Here’s how to embrace the magic of the season and plan the perfect New Jersey celebration

Planning a wedding in New Jersey? Ready to say swap your forever vows under a beautiful blue sky? Summer ceremonies and receptions are all about embracing the warmth, joy, and vibrant energy of the season. With this in mind, we’ve got some fabulous summer wedding ideas to help you create the ultimate sunny day celebration. 

From dreamy decor to mouthwatering menus, you can make your big day truly unforgettable. So, grab your sun hat and shades as we take you through our 15 best tips for summer weddings!

Centering the season on your big day

Bride and groom in garden
Photo by Erik Brolin on Unsplash

Who doesn’t love swoony summer, the season of butterflies, blooming flowers, and bushing brides? And what better time to tie the knot than when the days are long and the nights are warm? A summer wedding is the perfect opportunity to embrace the balmy beauty of the season while celebrating your love with family and friends. And with its show-stopping Italian gardens and piazza, Il Tulipano is ideal for summer nuptials.

From breezy outdoor ceremonies to al fresco receptions under the stars, the possibilities for a summer wedding are endless. Plus by putting the season at the center of your celebration, you’ll unlock extra layers of fun, magic, and enchantment. Here’s how.

1. Set the scene with summer wedding decor

Transform your wedding venue into a summer paradise with decor inspired by the season. Think lush greenery, blooming florals, and whimsical touches like fairy lights and paper lanterns to create a magical ambiance. 

When it comes to summer celebrations, your choice of decor themes are endless. From tropical weddings, to Tuscan romance, to old-time carnival, you can express your favorite aspects of summer on your big day.

2. Embrace seasonal colors

A perfect summer wedding color palette can either combine vibrant hues and bold pops of color, or soft and dreamy pastels with neutrals. Think sunny yellows, lush greens, and vibrant corals, or dusty rose paired with champagne.

Whether it’s via your bouquet, bridesmaid dresses, or guest book, embracing summery colors will infuse your wedding with the season’s bright and breezy energy. 

3. Opt for light and airy fabrics

Keep cool and comfortable on your big day by choosing light and airy fabrics for your wedding attire. Opting for flowy chiffon or breathable linen for your wedding dress and groom’s outfit will keep you both cool as cucumber martinis in the summer heat. Not only will you look effortlessly elegant, but you’ll also feel totally refreshed as you dance the night away.

4. Offer refreshing welcome drinks

Keep your guests hydrated and raring to go with stylish arrival drinks featuring a variety of fruity, zesty, and slushy beverages. From refreshing iced tea, to luscious lemonade, to signature cocktails and mocktails, offer a range of options to suit everyone’s taste buds. Don’t forget to add botanical garnishes for that extra summery touch!

5. Showcase seasonal flowers

From violets, to marigolds, to hibiscus, New Jersey bursts with gorgeous blooms in summer. Take advantage of this by incorporating local, seasonal flowers into your wedding decor. From bright sunflowers, to cheerful daisies, to romantic roses, choose flowers that capture the essence of summer and add a touch of natural beauty to your celebration.

6. Plan outdoor activities and entertainment

Make the most of the amazing New Jersey weather by planning outdoor activities that will entertain your guests and create lasting memories. From lawn games like cornhole and croquet, to whimiscal touches like circus performers, to outdoor dances under the stars, offer plenty of opportunities for your guests to enjoy the great outdoors and soak up the summer vibes.

7. Get practical with summer guest packs

Summer is terrific—but like every season, it has its little pitfalls. In other words, no one wants their guests ending up with burned noses or mosquito bites. So why not create cute guest welcome packs featuring a miniature sunscreen, bug spray, and cooling wipes to keep everyone feeling fresh and comfortable right into the night?

Your guests will thank you for the thoughtful gesture, and you’ll ensure that everyone can enjoy the festivities without any hassle. 

8. Offer romantic fans and parasols

Keep your guests cool and comfortable during your outdoor ceremony or reception by providing handheld fans and paper parasols—for instance, you could simply dot them around the place in pretty baskets. 

They’ll help to beat the heat and will also double as stylish accessories that add a touch of flair to your wedding (plus fans are a chance to practice some Bridgerton-style regency flirting). Choose fan and parasol designs that complement your color palette and theme for an Instagram-worthy look.

