Even with careful planning (e.g. choosing a dry part of the country or avoiding a wedding date in the autumn or winter), it is impossible to guarantee that it won’t rain on your big day so the best way to manage a doubtful forecast is to have a wet weather plan ready.
If you wedding is all inside (including the photographs) then you won’t need to worry but if your ceremony and/or the reception are outdoors or guests have to walk between the two, then you will need a wet weather plan.
- If you are planning an outdoor ceremony and/or reception then you should speak to the venue about a Plan B should the heavens decide to open. Always know which rooms you can use as only certain rooms will be licensed to conduct marriage ceremonies within the building.
- Think about the outdoor walkways around the ceremony venue and the reception, are they suitable in the wet particularly for ladies in heels? If you are opting for a marquee in a field then this is particularly important although farming brides do always like that iconic shot of the dress with a pair of wellington boots! Don’t forget pushchairs, wheelchairs and those with limited mobility in your wedding party who will all struggle on soft, wet surfaces like grass.
- Walkways can be covered if the distance isn’t too long especially if the marquee links to a hotel or house.
- Think about heel protectors for your shoes and discuss with your dressmaker how you can manage a train if you need to gather it up to walk across wet ground.
- When you plan your photos, plan for both wet and dry weather with your photographer. Keep the timetable flexible so that if it looks like rain then you can take the photos early before it starts. If you still want outdoor photos and the rain is very light bear in mind that surfaces like chairs will be wet so you will need to dry them before you sit and pose. A clever photographer may be able to use the rain to his advantage with glistening green foliage or a hazy or misty effect in a beautiful landscape – raindrops offer lots of romantic possibilities or photographs, these conditions can create a soft, fairy tale vibe which sometimes can actually be nicer than sunshine. Overcast and threatening skies can introduce a unique light which is often better to work with than sunlight or depressing, grey low cloud. Rain can also offer up some lovely impromptu images and if you are very lucky, you might even find a rainbow which can create the most magical of photo opportunities.
- When you book your hair and makeup artist, ask them if they can accompany you to the ceremony so that if you do get a bit wet on arrival, they can check your makeup and hair and make any corrections. Ensure your makeup is waterproof not least because you don’t want it to spoil if you become a little emotional and teary at any point.
- Provide plenty of umbrellas for your guests just in case and, somewhere to put them when they have finished with them. Go for translucent and clear so that there are no clashes with hats and outfits or you could add your initials onto clear vinyl. Co-ordinated bridal brollies can be a photographer’s dream.
- Bear in mind that rainy weather will lower the temperature and your guests could end up finding things a little chilly, even in the summer time. If you are outside then make sure there are options available for those feeling the cold like the very young and the very old. Hot beverages are a good and welcome offering or some mulled wine and provide some attractive blankets to pop over the knees of those sitting in a marquee or colourful pashminas for your guests to wrap themselves up in.
- Have a stash of towels ready for those who really do get soaked, this is a chance to personalise them with your initials or choose some that complement your colour scheme.
- Set yourself up a wedding website, this is a great way to communicate information like wet weather arrangements with your guests without having to contact everyone individually or spoil your wedding invitations.
- Always invest in wedding insurance so that if there is a biblical torrent and your venue floods and is unusable, you won’t be left out of pocket.
A wet weather plan is always worth having unless your wedding is completely indoors; it takes all the stress away of worrying about the weather and the weather is the one thing you cannot control.
For the best wet weather preparation, imagine your entire wedding day in the rain and go through it from start to finish, troubleshooting any changes you need to make including adjustments to the ceremony or reception arrangements, extra provisions you might need to organise like umbrellas, blankets and pashminas and hatching a plan with your photographer so you can use features across the venue which will make a wonderful wet weather backdrop.
Rain on your big day can actually be welcome, it keeps temperatures cool as well as the guests and it will stop fresh flowers from wilting and, of course, it is supposed to signify good luck. Just don’t forget that rainy day kiss under the umbrella captured for posterity!