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Scorching Hot Wedding!

Hi Jeanne. Here is a story about a wedding that unintentionally unbearable.

As much as I love my cousin, her wedding will forever be the one that I will use as a “what not to do” example. My cousin Anne got married in 2014 to a wonderful man, Guy. They were both older, and in their 40s when they met and married. Anne has always been unconventional, and her wedding was no different.

To begin with, both Anne and Guy are teachers, and therefore didn’t want to get married during the school year. This left only the summer. This would have been fine if it had been early summer, but they picked July 4th weekend in upstate New York. July and August are usually the hottest and most humid months of the year for us. The ceremony and reception were to be held at Guy’s school, which was an independent school with beautiful grounds and a pond. It really was a beautiful location.

The ceremony was held outside at the pond in the center of the school. There were about 120 guests in attendance, but there were only chairs for about 30 people for the ceremony. The ceremony was to begin at 5:00pm, and guests began arriving around 3:30. The bride and groom had thoughtfully provided for hors d’oeuvres to be served prior to the ceremony, so we had finger foods and, most importantly, drinks from an open bar. By 4:00, most of the guests have arrived, and it’s about 95 degrees outside, sunny and humid. The chairs for the ceremony were in full sunlight, since the only trees were farther back. My 80+ grandmother and her sisters, who do not walk well to begin with, sat in their wheelchairs in the shade waiting for the ceremony to begin. We still had an hour until the ceremony, and everyone was doing their best to stay cool. My parents and I were standing in the shade drinking water. It was too hot to even consider drinking alcohol. Eventually, Anne came out to announce to everyone that they weren’t going to wait until 5:00 to begin, and would be starting the ceremony early so that we could get out of the sun quicker.

The ceremony began at 4:30, and it was lovely. What I could see of it anyway. Like I said, there were only chairs for about 30 people, so I stood in the back and watched the ceremony. I couldn’t hear the vows, since there wasn’t a microphone or speaker, and the sun was shining directly in my eyes, which made it hard to see anything. By the time the ceremony ended, I was hot and sticky and ready for air conditioning. My family and I had arrived around 3:00, and were all dressed in cocktail attire since that was what the dress code stated. I had found a lightweight chiffon dress, and it was still too hot for this weather.

After the ceremony, we went into the barn next to the pond for the reception. There was no cocktail hour, since there were refreshments before the ceremony. The barn was not air conditioned, but it had giant fans on the ceiling that were turned on full blast. The fans didn’t help much though, since the humidity was so high and the temperature didn’t go down. There were 12 tables in the barn, each seating 10 people. But the barn wasn’t very big, and the tables were cramped up next to each other. You couldn’t scoot your chair out to stand up without hitting the chair of the person behind you. The cramped quarters made the room even hotter than it was outside. To make matters worse, my brothers and I were not seated with our parents. Instead we were seated with cousins from Guy’s side that we had never met before. So it was just me and my brothers sitting together talking, and Guy’s cousins sitting and talking.

The food was actually pretty good, but it had to be eaten in shifts. The food was prepared by the school, and they apparently could only make one item at a time. It was served family style, so our table was served a platter of salmon. Then about 5-10 minutes later we got a platter of rice. Then another 5-10 minutes later we got chicken. By the time the whole meal was served, the stuff that was brought out first was cold. And some tables got different food than others did.

Finally it came time for dancing. I understand that Anne and Guy were trying to save money by not hiring a DJ, and I think the playlist they made for the wedding was great. But it was too hot to dance. My other cousins, my brother and I went outside to keep cool and avoid dancing. It didn’t work. Anne and her sisters caught us and brought us up on the stage to dance. Which was fun, but incredibly too hot.

We ended up leaving about 9:00, which is early for us. My brothers and I, along with our cousins are usually the last ones to leave a wedding. This time, all of us left early. By the time we got home, we just jumped in the pool to cool off, then got something to eat because we were starving.

Anne and Guy tried to have a beautiful wedding, and it was beautiful in it’s own way. But it truly felt like the wedding from hell, despite their best efforts. 0309-16

One of the more difficult aspects of wedding planning is projecting into the future and seeing all possible consequences of choices and then determining how you will address every possible scenario.   A lot of people either don’t do this at all or have significant gaps in their planning.  Someone associated with this wedding simply could not foresee how hot it would be, how difficult it would be for people to move between crowded tables, etc.

{ 138 comments }

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  • Mojo March 14, 2016, 2:29 am

    If that’s all that went wrong at the wedding, it sounds like a success to me!

    • Mustard March 14, 2016, 8:37 am

      Just what I was thinking! So everyone got a hot and bothered – not ideal – but it could have been a whole lot worse. No-one ran amok..

    • sam March 14, 2016, 10:30 am

      yeah – summertime weddings are…pretty normal?

      my dad and stepmom’s wedding was also during a surprise heat wave, in august, in an un-air-conditioned 250-year-old barn. And it was fantastic. Of course, they did remember to have seats for everyone, so that’s a bonus, but we all sweat through our clothes and afterwards traipsed over to the inn next door (where a bunch of folks were staying) and jumped in the pool. Including the band.

      (no one had swimsuits).

      It was the best wedding ever.

      • NostalgicGal March 14, 2016, 6:03 pm

        Love it!

      • Kate March 15, 2016, 4:24 am

        I’m getting married in Thailand next Easter, I might do a bikini under my wedding dress and go for a swim immediately!

  • Just4Kicks March 14, 2016, 3:11 am

    Except for the weather, a pond and a rustic barn sound like a lovely location, it would have been perfect on a crisp fall day, but being a school I certainly understand why it had to be held when it was.
    Your cousin must be held in high esteem that the school let her have her wedding there, and that the school catered for her.
    I’m sure none of it was free, but in my opinion, nice of her employers to allow her to do that.
    One thing made me laugh though, the whole post is how hot the entire day was…..but the food was cold!
    At least something was! 🙂

    My older sister’s second wedding was held in Florida during the summer a few years ago.
    They rented a very large beach house, that was large enough for most of the guests to stay there for the four day event.
    My folks didn’t enjoy the weather that weekend anymore than you all did, but the house was air conditioned.
    My dad’s MS is really ramped up in hot, sticky weather, and my mom and sister had a huge argument because although all the guest rooms had their own bathroom, the bridal suite was the only bathroom that had a walk in shower. All the other ones had a tub only.
    The argument was due to the fact that my mom pulled my sis aside to ask, when the bride and groom were out of their suite, can my dad shower in there please?
    He cannot get into the shower without a lot of help, and getting him in and out of a bathtub is out of the question….even at their own home up north.
    My sister refused, saying her and her new husband were the only ones who were going to use THEIR bathroom, and my folks needed to make other arrangements.
    So, my mom gave my dad “sponge” baths the entire week they stayed there.
    My dad was humiliated, and my mom was furious and hurt.

    • clairedelune March 14, 2016, 7:13 am

      It’s absolutely appalling that your sister wouldn’t make this very simple accommodation to your father’s condition. Your poor dad. Do they have a bad relationship or something, or is this just what your sister is like in general?

    • Billia March 14, 2016, 7:59 am

      your sister sounds kind of awful and self-centered based on this post

    • siamesecat2965 March 14, 2016, 8:29 am

      Wow. I can’t even imagine not allowing your dad to use the shower. If it were me, i would have told him that immediately upon arriving, that he was to use it, since it would be easier for him!

      • Just4Kicks March 14, 2016, 12:03 pm

        @all who commented: Thanks for your comments!
        I’m not the perfect daughter, but with many, MANY stunts like that over the years, I’m inching slowly towards the favorite daughter. 😉
        She is pretty much like that all the time these past ten years or so, we don’t know why.
        My folks have a decent relationship with her, I haven’t spoken to her in almost six years, (too long a story to post), my parents and I don’t know why she’s become (in my dad’s words) so uppity and snobby.
        They were very much looking forward to her wedding, they really like her new husband, and came home just besides themselves over how they were treated there.
        And, yes, any other person would’ve gladly offered use of the walk in shower, but it was “the bridal suite” to be used only by the bride and groom.
        Again, I’m not perfect, but she is a real piece of work, and an all around bitch most days.

    • Christina March 14, 2016, 2:38 pm

      My dad has MS, also, and this breaks my heart. He is going downhill and not far from needing this much assistance, as well. Luckily, the rooms we stayed at for my wedding were all large walk in showers. But if he had needed my room to get ready for my wedding, the answer would wholeheartedly be “take as much time as you need, Dad.”

