Bad Weather Wedding Tips

Bad Weather Wedding Tips:
Don’t Forget Your Rain Plan

Q+A with wedding planner Susan Norcross

Worried about your wedding weather forecast? Unpredictable weather is one of the most stressful parts of prepping for the big day, particularly if you’re planning an outdoor wedding ceremony or reception. While there’s always a chance of rain on your wedding day (cue the Alanis Morissette!), a little preparation can go a long way in helping things go smoothly for you, your party, and your guests.

For the best outdoor wedding planning tips, we turned to planning pro Susan Norcross, owner of The Styled Bride. Below, Susan answers some of the most common questions that brides ask about planning for the weather.

Bride and groom kiss in a rainy open field under a clear umbrella.

Q: How can you work with key vendors to develop an outdoor wedding rain plan?A: The most important thing you can do is communicate with your venue and your photographer to create a backup plan well in advance of the big day!
What to ask your venue: If you’re planning an outdoor ceremony that’s not under cover, start by communicating with your venue about alternate spaces to say ‘I do’ in the event of rain. You’ll also want to formulate a backup plan for photography locations. Scout out indoor spaces at your venue, and find out if you can get in early for photos just in case it’s too hot, cold, or wet outside.
What to ask your photographer: Touch base with your photographer about alternate shooting locations and the timeline for the day. Sometimes you can get the photos you want by being flexible with timing to accommodate the weather; if it stops raining during cocktail hour, maybe you can sneak away to snap a few outdoor photos!
Other things to consider: Scout out backup locations for photography wherever you’re planning to get ready. Check in with your hotel to see if you can use a grand staircase or a cool bar area for photos, or book a stylish Airbnb where you can snap some bridal party shots in a pinch. If you’re planning a wedding at home, maybe there’s a covered porch that’s perfect! Finally, don’t forget about public spaces in the neighborhood near your venue. For example, the Second Bank here in Philadelphia has a gorgeous, covered entryway where you can get a permit to take photos.

Q: When it comes to hair and makeup, how can the bride and her party make sure they look their best in rainy/hot/humid weather?A: An experienced hair and makeup team is crucial if you’re planning an outdoor wedding. They’ll know the products, styles, and application techniques that can stand up to adverse weather and last all the way through dinner and dancing. If possible, ask your makeup artist or hair stylist to stay after the initial prep for touchups, especially if your photos aren’t happening first thing. Also, be sure to communicate with your photographer about the best way to get the shots you want without letting wind, rain, or heat wreak havoc on your hair and makeup.

You can also make up a little kit of emergency beauty items, like blotting papers, bobby pins, hairspray, and anti-frizz sheets. Keep your lipstick and a small powder puff handy for on-the-go touchups, too.

Q: The wedding is a week away and the forecast is looking bad...are there any last-minute items that can make the day go more smoothly?A: When inclement weather seems likely, prepare by picking up a few extras to keep your bridal party comfortable during photos. My rainy-day essentials include extra-large umbrellas, tarps (so the bride never stands in a wet or dirty area), heel protectors, and wraps for the ladies if cold temperatures are predicted.

Q: We’ve talked a lot about weather prep for the bridal party and vendors. Any tips on keeping guests comfortable if they’re braving the weather as they move around the venue?A: If there’s a chance of rain, stock up on extra umbrellas for guests and scatter them around different spaces (particularly near entrances and exits), so no one gets caught in the rain. You might ask groomsmen or ushers to hand out umbrellas or walk your guests from the arrival point to the ceremony location. If it’s a tented affair, create covered walkways between key spaces to keep guests protected. For guests who need extra assistance, golf carts or shuttle buses are also good options.

Consider your guests’ comfort when it comes to temperature, too. If it’s hot, set up a welcome station with water, sunscreen, and fans. Some brides even offer sunglasses, parasols, and cold towels! For winter weddings, provide warm beverages, wraps and blankets, and hand warmers.

Our Wedding Weather Planner Checklist

How to make a rain plan for an outdoor wedding

1. Scout Out Your VenueIf you’re planning for an outdoor ceremony or photos, make sure the venue has alternate spaces available on your big day. Don’t forget to consider your hotel and the surrounding neighborhood for additional photography options!

2. Touch Base with Your Photographer Communicate with your photographer about your alternate locations, timeline flexibility, and must-have shots.

3. Prep Your Hair & Makeup ArtistsMake sure your beauty team has products on hand to fight moisture and humidity. Find out if they’re available to stay until it’s time for photos and take care of any touchups.

4. Bookmark Your Local ForecastAs the day gets closer, track the forecast so you can react to last-minute weather developments.

5. Gather Day-Of EssentialsA few days before the wedding, gather the following: beauty emergency kit; tarps, heel covers, wraps, and umbrellas for the bridal party; weather-related extras for your guests.

A Final Thought: What Does Rain on Your Wedding Day Mean?

If you’re still feeling stressed about the forecast, remember this: a rainy wedding day is traditionally considered a symbol of good luck! We like to think of it as a sign that you and your beloved can weather any storm together.

Bride runs to be under the umbrella with her groom.

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