Why not have a Summer Solstice themed wedding?

It’s officially less than a year until the next summer solstice, which means it’s time to start planning! On the longest day of the year, use each and every moment of extra daylight to celebrate both your love and this special annual event. Scientific minds might get watery eyed over the astronomic significance of such an occasion, while religions worldwide celebrate in various ways. You may just be thrilled to hold your wedding on a warm, sunny day.

Occurring every year between June 20 and June 22, the summer solstice actually refers, specifically, to an exact moment in time that varies from year to year. Although we’ve expanded the meaning to refer to the entire day on which it occurs, the actual summer solstice marks the exact moment that the axial tilt of the planet is most inclined toward the sun. For the Northern hemisphere, the day on which this occurs also marks the very first day of summer.

Less scientifically put, mid-June is also smack dab in the middle of wedding season and is definitely one of the most popular months to get married. Historically this may have been tied to the fact that the month itself was named for the Roman goddess, Juno, who was associated with all aspects of women’s lives—most specifically to a woman’s married life. If you’re ready to brave the sometimes-hectic job of planning an in-season wedding to take advantage of that new summer sun, we have some ideas for making it a shining success.

Many ancient summer solstice celebrations were centered on honoring the sun as well as the abundance and fertility granted by the summer season. Do the same by hosting a daytime affair close to nature. Consider farms, ranches, or any other rural locations that speak to you. Rustic wood structures like barns and farms houses can be the perfect fit. Or, consider a few loosely draped, open tents in the middle of empty fields to house guests during the celebration. If your event happens to continue into the evening hours, consider large-bulb stringed lights or simple lanterns for muted light and a glowing ambiance.

While your celebration can be as traditional as you’d like, the essence of the occasion lends itself to a less formal, more free-spirited feel. Summer solstice wedding dresses can be classic white, or feel free to play with muted natural tones like peaches, mint or moss greens, teals, or sky blues. Opt for flowing or even cropped skirts and strapless or sleeveless tops. Avoid brocade, velvet, and taffeta gowns and opt instead for chiffon, cotton, silk, lace, or linen dresses. Linen suits—for him or her—can also be a great fit that will keep a body cool in the warm sun.

Your wedding flower arrangements should be unfussy, and more importantly, diverse. You can use bright and vivid colors to showcase the wealth of the season, or keep it subdued in pale pinks, purples, or blues for a delicate, feminine touch. A smattering of local wildflowers and plants can make up the perfect wedding bouquet or place the spray in an opaque, rustic pitcher for the perfect centerpieces for each table. Add peacock feathers for fun and beautiful non-floral accents. You can even consider incorporating floral crowns or halos for a vintage and earthy appeal. Sparse floral crowns can add an elegant and flapper-esque touch while lavish, abundant options imbue a sense of beauty à la Alphonse Mucha.

Summer solstice food offerings should reflect the diversity and bounty of the season. Use the freshest, locally-sourced ingredients to keep up the sense of closeness to nature and keep dishes light but robust and simply seasoned. Develop menus around roasted or grilled vegetables and meats—zucchini, eggplant, and portabellos are great in-season options—and pair with cold, simple dishes like a cucumber, tomato, and fresh mozzarella salad.

Couple your menu with cool refreshing beverages that also incorporate fresh, whole ingredients like cucumber water, lemonade, mojitos, sangria, and fruit-based cocktails. Consider a wedding cake incorporating—and decorated with—a variety of your favorite fresh fruit for a summer solstice cake that will have everyone asking for seconds.

Your decorations should be minimal, letting your natural surroundings do the work for you. Consider hanging paper lanterns in a variety of colors and sizes for an airy and ethereal feel, and lying out bare tree branches, strings of pearls, and wildflowers on your tables for beautiful yet simple touches. Consider wedding favors like mini potted (and easily cared for) plants or succulents, jars of artisanal honey or jam, or wooden hand fans with intricate cut-outs.

Make your summer solstice wedding the hottest event of the year by channeling some of the underlying themes of the occasion. From celebrating the life-giving nature of the sun to the fertility of our planet earth, a summer solstice wedding revolves around the majesty of nature. So if you’re in need of a few ideas, don’t be afraid to spend a little one-on-one time with Mother Nature. Kick off your shoes, feel the dirt beneath your feet, enjoy the sun on your face, and let the inspiration come to you.