Tuesday, August 4, 2009

"Arizona" Summer Wedding

"Arizona" Summer Wedding
Maybe there isn't an "average" Arizona summer wedding. One thing that is average is the daytime temperature from about May 15 until November 1. It's hot here! Here includes Phoenix, Scottsdale, Sedona, Apache Junction, Goodyear and most points in between.
Many visitors come to the Valley of Sun from November through April. Big business schedules conventions and training seminars for them. The splendid weather causes scores of visitors to plan their vacations during this "peak" travel season. Golf, hiking, shopping and weddings are wonderful experiences during "peak" travel season. When the visitors come to Phoenix, Scottsdale, Glendale or Tempe, they find our weather good enough to "come back here to get married" when the rates go down. Little do they realize that the pleasant weather they covet is only temporary. Preparing to come down the aisle on a 111 degree August day, many a bride has remarked, "It was so beautiful when we visited here in December!"
The faith of Arizona couples is often amazing, too! Standing in full sun, 109 degrees and a 57 degree dew point temperature, they remark, "we thought we might get a break" on a mid-July afternoon wedding. Flowers and guests begin to wilt at outdoor weddings when the temperature exceeds 90 degrees. It's difficult for a photographer to capture smiles on the guest's faces. Children are crabby and video seemingly melts in the camera . . . well, you get the idea.
A hot weather wedding speeds up the minister. However, it slows down the funky chicken at the reception, if anyone can even muster the energy to dance. Now hear this: the only break in Arizona weather during our hot season is above the 7500' elevation.
Here are some tips for a hot outdoor summer

1. Shade. Find some shade. Make some shade. Get under some trees, rent some lawn umbrellas, or offer the elderly some hand-held umbrellas. Don't face the sun, don't have the officiate face the sun, and don't make your guests face the sun. Direct sun will take the celebration out of anyone.

2. Bring sunscreen. Is this a wedding or a trip to the beach? If you must have a wedding with anyone facing the sun, make sure ample sunscreen and UV400 sunglasses are available. Fair skinned people can burn in a matter of minutes and suffer for days afterward.

3. Avoid strenuous activity. Don't try to do everything the day of the wedding. Set up tables early in the morning or the night before. Get help setting up chairs. (Forget metal chairs period. After ten minutes in the sun they will sear any flesh they come into contact with).

4. Just add water. Provide lots of ice-cold drinking water at one or more locations. Just like having a guest book attendant stop people for signatures, have someone dispensing water. No, not beer, water!

5. Evaporative Coolers. Fans sometimes turn hot air into hot air with friction. Misters on fans are like spraying your guests with a garden hose and are noisy enough to drown-out your Ave Maria. Big rental companies rent authentic portable evaporative coolers. Spend the extra few dollars to provide this source of quiet cool air when the dew point is low enough.

6. Bring a handkerchief. This elegant and often over-looked item is the perfect complement to any hot-weather wedding ensemble. From the breast pocket of a stylish tuxedo or the hand of the beautiful bride, the discrete patting of a handkerchief can be a relief on one's face. Hand fans with the wedding program printed on them are becoming popular.

7. Be Sure. If your antiperspirant doesn't work cutting the lawn in July, it probably won't work at your wedding either. Shop around for an upgrade. Since you will be soaked with perspiration during the ceremony and photos, you might also consider bringing at least a change of underclothing for the reception.

8. Call 9-1-1. If anyone suffers the symptoms of heat exhaustion, don't wait for the coma. Place cold cloths on wrists and the forehead and get medical attention immediately.

9. Plan. Make a detailed schedule of the day and try to follow it. Make sure you have time for everything. Don't add stress and rushing to a hot summer day's schedule. Stay inside with air-conditioning as long as you can and get back inside frequently as your wedding day goes by.

10. Plan B. Your minister, DJ or musicians, florist, parents, bridesmaids, groomsmen, vocalist, and all your guests are praying you have an indoor Plan B. Can you take the wedding inside? If you have planned your wedding in Arizona's hot weather, don't deny it. Nothing can be done about the weather, but you can prepare for it. Be sensitive to your guests and be wise about your plans.

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