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What to Do If It Rains on Your Wedding Day

by Staff

If you’ve been obsessively checking the weather app ahead of your nuptials and see that ominous cloud icon pop up, it’s easy to go into panic mode. Whether the forecast calls for a drizzle or a downpour, you’re probably worried about your wedding dress staying intact or your photos turning out well. Of course, a picture-perfect day with blue skies and sunshine is the type of weather couples dream about for their special day, but rain during your wedding doesn’t have to be a buzzkill. In fact, a shower or two is actually good luck.

Although the weather is out of your hands, there are steps you can take to make sure the precipitation doesn’t impact your celebration. It doesn’t matter whether you’re hosting a backyard bash or a waterfront soirée; there are precautions you can take to prepare for the rain. With a contingency plan in place, your wedding day will be just as magical, regardless of the overcast conditions. Ahead, read the best advice for navigating rain on your big day, according to the experts.

Meet the Expert

  • Eva Clark is a destination event designer and producer and the owner of Eva Clark Events. She’s been working in the wedding industry for 20 years.
  • Alicia Mae is the founder and principal planner of ILE Events based in New Jersey. She has nine years of wedding planning experience under her belt.

What Does Rain on Your Wedding Day Mean?

Even though rain on your big day isn’t the ideal situation, some cultures see this as an overwhelmingly positive sign. For example, since untying a wet knot is more difficult than tying a dry one, rainy weather has become synonymous with a strong marriage, based on Hindu beliefs. Some people believe that rain showers mark a fresh start for the newlyweds because it cleanses a couple of bad memories. Some also believe that rain predicts fertility and fortune.

Should All Couples Have a Rain Plan?

Whether you’re saying “I do” in your own backyard or in a fairy-tale garden in the English countryside, all couples should arrange a plan for rain. “Not only does having an approved backup plan take the pressure off of the couple on their wedding day, it allows the event partners to do their time-sensitive jobs without hesitation,” planner Eva Clark says. For those swapping vows outdoors, talk to your venue about confirming a plan B, whether it’s a tent or an indoor room, in case unpredictable weather emerges. No matter how detailed your plan is, feeling prepared will ease anxiety, so you can actually enjoy your special day.

If your entire wedding day is going to take place indoors, you’re exempt from concocting a game plan. But, if you’re going to be spending any time outside, even if it’s just trekking across the sidewalk before the ceremony, it’s best to come prepared.

Tips for Navigating Rain on Your Wedding Day

For anyone who’s planning on saying their vows outdoors, here are nine expert-approved tips you need to follow.

Check the Weather

Having an idea of what the weather will look like during your event will help you decide what course of action to take. You might find out that it’s only supposed to drizzle for an hour in the morning, so you can shift your schedule accordingly. However, if it’s going to downpour in the afternoon, you’ll want to move your ceremony indoors.

Although you might be tempted to check weeks in advance, Clark notes that we can’t really predict the weather until 48 hours beforehand. Once you have a better idea of the forecast closer to your event, you can finalize your plan.

Yes, it’s helpful to keep an eye on the weather, but Clark warns that obsessing over the weather conditions will only stress you out more, so check sporadically. For the most accurate prediction, she recommends using AccuWeather instead of the traditional weather app.

Talk to Your Planner

If rain is a likely occurrence, planner Alicia Mae recommends working closely with your wedding planner to develop a strategy that prevents any major interruptions to your vision. “During the planning process, go over the options with your wedding planner to make sure the logistics and design can be executed within the rain plan,” Mae advises. If your planner suggests taking measures to prepare for the precipitation, such as moving your event to a tent, trust that they know what’s best, Clark shares.

Finalize a Backup Plan

Even if raindrops are just a possibility, determining a plan B is a necessary part of the wedding planning process. While touring venues, Mae urges couples to ask about the locale’s rain plan before making any decisions about where to host the celebration. “First, decide if the backup rain locations within the venue are conducive to your wedding design and experience before securing the venue,” she states.

If you aren’t too keen on moving your event inside and would rather say “I do” in the great outdoors, you can place a tent hold through your rental company. “While there is a small investment involved, it’s like an insurance policy on your wedding day, ensuring that you will have a tent,” Clark explains. About three days before the big day, you can choose whether or not you want to use the structure, according to Mae. Regardless of your decision, having the option will give you peace of mind.

Come Prepared

To brave the misty weather, there are a few items every couple needs to pack with them. First and foremost is an umbrella so that you and your spouse can stay dry as you make your way around the venue. Mae suggests a clear umbrella, so it doesn’t conceal your ensemble. “We love them because they protect you from the elements and look great in photos,” she remarks.

In case you end up getting wet, Clark recommends bringing a hair dryer and a change of shoes for the reception. If you have to walk across the grass, she also advises brides to slip on heel protectors, so their shoes won’t sink into the ground.

Another must? Absorbent towels. “Pack some inexpensive hand towels, so that surfaces like chairs can be wiped down after a sprinkling,” Clark states.

Protect Your Guests

Not only is it essential that you come prepared, but it’s also important to shield your guests from the wet weather. Arrange a bin of umbrellas for your friends and family to take with them as they meander around the venue. Having rain gear is also an opportunity to build upon your aesthetic. Choose a color and design that complements the rest of your décor and for a personal touch, you can even have items engraved with your initials or wedding date.

Shield Your Dress

After all of the time you’ve spent hunting down the perfect wedding dress, the last thing you want is to wear a damp and muddy gown. Since most fabrics aren’t waterproof, it’s best to stay inside as much as possible during periods of rain. If you’re heading outside to take photos, grab an umbrella and have a member of your bridal party carry your train, Clark says.

Set the Expectation

Throughout the planning stages, keep your guests in the loop about the course of action you’re going to take. “Wedding websites and weekenders are a great way to let guests know if any portion of the wedding will be outdoors and how to dress for the climate,” Clark notes. 

When Mae works with her clients, she loves using Appy Couple or Apple Business Chat as an easy way to mass communicate with guests, especially for last-minute changes.

Be Flexible

Since you can’t control the weather, accepting that rain is a possibility will alleviate a lot of stress and tension. Instead of trying to force a certain (sunnier) situation, going with the flow and adapting to whatever the day brings is a much more freeing mentality. Whether it’s a delayed start time or a location move, flexibility is key. “It’s important that you don’t let a little rain rupture your wedding day bubble,” Clark mentions. “If your energy remains positive as a couple, your wedding party, family, and guests will follow suit.”

Embrace It

Instead of fighting the rain, why not make the most of it? Hold a fun photoshoot with your bridal party, clad in colorful rain boots and umbrellas. A misty haze also sets a romantic scene, so grab your partner and sneak away for a sweet photo session. After you’ve said “I do,” join your loved ones in celebrating beneath the storm clouds. “One wedding we had in Mexico—after all the formalities and dinner—it began to rain, and everyone danced in the rain,” Mae recounts. “It was fun and a good way to let your hair down and enjoy yourself.”

Instead of stressing about the weather, focus on the main purpose of your big day: your love. “At the end of the day, the love that brought you together is designed to weather the worst of storms,” Clark says.

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