      • Just4Kicks March 19, 2016, 4:55 pm

        @Christina: So sorry to hear about your dad….It is so sad to watch a once very vital loved one detereriate right in front of you.
        My folks finally got the chair that takes you up the stairs, and he seems to have at least little more energy due to his not having to climb stairs.
        Now, if I could only convince them to get “medic alert” bracelets!!!

        • Just4Kicks March 21, 2016, 8:17 am

          @Christina: this reply is a little late, but you said your own dear Dad has MS.
          Has he tried or been offered botox treatments?
          Of course I don’t know the particulars of your dad illness, but in my dad’s case every six months or so he gets botox injections in his bad leg.
          It seems to really help him, just thought maybe I’d throw that out to there to a fellow MS sufferer.

    • Becca March 14, 2016, 3:39 pm

      My dad has some medical issues now, thank God nothing similar to MS but the idea of denying him access to the proper facilities to be the most comfortable possible is making me tear up. What a horrid reaction from someone who is supposed to get that he’s not being difficult, he has a medical condition that makes his life hard enough as it is, to be treated like that by your own child, that’s just so vile.

    • L.J. March 14, 2016, 7:17 pm

      I wouldn’t have wanted my parents in the bathroom of my wedding hotel suite either, but I’d have simply traded rooms with them. I’d much rather have a smaller room/suite and the bathroom to myself rather than having to clean out the bathroom and vacate my room once a day.

      • Just4Kicks March 19, 2016, 6:42 am

        @all who commented, thank you!
        My dad was so embarrassed that my mom had to bathe him the week they were there.
        It was summer in Florida and very muggy everyday, he didn’t really have a choice but to get sponge baths from my mom.

        @LJ: I would like to clarify that my mom quietly pulled my sister aside and asked that when the bride and groom were done with their own time in the suite, and were “up and out” for the day, my mom would slip my dad in for a quick shower.
        My folks certainly didn’t expect to barge into the bridal suite while my sister and new husband were in there.
        More of a “okay, everyone in the house is out for breakfast or taking a dip in the ocean.”

  • Green123 March 14, 2016, 3:37 am

    If only the wedding had been in Britain. Then all of the guests would have talked of nothing else but how blessed the day was with the glorious weather!

    I’m sure you’d be complaining much more if it had been raining, OP.

  • starstruck March 14, 2016, 6:02 am

    I’m curious as to why everyone arrived two hours before the ceremony was supposed to start? Is that typical in that area? I’m genuinely curious. I’ve never heard of that before. And since they decided last minute to push the ceremony up to four thirty, what of the people who actually arrived on time to discover the ceremony was already over?

    • INeedANap March 14, 2016, 9:53 am

      That stood out to me too! Is that a cultural thing? I’m Hispanic-American and we have trouble getting people to weddings on time. I’ve never in my life heard of anyone showing up two hours early. If you tried that at one of my family’s weddings, you’d be standing around alone.

      If the invitation says 5:00, why would you arrive two hours early?? The puzzle is maddening.

    • Samihami March 14, 2016, 11:56 am

      I had the same thoughts. If I’m invited to a 5 pm wedding, I will likely show up at 4:45, maybe 4:30 at the earliest.

      And I would be very annoyed and maybe even hurt if the HC decided to do it before I even arrived.

    • PhDeath March 14, 2016, 12:30 pm

      Since drinks and hors d’oeuvres were being served, perhaps the invitations welcomed an early arrival? In my region, it’s not uncommon for there to be a socializing/settling in period with light refreshments before the ceremony, particularly at outdoor venues.

    • Ernie March 14, 2016, 12:51 pm

      I was thinking the same thing.

      If I was attending this wedding, knowing that it was summer, I may have planned my arrival time for about 15 minutes or so before the ceremony, knowing that I wouldn’t want to wait longer than I needed to in that heat.

      • CJ March 16, 2016, 10:22 am

        And this is why I am running away to Vegas. You cannot make everyone happy and someone will find reasons to not be happy. Glad I did not invite OP to my first wedding that was held outside in Arizona. It was over 90 degrees and our Air conditioning only brings the temp down to 80 inside.

        • CJ March 16, 2016, 10:38 am

          Oh and my first wedding we stated we will have cocktails prior to the ceremony. Big mistake, we had people showing up an hour and a half early. Now I know to specify an exact time. But it all worked out and so far I had heard of no complaints or postings on the internet 🙂

  • Christine 16 March 14, 2016, 6:49 am

    Ditto what the admin said. To be honest, I think the OP was pretty harsh in their assessment. I grew up in MA, and some July days were perfect in the low 80’s, and some were extremely hot and humid. I bet the bride was hoping for the former and got the latter. It’s obvious the bride and groom were trying to make their wedding affordable but still nice, what with holding it at their school and doing “family style” meals. I give kudos to them for trying. As the admin stated, when you’re planning a wedding it’s extremely hard to foresee the future, and the best-intentioned plans sometimes don’t work out as imagined.

    • Samihami March 14, 2016, 11:58 am

      True. And I used to live in upstate NY. Their idea of “hot” is not most people’s idea of hot. Not that it’s impossible for it to be, but put it this way-not one single person in my family up there has air conditioning. Fans are sufficient to keep you comfortable during the summer. They also don’t have air conditioning in their cars because it is not necessary.

    • Just4Kicks March 14, 2016, 1:29 pm

      I agree with you in that at my wedding we had very long tables and dinner was served “family style”.
      We got quite a lot of compliments on doing the meal that way, and more than one person said that they have NEVER left a wedding celebration so full that they didn’t have to duck into a fast food joint on the way home.

    • Tracy W March 14, 2016, 1:59 pm

      Though if you know the weather is variable, you plan accordingly. I would have liked a beach ceremony but you can never rely on the weather in my home city so we had the whole wedding indoors. (There were a couple of venues that could do either option but none big enough for all our guests.)

    • Toru March 14, 2016, 2:47 pm

      Yes, it sounds to me that OP is quite young and has a very narrow view of what a “wedding” is supposed to look like. This sounds like a lovely and personal event.

  • Dominic March 14, 2016, 6:51 am

    Although I understand that it’s not possible to foresee and plan for every circumstance (unless your wedding is put on by NASA), it’s fairly clear that in some regions, you don’t have an outdoor wedding in July—high summer—when the temperatures and humidity are simply going to be too uncomfortable for guests outdoors, or in a building that is not air conditioned.

    Another possible wrinkle is that sometimes people are (or feel) a bit roped into certain situations. Often couples are offered venues, services, etc., that they don’t feel they can turn down without hurting someone’s feelings (or due to some other complication). Perhaps Guy’s school offered the use of their facilities, but July was the only time they were available for the wedding.

    I used to work as the pastry chef for a banquet facility that was basically a private club open to the public for weddings, etc. Many times someone’s Aunt Tillie, who “made cakes,” insisted on providing the wedding cake, often with disastrous results. I saw several tearful brides and on more than one occasion was called in to rescue a sagging, sad homemade cake, and eventually we stopped permitting outside cakes made by unlicensed persons.

    • Yasuragi March 14, 2016, 7:08 am

      Nice rule. It takes the awkward refusal off the bride’s shoulders. “Gosh, Aunt Tillie, we’d LOVE to have your cake…but, goodness me, they don’t allow outside cakes! Darn!”

      • girl_with_all_the_yarn March 14, 2016, 10:51 am

        I will never forget how offended a woman in church was that her DIL to be booked a place that didn’t allow outside cakes. This woman was a master cake decorator and was well known for making gorgeous creations…

        … that all had the general taste and consistency of a kitchen sponge because she never put as much effort into the cake itself as she put into the decorating. I can’t say I was surprised that her son and DIL went out of their way to ensure she couldn’t bring a cake!

  • abby March 14, 2016, 7:22 am

    I also am confused why people came so early.

    That said, while it sounds like a really wedding, I agree that a 5 o’clock ceremony outdoors in July with no shady spots was not a terrific idea. They maybe could have pushed the ceremony back a few hours when the sun wouldn’t be beating down on people. But that would make for a pretty late dinner. Maybe the school had limits on what times they could be there.

    Also, I am able bodied but would be dismayed to show up at a wedding and not have a place to sit down.

    On the plus side, I usually think wedding food is terrible- so if you enjoyed the food, I’d consider that a pleasant surprise, even if you couldn’t eat it all together.

    I don’t really consider what was described to be a hellish wedding.

    • Dee March 14, 2016, 12:42 pm

      Abby – It’s likely the invitations stated the start time as being two hours before the ceremony. I would have pictured a welcoming venue where a person could mingle with relatives that hadn’t been seen for a long time, and enjoying the cocktail hour for that purpose. In my opinion, however, the bride and groom did not consider their guests when they planned this wedding. I am an able-bodied person who cannot stand in heat and bright sunshine for very long. I definitely would have needed a chair in the shade or to have simply left well before the ceremony. How many others were in the same boat?