9. Host a tropical cocktail hour

Transport your guests to a balmy paradise with a tropical cocktail hour featuring refreshing drinks and island-inspired bites. Serve fruity cocktails like piña coladas, mai tais, and mojitos garnished with tropical fruits and retro umbrellas, alongside Il Tulipano drinks menu specials like Upside Down Pineapple shooters.

Pair them with light and flavorful appetizers like coconut shrimp, crab cakes, and avocado mousse with seared scallops to tantalize your guests’ taste buds and get them in the summer spirit. Add some tropical decor like palm leaves, bamboo accents, and vibrant floral arrangements to complete the vibe and create an unforgettable experience for your guests. It’s the perfect way to kick off your summer wedding celebration with a taste of paradise.

10. Serve up light and fresh cuisine

Keep your summer wedding menu light, fresh, and seasonally inspired. Think fresh salads, sushi towers, grilled vegetables, fresh mozzarella, Mediterranean platters, ceviche stations, and seafood specialities that will satisfy your guests without being too heavy. 

Bonus points for a dessert station featuring authentic Italian gelato, as well as lighter treats like lemon & raspberry mousse or strawberry fluff. And if you’re going for carnival vibes at your summer wedding, then don’t forget the buttery popcorn and swirled cotton candy (Il Tulipano’s wedding menu features all of these and more).

11. Create a chill-out lounge area

Give your guests a cozy indoor or outdoor retreat where they can unwind between dance sessions. Set up comfy seating, throw pillows, and blankets in a shady spot away from the heat, complete with ambient lighting (think fairy lights and lanterns), scent diffusers puffing out coconut, mango, or jasmine aromas, and refreshing beverages. 

You could go with all kinds of design themes for a wedding chill-out lounge, including, boho, bedouin, or enchanted garden. But whatever you pick, it’ll be the perfect spot for guests to take a break and mingle beneath the sunset.

12. Host a sunset wedding ceremony

Capture the breathtaking beauty of a summer sunset by hosting your ceremony during the golden hour. Exchange vows against a backdrop of warm hues and dramatic skies as the sun dips below the horizon, creating a magical and romantic atmosphere that you and your guests will never forget. 

13. Surprise your guests with sunglasses as wedding favors

Keep your guests stylish and protected from the sun by providing personalized sunglasses as wedding favors. Choose designs that complement your wedding theme and color palette, and add a fun touch with a custom engraving of your wedding date or monogramming of your initials. 

They’ll make for adorable matching photo ops, plus keep your guests looking cool and chic all day long. You could also opt for rose-tinted lenses to create an extra dreamy view of your wedding.

14. Capture memories with a summer-themed photo booth

Inject your reception with extra fun via a summer-themed photo booth that captures the spirit of the season. Set up a backdrop featuring tropical prints, beach props, and colorful accessories that will inspire guests to strike a pose and snap some memorable photos. It’s a fantastic way to keep the laughter and love flowing throughout the night!

15. End with a spectacular fireworks display

Light up the night sky and end your summer wedding on a dazzling note with a whizz-bang-boom! Whether it’s a surprise for your guests or a planned finale to your reception, fireworks are sure to add a magical and unforgettable touch to your celebration. (Just be sure to check venue regulations and obtain any necessary permits beforehand).

Here’s to a summer of love

There you have it, bride-to-be. With these 15 best ideas for summer weddings, you’ll be well on your way to creating the ultimate celebration of love under the sun. From vibrant color schemes, to seasonal cuisine, to fun outdoor activities, embrace the warmth and joy of summer as you say “I do” surrounded by your nearest and dearest. 

Here’s to a summer of love, laughter, and happily ever afters!

Ready for your incredible summer wedding?

Planning a New Jersey celebration? Il Tulipano in Cedar Grove is perfect for a stylish wedding surrounded by Italian gardens. Our venue has just had a makeover and has been praised by New Jersey Bride, The Knot, and Wedding Wire. The Il Tulipano team will treat you like family, so get in touch with us today and let’s plan your dream wedding.

Want more wedding tips? Head over to our blog.