How To Deal With Bad Weather On Your Wedding Day
It’s every couple’s dream to have perfect weather on their wedding day: a temperature in the mid to high twenties, a cooling breeze, a little bit of cloud cover, and a brilliant, bright sunset at the end of the night. Unfortunately, living in the wonderfully unpredictable UK, it isn’t always possible. In fact, I’ve only photographed a small handful of weddings that were lucky enough to have ‘perfect weather’, and I would even consider some of those a touch too warm. The truth is that, no matter what the forecast says and how much you pray to the weather gods above, the weather is one of the few parts of your day that you have absolutely no control over.
It doesn’t have to be something that makes you nervous – and it certainly shouldn’t be something that makes or breaks your day. Unfavorable weather conditions might be inconvenient and annoying (especially if you’re getting married outside), but you may as well make the most of it. As someone whose 2019 weddings have, so far, mostly been rainy, windy or a combination of the two, I feel uniquely qualified to advise all you awesome brides- and grooms-to-be on how to deal with bad weather both before and during your big day.
I’ll admit, when I was planning my own wedding I was conscious of the weather forecast around 6 months before the day – so don’t worry, you’re not weird if you’re constantly checking for updates. What you do need to be aware of, however, is that in the UK the weather can change in the blink of an eye. Whether it’s due to a sudden storm, change in pressure systems or a freak heatwave, forecasts are only really accurate for the week leading up to a date. And even then, it can change without warning. Even THEN, it could turn out to be totally incorrect for the day.
That is why I will always advise my couples to make provisions for bad weather regardless of the predictions. Even if you’re getting married in the middle of August, on a day where the weather has consistently been 26 degrees for the past 5 years – it doesn’t matter. You should plan for rain no matter how confident you are.
If you’re getting married outside, this is as simple as ensuring there is an alternative indoor location, and/or just buying a pop-up cover to keep your guests protected. While I salute any couple that dares to wed outside, it is so risky and there is no point in taking chances. Most outdoor ceremony spaces will have an indoor space available to you, but if not, a gazebo-type structure would do a great job at keeping people dry (and is relatively inexpensive).
If your ceremony is indoors but people will be venturing outside during the day, make sure to purchase some umbrellas and rain ponchos, and even blankets in case it gets chilly. For yourselves, get a couple of umbrellas in ivory/white/cream depending on the bride’s dress colour – trust me, you’ll want them to match. If you’re wearing ivory and you buy a pure white umbrella, it won’t look great on-camera as the colours are actually very different.
On The Day
It can be super tempting to hide away inside if it’s raining or windy on your big day, but I’m here to urge you to take the opportunity to grab some dramatic, atmospheric photos while you have the chance. The easiest way to do this is to wait for a break in the weather to head outside and embrace the storm clouds or gale-force winds. Wind can be incredibly tricky to take photos in, but once you’re facing the right direction and the bride’s dress and veil are being pulled around by the gusts around it can end up looking beautiful and ethereal.
On the other hand, if it’s been raining all day and it doesn’t look like there’s a chance of it letting up, it’s time to get brave and head outdoors regardless. If you’ve purchased umbrellas as suggested above, pull them out and get some cute shots of the two of you snuggled underneath them. If you don’t have umbrellas, don’t let that put you off; there will always be some kind of shelter available, whether that’s a patch of woodland or a slight canopy on the venue itself. Regardless of whether you’re under shelter or have decided to just enjoy a cold, natural shower, photos under the rain always end up looking awesome – and it’s actually good luck for it to rain on your wedding day! Embrace it.
Depending on the venue you’ve chosen, there is always the chance that the indoor area is well-lit enough that you could grab your formal and couple photographs inside. Just bear in mind that most photographers, including me, will prefer shooting outside, and indoor photos may take more time to set up if off-camera flash or external lighting is required.
There have been, in the past couple of years, examples of extreme weather that made it almost impossible for people to host their weddings. From epic snowstorms to flash flooding to dangerous heatwaves, we all pray that we’re not unlucky enough to experience such extreme conditions. Although natural disasters and extreme weather are not generally covered under wedding insurance, it’s advisable that you take it out anyway – you would be covered, for example, if your venue cancelled due to flooding, or if your cake maker showed up with a melting cake that wasn’t fit for consumption.
In every example I’ve read about extreme weather and cancelled weddings, it’s been so heartening to read that the suppliers originally involved have been happy to work with the bride and groom to organise, essentially, a do-over. Whether that means sourcing alternative suppliers for the couple or ensuring everyone is available on another date, just remember that everyone in the wedding industry is generally super supportive and just want you to have the best day possible.
Best Day Ever
Finally, I’d like to tell you about a very special wedding I attended in May in Italy. One of my husband’s long-time friends, Sean, was tying the knot to his amazing bride Amanda in a remote countryside area of Southern Italy. Having never been to Italy, we made a holiday out of it – and I couldn’t believe how hot it was when we arrived. Two days later, however, it was time for the wedding itself and the sky was grey. Grey, breezy, and angry-looking.
Although the rain held off throughout the ceremony, welcome drinks, six-course meal and speeches, as soon as we all stepped outside for the cake cutting and a good old-fashioned dance, the heavens opened. Did that stop us? Of course not! Instead of heading back inside, we danced outside, under the pouring Mediterranean rain, until 4am. Until we all looked like drowned rats (including the bride, by the way, who had no hesitations in getting her long train muddy and wet).
And you know what? Their wedding was the best, most fun, most chilled out wedding I’ve ever attended.
So don’t let the rain put a dampener (get it?) on your wedding. As long as you plan ahead, put on a brave face, and embrace anything you don’t have control over, you’ll be fine. Breathe, relax – and have the best day ever.