Shadowbrook Shares 10 Tips for Brides Planning a New Jersey Outdoor Wedding This Summer

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New Jersey summers are an excellent time of year to hold weddings in an outdoor or garden venue. As a premier wedding venue, the Shadowbrook staff is sharing with all New Jersey brides 10 tips to make sure their outdoor summer wedding is flawless.

New Jersey summers are an excellent time of year to hold weddings in an outdoor or garden venue. While daytime weather throughout April and May is generally pretty temperate, things can really start to heat up in June, July, and August, in addition to varied humidity levels depending on the month. Shadowbrook, a private estate on 20 acres in New Jersey, is famous for hosting outdoor weddings in its lush, romantic gardens—especially in summer when nature is in full bloom. As a premier wedding venue, the Shadowbrook staff is sharing with all New Jersey brides 10 tips to make sure their outdoor summer wedding is flawless.

1. Have an alternate option in case of rain
This is the cardinal rule of all outdoor weddings. While no one wants rain on their wedding day, unfortunately it can happen; and during New Jersey summers, rainstorms can be quite unpredictable at times. When choosing a venue for your outdoor wedding, make sure there’s a practical alternative for either moving the ceremony indoors or accessing coverings to keep guests dry throughout the event. While it’s more than likely that your summer outdoor wedding will be free and clear of rain, you never want to take the chance of your entire day being ruined by not having an alternate plan in place beforehand.

2. Plan the timing of pictures carefully
Summer sun can be quite unforgiving when it comes to taking wedding pictures, so you’ll want to plan with your photographer to make sure your pictures are taken at a time of day that won’t produce harsh shadows. If having flawless ceremony photos is important to you as well, you’ll want to make sure your event takes place later in the afternoon when high-noon shadows won’t be a problem.

3. Keep wind in mind
While rain can be detrimental to an outdoor wedding, wind can be just as disruptive. And unfortunately, wind isn’t always as easy to predict as rain showers. When planning outdoor décor, make sure floral arrangements, tents, escort cards, etc. are well anchored so they won’t be misplaced or blown away in a strong gust of wind. Also consider which hairstyles will be best for the bridal party to ensure that wind doesn’t cause major issues during the ceremony or group pictures.

4. Bug-proof your venue
Depending on the area that you hold your New Jersey garden or outdoor wedding, bugs could be a real nuisance. Mosquitoes can be harmful for guests and flies can be a big distraction from hors d’oeuvres and banquets. If your outdoor venue doesn’t already provide bug-proof products for your event, you’ll want to look into citronella candles or other bug-banishing options that will keep your wedding free and clear of pests. Also, ask your venue to spray the gardens the morning of your event to proactively eliminate bugs before your wedding start time.

5. Choose the right fabrics
When it comes to the wedding dress, bridesmaids dresses, and suits or tuxedos for the groom and groomsmen, be conscious of which fabrics will be most comfortable in higher temperatures. Choose fabrics that are airy and that will breathe well to prevent being uncomfortable and of course, unsightly sweat marks. Another great tip is to buy or rent an extra shirt for the groom in case he sweats underneath his tuxedo or suit jacket – it will definitely pay off and he will be much more comfortable!

6. Keep flowers fresh
High heat and direct sunlight can make fresh flowers wilt very easily. If your event will be held during a time of day when this will be an issue, you’ll want to work with your florist to take extra precautions to make sure your flowers stay fresh and preserved through the entire day. If possible, try and keep all fresh flowers in a cooler room, or even better, a refrigerated space until the very last minute.

7. Keep guests comfortable
While you obviously want to make sure everything looks great for your outdoor wedding, don’t forget about your guests. If the weather will be particularly hot at the time of day during your ceremony, look into some sort of fan or air conditioning option to keep them comfortable. If natural shade isn’t available in the area where guests will be seated, be sure to have options for shade available, or even provide small bottles of sunscreen or paper fans as the guests arrive to the event.

8. Serve lighter fare
Appeal to guests’ summer palette by serving lighter fare, whether just for hors d’oeuvres, lunch or dinner. Rich and creamy foods are also much more likely to spoil in higher temperatures, which is something you don’t want to risk. Stick with refreshing foods like veggies, fruits, and cold seafood and always make sure food served outdoors is stored in proper temperatures.

9. Incorporate cold and frozen treats
Frozen drinks and sangrias at the bar, as well as treats like liquor-infused fruits, ice cream and frozen yogurt bars, or gourmet spa popsicles can be a great touch to your summer wedding that guests will love.

10. Stay hydrated
Be sure to plan to have ice water readily available for everyone in the bridal party as well as guests who will be attending a mid-day ceremony that might see high temperatures. Make ice water extra glamorous by serving with fresh citrus slices in elegant glass containers, or ordering custom water bottles with your monogram and/or wedding date.

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Daryl Zweben
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