All brides stress about different things going wrong on their wedding day. Some have very specific things they are worried about, while others are worried about everything. But every bride, even the chillest ones, all worry about one thing: How to handle rain on your wedding day.
As a wedding planner, my couples trust me to handle everything to make their day run smoothly. This includes things completely out of my control, like Mother Nature. In this blog, I’m sharing how to prepare for bad weather and why that preparation starts on Day 1 of planning.
How to Deal With Rain on Your Wedding Day
First things first: this blog is for every bride and groom. Many of my couples choose to get married indoors because they don’t want to worry about the weather. But it’s not just outdoor ceremonies that are affected by bad weather.
When planning a wedding, it’s important to consider the entire day and not just when the guests are there. That means including getting ready, taking pictures, traveling between locations and more.
It’s likely that you will get ready at a hotel or private home, as most venues do not have the space brides and grooms need. If you ideally want to get ready at home, consider the distance from there to your venue. If it’s going to be a long drive, it will be even longer with bad weather…especially snow. A hotel closer to the venue might be your best option, so be sure to ask potential venues for a list of ones they work with in the area.
Another part of getting ready includes hair and make-up services. Many times, a styling team will come to your location, but not always. As a wedding planner, I always recommend that my brides work with teams that will travel. Going to a salon might seem like no big deal, but on the wedding day, the less traveling everyone has to do, the better.
Especially in bad weather…
It’s not a pretty picture to see a bride drive to a salon with her bridesmaids and leave in the rain. Can you say “frizz”? Handling small hair and make up touch ups throughout the day is one thing, but adding 50 more bobby pins to your updo that the wind pulls apart once you leave the salon to go to the wedding venue? Not a good time.
Even in the winter, brides and grooms wind up outside for pictures at one point. Leading up to the wedding day, you’ll work with your wedding photographer on a “shot list” which will include the names of everyone taking pictures as well as where those pictures will take place.
Your preparation pictures aside, prior to the wedding ceremony, you can expect to be outside for wedding party photos. This is something to consider when selecting where you will be getting ready. Again, the less traveling, the better, so if the home or hotel has an outdoor area that works, that’s perfect. But, if the weather isn’t favorable, you’ll be restricted to the indoor location. Wedding Planner Tip: Be sure to discuss with hotels where you can take pictures indoors if you have to.
Many couples want to find a location for pictures such as a park or garden. Your planner and photographer can suggest places, but it’s essential to have a Plan B in place. Why?
I once planned a wedding where the couple got ready at separate locations and then met at an outdoor location for photos. Their immediate family as well as their wedding party were also involved in these photos, so that meant coordinating both groups getting ready, as well as the transportation to get them from point “a” to point “b”. There was a fair amount of difference between the locations, as well as from the photo location to the venue.
The bride chose to hire a photo and video team that I had never worked with (no, I do not know why) and they selected the photo location. We couldn’t take pictures at the separate locations due to distance, and we couldn’t go to the venue because of another wedding happening earlier in the day.
This left us with this one, outdoor location, for all of the photos to be taken prior to the wedding. My suggestion to have an indoor location as a backup fell on deaf ears.
….And then Tropical Storm “Shoulda Woulda Coulda Had A Backup Plan” came through on the wedding day….I have never used every last poncho in my emergency kit ever.
At that point, my hands were tied. The time to put together Plan B is not when gale force winds are whipping mud onto your white wedding gown. If you are planning on taking pictures outdoors with everyone prior to the ceremony, make sure you also have an indoor location available. Wedding Planner Tip: This can severely affect your timeline, so make sure your photo and video team still has enough time to capture what you want.
Onto the Venue
Those couples hosting an outdoor wedding still aren’t the only ones that need to worry about the weather. Let’s say that everyone is getting ready on site and the photos are all being taken indoors. When selecting a venue, it’s important to find out what happens in the case of weather so bad that the power goes out. Do they have an on-site generator? How are those situations handled?
For pictures being taken at the venue, be sure to find out what indoor locations are available. Depending on the time of day/year, there might be limited sunlight to work with anyway, and if you need those family pictures with Aunt Sally, you’ll need someplace to actually take them. The venue coordinator will be able to give you the best locations (both inside and outside) for photos.
If it turns out you are one of those couples hosting an outdoor wedding, Plan B needs to be discussed at length.
First and foremost, it’s important to know what part or parts of the wedding are outdoors. If the ceremony and cocktail hour are outside, with an indoor reception, then where do they move to in case it rains? Will there be a room flip, and if so, how long will that take? Will that affect the set-up timing for everything from tables and chairs to linens and flowers?
It’s also important to know when that call will be made. If the venue only needs one hour to move a ceremony indoors, but your florist need a full day for set-up, then the florist makes the call and not the venue. If that happens, how much will your vision change? It’s important to discuss with your florist how the set-up will change if you’re stuck with Plan B.
Keep in mind, it’s more than just rain and snow to consider. Extreme temperatures can make outdoor pictures difficult and your guests might not appreciate sitting in 90 degree heat for your ceremony.
Planning for bad weather on your wedding day is never something couples want to do. It’s not likely that you’ll love Plan B just as much as Plan A…or else it would’ve been Plan A to begin with. But it’s so important to consider the entire wedding day and how the weather can affect it all before you make any major decisions.
Are you getting married outside or hoping to play it safe with an indoor wedding? What plans do you have set up in case Mother Nature crashes the big day? Share your tips in the comments section to help out other brides and grooms!