      It is rude to not provide the basic accommodations for the guests you have invited. Two hours in the blazing sun with cocktails would have left a lot of people overly intoxicated and ill. The food, too, is not just odd but would strike me as a health risk. Salmon and meats sitting out in that heat and humidity, waiting for the rest of the meals to be prepared, is not what I call professional catering. I would be very concerned about what is happening in a kitchen too small that the main courses could not be prepared simultaneously. Yikes.

      If the guests aren’t happy then the event is a failure. It is incumbent upon the hosts to ensure the guests comfort and safety. Sounds as if that was not the focus of this wedding.

      • daphne March 14, 2016, 2:12 pm

        I agree with you Dee. I would have left as well.

        Outdoor weddings can be lovely, but they always need a back up plan or at least proximity to a heated or ACed building in case of inclement weather. ALWAYS!

  • Cerys March 14, 2016, 7:51 am

    “… we were seated with cousins from Guy’s side that we had never met before. So it was just me and my brothers sitting together talking, and Guy’s cousins sitting and talking.”

    This, to me, is a ridiculous quibble. Surely one of the best things about the seating arrangements at weddings is the opportunity to meet new people. If all you do is rudely keep to those you already know, you’re missing out.

    • JO March 14, 2016, 10:22 am

      I’m so glad I’m not the only one who thought this! OP, Anne and Guy probably thought you would have a better time sitting with people closer to your own age, with whom you might have something in common, than with your parents. Perhaps they were mistaken, but it doesn’t sound like this seating arrangement was made with good intentions. There was certainly nothing stopping you from conversing with Guy’s cousins.

      • JO March 14, 2016, 10:25 am

        That should read “it doesn’t sound like this seating arrangement was made without good intentions.”

    • girl_with_all_the_yarn March 14, 2016, 10:56 am

      One of the things I helped with for a friend’s wedding was a game we made up called “stupid human tricks.” The idea is that you have a box of open-ended questions of a slightly silly nature like “If you were a cat, what would you be doing right now?” and “Quick! A UFO has descended from the sky and they are demanding to see your leader! What embarrassing thing is the leader doing right now?”

      We put a box of these on each table and so guests had a fun conversation starter.

    • Kirsten March 14, 2016, 11:36 am

      Yeah, I read that and thought “why didn’t you talk to the groom’s family?”

    • Ernie March 14, 2016, 1:04 pm

      I Agree. I always look forward to meeting the people I am seated with at a wedding. The conversation even starts itself most of the time…”How do you know bride/groom?”.

    • Margo March 14, 2016, 2:24 pm

      That bit jumped out at me, too. It sounds as though the couple planned the tables so that people got to sit with some people whom they knew, and some they didn’t. (and possibly, by age, as the OP wasn’t seated with parents)
      It’s nice to have a couple of familiar faces but part of a wedding is surely getting to know the new person who is joining your family, and meeting some of their family and friends?

    • Stephbwfern March 14, 2016, 7:25 pm

      I completely and utterly disagree. I don’t go to weddings to make new friends and play conversation-starty games and spend the entire dinner saying “oh, so what do you do?”. I want to celebrate the couples union with my own family and friends, who, often u haven’t seen for some time! I want to reminisce with them about the couple, dance with them, eat drink and be merry with them! Why would I want to sit at the “kids table” (which sound like the case in the story) or be forced to sit next to some random who used to work with the bride.

      • Mary March 15, 2016, 7:59 am

        I completely agree! If I am sitting with new people I will do my best to be friendly and make conversation. But I wild prefer to sit with family and friends whom I rarely get to see.

      • Lerah99 March 15, 2016, 9:23 am

        You know that a wedding reception is a party, right?

        So you have the same obligations to be social as you would if you went to your coworker’s house warming party. That includes making the effort to talk with people you don’t already know.

        I had a friend who put on a very nice dinner party for 6 couples a few years ago.
        One of the the couples pitched a FIT when they saw that they weren’t seated next to each other at the table. Apparently they didn’t know that at dinner parties it is standard practice to split up couples to encourage more lively conversation. None of the couples were placed next to each other at the table because they were all seated across from each other with my friend and her husband at the head and foot of the table.

        If you are unwilling to make an effort towards polite and entertaining conversation, even with people you might not know, maybe you should skip social activities like parties and wedding receptions.

      • Margo March 15, 2016, 9:37 am

        Except that the OPs compliant was that s/he didn’t get to sit with his/her own parents, not that they sdidn’t get to catch up with extended family.

        The point of a wedding is to celebrate the union of the couple getting married. getting to catch up with your extended family is a nice off-shppt o that but it is not the reason for the gathering. Your approach seems very cliquey.

        In my experience, most weddings offer plenty of time to catch up with friends and family, the sit down meal is generally only one part of the event. You don’t ned to spend the whole meal asking people what they do, it’s an ice-breaker. You can have concersations baout their relationship with the couple, you can share your memories of them, you can even find other, non-wedding related things to converse about. It’s a social event. Be sociable.

        I didn’t read the story as referring to a ‘kids table’ – I assumed that adult children / cousins had been seated together and that older relations had been seated together.
        .

      • Annie March 15, 2016, 10:47 am

        A marriage joins two families, and thus one of the distinct purposes of a wedding is to meet the loved ones of the spouse you are not related to.

    • o_gal March 15, 2016, 6:43 am

      While it would be nice if sitting people together meant that the people got to know new people, there is another way it could play out. There is no guarantee that even if the OP made an effort to try to talk to Guy’s cousins, they could decide that they just want to talk among themselves. The bride and groom have set this scenario up by putting 2 separate groups together. If they really wanted people to be social and meet the other family, they would have them split up even further so there is no natural grouping of people. Those 10 person tables are pretty big and it’s awkward to try to talk to people across the table. So if her family was seated one “side” and the cousins on the other, it would naturally devolve into separate family conversations.

    • Ant March 15, 2016, 7:49 am

      I agree- A lot of this story reads like the OP hasn’t been to a wedding as an adult before. Past the age of ~16 I think it’s quite common to be seated by age /interests rather than current social/family circle. I can think of several wedding incidents I’ve seen that are far worse than a lack of chairs, some heat and a cramped venue

  • PWH March 14, 2016, 8:24 am

    As Admin said it is hard to foresee the weather for a wedding, especially when you are booking so far in advance. My husband and I got married in August (one of the few dates available at the venue we selected). We expected that it would be warm and sunny (but not super hot). In the end, it was warm, but we have torrential rains with thunder and lightning on and off all afternoon. We ended up having to have our pictures taken in sheltered areas and my bridesmaid’s fiancé had to shuttle people (in their car) from our photo location to the venue to avoid us all getting absolutely soaked.

    Being teachers, your cousin and fiancé could have used the school as their venue because it was the most cost effective option based on the size of wedding they wanted. There could also could have been assurances from the school that there would be no issues accommodating that number of guests, but it ended up not being the case. It is hard to judge since we don’t have Anne’s side of the story. At least in the end it was a memorial wedding that left people talking and it sounded like your cousin had a good time 🙂

  • Shalamar March 14, 2016, 8:26 am

    That’s the trouble with weddings held outside – you’re at the mercy of Mother Nature. I remember seeing a story on here about a bride who insisted on an outdoor reception in Seattle, and she had no Plan B in case it rained. Which – surprise! – it did. Everyone and everything were soaking wet and miserable.

  • HelenB March 14, 2016, 8:27 am

    While they might not have been able to forecast the weather, they certainly could have figured out that 120 guests is much greater than 30 chairs. If the site can only hold 30 chairs, invite 30 people. If you want 120 people, get a bigger site.

    • Leah March 14, 2016, 10:42 am

      This was my thought too. I hope OP’s cousin and new husband aren’t math teachers.

    • PJ March 14, 2016, 10:53 am

      I was thinking the same as HelenB. Sure, you can’t plan the weather (but for 4th of July weekend in New York, you have to assume hot and humid, and maybe cocktail attire wasn’t reasonable…). But you know how many guests you invited, and if you can’t seat them all, you should do something about it. Fewer guests or more chairs.

      As a guest, I would not have stayed as long as OP did. I am able-bodied but would not have stood around sweating for 5-6 hours. I’d have left after the ceremony for a more comfortable place.

      • Michelle March 14, 2016, 10:52 pm

        Not in upstate NY. I grew up in the area, and while it can be hot and humid, it can just as likely be gorgeous. There was even one 4th July that we saw snow!

