Rain, or really any adverse weather condition, is the “elephant in the room” of wedding planning to the point that weather is thought to bring either luck or devastation to the couple’s day. While very few couples want adverse conditions on their wedding day, it’s necessary to discuss the possibility of weather changes to keep both you and your guests comfortable. Keep in mind that I’m speaking from an east coast perspective, and that weather in different portions of the country will have differing elements. You can still use this post to prompt ideas regarding “Plan B” locations.
This is one of the most common weather fears for wedding days, particularly for outdoor ceremonies and receptions. Venues will sometimes have an indoor area or tented option that can act as the ceremony space and be turned over for the reception afterward, so check to see if your venue offers options for rain. Porch areas, indoor spaces with available window light, and even the covered ceremony space offer options for photographs in adverse weather.
If your venue doesn’t offer a rain plan, you still have options. Renting a tent to cover the ceremony site allows you to keep the vision for your original location. You can also search for a church close to your current venue to see if they allow you to reserve the space as an alternative. Some churches require a non-refundable deposit or for you to notify them in advance to avoid additional fees. A final rain plan would be finding a space to suit the number of guests you have, such as a hotel event space, and make sure that the space only requires a deposit. That way, in case you don’t need the space, you’ll only be out a deposit as opposed to the entire amount.
Daring enough to brave the rain? I’ve seen couples opt for the outdoor ceremony regardless of rain, offering umbrellas to guests during the ceremony. Keep in mind that you’ll want to offer guests a dry place to sit, and outdoor seating is a challenge to keep dry prior to guest’s arriving. From a photographer’s perspective, I recommend purchasing clear umbrellas to minimize distraction and promote the most natural skin tones.
I live in the south where this week has reached 100 degrees, with humidity that raises my curly hair to unnatural heights. While summer weather is normally toasty, there are different steps you can take to make it more tolerable for your guests.
For outdoor ceremonies, some venues offer large umbrellas to keep guests in the shade for the ceremony.
Have a water station or bottles of water available for guests.
I see guests use programs as fans for almost every outdoor ceremony I’ve been to. Think outside the box with paper fans or programs in the shape of fans to enhance the comfort-ability factor.
Your guests will thank you for offering suggestions on comfortable and airy attire, presented in your invitation or on your wedding website.
Cancelling due to weather
No one wants to reschedule their wedding day due to unforeseen weather, but on the east coast, hurricanes and heat advisories are a very real consideration during certain times of the year. Check your local almanac to see the most common time frames for hurricanes, earthquakes, snow storms, etc. Also, check with your venue to see their policy for cancelling or rescheduling due to weather.
Consider what your priorities are. I’ve known couples who have gotten married outside in the middle of a huge snowfall as well as those who chanced it in the midst of a thunder storm. Is having everything there your priority or would you rather have the wedding regardless of who can make it? Is weather a concern or do you want to proceed as planned regardless? Knowing what you want as a couple will ultimately determine how to proceed with developing a weather plan.
Don’t sweat it
Roll with the unknowns. Have a Plan A and Plan B, and don’t stress over what you can’t control. Most past brides will tell you they regret stressing over weather because they couldn’t concentrate on the beauty of their day. Be prepared but don’t obsess with checking the radar; that’s what your wedding team is there for. Let the wedding coordinator and other supporters of your day handle the changes resulting from weather, and you focus on marrying your favorite person.