Weddings trends follow Iowa’s weather shifts

Weddings trends follow Iowa’s weather shifts
Published: Aug. 27, 2023 at 11:02 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Summers in Iowa aren’t like they used to be, and the wedding industry is changing to follow suit.

“I think summer weddings used to be kind of everybody’s go-to, like their ideal, but we’ve seen a lot more weddings in the offseason,” said Kelli Kucek with Unique Events.

This past week, eastern Iowa boiled in an extreme heat wave, with feels-like temperatures well above 100 degrees in many areas. However, the data shows summers in Iowa are not getting warmer, at least not yet.

“Overall, if you look at the meteorological summer trend—June, July and August as meteorological summer— we see no upward trend in terms of temperatures. Daytime highs are basically flatlined,” said State Climatologist Justin Glisan. However, he did say recent summers are different than those in years past.

“This is tied in to summers becoming wetter.” He added the extra moisture means more unpredictability. “It’s wetter. When you have a wetter and a warmer atmosphere to work in— warmer meaning that summer is our warmest month, climatologically— you have a lot more ingredients to work with.”

Glisan said that extreme events like the recent heatwave can stick in people’s minds and take a toll.

“There’s a psychological component of individuals going through three days of muggy, extremely muggy conditions, with, you know, very dangerous temperatures out there,” said Glisan.

Kurek says people’s perceptions of the weather have had a noticeable impact on her industry.

“The more that brides see that these types of weather events are going to change even the look of their day, they’re going to want to make sure that they’re picking a date and picking a venue that can keep them comfortable,” she said.

The changes she’s seen include how couples go about making those big decisions—like what time of the year they’ll tie the knot—even down to the smallest details.

“That’s something that brides really need to think about, is how the weather is even affecting the decor. Candles can melt. The flowers can droop,” said Kurek.

There’s no such thing as over-thinking in Kurek’s industry, only problem-solving, because, as she’ll tell you, the stakes are high. “You don’t want to be responsible for something happening at your wedding. These are the people that you care about the most.”

Glisan said Iowa’s recent extreme temperatures were “an anomalous event” and “the trend is showing that we shouldn’t expect these events to increase over the next several decades.”

He added Iowa is in a “warming hole,” and said, “If you look at model projections into the middle of the 21st century and past there, that warming hole basically disappears and we start to see an increase in summertime temperatures.”