Days before a wedding, we scan the skies. We all do it. We watch the forecast because no one wants it to rain on their wedding day. Yes, rain is considered good luck on your big day, but it’s also an opportunity for an amazing story with a celebration like no other! Either way, we believe that every wedding should have a “Plan B” in the case of inclement weather of any kind.
Unless your wedding ceremony, cocktails and reception are all planned to be held entirely indoors, you just can’t risk not having alternative arrangements in place should Mother Nature decide to play a dirty trick on your wedding day. This is undoubtedly where a professional wedding planner is invaluable. You will be free to enjoy the day regardless of the weather and your planner is there to put into action your alternate arrangements; executing Plan B while working with the venue, rental company, florist, musicians, videographer, and the other vendors. A professional planner makes sure all your bases are covered on the wedding day. After all, even if you’re all inside, you still need to be prepared with extra umbrellas and a backup plan if it is simply not feasible to dress at home because the rain is so torrential.
We understand that we're talking about one of those taboo subjects you’re not supposed bring up...rain on the wedding day, but it does happen. If there isn't enough interior space to host all of the wedding events at your chosen venue, a backup plan like having enough tenting to cover everybody if a downpour occurs is a must. Soaking wet dinner tables and wedding guests make for a miserable evening, so if your vision contains any outdoor components, you should definitely consider the dreaded question: what if it rains? Wedding planners can pull strings to make a lot of things happen on your wedding day, but the weather is the one thing that is completely out of our control. However, we can be prepared for every possible scenario!
Our first bit of advice, from the way we see it, is that you have two choices:
1. To be stressed about the rain
2. To embrace the rain.
We know that after months of planning it can be disappointing when things don’t go as expected. Sadness is a natural emotion; we understand you will be frustrated. We would encourage you to collect yourself, realize it’s out of your control, and then make the most of it!
Choose to find joy and embrace the day! Your attitude will set the tone for the entire wedding. If you celebrate the rain and choose joy, your bridal party and guests will join you!
Before that even becomes an issue, however, plan ahead. When touring venues, always consider what the rain plan options would be. (We hope that you will never need them.) Are there extra spaces for you to use? Is your venue fully outdoors or a mix of indoor and outdoor? If you have planned an outdoor ceremony with an indoor reception what options are available? Is there a second indoor space to move the ceremony in the event of bad weather or is there enough room in the main reception area to do the ceremony?
The size of the space and number of guests will play into this determination. If there’s enough space, you might be able to set up the ceremony in the reception room and just push the guest tables to the back out of the way. Then after the ceremony your guests can enjoy cocktails while your wedding planners move everything back in place for the reception. If you don’t have that much extra room to work with, then you could have your ceremony on the dance floor, set up one or two rows for immediate family to sit in and have the rest of the guests sit at their seats for the reception. It’s not ideal but guests will be dry and you will still be married at the end! It might be Plan B… but usually moving indoors pulls everyone closer, and everything is more personal & intimate. Not to mention, if you have a great photographer, they will always have a Plan B location plan (they also usually have a plan C and plan D too, just in case!)… so rain can give you the chance to get some cool, glamorous, indoor photos.
If your venue is entirely outside, we strongly recommend that you reserve a tent. A prepared bride is a smart bride. During the months leading up to your great day, it is important to foresee that, depending on the dates you have chosen for your wedding, there are greater chances of rain. If there are no indoor options where will your guests go if it rains? It is more than likely that if you do not have a dry place for them to escape to, most of your guests will leave following the ceremony. Your bridal party and a small number of close family members may stay to dance in the rain, but let's be honest…at this point all your planning, all the food and all the drinks will go to waste. If you have a tent on standby though, you have the peace of mind of knowing that if it does rain, you and your guests will be dry. Be sure to ask your wedding planner about what size you will need to cover everything from guest tables to the dance floor, your bar and buffet. You will need to reserve your tent in advance to ensure that it is available if needed especially if you are getting married at a popular time of the year like May or October, for example. Clear or windowed tent sides are a lovely option and are especially helpful in the event of driving rain. Those can be added on at a later time, however. Tent rental companies require a non-refundable deposit on your tent reservation to hold it. If you don’t use it you loose the deposit, but we firmly believe it is worth the cost to know that you have a back up plan in case the skies open up on your big day.
Don’t wait until the last minute to try and secure a tent. Rental companies require a deposit in advance to make sure that if you need a tent you have one available and that they can provide the manpower to install the tent (it takes several hours to assemble and install safely). These things have to be taken care of in advance and if you call two days before your wedding when the forecast suddenly shifts, they may not have a tent available, or the staff available to deliver and set it up in time.
When to make the decision to enact your rain plan differs from venue to venue. For some it might be the morning of the wedding, others right before the ceremony is set up. And others may begin their set up a few days in advance so they might require more notice. Most tent companies require a minimum of 72 hours to 5 days notice of your decision so they can secure labor and add you to the delivery and set up schedule. The weather, especially in Tennessee, can change so much in 3-5 days, but we always recommend that you go with your gut and ask yourself, what is the worst case scenario? Is it that your guests don’t get to have dinner under the stars? Or that your guests are getting drenched? We understand that you want the wedding you’ve always dreamed of, but if the weather looks iffy, then you could pay the second half of the deposit on the tent, get on their schedule and then on the day of your wedding have your planner simply tell them not to put it up. No one wants to be out that money, but at least you have the option to make your decision at the last minute.
Also, there are times when the rain passes through quickly. In those cases, your wedding planner can simply flip the event timeline and have your cocktail hour indoors prior to the ceremony. When the rain stops they can wipe down all the chairs and have the ceremony you always dreamed of outside.
In the end, you will be married regardless of exactly where your ceremony takes place or whether the weather cooperates. Being prepared will help make your day less stressful and much more fun knowing that no matter you’ve got it covered. And look on the bright side...you will have beautiful soft light for all your photos. It’s no secret that overcast, cloudy skies makes for soft, pretty flattering light. It’s much easier to photograph in than on a harsh sunny day. There’s no squinting from the harsh sun and no sunburn. You can get the most stunning rain photos. Seriously, Pinterest it and you will be wishing for rain (just a little bit) on your wedding day. And when those storms are rolling in you can take advantage of EPIC skies! With rain, comes clouds. With clouds, comes drama.
So there you have it. Don’t stress about rain – you can’t change it – but you CAN change how you react to it. Enjoy your wedding day, live it up, dance in the rain – and have the best day of your life!!