Summer weddings have a real nostalgic feeling, especially when they’re celebrated outdoors. From summer camp themes to late-night bonfires on the beach, there’s a seasonal experience for every wedding style. If you want to plan a reception that highlights the best of the season, here are some of our favorite ideas to include.
1. Serve refreshing treats.
On a warm summer’s day, popsicles provide a refreshing treat for wedding guests. You can opt to keep them simple with fresh juices only, or go with a boozy popsicle that’s served at the bar. Watermelon skewers (or melon balls soaked in your favorite liquor for an adults-only alternative) are another refreshing, seasonal option.
2. Make it a pool party.
While you may not want guests jumping in the pool at your wedding reception, adding in a kitschy surprise like synchronized swimmers or filling the pool with clear beach balls of all sizes for decor can add a fun, summery feel to your cocktail hour.
3. Set up a late-night bonfire.
You might opt to close out your wedding day with a bonfire on the beach, or else kick off the wedding weekend with one. Either way, gathering friends and family to warm up on a cool late summer’s evening is a lovely way to end the night—especially if there are s’mores and cocktails.
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4. Plan a nautical arrival.
Getting married near a lake? Consider arriving for your ceremony on a boat. Nautical themes always feel a bit summery and nostalgic.
5. Screen your favorite childhood movie.
If you’re looking for a way to manage the kids in attendance at your summer wedding, consider winding down the night with an outdoor movie. Set them up with some cozy blankets, lounge furniture, and a few bowls of popcorn, then turn on a classic kids film.
6. End on a sweet note.
Wedding cake isn’t your only dessert option, especially for a summer wedding. Hand-pies, mini tarts, or an assortment of larger pies in varying summer fruit flavors are all bound to be a huge hit. Prefer something that’ll help everyone cool off? Ice cream and popsicles are good choices, too.
7. Splurge on a fireworks display.
Maybe it’s something to do with the Fourth of July falling in the middle of summer, but fireworks always seem a happy reminder of the season. If you have room in your budget, a firework show is one of the most celebratory ways to end the night. But not all venues allow fireworks; if yours falls into this camp, sparklers are a nice alternative.
This article originally appeared on Martha Stewart Weddings.