One thing over which you have absolutely no control when it comes to your wedding day is the weather.
No matter how much research you do on what the weather has been like on that day for the past 10 years or how much you pray to the weather Gods, when it comes down to it Mother Nature will do what she wants and you can’t do anything about it.
Our wedding day in November was rained out, whilst I’ve had friends who have been married in May and June and have had perfect sunny skies. You just never know!
Having had unexpected rain on our big day, my advice to couples planning an outdoor ceremony or reception is to always have a Plan B! Consider the possibility of severe weather (whether that be extreme heat, wind or pouring rain) right from the start and ensure that you plan for it.
If you are having your ceremony outdoors, is there somewhere undercover or indoors that you might be able to move it to if need be – either in another part of the existing ceremony venue or within your reception venue? Sometimes you might even be able to hire a town hall at short notice – if decorated right these can be transformed into really beautiful spaces for ceremonies. Or maybe you know someone with an enclosed courtyard or a pretty house who might not mind being your back-up plan?
If having an outdoor reception, will you be able to relocate to an indoor area within the same venue or hire a marquee if you have to? Depending on the time of year it may be difficult to hire a marquee at short notice so if you are worried about the weather and can fit it into your budget consider whether you want to hire one from the start as a back up – a marquee with a clear roof and no sides may be all that you need and will provide protection without taking away that feeling of being outdoors. If you are having your own catering for the reception it may be easier to relocate it if need be, whereas if the venue is providing the catering it is unlikely you are going to be able to relocate your reception outside the venue without incurring cancellation fees so you are best off discussing back up options with your venue.
It’s also a good idea to discuss back up locations for your photos with your photographer and do any research you might need to on nearby sheltered locations. You should get your photographer’s input as not all sheltered or indoor locations will necessarily be suitable in terms of lighting. A good photographer will be able to produce great pictures regardless of the weather so if you have chosen well you shouldn’t be too worried about this.
Having a back up plan in place or at least contemplating the chance of unfavourable weather will prepare you and make it less stressful in the event that the weather isn’t what you were hoping for on your big day. Take it from someone who, as organised as I was, didn’t really have a back up plan (I really wasn’t expecting rain in November!).
Our wedding ceremony was meant to be outdoors in a garden and, after having been set up exactly as we wanted it by our vendors, was moved at the last minute by our wonderful and very helpful family and friends to an undercover area nearby. The area was just as pretty, but because we hadn’t properly planned for the move there were things that weren’t placed exactly as we wanted them. What we should have done was ensure that there was one person responsible for directing the move and that they knew exactly where everything was to go. I also wish that I had thought about getting some extra ceiling decorations to decorate the covered area in the event we had to use it – it would just have added a bit more atmosphere.
Luckily our reception was indoors so it wasn’t affected, but we had planned to go down to the river with our bridal party between the ceremony and reception to have a picnic and have photos taken. My husband’s best man had helped to put together an amazing spread of food for us and I had hired a beautiful picnic blanket, basket and china. It was a major part of our day and something we really wanted to do, so when we couldn’t go down to the river as planned, we ended up setting it up under the verandah of our venue. It wasn’t ideal, as we couldn’t all fit on the picnic blanket and there was no grass to sit on, but the pictures taken during our little picnic are some of my favourites from the day. We got relaxed and unposed shots of our bridal party which was what we had wanted, and everyone had fun. Again, we hadn’t really planned for this and if we had we might have come up with a better sheltered location for our picnic.
Finally, the best advice I can give is, even if you don’t have a back up plan and things don’t turn out exactly as you planned them, just go with it. There is nothing you can do and worrying about it isn’t going to help. Even if you end up getting a bit wet, it’s still going to be one of the most amazing days of your life and you should enjoy every minute of it. I came across this wedding on Style Me Pretty a while ago which I think is the perfect example of a couple not letting the rain ruin their day and, in fact, making their day even more special and memorable by getting completely soaked and capturing some amazing photos!
All images in this post by Samm Blake