How we'll handle a rainy wedding day

The week of my wedding, I checked the weather every day or so. And each day, the forecast looked persistently menacing: thunderstorms predicted, and expected to last all day. I didn’t want to get worked up about this—sure, Tyler and I loved the outdoors, had chosen outdoor wedding venues for our ceremony and reception, and desperately wanted beautiful weather. But I also knew that stressing out about the weather wouldn’t change it in the slightest, so I just thought optimistic thoughts and talked through rain back-up plans with Tyler.

Really, I’ve always loved the rain, I reminded myself. I’m one of those folks who bolts outside in a sudden downpour, and I have many happy memories of dancing in warm spring showers, heavy thunderstorms, or even a light mist. I seek out puddle-jumping like a gleeful kindergartener, and I don’t even own an umbrella—I just enjoy getting caught in the rain.

I reminded myself of these things, and they’re all true, but it still didn’t make me feel excited about having a rainy wedding. Even if I didn’t mind being rained on, my wedding would involve grandparents, fragile cellos, paper programs, and outdoor speakers—all of which needed to remain dry.

The morning of my wedding, I awoke to sounds of quiet thunder, and again mentally went through the list of things we needed to remember if we had to switch to our bad-weather back-up-plan—what time we would need to call our venue site coordinators to ask them to set up in the indoor space instead, where we stashed our emergency umbrellas, where we would meet our photographer for an indoor version of our first-look pictures.  The rain was not ideal (although a handful of people reminded me that it brings luck on a wedding day), but we had enough backup-plans in place where it wouldn’t put too much of a damper (ha! Puns! Get it? DAMPer??  Dampness? Rain!! Hee hee hee….J) on our day.


Despite our preparation, Tyler and I never even had to use our rain backup plans. Magically, by late morning, the rain cleared up and the skies brightened and filled with happy sun! By the time our ceremony began, our wedding weather was humid, perhaps, but sunny and precipitation-free and absolutely beautiful.

In hindsight, I was super freakishly glad that we had backup rain-plans in place. Both our ceremony and reception were outdoor, but both venues had indoor spaces reserved for us in case of rain or bad weather, and our photographer was really familiar with our ceremony site and so knew what locations would be available in case we had to head inside—all this proved to be a huge stress-reliever the week of our wedding. If we hadn’t had those plans ready and easily-implement-able, it probably would have been much more stressful than it was.

As I work with couples, I do my best to develop back-up plans with them. The truth is that at most weddings, little things happen that aren’t quite according to plan. A groomsmen runs late, an earring gets lost, a sunny sky turns dark and stormy… most of the time, these things are small and barely noticeable. But if you (and I, your photographer!) are well-prepared for worst-case scenarios as well as the original plan, we’ll be good to go no matter what happens.

When I meet with couples for a final-details meeting before their wedding, we’ll talk through the logistics of the day and finalize our day-of timeline. We’ll also go over weather backup plans, talk about what to do if the day gets off track or someone runs late, discuss how we’ll move forward without a hitch even if something goes wrong. We’ll pull together some emergency backup plans in addition to our primary, main photography plan.  And just like that, we’re a prepared-for-anything team! You, your partner, and me—a photographer and a pair of lovers, ready to conquer the world (or at least, happily execute a complete shot-list of images from a beautiful wedding despite weather predicaments or complications!)