      • Willynilly March 15, 2016, 8:06 am

        “I am able-bodied but would not have stood around sweating for 5-6 hours. I’d have left after the ceremony for a more comfortable place.”

        At absolute most people were standing for 2 hours, and thats dependant on how early they got there for a planned 5pm ceremony. After the ceremony all were welcomed into a barn with 120 seats – enough for everyone – available. Not having equal seats for guests at an outdoor afternoon cocktail style party is standard.

      • channamasala April 5, 2016, 12:34 pm

        Naw, upstate NY is not that humid. It doesn’t even get particularly hot.

        When I visit home (I’m from upstate NY) I often sleep with a blanket in summer and actually bring a cardigan with me, because sometimes I am a bit chilly!

  • Vermin8 March 14, 2016, 8:43 am

    In defense of Anne & Guy – I looked up NYC on weather.com (it’s not upstate but I figured upstate would be no hotter and randomly checking other cities upstate indicates that’s a good assumption). The average temperature in July is in the lower 80s (Farenheit). And consider that the high is usually the last couple weeks. I’m sure they had no idea it was going to be that hot. It was a random event and unfortunate for everyone, especially, the bride & groom who wanted everyone to be comfortable and have a good time (I will say that Anne shouldn’t have pressured you all into dancing – even without the temperature it’s best to let people do what they choose. And they should have had a seat for everyone).

    • AFS March 16, 2016, 12:10 pm

      New Yorker chiming in here: NYC’s climate is at the northern reaches of the humid subtropical climate zone–think cool, damp winters and summers so oppressively humid that anyone who can afford it spends those months in the Hamptons or the Jersey Shore. Upstate New York gets subzero temperatures in the winter and has wildly temperate summers. It’s a lot like the Upper Midwest, if you’re familiar. That said, August is more likely than not going to be uncomfortable–and the mosquitoes must have been voracious as well.

  • athersgeo March 14, 2016, 8:53 am

    I don’t know – taking it as a case of what not to do strikes me as not a bad idea:
    -Don’t have more guests that seats
    -Don’t cram your guests into too small a place
    -Do provide somewhere shady to rest

    Those seem like pretty solid things to take away.

  • stacey March 14, 2016, 9:38 am

    With events, the Devil really IS in the details. No, not at the “someone forgot to chill the salad forks” level… but at the basic place where vision meets reality. Someone had a lovely idea in deciding to use an exceptionally pretty location. And everything else got lost in the translation. Hot is NOT where it’s at if you are in wedding attire. Seats for each guest would be the bare minimum in necessary courtesy. Shade could be provided with an awning or tent, even a temporary canvas can be rented. Fans could run outdoors via extension cords. The wedding could have been moved to the morning or to a different month so as to prevent excessive heat. A smaller number of guests could have been invited or the location of the reception moved to the cafeteria (easing service times, space considerations and possibly providing AC). This seems like a case of Great Idea, Oops on the implementation side. I think that we get lost in the vision sometimes. That’s good. But if some aspect of the vision won’t fit the budget, location, number of guests, their relative comfort or the basic premise of the event… then aesthetics or the ideal should give way to simple good taste and common sense.

  • Shoegal March 14, 2016, 9:51 am

    This does not sound like a bad wedding. The only negative aspects were the hot weather and the cramped seating. It is unfortunate that these things prevented everyone from enjoying the occasion as much as they could have. From my own personal experience I wouldn’t have thought it would have been so hot and humid in upstate New York in July – an outdoor wedding would have seemed like a fine idea. Every wedding no matter how perfect usually has something that wasn’t flawless – some minor thing – like the food was cold or tasteless but otherwise a really nice time so I count this a success.

  • Becca March 14, 2016, 10:04 am

    They probably wanted you and your brothers to engage with Guy’s cousins, since presumably you’re around the same age range. I can see why that set up was done instead of the entire family at a table. The last wedding I went to with arranged seating was very carefully planned. Our friend sat people together that may not know each other but would hit it off when casual conversations started, we got along extremely well with the other sets of couples at the table, it was fantastic.

    The only thing I’m put off by here is the 30 seats at the ceremony when you have 120 people. They had the barn set up for all 120, the ceremony should have been set up properly as well. Otherwise, I’m with the admin 100%, they just didn’t foresee the heat issues being so problematic.

    This kind of nitpicking at an otherwise beautiful wedding is why I lean towards going to the courthouse and skipping the party. It sounds like a wonderful event but they’re being picked at for something they couldn’t have controlled. They have only summers off, the school most likely has a limited schedule of when events can be held on their grounds, so it could have been that July was the very earliest they could have the grounds to themselves like that.

  • NostalgicGal March 14, 2016, 10:29 am

    1. Outdoor weddings are at the whim of nature.
    2. Why only 30 chairs? If you invite 120 guests you should have 120 chairs. Period.
    3. Outdoor, you NEEDED awnings or pavilion covers and what they call cyclone fans to circulate AIR.
    3b. Mist coolers, IF you’re not battling dripping level humidity. If you have that, those won’t help.
    4. Why did everyone arrive so early?
    5. The barn should have been used for the dance, see cyclone fans, and pavilion outside so there was room for the tables.
    6. The food situation could have been handled better. Yes I’ve fed more than that at once and yes it takes a lot of planning and organization!

    Saying all that, the OP should have known that the weather was probably going to be an issue at this wedding, and taken what was dealt. The HC could have done a little more to make their guests comfortable (maybe couldn’t because of time and budget constraints) or cut the size of the wedding by at least a third and at least provided shade for the ceremony.

  • Miss-E March 14, 2016, 10:51 am

    I got married that same day! July 4, 2o14, also in NY but downstate, on the Long Island sound. We expected it to be awfully hot and lucked out because it rained pretty much right up until the ceremony and ended up being relatively cool (for July in NY).

    Other than the food being served cold and the lack of chairs, I feel like most of the OP’s complaints are nitpicking over nothing. Most of the post is dedicated to complaining about the heat, which the couple could not really help. I’ve been to lots of weddings where the seatings are mixed up so people can make new friends, it is kind of on the OP that she and her brothers made no attempt to engage their tablemates in conversation.

    OP cited this wedding as a “what not to do” example…so what we shouldn’t do is have a summer wedding?

  • JD March 14, 2016, 11:05 am

    I really disagree with this idea that 120 people can somehow share 30 chairs. Too many people — my husband and a close friend included– can walk and get about if the distance isn’t too far, so they don’t use wheelchairs or walkers, but they can’t stand for any length of time like that. And indeed, what if it had rained? I have to disagree with one poster that the British would have been enjoying the weather. Ninety-five and humid is not weather anyone is going to enjoy, and the frequent British visitors who come here on business certainly don’t.
    Crowding in muggy weather is miserable. I would not book an un-air-conditioned venue for summer weather, period, no matter how good the price.
    I attended a wedding where the wedding was outside at 5 p.m., and it started to rain lightly during the ceremony, but there was no plan B for rain, so we sat in the rain. I had a shawl with me to protect me from the sun, and I put it over my head, thus saving my hair and makeup somewhat. The reception was in a large barn-type building on the same site, which was air-conditioned, but the management waited until an hour before the reception to turn on the a/c — in August in Florida. We didn’t touch much of the food on the loaded buffet tables, because it had been sitting out in the heat for a couple of hours and we were afraid it was unsafe. The ceiling fans were running but not helping, and at some point, management turned off the fans. The father of the bride jumped up and demanded they be turned back on, which they were. My husband and I were soaked to the skin with sweat and the heat and humidity had sapped our appetites anyway. We left at nine, about 3 hours after the reception started. I hugged the bride goodbye and could feel that her sweat had soaked all the way through her heavy, boned, strapless bodice. She was drenched, poor girl. It was awful. OP, I understand!
    As a side note, a co-worker of my daughter got married in that same venue in hot weather, and I had my daughter warn her about the a/c issue. She made management put it in writing that the a/c would be turned on a full 8 hours before the ceremony, or she wasn’t paying the rest of the rental. They hated it, but they did it.

    • Mustard March 14, 2016, 4:57 pm

      Perhaps the person who commented that the Brits would be enjoying the weather had their tongue firmly in their cheek. We’re well- known for talking about the weather!

  • Mary March 14, 2016, 11:14 am

    I don’t see the weather being rudeness on the part of the bride and groom. However, not having enough seats for everyone, food being served in shifts, not enough room at the reception and starting the ceremony 30 minutes early was rude and did indicate a lack of planning on their part.

