Showered with Love

10 Tips for Surviving Rain on Your Wedding Day

Rain on your wedding day need not dampen your spirits. In fact, many cultures consider a little rain on your wedding day lucky.

Doing a quick search on the internet, rainy wedding days can represent:

  • Fertility – Watering the ground lends to fertile plants and fields, a concept that symbolizes the wedding couple’s fertility, specifically around having children
  • Cleansing – Washing away the tough or sad times in your life
  • Unity – Considering the expression “tie the knot”, understand that wet knots are harder to untie
  • Renewal – Washing away the old and starting with the new
  • Tears – Symbolizing the last tears a bride will shed for the rest of her life (now that’s a tall order!)

I don’t know about tradition, but my husband and I had rain a good part of our wedding day. Fortunately, the rain stopped before the ceremony and the clouds parted during our vows. I took that as a sign of good luck. Note that we’ve been married for 15 years and counting.

Regardless of your beliefs, you will want to manage your plans proactively to anticipate the weather. Based on my years of photographing wedding, often in the rain, here are my top 10 tips for surviving rain on your wedding day:

This wedding planner for this spring wedding anticipated rain and wind. A space heater and plastic covers over the exposed sides of the ceremony area make for a higher level of guest comfort. Photo by Anne Stephenson.

1 – Create a Wet Wedding Weather Plan

Weather in most states swings from sunny to rainy in a heartbeat. For this reason, if you’re planning an outdoor ceremony, consider an alternate location. You may also find the outdoor ceremony/indoor reception combo works well as most times you can simply move your ceremony indoors. Discuss your options, including portable heaters (if it’s chilly) or fans (if it’s warmer and humid) with your venue manager. Alternatively, find a tent rental company at the ready and confirm the week of the wedding for setup.

For this rainy day, we took advantage of the Temple’s overhang that made perfect cover for the wedding party photographs.
Due to the shallow depth of the space, I frequently needed to shoot out in the rain. A good raincoat, bonnet cover for your camera and ideally an assistant with an umbrella (or a kind soul) all help! Photo by Anne Stephenson.

2 – Talk to Your Photographer

Ask your photographer if they have ever photographed a wedding in the rain. Find out if she has any ideas on how to make it fun and safe. Go through your vendor suggestions and discuss Plan B should you face a downpour. You will want backup locations large enough to accommodate group photos.

Keep tabs on storms with apps like WeatherBug and Dark Sky available on your cell phone or through Alexa.
Photo by Anne Stephenson.

3 – Stay Informed of the Forecast

Be prepared! Apps on your phone, Alexa, IFTT–there are many ways to keep an eye on the forecast these days. Staying in the know ahead of time will give you a chance to think ahead and make arrangements. For example, perhaps your driver can pick you up straight away at the door vs. your walking to the car. Consider changing into your dress at the venue vs. wearing it right away. Be smart and think ahead.

Rain did not dampen the spirits of this couple marrying in a traditional Jewish ceremony in Chautauqua Park, Boulder. When a sudden wind and rainstorm blew in, the wedding party moved to the side of the nearby building, which had been discussed and arranged as Plan B during the planning process. Photo by Anne Stephenson.

4 – Look for Covered Outdoor Areas

Many wedding venues feature covered areas. Consider gazebos, overhangs, canopies, or even the inside of front doors. If it’s misting rain, it may even be relatively dry underneath trees in a heavily wooded area.

A pair of bright yellow Chucks lend comfort and color to this bride's wedding day.
A pair of Converse Chuck Taylors in a bright yellow color that coordinated with the bridal party. Perfect for a rainy day.
Photo by Anne Stephenson.

5 – Bring an Alternative Pair of Footwear

Rather than ruining your new white shoes, take along a pair of Converse or rubber Wellies to wear. Even if it clears, the ground may be soggy. If your gown is long, you can hide these unconventional shoe choices underneath. Or, you can show them off for some fun photos.

6 – Use Heel Protectors

This tip applies whether it rains or not. Keep your heels from sinking into the grass with plastic protectors. Slip them on and off as needed. This style from Amazon offers 4 heel widths.

Help your wedding guests survive rain by keeping them dry.
Keep guest comfortable in cold, rainy weather with blankets. If it’s warmer and humid, consider handing out fans.
Photo by Anne Stephenson.

7 – Keep Umbrellas (And Blankets) On Hand

And throw in a few ponchos and towels for you and for your guests. Matching umbrellas to your wedding color scheme makes great accessories for group photos. However, you may want to default to a white umbrella for the majority of your photos as the color will reflect off of the umbrella and change your skin tones.

Will your flowers and planters survive rain? Check with your florist.
Check with your florist to see how rainy or damp weather can impact your floral arrangements. Also, if you are responsible for any damage to rented vases or urns if wind and weather strike. Photo by Anne Stephenson.

8 – Check Vendor Policies for Rain

Read the fine print on your contracts and ask questions. Will your musical trio still perform in rain? Should the vases get damaged in a storm, will your florist charge you? Know your responsibilities in advance to be sure.

A bride receives help from the artistry of her friend in applying her makeup.
With the help of her friend, a bride touches up her eye makeup. Photo by Anne Stephenson.

9 – Stash an Emergency Beauty Kit

This may seem obvious, but remember that damp locks and makeup will require touch up. Make your own beauty emergency kit including towel, comb, brush, hair spray, and makeup.

This bridal party in Chautauqua Park, Boulder, survives rain on the wedding day.
Weather can change in mere seconds in Colorado. This is one of my favorite wedding photographs. As the wind and rain take over, notice how the bride looks calm and centered. Photo by Anne Stephenson taken in Chautauqua Park, Boulder, Colorado.

10 – Wear a Smile Inside and Out

The most important tip for surviving rain is sporting a positive attitude. If you have a smile, so will your guests. Rather than seeing rain as a damper on your wedding day, think of it as an adventure. Have your private moment of frustration and get on with having fun. Happiness, as they say, is contagious and even if your guests get a little damp, they will likely follow suit and your lead.