The (Not So) Great Outdoors

Sacramento is known for many cool things: the State Capitol, the rivers, the Gold Rush. Two not-so-cool things: its summers and its allergies.

I’ve heard that people who have never suffered from allergies get an immediate onset when they move to Sacramento (this may be an urban legend, but considering I’m a native and still have to buy stock in Flonase every spring makes me a believer). I’ve also heard people say—while pouring sweat on a malevolently hot day in the middle of August—“At least it’s a dry heat.” Yes. Hot and dry. Like the Sahara. Or Hell.

Yet despite these two environmentally un-friendly factors, people still insist on getting married outside at the beginning, peak or end of summer in Sacramento. I was one of those crazy fools (I got married here in September), and I’ve been to my fair share of equally nutty nuptials, and I’ve noticed a few things that make the exchanging of vows amid a shower of pollen (“Oh, look, confetti!” “That’s not confetti…”) or scorching rays at least a little bit bearable for all involved.

First: shade. Real shade (a backyard with mature trees); fake shade (rent a tent from someplace like America’s Party Rental at—they even have a section on their website labeled “Tents & Outdoor Comfort”); or complimentary shades (a particularly resourceful friend of ours had a basket of neon sunglasses available to wedding guests as party favors and necessary protection against the June sun).

Second: refreshments. Open bar or not, having plenty of beverages available to your sweltering guests will encourage them to stick around not only for the “I do’s”, but also for the dancing.

Third: respite. That same resourceful sunglass-wielding friend got married at Scribner Bend Vineyards (, a beautiful site on the river in Clarksburg that boasted not only a plush expanse of grass for the tables, a spacious cobblestone patio perfect for dancing and a picturesque view of vines for miles, but also a quaint, restored barn—complete with A/C—where we could duck in to get a drink or stand comfortably out of the sun and floating seed pods until we could return, refreshed, to the dance floor.

So if you’re one of those kooky couples dead-set on getting married in the (admittedly beautiful) Sacramento spring and summer seasons, make sure you do all you can to keep everyone comfortable and cool.

Your sinuses and sunburned skin will thank you.

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