    Also, I would have been pretty upset if someone had dragged me back inside to dance I probably would have left. I hate dancing.

    We once went to an outdoor reception in Duluth, MN. In the middle of summer, 99 percent of the time the expected temperature would be mid 70’s right by the lake. That evening it was 95 degrees and probably 93 percent humidity. Even the hotel indoor bar next to the reception tent didn’t have air conditioning. Most miserable wedding ever. But not the fault of the bride and groom.

    • Lila March 15, 2016, 1:36 pm

      I live in Duluth and 95 in the summer is pretty rare. We barely know what to do at that temp. We are outside in shorts at 50. I live right by the big Lake and 70-75 is right on and usually wonderfully comfortable. 99% of the bars and restaurants do have A/C though so it sounds like they were unlucky to have hit the one out of a few that doesn’t.

      • Mary March 16, 2016, 9:02 am

        Technically the wedding was in Superior on the water, but the temp was the exact same in Duluth. You could just see the haze over the city. We just felt so yucky. The reception was outside the hotel in Superior and even though this was probably the most well known of hotels in Superior (next to the marina), only the rooms and the restaurant had A/C. The bar, lobby, halls and all other common areas did not have A/C. Normally one would not have to fear a heat wave at an outdoor wedding in the Duluth/Superior area.

  • TaterTot March 14, 2016, 11:19 am

    Along with the 30 chairs for 120 people, the hot & humid weather with little shade sounds miserable. I wonder if they even had a backup plan for rain.

  • Lisa H. March 14, 2016, 11:19 am

    Jeepers… Who can predict the weather? Why are you moaning about something out of their control? What is wrong with sitting with people you don’t know? What a great opportunity to meet new people! They fed you, so why are you moaning about the food? You sound very hard to please. I hope they you got to eat some cheese with all of your whine!!!

  • Annie March 14, 2016, 11:27 am

    Except for not having enough chairs, I see no etiquette violation by the bride and groom.

    “…So it was just me and my brothers sitting together talking, and Guy’s cousins sitting and talking.”
    Well, there’s an etiquette violation. When you are seated at a table with strangers, you talk to them.

    “The ceremony was to begin at 5:00pm, and guests began arriving around 3:30.”
    I’m going to assume that the invitation said to do this. If it didn’t, arriving that early would also be an etiquette violation.

    • Mary March 14, 2016, 5:06 pm

      I live in Minnesota where in my opinion, the motto is “Minnesotans are friendly but have enough friends”. I have been to so many events where we were seated with strangers where we try and engage them in conversation but they are more interested in talking amongst themselves.

  • Denise March 14, 2016, 11:30 am

    I’m not sure how it’s the fault of the bride and groom that guests arrived 2 hours ahead of the ceremony.

    Even though they indicated the ceremony started at 5, to accommodate all of the guests who chose to arrive so early, they started their ceremony half hour early.

    They provided drinks and snacks prior to the ceremony. They served a meal. They provided a DJ for entertainment.

    Because they are both teachers, they got married when they could, spending what they were comfortable spending. Knowing that it would be in July, on a holiday weekend, you could have declined the invitation.

    Depending on the length of the ceremony, I don’t know that I would fault them for the lack of chairs. If it was a 5-10 minute ceremony, I don’t blame them for having so few chairs. If it was longer than that, then they should have absolutely had enough chairs for everyone.

    If this is the worst example of a wedding you have, count yourself lucky. 😉

    • Ant March 15, 2016, 8:14 am

      I agree there are much worse examples of weddings out there. It sounds like it could have been quite pleasant if the OP had just relaxed and tried to make the best of things

    • Matt March 15, 2016, 8:20 am

      What is this fallacy that teachers can’t get married during the school year? Does that mean people who work all year round can’t get married?

      • Becca March 15, 2016, 11:26 am

        The way I see it is, it’s not a matter of “can’t” get married during the school year. A couple who are both teachers see it as convenient to be able to focus entirely on their wedding if they’re both off for the summer break.

        A lot of other people would take their vacation time for their wedding or the honeymoon more so, two teachers getting married in say February, would probably have to wait until spring break to get their honeymoon in and a lot of folks prefer to not wait for it.

        Also if they have other friends who are teachers, they want to make sure they can show up too and spend an evening or even weekend away.

        I ran into this crazy schedule conflict between grooms and friends because they were all in the process of graduating graduate school and folks were literally leaving the next day to drive to their internships the next day.

      • Kat March 20, 2016, 11:30 pm

        Teachers can’t get time off during school term unless they have exceptional circumstance. Planning a wedding in the middle of their school term is not exceptional, because it can be planned at another time. Holidays are set in stone.

        My husband and I are both teachers and it is a highly demanding job. There’s is no way in hell I’d plan a wedding during term, and there’s no way I’d get time off for my honeymoon. We were married in summer.

  • Princess Buttercup March 14, 2016, 11:51 am

    I live in Tennessee where we have summer from April to October and the hot months, July and August stay in 90’s-100’s. Oh and humidity so thick you feel like you’re drowning for most of the summer just by stepping outside and taking a breath. And still people have outdoor weddings here all summer. One of the reasons I don’t do wedding photography any more. It’s too insanely hot for most of the year.
    I even know of one here that got married in June where much of what you described could go for their wedding, just not the school parts.

  • EO March 14, 2016, 11:54 am

    It seems that this could have been much more enjoyable if people didn’t show up 2 hours early. There were 2 hours to overheat and complain. Why would you be there at 3:00?

  • Lisa March 14, 2016, 11:55 am

    Why were guests arriving 2 hours early?

    If you know it’s hot outside and it’s a outdoor wedding, why on earth would you choose to stand outdoors for an extra 2 hours?

  • DCGirl March 14, 2016, 11:58 am

    I’m also not sure if this is a matter of “did not want to get married during the school year” as “could not get married during the school year”. Every friend of mine who is a teacher got married in July. They just don’t have the bandwidth to do in during the school year, even if they were to get married during one of the week-long breaks. Between year-end wrap-up in June and prep for the next school year in August, July is the window of opportunity for teachers.

    With that said, there needed to be seats at the ceremony for everyone, but everything else sounds fine. I wouldn’t expect to be seated with my parents or DH’s parents at a wedding. If I was seated with someone I hadn’t met, I’d expect to make conversation with them.

    • Amanda H. March 14, 2016, 11:05 pm

      It *is* possible to get married during one of the week-long breaks. You just have to plan it right. I have two sisters (teachers) who got married during their respective schools’ Spring Break, and it worked fine. Scheduling the honeymoon was a bit tricky (I think one saved *that* for the summer), but it otherwise worked out.

      • Willynilly March 15, 2016, 8:40 am

        The OP says they are both teachers, but identifies the location only as the groom’s school – their spring, and other, breaks might not happen over the same weeks.

        • Amanda H. March 15, 2016, 7:18 pm

          Oh, it’s quite possible. I was just offering evidence that not *all* teachers feel they have to/can only get married in the summer.

      • channamasala April 5, 2016, 12:41 pm

        As a teacher, I can say that a lot of us spend those week-long breaks doing classroom admin work we don’t otherwise have time to do (it may be catching up on grading, lesson planning, creating resources etc). You may think we are “on break”. We’re not, usually. Not really.

  • Redneck Gravy March 14, 2016, 12:01 pm

    I think there must be a bit missing; the wedding was scheduled at 5:00 but people began arriving at 3:30 to sit in the miserable heat?

    Other than too few chairs, I’m not sure I understand the issue. It’s July, it’s North America, it’s hot. (and I’m in the Texas desert so temps well above 100 frequently here)

    • NostalgicGal March 14, 2016, 6:27 pm

      I’m dealing with similar. Our summers average 95 with single digit humidity and peeled sun (5 months). I have medical conditions and will melt with heatstroke at 80-85 for more than 10 min exposure. I am also the local short notice ‘will marry you with the marriage license’ minister now, and am having people wanting to book for their summer weddings. I’m so strongly encouraging them to look at like 10 am to tie the knot before the sun really gets up there. (2-7 pm are our EZ-bake hours of really frying). Sunrise? Yes, that can be so lovely. Just spray for mosquitos and we’re set! It’s going to be a long summer…

    • Jazzgirl205 March 15, 2016, 8:45 am

      My wedding was in July on the Gulf Coast – the subtropics (very hot, very humid). The service was at 7 pm with the reception at 8. Since my family had a large house, my reception was there. Instead of a sitdown dinner (which I’ve never seen on the GC), we had heavy hors d’oeuvres and frozen margaritas in addition to chilled champagne which was served outside in the courtyard and on the patio beside the pool. We had 100 people but I couldn’t tell you if we had enough seating. We had park benches in the front and patio furniture in the back. Inside, we had diningroom chairs, sofas, and upholstered seating (after all it was our house). The thing is, since the reception was treated like a big cocktail party, the guest treated it as such. They sat down for a few minutes, they got up and mingled, sang, danced, and moved through the whole area. Even my elderly guests did not just plant themselves in one spot all evening. As the bride and hostess, I don’t remember sitting down at all and I don’t remember eating anything except a slice of cake and the box prepared for us to eat after we drove off. Mama said the guests never wanted to leave and the party went on all night. We had heat, humidity and probably limited seating but the guests loved it. Mama was an expert at making sure everyone had a good time (she’s 92 and no longer entertains but will and does attend lots of parties).

