For some reason I thought the “Great Midwest Heatwave of 2012″ was over last Sunday when the storms hit the western suburbs of Chicago, knocking out power and dumping enough rain in my own yard to make my grass green again. I was wrong. This week was even worse than last and I can’t help thinking about all of the couples who have weddings this weekend, especially those with a portion of the event outdoors.
Realistically, there is no way to stay cool when it is 90 degrees at midnight. However, you can add a few things to your checklist to help out.
Shade – Open tents or large umbrellas scattered around the seating areas will do wonders to protect your guests from the sweltering sun. Unlike enclosed tents, the air will continue to circulate and provide some relief. Another option is to provide your guests with parasols.
Fans- Invest in a hand fan for each guest, these can be inexpensive, attractive and extremely helpful. Also add electric fans (preferably oscillating) along the outside perimeter of the entire area. Hint: if you place buckets of ice behind each fan, it will blow cool air. The temptation is to get the biggest fans you can find. BAD IDEA! There might be too much force which will leave your guests wondering if they are in Kansas anymore. ( Wizard of Oz + tornado = classic joke)
Water - According to the CDC you must consume 16-32 ounces of cool, non-alcoholic fluid every hour during extreme heat. Gatorade, Vitamin Water, ( low sugar) Iced Tea, Lemonade and bottled water to ice-filled buckets everywhere people will be standing or sitting will remind guests to stay hydrated. Avoid drinks with caffeine as they will make you dehydrated – this include energy drinks. Coffee lovers will enjoy an iced coffee as much as (or more) than their favorite beverage served piping-hot.
Change - After the wedding you may want to change into a cooler gown. Also let the groom and his attendants change into cooler shirts after the ceremony, or take off their jackets at the very least. Even if they all throw on matching Hawaiian shirts, they will look great and have more fun than if they were in restricted in ties and cummerbunds.
Unfortunately in this heat there is nothing that will keep you cool. The most important thing is safety. Being too overheated can cause everything from headaches to vomiting to serious illness. Following at least some of these tips will help to keep everyone safe and happy!
-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago