Wedding Advice: Rain Plans


Rain threatened this beautiful September ceremony. We made the decision to risk the weather, and were fortunate that it missed us by half an hour.

With our fall wedding season upon us, and almost every one of them planning on an outdoor ceremony, I live in constant fear of rain. As we move towards the weekend, I check the weather every three hours (that’s how often the national weather service updates) to see if anything has changed. If the weather is looking iffy, I’m waking up in the middle of the night and checking on my tablet just in case things have improved. It breaks my heart when I have to make the call to move inside because I know that it’s not the news any couple wants to hear on their wedding day.

There are a few things that can be done to prevent as much heartache as possible:

1. Know your back up plan. At Hagley, we try to always have a back up plan in place before you even book with us. It’s very important to know your venue’s backup before booking, and to refresh yourself with it when you walk through the space a few weeks ahead of time. Knowing and feeling comfortable with the backup plan makes any possible inclement weather a little less stressful. If your back up is renting a tent, put a hold on one WAY in advance. You don’t want to be competing with all the other weddings trying to get one at the last minute. Know what time the venue is going to make the final call. At Hagley, depending on your ceremony location, we need to make the call at least 2 hours in advance in order to move chairs etc. back inside. Some venues may be able to have both locations set up simultaneously, and others may need 24 hour decisions. Which brings us to

2. Make the call as early as you can. It’s important to be positive and optimistic, but it’s also important to be realistic. If a forecast 48 hours out is 80% chance of rain, there’s a high probability that you’re going to need your back up.  The earlier you make the call, the more preparation time you have to deal with your backup location. Are the flowers and decorations from your outdoor ceremony going to improve your indoor space or do you need more? A few days is enough time to find additional decorations and order some additional flowers. Is your backup at a different location? You need to have time to inform your guests and vendors of the change. If your venue tells you that you must move inside, try to understand that they’re doing their best for you. Even if you wait to make the final decision, it’s good to make the decision to do as much prep work as you can in advance.

3. Have the essentials. If things look iffy, and you decide to risk potential rain, you can still be prepared with the essentials. Have a lot of umbrellas for your bridal party and your guests. Have towels to dry off seats. Make sure to have extra hair spray, bobby pins, etc. to repair your hair and makeup. Bring a white, plastic table cover to sit/stand on to protect your dress (this is also a good idea if it has rained recently or your might want to sit on anything outdoors even in nice weather).

4. Relax and accept. At the end of the day, none of us can control the weather. Try to remember that even through the rain, sleet, hail, or snow–it’s still your wedding! Overcast skies are perfect for photos, and umbrellas are super cute props. Plus, rain on your wedding day is supposed to be good luck! Try to accept the weather and relax so that you can enjoy your special day.


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