“Don’t stress about the parts of the day you cannot control.” Of all the little idioms that you hear repeated about planning a wedding, this is probably the most true of the bunch. And it is never more true than when it applies to the weather on your wedding day. Whether it is worrying about too much sunshine or deluges of rain, every couple hopes for a Goldilocks wedding day where the weather is juuuuust riiight. But the reality is that we live in Britain and here in the Blighty, there is more than a little reason to suspect that you might be seeing a few drops of “liquid sunshine” on your wedding day. Remember – the best way to avoid stressing about a rainy day wedding is to have a solid plan – just in case.
As wedding photographers we have had a lot of experience in the rainy day wedding department and we am more than happy to share our top tips for navigating the silver lining of any wedding day rain clouds.
Rainy wedding success is all in the mindset
I am sure you have heard it a million times, but I am just going to repeat it a little bit here because you need to hear it – how much you enjoy your wedding day is 100% down to your mindset about the day. If you bank on nothing but glorious sunshine, be prepared that you have likely set an impossibly high bar and commit right now to developing greater mental flexibility about what the perfect wedding day looks like to you.
We have seen couples on both sides of the spectrum, from those who happily danced in the rain to those who spent an entire day being sour as bad grapes because of grey clouds and a scant few drops of rain. We can tell you from experience that those couples who see rain as an exciting chance to enjoy the cozy atmosphere and have a splash about in the puddles are going to have the best day ever while those who demand nothing but the perfect weather will spend their day stressed, tired and railing at the gods about the unfairness of their predicament.
It is said that the wedding day is a microcosm of the marriage ahead. Do you want to be the couple who embrace life’s imperfections with arms wide open, or do you want to be the couple who laments every little challenge? Let your wet wedding day show the world what a determinedly happy couple you plan to be.
Here is a little special secret tip – If you are having the time of your life and thoroughly enjoying your day, no matter how much it buckets it down, guests won’t feel compelled to trot out the “its considered good luck!” line every 2 minutes.
Have a plan “B” etter!
If you are having an outdoor wedding ceremony or a lot of your plans involve games or activities outside, it is super important that you decide in advance what you want to happen if you have a rainy wedding day.
Depending on the venue’s setup, it may still be possible for you to have an outdoor wedding ceremony, but you will definitely want to make sure that you have plenty of umbrellas and that you have notified your guests that the ceremony will be outdoors in rain or shine. This way they can come prepared with the correct wardrobe including more sensible shoes and a nice raincoat for that part of the day.
However, most couples planning an outdoor wedding ceremony typically select to move the main event indoors if the weather forecast isn’t looking favourable. Talk to your venue’s wedding planner and make sure your indoor wedding space doesn’t get treated like an afterthought or a “better than nothing” outcome. If anything, the “b” in plan b should stand for “better”. Get the venue to really go over the top with candles or have them surround the ceremony space with the flowered centrepieces from the tables so it looks like a flower explosion. Whatever you and the wedding planner decide, just make sure the outcome doesn’t feel like second best. Make it so good you feel slightly sad your aren’t getting married in both spaces!
Additionally, talk to your venue about moving some of your lawn games inside the venue where they will get used and enjoyed. Giant Jenga is just as much fun indoors as it is outdoors and we have even seen a few hilariously fun indoor croquet matches. Alternatively, consider swapping out lawn games for card games or board games which can be played at the tables. You don’t even have to spend any extra money – just pop around a text message asking your closest friends and family to bring a few of their own favourite games from home. This is a great way to save money as well as ensure guests will have an activity they already know they enjoy!
Be rainy wedding wardrobe ready
It is true that most couples have backup plans when it comes to outdoor ceremony spaces and some have even thought through a few great ideas about how to move their outdoor activities indoors – but the most common wet weather mistakes we see are because the couple failed to be wardrobe-ready.
Regardless of what the forecast predicts, every couple should prepare for rain when selecting their wardrobe – and doubly so if the wedding takes place in early spring, late autumn or any time during winter. This is because rain will be accompanied by an extra helping of cold. It can never hurt to have a cute jacket to go over your dress, or fun wedding day gloves in your wedding colours. Ensure you have a pair of backup wedding shoes that don’t make walking on wet pavement or cobbles feel like a death-defying affair. Buy a cute blanket or two in your wedding colours so you can wrap up inside of it to keep each other cozy, warm and extra snuggly in the wedding photos.
