10 Tips for Planning a Missouri Summer Wedding

Missouri summers can be brutally hot but many Missouri brides dream of an outdoor wedding ceremony. We love them too. We currently have three outdoor ceremony options: the spacious, green field under the grove of oak trees, the serene dock with crystal blue lake as the backdrop, and a covered white pavilion. This last option will allow a ceremony to happen in the event of semi-inclement weather or if the ground is too wet. You can't go wrong with any of these outside locations but you CAN go wrong if you don't prepare for the warmer temperatures.

Photography by Love Tree Studios | Gown from Breeze Bridal Boutique | Floral Design from Sugarberry Blooms | Makeup by Once Upon A Bride | Desserts from Eat, Crepe, Love | Menswear from Men's Warehouse | Complete Weddings DJ | Catering by D Rowe's of Columbia |
Videography by Byler Media | Rings from Buchroeders

Here's our top tips for an outdoor wedding at Emerson Fields in the Missouri summer months:

1 | Hydrate.

The bride and groom need to stay hydrated on the day-of but also think about offering hydration stations near the outdoor ceremony. A pretty dispenser with lemon slices floating and flavoring some cold water would be nice at the bar for a self-serve station. Ice cold bottled water is easy to pass out as guests arrive as well. We offer carts that you can stage as water hydration stations on the front porch or back patio to welcome guests and as a nice added touch during cocktail hour. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate.

2 | First Look.

If the heat is going to be an issue spread the pictures throughout the day and give yourself time to freshen up and cool down in between. Having a first look makes the day more relaxing and being able to see each other will, most likely, create less stress and more down time. You will certainly want time to freshen up before and after the ceremony if you've been outside on a 90 degree day in a wedding gown. Also, lucky for our brides because we have several indoor, air-conditioned areas that are ideal for first looks or family photos.

3 | Fans.

Make your programs into fans that your guests can use to cool themselves with. If you're against the fan idea you can at least print the programs on heavy enough card stock that guests can use them to fan and cool themselves.

4 | Umbrellas.

Paper umbrellas are inexpensive and can look really adorable in photographs. They also provide some excellent shade for guests. Have a basket of paper parasols ready for the taking as your guests enter your outdoor ceremony space. If you know where elderly guests will be seated you could even lay a parasol on their chair ahead of time. Keep in mind on windy days paper parasols may be an added struggle instead of a help though.

5 | For the guys.

Allowing your groom, groomsmen and fathers to shed their suit jackets and roll up their sleeves on a sunny wedding day can be just the flexibility they need to keep smiling. A helpful tip is to rent TWO dress shirts for each male member of the wedding party and make time for them to change into a dry shirt once the outdoor ceremony and photos are finished.


6 | Short Ceremony.

Work with your officiant beforehand to plan out a ceremony that works well with the predicted forecast. Short and sweet is a popular route to go when having a late afternoon or early evening wedding outside in the summer season.

7 | Arrival.

Offer guests who arrive early a social space for visiting and cooling off before the ceremony begins outside. Keep in mind that you'll need your coordinator or ushers to announce when people should begin to be seated. If you'd rather not have guests come in to the reception space before the ceremony begins you'll need to have someone greeting them and making that known. If you have a wedding website it's great to post details like these so guests know not to come too early.

8 | Email your guests

Your guests probably won't go back to the website and read over all of the details before arriving on the day of your wedding. If you've asked them to RSVP via email set up an automatic email to go out the day before your wedding. Remind them of the most important details and to dress for the weather.

9 | Later Ceremony Time

If you read none of the other tips, please read this one! Have a later ceremony start time. The sun sets so much later in the summer months so don't have a 2:00 or 3:00pm ceremony. You'll be sweating buckets and so will your guests. Plus, you'll be left with a couple of hours after the meal is finished that it's still daylight outside and your guests won't really start dancing until around dark. You can offer yard games, photo booths and other activities but once your guests have been here for six hours they really start to dwindle and usually are ready to go home. It's ALWAYS our preference that you work with your photographer on your timeline and ceremony start time BEFORE sending out the invitations. So what's a suggested summer timeline if you do a first look and have most of the photos taken before the ceremony you ask? (maybe you didn't ask but others before you have, so here it is):

  • 5:30pm Ceremony

  • 6:00pm Cocktail Hour

  • 7:00pm Dinner, Cake Cutting & Toasts

  • 8:00pm Sunset Pictures while guests finish dessert

  • 8:30pm First Dance, Father-Daughter, Mother-Son, Anniversary

  • 9pm Dance floor opens up

  • 11:30pm Dance floor closes and send off of couple

10 | Inside Option

And if the heat is unbearable you ALWAYS have the option of a gorgeous, indoor ceremony in our climate controlled venue. Never forget to keep it all in perspective. You can usually have some of your portraits done outside. Your portraits will be the photos that are the most important. Portraits are what you want to frame and hang above your mantle and they can be beautiful at Emerson Fields no matter how hot of a day it is.

If you'd like to discuss any of these tips or options please email me at amelia@emersonfields.com. We love working alongside our brides to make their wedding day the best day ever!

Gillian Tracey