  • Devin March 14, 2016, 12:41 pm

    I bet this was very unseasonably hot weather for that area. My brother was married the end of June overlooking the Boston Harbor and they were concerned it might still be chilly for their afternoon wedding. The reception was in a historic boat club which didn’t have AC. The cocktail hour was warm inside, but by the time the sun went down you needed a cardigan to enjoy the outdoor area.
    I know people who plan outdoor weddings here in Texas during July, when its 100% going to be mid-90s to 100s. Aside from dressing for the occasion as best as possible, you know this when you RSVP.
    OP it sounds like you found a lot to be not up to your standards, but it might have been exactly what your cousin wanted. That’s why it was her wedding and not yours.

  • maplesyrup March 14, 2016, 1:07 pm

    I’m confused why the LW would show up an hour and a half early and then complain they had to wait outside in the heat- what did they think was going to happen? And I wouldn’t consider serving food in courses or seating members of the bride’s and groom’s families together rude. There was nothing stopping the LW from eating as the food arrived, or chatting with the groom’s cousins. Not having enough chairs for the guests is the only rude behavior I see here. The rest of this story sounds like the LW over-reacting.

  • ~~CDM~~ March 14, 2016, 2:21 pm

    While it’s unacceptable to plan a July outdoor wedding in say, Texas or Arizona, this is Upstate New York, people. Any further north, and you’re in Canada.

    Google tells me that Albany records an average of 7 days per year between April and September with temperatures over 90*. So, if this poor bride had temps over 90, she was surprisingly unlucky, not something that would be expected by a reasonable planner.

    Reading the description, I would presume temps in the mid to high 90’s with humidity also in the mid to high 90’s.

    But, given how uncommon that is for the region, fortunately there are weather records. Per Albany NY records, Friday, 7/4/2014, the high was 73. Saturday’s high was 80. Sunday 7/6/2014, the high was 85, with the average high being 82.

    While Sunday’s weather isn’t comfortable for heavy exertion, it’s hardly as uncomfortable as described. And, the records show a steady 5-10 MPH breeze from 3pm through 9pm, and the dew point staying below average for the date. The heat index for 5pm is 84, figuring a temp of 85 and a dew point around 58. Temps and dew point were fairly consistent from 1-7, with the temp dropping to about 72 by 9pm.

    Plattsburgh NY and Syracuse report similar numbers for the weekend, so temperatures were similar across the region.

    OP’s description is very much like my own wedding. I “only” had about 15 scattered chairs for the ceremony for elderly or infirm guests, because the ceremony itself was exactly 15 minutes long. I’m not aware of any guests arriving two hours before the ceremony, but there was seating for all under the tent. Renting, setting up and taking down 85 more chairs to be used for 15 minutes seemed unnecessary.

    And the sun wasn’t shining directly in anyone’s eyes for my 4:00 ceremony, because the sun isn’t that low in the sky until 7 or later in July in the region, with sunset around 8:30 and dark around 9. With fireworks every year, the sunset and dark times for July 4 are pretty memorable, unlike other random dates. Frankly, it was that little false detail that made me start questioning the validity of the rest of the OP’s complaints and sent me to Google to research the weather records.

    OP should have been more vague about the date and location if she wanted sympathy for her tale. All my sympathy is with the bride, who doesn’t know what exaggerations her cousin tells behind her back.

    • Willynilly March 14, 2016, 6:22 pm

      Thank you! As a NYC resident who has spent countless summer days and evenings in upstate NY, so much of this just seemed like extreme exaggeration. Average/typical tempertures are generally in the 80s, breezes are commonplace and sunset is after 8:30.

      And as I also had a short wedding ceremony (about 10-15 minutes including all readings) and have attended 10 minute and shorter ceremonies, I agree 30 chairs for the ceremony and mingling seems reasonable. There were ample seats during the reception part per the OP.

      Its also possible that the serving situation was caused in part by guests showing up early, thus pushing up the ceremony, which is turn pushed up dinner, causing the staff to scramble.

      And finally, no sympathy from me for the OP who laments she felt forced to leave early after 5 hours of being fed and an open bar.

    • stacey March 15, 2016, 7:12 am

      Yikes! Interesting rebuttal-

    • Ally March 15, 2016, 3:23 pm

      Gotta love the information age! I too was wondering about the exceedingly hot upstate NY temps, but I hadn’t thought to look them up.

      I think it is ~kind~ and ~comfortable~ to provide the things OP mentioned – seating, shade, air conditioning, etc, but I don’t automatically think not doing so is rude. I was pleasantly surprised to read there were drinks and even food before the ceremony. But I can also see where lots of little things were adding up to make the experience less enjoyable.

  • Margo March 14, 2016, 2:26 pm

    The lack of sufficient chairs is the only things which strikes me as rude, here.

  • Wendy B March 14, 2016, 2:33 pm

    “Someone associated with this wedding simply could not foresee how hot it would be, how difficult it would be for people to move between crowded tables, etc.”

    I have to disagree only because of common sense. Holding a wedding July 4 weekend is almost guaranteed to be hot. In fact, in that area (as with the area where I live, Central Pennsylvania), it’s a safe bet that between June and September it will be humid and warm. Secondly, it doesn’t take a genius to understand how spatial reasoning works. Not everyone can do it, well, but if you figure you have 120 guests and the venue (barn!) is small…it’s going to be tight. Additionally, if the food can only be prepared “One dish at a time” then this is not the place for a large event. Period.

    Was any of this etiquette hell worthy? Probably not. It sounds more like a case of the clueless holding a party without consulting “someone” who could help them plan. A mother, a friend, whoever. And being someone who doesn’t do well in heat, I’d have not lasted to 9 p.m., I’d have been gone long before that.

    • Willynilly March 14, 2016, 6:30 pm

      The “one dish at a time” compkaint lost all steam when she said different tables were all being served but getting dishes in different order – clearly more than one dish was prepared or at least ready simultaniously if more than one dish was being served, albet at different tables, at the same time.

    • channamasala April 5, 2016, 12:46 pm

      Warm but not that hot, usually. I’m from upstate NY, probably a bit farther south than this wedding’s venue. On July 4th the hottest it usually gets is the 80s, and it is not particularly humid. There are often breezes.

      I live in the actual humid subtropics now and when I visit home in the summer I often bring a few long-sleeved shirts, and face lotion because my face dries up from lack of humidity!

  • Elizabeth March 14, 2016, 2:48 pm

    Not enough chairs for everyone? Cramped tables? Staged food delivery? This is all just poor planning.

    The weather is the weather though and cannot be planned. I would have been more annoyed by the poor planning of what could be controlled but wasn’t.

  • AS March 14, 2016, 3:27 pm

    We had our wedding in central PA, around the 4th of July weekend too. It was pretty chill that year until a couple of days before the wedding (in fact, I was wearing a light jacket even until a week before, and I am used to the bitter cold. Of course, I was happy to have jacket, because that meant that I didn’t have tan-lines). We were hoping that the weather would be nice, but it turned out to be hot. Our ceremony was outside. We had a rain-venue, but not heat venue, because central PA never really get too hot. We had jugs of ice water and and tumblers for the guests. The officiant told the gentlemen to take off their suits before being seated. Some of our friends later told us that they were passing around sun-screens. But as the admin said, we cannot predict the weather, and it is impossible to keep providing alternate venues. If we can’t have an outdoor wedding in summer in upstate NY, there is almost no time when someone can have an outdoor wedding.

    Of course, providing enough chairs for the guests, and a canopy sun-shade might have been nice.

    Also, like some other commenters pointed out, I too don’t understand why people arrived 1-1.5 hrs before the start time.

  • Pat mcauley March 14, 2016, 3:35 pm

    How did the food get cold if it was so hot?

