The ‘Great British Summer’ usually means reaching for your umbrella, not some soothing aftersun. This year’s heatwave, however, seems determined to buck the trend.
In theory, it’s an event professional’s dream. No muddy shoes. No ruined photographs. Blue skies and sunshine – what’s not to love?
In reality, a big event in glorious weather needs as much careful forethought as one that’s prepared for a deluge. Check out these five simple tips and save your celebration, event or wedding from wilting in the heat.
It sounds obvious. In hot weather, you need to drink more water – especially if it’s an event that involves alcohol.
You might assume that a stash of bottled water will be enough. In a heatwave, you’ll need a lot more than you expect – and that’s not great for the environment.
For a greener, more economical solution for a garden party or wedding, invest in some reusable large jugs, or water dispensers with their own taps. These can be refilled as often as needed, and you can add your own flavours to keep things feeling fresh. Try sliced cucumber, lemon and lime peel, or a handful of crushed mint leaves.
If your guests will be outdoors for a sizeable chunk of the day, you need to take care of them.
Give them some shade. If you don’t already have buildings, gazebos or stretch tents in place to offer some respite from the sun, be sure to check what the venue’s like in the middle of the day, when the sun will be hottest. Plan to locate your guests in any shade available during those hours – or bring things indoors if it’s going to be too much. Dappled shade such as tree cover isn’t perfect, but can create a lovely summery atmosphere.
Beat the sun
Sunscreen: as the song goes, everybody should wear it.
Provide a sunscreen station with sample-size bottles of high-factor UVB and UVA protection for daytime event guests. It’s a thoughtful touch that will always be gratefully received – and if it’s a long day in the outdoors, means you won’t have guests fading by lunchtime.
Unfortunately, few buildings in the UK were built with keeping cool in mind. Even if you do have air-conditioning for your event, it may not be adequate to the temperatures we’ve been experiencing this summer.
However, one thing we do have is a wealth of quirky, unusual venues. Historic houses built from stone often remain cool in summer; ones with water features even more so. From underground venues with cellar bars to Edwardian museums, a unique venue can be ideal if you’re concerned about overheating.
Plan cool swag
If you’re running a corporate event with some freebies to take home, why not make them heatwave-friendly?
Mini coolpacks are a favourite for that instant hit of relief to the neck or face: these can be branded, alongside mini-fans or cooling mist spray for individuals.
If it’s your big day, make keeping cool part of the ceremony, by printing your Order of Service on a paper fan. A stash of sunhats and light scarves for people to borrow will also be welcome. And for a really refreshing twist, make water balloons in your wedding colours to store in the fridge. Just make sure you bring them out after the formal photographs!