July 12, 2024

Sizzling Summer Wedding Secrets: Dos, Don’ts, and Top Trends for 2024 & 2025


Planning a summer wedding is a dream come true for many couples. The warm weather, long days, and vibrant colors make for a picturesque setting. However, the summer season also brings its own set of challenges. As an experienced off-site catering company in Columbus, we’ve seen it all and are here to share some essential dos and don’ts, along with the latest trends and best tips to ensure your summer wedding is nothing short of spectacular.


1. Do Plan for the Heat

Summers in Columbus can get quite hot and steamy. Make sure your guests stay comfortable by mapping out your venue spaces for plenty of shaded areas, providing fans as your ceremony programs, or even renting patio umbrellas for the outdoor space.  Consider offering a refreshing welcome drink or setting up hydration stations with water and lemonade as a pre-ceremony beverage that also stays accessible throughout the day.

🌟 Pro tips:

1. If your venue doesn’t have air conditioning – build the cost for renting portable air conditioning units into your budget – trust us!  

2. You’ll also want to plan for any cocktail hour food service to be under a covered porch space so the items stay fresh longer and not under baking or melting under direct sunlight!

2.  Do Choose Seasonal Foods

Embrace the season by incorporating fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients into your menu.  Our new Strawberry Balsamic Crostini, made with whipped ricotta, diced strawberries, balsamic drizzle, and fresh micro basil herbs, is a perfect summer appetizer that your guests will love!

For a summer wedding, it's best to choose foods that are light, refreshing, and seasonal. Here are some favorites:


  1. Strawberry Balsamic Crostini: Whipped ricotta, diced strawberries, balsamic drizzle, and fresh micro basil herbs.
  2. Caprese Skewers: Cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil drizzled with balsamic glaze.
  3. Shrimp Cocktail: Chilled shrimp with a zesty cocktail sauce.
  4. Gazpacho Shots: Chilled tomato soup served in shot glasses for a refreshing start.


  1. Watermelon Feta Salad: Fresh watermelon, crumbled feta, mint, and a drizzle of balsamic reduction.
  2. Arugula and Berry Salad: Mixed greens with strawberries, blueberries, goat cheese, and a light vinaigrette.
  3. Greek Salad: Cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, olives, and feta cheese with a lemon-oregano dressing.

Main Courses:

  1. Grilled Chicken with Mango Salsa: Lightly seasoned grilled chicken topped with a fresh mango salsa.
  2. Salmon with Dill Sauce: Baked or grilled salmon with a creamy dill sauce.
  3. Vegetable Skewers: Grilled seasonal vegetables like zucchini, bell peppers, and mushrooms.


  1. Corn on the Cob: Grilled corn with a variety of toppings like butter, lime, and chili powder.
  2. Quinoa Salad: Quinoa mixed with vegetables, herbs, and a light lemon dressing.
  3. Pasta Salad: A chilled pasta salad with veggies, olives, and a tangy vinaigrette.


  1. Fruit Tartlets: Mini tarts filled with pastry cream and topped with fresh berries.
  2. Lemon Bars: Tangy and sweet lemon bars with a dusting of powdered sugar.
  3. Ice Cream or Sorbet Station: A variety of flavors and toppings for guests to create their own dessert.


  1. Infused Water Stations: Water infused with fruits and herbs like cucumber mint, lemon rosemary, and berry basil.
  2. Signature Cocktails: Light and refreshing drinks like mojitos, sangria, or a classic Pimm's Cup.
  3. Iced Tea and Lemonade: A variety of flavored iced teas and lemonades to keep guests cool and hydrated.

Choosing a menu that highlights fresh, seasonal ingredients will not only delight your guests but also enhance the overall summer wedding experience.

3. Do Have a Backup Plan

We know this can be the 'Debbie downer' of Summer weddings, but it is an absolute MUST!

Summer weather can be unpredictable with sudden rain showers, especially when Ohio likes to get nice, sticky and humid.  If you’re planning for outdoor nuptials, you’ll definitely want to think through a backup plan, such as a tent or an indoor space, to move your ceremony indoors.  

To prepare for the worst, the question should always be: And what happens if it rains? For an outdoor reception, a tent is always a must (Honestly, Ohio weather is just too unpredictable!).  Nothing dampens a party like a sudden rain shower with everyone stuck outside and nowhere to go!

🌟 Pro tip: Make sure your venue can hold the same number of guests for an outdoor ceremony that it can for an indoor ceremony.  For example, if a venue advertises 300 guest capacity for an outdoor ceremony, but only can accommodate 225 guests for an indoor reception… what happens to those ~ 75 guests if it rains?  The venue should have an answer for you… you just have to be okay with their solution. 

4. Do Personalize Your Décor

Use the vibrant colors of summer to your advantage. Incorporate bright florals, lush greenery, and playful accents into your décor. Personalized touches like custom signage, monogrammed napkins, or unique centerpieces can make your wedding feel special and unique.


1. Don’t Forget About Bugs

Summer evenings can attract unwelcome guests like mosquitoes. Consider providing insect repellent for your guests or incorporating citronella candles and bug-repellent plants into your décor.  

Favorite summer wedding feature – a nice fire pit ambiance for the evening!  Plus, it will naturally repel bugs – so, add a s’mores bar and enjoy the summer night!

2. Don’t Overlook Timing

Plan your ceremony and main events for the cooler parts of the day, such as late afternoon or early evening. This not only ensures comfort but also provides better lighting for photographs.

Sample Timeline:

4:00 PM: Guest Arrival

4:30 PM: Ceremony

5:00 PM: Cocktail Hour

6:00 PM: Introductions / Welcome

6:15 PM: Dinner

7:30 PM: Party

~ 8:00 PM: Sneak away for sunset photos!

This avoids having the early afternoon sun beating down and also allows for a nice cruise through the evening’s events!

3. Don’t Skimp on the Ice

Keep drinks cool and refreshing by ensuring you have plenty of ice. This is especially important for outdoor weddings where ice can melt quickly. ← Keep this in mind if you’ve booked a venue that allows you to bring in all alcohol, non-alcoholic beverages and bar supplies! Ask the venue if they have an ice machine you can use or stock up and plan to bring plenty!

4.  Don’t Ignore the Dress Code

Inform your guests about the outdoor setting and suggest appropriate attire. Light fabrics and breathable materials will keep everyone comfortable throughout the event.

🌟 Pro tip: Guests will be eternally grateful if you let them know ahead of time that your ceremony and/or reception is going to be outdoors. That way, they can dress for the weather and bring layers for the later hours, wear appropriate shoes (not accidentally aerate your venues grounds with their heels) and be much more comfortable to stay and party the night away with you!

Popular Trends for Summer Weddings in 2024 and 2025:

1. Sustainable Weddings:

2. Bold Colors and Patterns:

3. Intimate Gatherings:

4. Interactive Food Stations:

Best Tips and Tricks for a Successful Summer Wedding:

1. Stay Cool and Comfortable:

2. Keep Hydration Top of Mind:

3. Think About Lighting:

4. Communicate with Your Vendors:


Planning a summer wedding can be an incredible experience with the right preparation and attention to detail. By following these dos and don’ts, staying on top of the latest trends, and utilizing our best tips and tricks, you can create a memorable and joyous celebration for you and your guests. 

Happy planning!






Featuring: Valerie & Anthony Wedding and Becca & Jarrett Wedding

Venue: Magnolia Hill Farm

Photographer: Annie Trammel Photography

Caterer: Hudson’s Edge Catering & Events 

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