests comfortable. If it’s a marquee, arrange for heating to be part of the rental package. If you’re simply under the sky, provide heating lamps and wraps for the guests – you can get very inexpensive pashminas on eBay. Serve a round of warm drinks in the evening.
Your photographer will most likely ask, but in case they don’t, do tell them if you’re planning on moving from outdoors to indoors, and when. The light conditions will be completely different so they’ll need to prepare the right equipment. Also, they can schedule to take photos outside at the magic hour for the best possible light.
Above, wedding fans from Claire & Neil’s real wedding by Lyndyloo in Spain
Pretty much everything we said about spring weddings above applies here too – watching the weather, outdoor wedding Plan B and marquee.
We also mentioned antihistamine tablets – for a summer wedding, add bug spray and spray-on sunblock to your basket. For a fun touch (if the budget allows), you may like to also put out a basket of sunglasses and flip flops.
Most people go on holidays in the summer. Consider sending save-the-dates for some, if not all, of your guests, so they can book around it and not miss your wedding.
Take precautions against excessive heat if you’re spending most of the day outdoors. A few ideas for your consideration: paper fans you can DIY (there are loads of gorgeous free printables online), paper parasols (two guests can share one), cool drinks readily available (especially bottled water).
Read our fabulous guide to makeup that won’t melt in the heat – it’s a must for any bride, especially if you’re doing it on your own.
Consider the timings – people feel tired when it’s too hot outside. We recommend not scheduling your ceremony, or starting the meal, at the hottest point of the day.
Go for a lighter menu with plenty of fresh stuff. People are less hungry when it’s hot, and eating too much heavy fare will make them feel sleepy just as it’s time to dance.
You may like to choose lighter clothing – too many layers, and the heat may get to you too. This goes for the wedding gown, bridesmaids’ gowns, and the guys’ suits.
If you’re getting married on a beach that isn’t private, or closed to the public on your day, make sure to find out how many passers-by you can expect – you don’t want interruptions, or random undressed people in your photos.
Make sure to tell your cake maker if your cake is going to spend time outside in the sunshine, as not all icing or decorations will keep up with the heat.
Above, autumn flowers from Linda & Cormac’s real wedding by Julie Cummins
The weather now becomes unpredictable, so if you want an outdoor wedding, it could be a little risky. Consider at least a marquee, perhaps with open sides to let in the autumn air – it’ll give you the protection overhead, and you’ll still feel like you’re outdoors.
Make sure to tell the guests on the invitations that the wedding, or a part of it, will be outdoors. This will give them the chance to dress appropriately.
Similarly to spring (above), it’s probably going to get quite a bit colder in the evening. We’ve already mentioned heat lamps, or a heated marquee. A fantastic option for autumn is a fire pit. It’s photogenic as heck, people love to gather around it, and you could use it to roast things like sausages and marshmallows. Beware – kids and open fire are a risk, so best to reserve this for an adults-only celebration.
Now is also the time to start using candlelight and fairy lights in your decorations, thanks to shorter days.
Have some large umbrellas on stand-by in case of a downpour, for walking the guests from their cars to the venue. This job is best done by the groomsmen.
If you’re wearing a strapless or sleeveless gown, think of your warmth too – get a beautiful cover-up for your gown.
Think of seasonal decorations for budget-friendly options – autumnal fruit, twigs, pine cones, leaves, and flowers that are in season.
Food is all about warmth now, and a hog roast is a fantastic choice, whether you’re indoors or outdoors. There are plenty of fruit and vegetables that are now at their best, so take full advantage and put together a beautiful autumnal menu. It’ll be good for the budget too! Autumn is a foodie’s perfect season.
Serve hot alcoholic drinks – mulled wine, hot chocolate with Baileys, New Amsterdam Toddy, and of course, Irish coffee. They’re not just for Christmas, people love them as soon as it gets chilly.
Above, lanterns in the snow from Shannon & Charl’s real wedding by Weddings by Kajsa, Austria
Winter is the perfect season for budget-watching couples – you could save thousands on a gorgeous venue with out-of-season prices.
Do mind the dates – weddings too close to Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day may mean fewer guests can make it.
While some winters in recent memory have been a bit on a soggy side, there’s always a chance of snow – this may affect travel, especially if there’s a serious case of the flurries on the day itself. Consider choosing a venue that’s easily accessible, and not a very long drive from the ceremony.
To make transport easier, hiring a coach for the wedding guests may just be the best option.
If you’re having a church ceremony and it’s around Christmas time, you may find the church will already be beautifully decorated for the season. Ask the priest about this, and plan accordingly.
Low temperatures are a given. If you’re having any part of your wedding outside, make sure the guests know so they’ll dress appropriately. This is especially relevant if you want photos with guests outside – arrange a timetable with your photographer, so people aren’t left standing around waiting for their turn and freezing. Your photographer will know exactly how long everything should take, so heed their advice.
Ask the church and venue if they’ll have the sidewalks and entrances salted or sanded, just in case.
Main image from Fabiana & Michele’s real wedding by Alessandro Mari Photography
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If you think the bride should always have the last word, then Rachel is on your side! A devoted fan of everything quirky, unusual, colourful or crafty, she loves scouting WOL's real weddings for unique and fun touches. When not gazing at pictures, she's dispensing no-nonsense advice on everything from reception entrance songs to bridesmaid problems.