Outdoor wedding ceremonies and receptions are all the rage. They are naturally beautiful, effortlessly homey, and completely romantic. They can take shape at an elegant garden, a public park, or a big backyard. They complement any wedding theme and work with any wedding budget.
But for all the positive qualities of outdoor weddings, there is one disadvantage that we like to push to the back burner: weather.
No matter what time of year, week, or day you schedule your wedding, you always must consider the possibility of weather when planning an outdoor wedding. That being said, the specific date of your wedding may determine if that weather comes in the form of rain, sleet, snow, hail, hurricane, or tornado. In any effect, weather is a factor for which you must be prepared.
1. Talk to your venue
If you are renting an outdoor venue, it may already have a built-in backup plan. Talk to the venue vendor about what they typically do in case of weather. Ask if moving the location to an alternative barn, building, or structure last-minute due to weather would effect the price.
2. Rent a tent
Ever wonder why so many people rent a tent on their wedding day? Because it is a quick and easy way to stay protected from the elements! These structures are popular for a reason as many even come with flaps to shield you and your guests from every angle. Get in touch with a tent company well ahead of time at least to put a tent on hold — many will only charge you 50 percent of the total price to do so. If you are initially turned off by the idea of a tent, check out our article Wedding Tents Like You’ve Never Seen Them Before! for some inspiration.
3. Stock up
Maybe you’re the adventurous type. Maybe you’re not scared of a little weather. Maybe you just want to embrace whatever mother nature throws at you. While you may be up to the task, make sure to provide enough supplies for your guests so that the weather does not prevent them from enjoying your big day.
If you are just going to sit it out and carry on with your outdoor wedding festivities despite the weather, you will need to stock up on supplies. Ask every guest to BYOU (bring your own umbrella) and BYOB (bring your own blanket), or compile a large enough supply for all your guests. Encourage rain jackets, ponchos, and galoshes, perhaps even making it your wedding guest uniform. Weather-proof the seats — covering them with some sort of tarp until the exact moment guests decide to take their seats.
4. Set up escape stations
In the name of the health and sanity of you and your guests, set up stations for everyone to warm up, dry off, and get away from the elements. Section off an area for warmth — in the form of a bonfire, chiminea, fire pit, fireplace, or heater. Set up a couple canopies under which various hot beverages are served. Establish a blanket exchange, where guests can trade their wet or soiled blankets in for fresh, warm ones. Get creative! You and your guests will appreciate any efforts.
5. Flip flop
If either your ceremony and reception is taking place indoors, consider using that indoor venue for both aspects of your big day if weather becomes an issue. Talk to the individual in charge of that venue to see if you could extend the length of time at their venue if necessary. You will be decorating both venues anyway and both will contain enough seats and room for your guests. A church reception and a reception hall ceremony could be fun!
6. In case of rain…
If your outdoor wedding venue just really isn’t conducive to the elements, or a serious weather event decides to take place on your big day, you may need an entirely different location. Write that alternative location on the wedding invitations. Send out a postcard or email to all your guests with the necessary information. Or, point your guests towards your wedding website and advise them to check it out for updates about where your wedding will take place.
On your end, choose an alternate location that you can be happy with. While as a backup plan, this plan B venue may not be incredibly elaborate or unique, you can still make it your own. If you are happy, even the dullest church basement or the oddest local gym will not take away from your big day.
While most brides would not choose to have any sort of weather other than blue skies and bright sunshine on their big day, that is just not realistic. The brides that fail to plan for weather, hoping that by doing so they reduce their chances of suffering from such a fate, will have a serious problem on their hands if mother nature decides to pay a visit.
While you would never wish to have a rainy, windy, weather-filled wedding day, taking the time and effort to prepare will help you to enjoy your day no matter the weather. Don’t let weather dictate your day! Determine a workable backup plan to ensure that your wedding is memorable for the right reasons!