  • bern821 March 14, 2016, 4:01 pm

    I think people are being a little harsh on the LW – she’s simply stating that this wedding gave her a “what not to do” list for her own future wedding planning. I would have been very unhappy to be among 120 invited guests and find only 30 chairs – in the blazing sun. Also having dinner/dancing in an un-air conditioned space in July doesn’t make much sense either! You really should consider the comfort of your guests when planning your event.
    My own wedding was in late June, and my large, old church does not have air conditioning. It ended up being a really humid, overcast day, about 89 degrees – so the church was HOT, like REALLY HOT! We were so happy no one passed out, but the reception venue had the AC blasting. I felt awful for our guests at the church – but sure wasn’t expecting such a humid, stifling day! The weather had been lovely right up to our wedding day. Of course!

  • bern821 March 14, 2016, 4:43 pm

    I have to add one more comment in agreement with LW: Inviting people to an outdoor wedding at the height of summer, where the ceremony is outdoors (with no cover from the sun) and the reception is in a small room with no air conditioning – and having ‘cocktail attire’ as the dress code on the invite was not very kind in my opinion! I too would have considered it a bit of a ‘wedding from hell’ as I melted in my cocktail attire… just sayin’.

  • Margaret March 14, 2016, 5:22 pm

    I am famous in my circle of friends for loathing hot weather so this wedding would have been a wedding from hell for me. I’ve attended a baby shower, a birthday party and a graduation party in similar weather but these events were held in shelter houses or under a tent, which gave some relief from the sun. As a guest, I could sit down, suck it up, and enjoy. I felt bad for the hosts who were sweating profusely, however.

    Many commenters have wondered why the OP complained about being made to stand around in the sun for 1 1/2 hours, like she should have known better. It’s not clear what the invitation said, but I agree with the OP that Guy and Anne should have planned better for hot weather. Some kind of shade should have been provided. Many more chairs should have been provided.

    And, no way would I have been coerced to dance. The thought makes me shudder.

    It seems that most of the world finds a sunny hot day to be perfect weather. I don’t.

  • kudeebee March 14, 2016, 5:44 pm

    It sounds like poor planning on the part of the bride and groom in several areas–
    *only 30 chairs for 120 people to sit on for the ceremony
    *tables crammed into a small barn with no way to move around
    *no air being circulated
    *food being served in shifts
    *cocktails/apps served so far in advance of the ceremony
    *no way for guests to hear the ceremony
    *no shade for elderly relatives during the ceremony
    *perhaps even the dress code was a little too much for this type of ceremony–being outside in sun/heat, crammed in barn, etc–probably would have been best to encourage guests to dress a little more casually and cooler

    While they couldn’t control the weather, they should have realized an outdoor ceremony at 5 p.m. would be warm. Having guests stand around for that period of time with no shade is also not a good thing to do. Tents/awnings would have been nice.

    I too wonder why guests, especially the op and family, showed up so early unless the invitations stated a time for drinks/apps. But surely that time would have been better to have started at 4:15ish since it appears that it didn’t last much longer than 30 minutes.

    As for the seating arrangement, that doesn’t sound bad to me. Did op and family make any effort to converse with the others at their table? If not, then you can’t complain.

  • Lynne March 14, 2016, 5:45 pm

    Not relevant to this wedding story, but in my religious tradition, prayer — including the marriage sacrament — is generally performed while standing, in which case 30 chairs for a crowd of 120 would be a generous amount.

    • Devin March 15, 2016, 3:24 pm

      In the US, people without a religious preference often opt for an outside wedding because they don’t belong to a church/synagogue etc. To have a church officiate a wedding for non-members is often quite pricey and some will not do services unless the couple attends the church for ‘pre-marriage counseling’. Because the ceremony is non-religious they tend to run short, less than 30 minutes. Chairs are typically for those who need them and immediate family. I’m surprised they didn’t have a small PA system to help everyone hear, but I’m not surprised they didn’t have seating till the meal.

      • NostalgicGal March 16, 2016, 1:27 am

        Or it’s a mixed faith marriage, or they are doing it on a short notice, or they want to have it in a particular place or at a strange time or with some special guests they want accommodated. (my most extreme ceremony so far was in an alpine type forest clearing in late November at about 10,000 feet, in the snow. The couple had four wolves that they kept properly, and wanted them at the full moon rising ceremony. I did stipulate that I wanted to see the wolves get their supper (which I did) as a full wolf is a happy wolf (or happier) and they paid accordingly for me to drive there and freeze body parts. I also ‘met’ their wolves and we were all on same page before we went to the meadow). I try to do counseling before the fact, and/or have to run diplomacy intervention at times between the two families… Anyways, there are many reasons for people to go outside their faith or a church to be married.

  • Stephbwfern March 14, 2016, 7:34 pm

    I don’t know – I got married in the early summer, in Australia, and our first question to all venues was “do you have air conditioning?”. Further more, when we found out that in the week previously, at our church, 3 people had fainted, we bough folding fans to give out at the door, hired electric fans, and organised to have the doors opened several hours before the ceremony to get the air flowing. As it turned out, it wasn’t too hot on the day (though I was glad for the ac bent right underneath my seat at the reception table). We wanted our guests to be comfortable and enjoy the day! Not mingling around a garden in heels, sweating and feeling miserable. Aren’t we supposed to plan for these crazy things?
    As for the squashy tables, again, wouldn’t the people who hired the venue (yes I know it was a school, but there’s still have been someone in charge of hiring it out and probably my familiar with its capacities, or even to feed preparation people would have had some experience with it), have been able to point out that it would have been squashy?
    I know admin has co-ordinated far more than I have, but, to me, those too issues seem like they should have been obvious..?

    • Agania March 15, 2016, 7:29 pm

      Totally agree! When my older sister got married (I was a teenager) it was in early December and the day was a SCORCHER as only Sydney Australia can do! Outdoor afternoon ceremony, indoor reception in a heritage building with no a/c, only ceiling fans, one of which fell onto the dance floor just as my mum and brother had walked off it! Summer storm just after the bride and groom left only amped up the humidity. Afterward my mum said, “I don’t care where you get married as long as it has air conditioning!”

      I chose a spring month, and yes, there was air conditioning!

    • Kat March 20, 2016, 11:38 pm

      My wedding in January, in Perth was a hot day and ask my vented had air con! There’s was no way I was going to sweat through the day in my expensive, amazing beautiful dress of joy, or expect others to do the same.

      But it seems that upstate NY might be like planning a wedding in Albany or Hobart. They just don’t get the same temperatures, air con is less of a necessity

  • Michelle March 14, 2016, 10:57 pm

    Another thing to consider is that NY state schools (when I was going there) run up towards the end of June, around the 23rd. So a wedding any earlier in the year at the school probably was not possible.

    • Amanda H. March 15, 2016, 9:09 pm

      As far as I’m aware, they still run up until near the end of June. We just moved from NY last summer, and that was still the case for our kids.

  • Lara March 14, 2016, 11:51 pm

    I think I can understand where the bride and groom were coming from with the 30 chairs. Since this was a lovely outdoor venue, and everyone would already have been milling around, talking and eating and drinking, they probably imagined the guests just all gathering around to watch the ceremony, with a few chairs set out for the elderly or people who really needed a seat. It’s the kind of thing that seems really pretty in your imagination, but which doesn’t work out so well in reality. Even if standing during the ceremony wasn’t a big deal, no one should have to be at a two-hour long reception where there is no where to sit. It’s just too long to be expected to remain on your feet. When you add that it’s out of doors, and the women probably in heels, not to mention no shade, that works out to a very bad idea. They would have done better to have set up small tables around where people could sit and chat, and then chairs at the site of the ceremony too.

    I seriously doubt the guests just decided to show up two hours early on their own. It seems obvious to me that it must have been planned that way, the idea being that everyone could enjoy visiting and eating some hors d’oeuvres, drinking a cocktail or two, and then the ceremony, and then dinner. Again, sounds nice, but without adequate planning, didn’t work out well.

  • Kate March 15, 2016, 4:22 am

    Honestly, there is not much a bride and groom can do about the weather. The chairs, however, does seem like poor planning and could have been better organised.

    I am also wondering why people turned up at 3pm for a 5pm ceremony. Did the invitation state that people should arrive early? I’ve been to weddings on very hot and very cold days, and in both scenarios I took shelter in my car or in a nearby cafe until it was time to head inside for the ceremony. Even if the weather was great, I can’t imagine hanging around for 1.5 hours.

  • Louise March 15, 2016, 4:40 am

    When planning my wedding I became borderline obsessed with making sure my guests had the best time ever (which I see now is completely ridiculous – you can’t please that many people at once!) I did so much googling, reading through forums and threads all over the place. Eventually I read an entire Reddit thread entitled ‘What is the worst thing you’ve ever seen at a wedding?’. I don’t know, I thought it would calm me down or at least give me a laugh.

