What To Do If It Rains On Your Wedding Day

You’ve had your heart set on an outdoor wedding since you were little, and now you’ve got the ring on your finger you’ve planned a perfect forest / beach / marquee wedding. The only problem is that mother nature is not always the most reliable lady, and you cannot count on the fact that it will not rain on your wedding day. And sadly, unlike Adele, we can't set fire to it.

So you can find yourself in two predicaments, the one where you have banked all your money (not to mention your hopes and dreams) on the fact that it won’t rain. This means come your wedding day, even if it’s August and the weather man has promised you that it’s going to be a blinder of a day, every night on the BBC, it very well could chuck it down. And then you’re stuck with having to persevere with your wedding day plans despite being a bit waterlogged. I’m all for a positive attitude, and I think it’s great to declare that whatever happens you’ll not let anything put a dampener on your wedding day (sorry, I couldn’t help myself) but is it realistic? Can you really even go ahead with a beach wedding when it’s chucking it down, and your guests are all in their finest frocks?

Or, there’s the one where you have planned for your beautifully romantic wedding and you’ve got a plan B in place just incase. I will never forget the tale that another wedding planner told me about a couple who had opted for a marquee wedding outside of a beautiful wedding venue, as the building itself was under renovations. The day of the wedding came and the marquee that had been erected the night before had completely sunken into the ground, after an unexpected rainfall, leaving a marsh-like perimeter around it. It was completely unusable, but without a plan B in place the couple were left with no other option than to postpone the wedding on the morning they were supposed to be getting married.

I mean there are a load of issues with this scenario, not just the weather, but the anecdote illustrates what can go wrong if you rely too much on the good weather. The point really is: if you don’t put a plan B in place for an outdoor wedding then you can’t blame anyone but yourself if it has to be rained off (quite literally).

As a wedding planner I would never allow a client to commit to an outdoor wedding, without them having an alternative in place. I know that it’s a hassle to figure out and it’s a real bummer to have to think about the possibility of something going wrong on such a special day, but believe me when I tell you it’s worth it. You will be very grateful and relieved that you took the time to at least think of a plan B when you don’t have to cancel your wedding because of the rain.

So in practical terms, what does this mean?

It does not mean that you have to plan and book everything for an indoor wedding at the same time, paying for two sets of everything, just in case it might start drizzling. It just means you approach the exercise a bit more carefully. For example, if just some of your wedding day arrangements are outside - such as, an outdoor cocktail hour on the rooftop terrace of your venue - liaise with the venue to have another place for the cocktail hour to take place if it were to rain. Having a band out there too? Make sure that they know that there are two possible places where they might be playing and ring them on the morning of the wedding to let them know if they’re in or out. Like Britain and the EU… Too soon? It’s too soon.

If the whole of your wedding is supposed to be outside, for example if your wedding is in a marquee in the grounds of a stately home, then when you arrange this with the venue ask them what they would do for you if it rained. They will absolutely have to have a backup plan in case of this sort of thing, and usually they will have a room that you can use instead on the off chance. If you have your heart set on a beach wedding then make sure you get married at a later time in the day. This way when your wedding day arrives you have longer to decide whether you want to go through with the outdoor affair or head indoors.

Other things that are useful to consider when planning an outdoor wedding are the photographs. Have a word with your photographer in advance and find some spots where you could stand out of the way of the rain, under some form of shelter, to get some gorgeous and dry pictures. Although having said that, I think photos in the rain look “fierce” (Tyra Banks, 2008) and you should totally embrace that wet hair / Titanic sort of look. 

The floor of the marquee - it may be more expensive but in a situation like this wooden floor is your friend. If it’s not raining but the ground is slightly wet, guests and their Jimmy Choos are going to be given a lot more protection with wooden floor than any other kind.

And finally, provide your guests with umbrellas! Whether it’s to shield them on the way from the ceremony to the reception, or back to the car, this is a small gesture which will really make a difference.

But mainly, just embrace it. The worst thing you can do in your wedding day is sulk or get upset about the fact that the weather is unpredictable. The only person this will reflect badly on is you, and when all of your guests have made the effort to attend your wedding you owe it to them to whack on a smile and not let anything take it away! In all honesty, after googling photos of rainy wedding day photography whilst writing this article I’m almost hoping it does rain on my wedding day!

Charlotte xoxox