Talk to your hairdresser and makeup artist about how wet weather will affect your hair and makeup choices. Rainy summer weddings are often accompanied by a lot of humidity and this might make it a great idea to swap those shoulder length curls for a soft and beautiful up-do. Remaining flexible and responsive to the weather will be the key to happiness. There is no point in sticking steadfastly to a down-do if you know that a hint of water turns your hair into a pouf-ball of frizz. It will just stress you out. Have an up-do you like already to hand so you can make that last minute change with no fuss.
Don’t forget to accessorize
Rainy wedding day preparations wouldn’t be complete without plenty of wedding umbrellas and wellies. There are loads of companies out there that specialise in wedding-ready wellies and brollies in classical styles such as white, black or cream, but don’t feel beholden to the “weddingyness” (totally a word) of your choices here. Wellies in fun colours or styles always look super cute. As photographers, we usually encourage couples to have white or clear umbrellas for their photoshoot (coloured ones can leave a coloured shadow on your skin) but feel free to spoil yourself with more than one umbrella and go for something colourful that we can work into the photos in a fun way.
Don’t forget your wedding party! Whilst your guests will likely bring their own umbrellas, you will probably want to get enough umbrellas to keep your close family and wedding party covered for the day as they will be in your group photos and by your side throughout the day.
Top budget tips – Look around bridal groups because many brides sell off their umbrellas after their weddings (shockingly many couples have no use for 24 puce umbrellas after their wedding day – bonus!). Alternatively, talk to your wedding venue as they may keep a large stash of plain white or black brollies for these kinds of occasions.
Don’t obsess about rain on your wedding day
In the run up to the wedding day, it can be easy to spend too much time checking out the weather forecast and considering the 11 bajillion what-ifs that come along with the daily fluctuations of the weather map. After well over 600 weddings, we can tell you something for free…. weather forecasts lie. They lie like a fly with a pickle in its eye. And this is doubly true for long range forecasts. As wedding photographers, we rely on responsiveness to weather and light as an integral part of our job and we can tell you for certain, no weather forecasting agency gets even remotely accurate more than 48 hours before the event. And in all truth, most of them only really get close within 6-12 hours.
So stop hitting that refresh button. Stop checking. And checking. And checking. Assume it will rain on your wedding day, have a wet weather plan, and then don’t check again until the night before the wedding. Obsessing won’t change the outcome, but it will make you a stressed out basket case.
Top wedding photographer tip – wedding photographers nearly always use the Met Office’s forecast. The hourly breakdown is pretty accurate for most days (on the same day – not before). The BBC forecast is clearly on drugs… someone should probably stage an intervention. So if you are going to check the weather, avoid the BBC like a creepy uncle.
Wet weather wedding photos rule!
Now for the really good news. Having a rainy wedding day in no way affects the quality of your wedding photos. Unless you consider snuggling under a shared umbrella a photographic tragedy, your wedding photos will be just fine. For the most part, during summer weddings where light is plentiful, we will look to move the photos around to a time in the day when there might be a bit of sun (or at least less rain). But it would be a total lie to say that there are never days when it rains from beginning to end. In those cases where we cannot shift things around due to the forecast or a lack of light (I am looking at you late October through early March weddings!) we can just get flexible.
Group shots can be done indoors (and look pretty fanc-y) with a few adjustments and we can do some pretty amazing couples photos inside of most wedding venues. If the rain is light, we can just find a sheltered spot outside or for couples really ready to have a bit of fun, our equipment is extremely weather sealed and we are more than happy to go with you to chase a few rainbows or set up some fun light up raindrop shots.
Rainy day light is super flattering on the skin and often results in even more beautiful images than those taken on a sunny (but perhaps a little characterless?) day. Moody clouds make for drama and I am here for photos with a bit of drama!
Want to see a gorgeous rainy day wedding? Check out this amazing Scottish Highlands Wedding.