    It completely changed my perspective. After reading about 100 ‘terrible wedding’ stories I noticed that the most common problems (beyond anything going wrong which was out of anyone’s control like a hurricane or a car crash) all centred around the guests being uncomfortable – too hot, too cold, thirsty, hungry etc.

    After that, every decision I made was with my guests COMFORT in mind, rather than their ENTERTAINMENT. Flowers are flowers, but would my Granny have somewhere comfortable to sit at all times? Favours are very nice to have, but would my Best Woman be able to manoeuvre around the room if she needed to use her wheelchair?

    I hope I don’t sound too ‘high and mighty’ – I don’t mean to, I know first-hand how easy it is to get carried away with a gorgeous location! I just think most guests want to remember a wedding for how pretty the bride was, or how happy everyone seemed, rather than being hot, sticky and hungry!

  • Victoria March 15, 2016, 7:21 am

    Does this mean I should quit checking Hell’s Bells every month hoping for an update? It’s been a year and a half since it’s been updated, and if wedding stories are being posted here instead then I can delete the bookmark.

    • admin March 19, 2016, 6:41 am

      The experiment to separate the wedding stories from the main Ehell site is ending and eventually I will be shifting stories back to this blog.

      • Victoria March 21, 2016, 11:12 am

        Thanks for letting me know!

  • Girlie March 15, 2016, 9:16 am

    Is there anything out there about it being an etiquette blunder having your wedding on a holiday weekend? I personally hate it when people do that. I usually have those longs weekends reserved to spend QT with family and friends and relax/go to beach/catch up on life/etc. I hate it when people plan their weddings then because you really don’t want to go and lose your weekend, yet feel bad because you want to celebrate.
    Those days are already a holiday, why not pick your own date and make it your own holiday?

    Aside from that, the weather is something hard to plan around and they probably sat you with the cousins so you could meet new people (omg you have to talk to a stranger?!), and everything else seemed normal.
    The only things sticking out to me are the 30 chairs (how rude) and why on earth would people arrive 2 hours early (unless it was said on the invitation)

    • AL March 15, 2016, 11:36 am

      I understand where you’re coming from, but it’s not an etiquette blunder. If you have plans or don’t want to go, send your regrets. Personally, I prefer weddings on long weekends (as opposed to day weddings on a regular two day weekend or a Sunday afternoon/night wedding – but neither is an etiquette blunder). My cousin got married the Saturday of Labor Day weekend six hours away. My then-boyfriend and I made a mini-vacation out of it. The following year, my brother got married on the same Saturday. I was in the wedding party, and between the rehearsal, the rehearsal dinner, and the wedding, it was nice to have the extra day to relax without taking more time off from work. I’m getting married this Memorial Day weekend, and it gives people who are coming from out of state time to travel. (One of my favorite cousins, who just started a new job and doesn’t have much time off, is able to come because he’ll get to come in on a Friday night and leave that Monday without taking time off.) Plus, it’s one less day at work that my co-workers have to cover for me.

      And unless the wedding lasted the entire 3 days, I’ve never “lost” the entire weekend to a wedding. You can still do other things on the non-wedding days.

      • NostalgicGal March 17, 2016, 11:40 am

        I was to ONE old fashioned eastern Europe type multiday wedding celebration when I was a teen. The HC got married on Friday, and the party went on pretty much nonstop all weekend, and the B&G couldn’t leave until late Sunday. Monday was a holiday and the hangovers were staggering as what was left of the party site (outdoors/indoors, we definitely spilled into the park next to the reception hall). I doubt you will ever see one of those stateside in your lifetime. … I’m told a few ethnic traditions are still like this (Oktoberfest was because of the wedding of the future King Ludwig I in 1810, 12 days of party, and it continued after that as an annual tradition).

    • DGS March 15, 2016, 1:29 pm

      I empathize with your frustration about wanting to reserve a holiday weekend for your own recreation and social/family plans, but I don’t think it’s typically done in a spirit of high-jacking someone’s holiday. More often than not, it’s done because the couple in question thinks that people are likelier to come to their wedding because they’re likelier to be free since it is a holiday. Mind you, my DH and I didn’t have a wedding on a holiday weekend (my DH is a physician, so he frequently is scheduled to work during holidays), but my dearest friend in the world married on New Year’s Eve. Her and her husband’s rationale was that most people would appreciate having a celebration to go to on NYE and enjoy the luxury of partying late into the night, since most people don’t work on New Year’s Day. Their wedding was beautiful, although my DH and I had to jump through hoops to get there. Trying to find a babysitter for NYE is challenging to say the least; I “reserved” our sitter 6 months in advance, as soon as I found out about their wedding date, and when that babysitter flaked out two weeks before the event, I was in a panic. Thankfully, another wonderful friend offered to watch our kids in our home (!!!) until we came home from the reception around the midnight (the reception was still in full swing at midnight, but we left at 11:30 to get home, so that our friend who was babysitting could get some sleep that night in her own comfortable bed). Not only did I profusely thank her, I ended up baking her a cake to thank her and would then, surprise her with a month of freezer meals when she had her own baby.

    • Bern821 March 15, 2016, 1:57 pm

      I agree about planning weddings on holiday weekends. I attended a wedding last year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving – which wasn’t an issue for me because it was local and I hadn’t planned to be out of town. But all I could think about were the bride’s out-of-town family members who had to travel during the busiest travel time of the year!! There were many other things that occurred that led me to believe that the bride was a bit “me, me, me” – including her asking her future MIL to host a bridal shower for the groom’s side of the family because the country club her mother rented was only big enough to accommodate HER family and friends. And then insisting that her mother be invited. But that’s a different kind of Etiquette Hell blunder! 🙂

    • Becca March 16, 2016, 10:35 am

      I don’t find a wedding on a holiday to be any issue at all. Most of the time you invite close friends and family, these are people you’d spend a holiday with in some aspect anyways. As long as they don’t have one of those “NO KIDS!” kind of weddings, where I’m expected to dump half my family and come celebrate with them. A wedding can be like a vacation, especially if it’s out of town, I don’t stress out about those kind of events though so they’re a pleasure and not a chore to me, that could be the difference there.

      The thing with big celebrations like a wedding, you plan when it’s convenient to the majority or in enough time to give folks time to plan for it. So it’ll always be a bad time for someone, either for the reason it’s a holiday that they were planning to go somewhere else or they work on a holiday because they get time and a half, etc. You cannot hold people to any real time table of “These are blackout dates, no weddings or funerals on these dates!”. It’s just too tricky to please everyone and meet everyone’s complex schedules and desires.

  • AL March 15, 2016, 11:51 am

    When I was looking at wedding venues, we decided against booking at a certain venue because of the issues with the seating (among other things). In addition to the ceremony fee and site fee, they charged $3.50 per chair for an outdoor ceremony. I asked the owner where the ceremony was held if it rained. She pointed to a spot by a large window in the reception space. I said, “Oh, so you would move the tables and arrange the chairs for the ceremony?” She responded, “Oh, no! That’s WAY too much work!” 1) I used to work in banquets. Arranging the space for an indoor ceremony took 15 minutes – tops. It’s not that difficult. 2) I am not having my guests peeking around beams (the space was an old barn) or standing up for the ceremony. Plus, I don’t want to book a place where the owner says that a simple request is “too much work”.

    But I can imagine a bride coming in, not even thinking about that issue, having it rain on the wedding day and then having the site refuse to arrange the chairs, causing the guests to either move the chairs themselves or stand to see the ceremony.

    In regards to the food, I wonder why the OP didn’t start eating as the food came out. I was at a family style wedding a few years ago, and you ate as the food came out.

    • NostalgicGal March 17, 2016, 11:50 am

      I was at a winter held convention, and the site broke contract several times, one was a scheduled event in a room (I was participating) and they came in about 9 pm (when we had the room to midnight) to rearrange the chairs for the next morning’s booking. We offered to rearrange them for the people ourselves when we were done. Nope, they tossed us. So we moved into another room that was set for the four days, and finished up there. One of the organizers had people show up at their house so I agreed to take over as room guard (it was a an art show and sale and last day auction set in that room) and slept on commercial carpeting over slab concrete in front of the only door that opened inwards (with a fresh cast) and they turned the heat off. It got to about 45f in that room, trust me, it was cold. (in the end the hotel had to pay back about half the fees for all the stuff they pulled-including freezing me out in the art room.)