Image via Splendid Days

Hello Summer! I adore warm weather. It means I won’t need to check the weather radar five times on the day of a wedding, and nor will I need to cover a great dress with a jacket to avoid hypothermia (are you with me girls?). Then again, we’re in Melbourne, so I’m well aware that leaving a jacket in the car is a good idea.

There’s nothing better than celebrating in the sunshine, and having had the privilege of conducting a fair few beach and garden ceremonies, I thought I’d pass on some tips to help ensure that your ceremony is especially enjoyable for all.

1. Always have an alternative venue or suitable sheltered option, such as a marquee or rotunda.  Summer in Melbourne doesn’t necessarily guarantee that the skies won’t open to deliver a torrent of rain. The storm that hit last Summer, just as I had finished conducting a Royal Botanic Gardens ceremony, was testament to that! Is a marquee too much?  If you’d prefer something less conspicuous, consider a few market umbrellas.

Image by It’s Beautiful Here via Yulia & Julian’s Festive Jewish Wedding

2. It’s a good idea to conduct your rehearsal at the same time of day as your ceremony. By contrast, the mercury may climb to reach temperatures that are uncomfortable for some, especially the very young and the elderly. If a marquee or market umbrellas aren’t an option for you, parasols can help shield guests from the sun’s rays. Oh, and they can look rather pretty too! Otherwise, look for a shady spot as a “plan B” and arrange your seating plan based on where you expect the shade will be. On hot days, guests gravitate to shady areas prior to the ceremony and coaxing them back to where you’d ideally like them to sit or stand can be virtually impossible. Believe me!

Image by Hillary Maybery Photography via Elizabeth Anne Designs

3. On hot days, set up a drink station. The groomsmen and guests, who often arrive 30 – 45 minutes prior to the bride’s arrival, will appreciate the hydration. Another idea is to have your order of service double as a fan.

Image by Jemma Keech via bride + groom

4. Arrive on time! Standing around under the hot sun or in the rain (sometimes all in one afternoon!) awaiting the arrival of the bride can take the shine off a ceremony. Your guests will love you for it.

5. Hire a carpet! If you’re planning a beach ceremony I strongly recommend hiring carpet, both for the aisle and at its end. It will stop the bridal party (and the celebrant!) from sinking in the sand. Wet sand doesn’t mix well with shoes and dresses either!


If you plan to hold a bare foot beach ceremony, you may wish to reconsider. Hot sand hurts! Why not set up a sign, requesting that your guests swap their shoes for thongs (or flip flops to those of you reading this from overseas)? I’ve found that guests are often hesitant to follow this particular dress code, removing shoes and socks is not always ideal, however enticing them with a pretty pair of comfy thongs may sway them.

Image by Missy Cochran via Style Me Pretty

6. And finally, please have a very clear idea of what conditions you and your fiancé define as acceptable. What do you both deem as too hot, too cold or too wet for you and your guests to remain outside or without cover?  The groom will most likely make the call an hour beforehand, often without being able to contact the bride, so prior discussion is essential!

And a note from the party police. Musicians and your humble celebrant won’t want their expensive equipment to be water damaged. Prepare to have your ceremony conducted without amplification and without music if you decide to proceed when rain is likely.

Ms Gingham says: Great advice!! Plan well and you don’t really need to worry about what the weather will do. That’s one thing you can’t control!

Sally Hughes of The Words and Music Company says: “I love weddings! For over fifteen years I have been privileged to share in the romance and excitement of hundreds of Melbourne wedding and commitment ceremonies.”