Outdoor ceremonies are probably the most popular kind of event that we help plan. And at every initial interview with our clients, one of our first questions is “great, but what happens if it rains?” No one wants to think about rain on their wedding day, but planning for it is much better than living in denial.
It’s fabulous that couples are able to maintain a positive attitude, but it shouldn’t outweigh the need for an a) reality check b) a solid wet weather contingency plan. A contingency plan is a must because the last thing you need to be worrying about in the lead up to the day is bad weather. Here are some tips for getting your wet weather plans in place.
Hire a wedding planner!
Us, we hope! (We have Melbourne and Sydney Wedding planners and we do travel interstate). Even if you don’t need someone for the whole day, or even half of it, our 3 hour short day packages are specifically tailored for the outdoor ceremony. Or check out our Rain Protection Program here specifically designed for this purpose. That means, we can arrange your ceremonial hire (champagne service, decorations, chairs, signing tables, musicians etc), meet you at the car and cue you down the aisle, as well as pack up afterwards. And guess what, if it rains on the day and we need to implement your wet weather plan, we can take care of this for you and make phone calls to the right people to set up your new location.
Find the perfect venue.
And that is, an outdoor garden – with an indoor space nearby. Some popular choices are rotundas, pagodas, surf clubs or even hotels and community centres. You can also check the terms and conditions on your outdoor space, to see whether they allow the use of a marquee as a plan B. Whatever you decide, it should be somewhere fairly close to your original venue, and something reasonably priced, because chances are you will have to pay a booking fee in advance to secure the property (even if you don’t end up using it).
Relax, it’s just a bit of pineapple juice.
If you do decide to go ahead in the event of a bit of rain drizzle, be prepared. Hire umbrellas for your guests (which we can help you with), and consider either a wedding canopy (like a chuppah) or a market umbrella to shelter yourself while you sign the registers. It is also important to note that most musicians will not play in the rain, so you’ll need to consider shelter for them similarly.
If you’ve decided that you don’t want a wedding planner…
…then you should consider appointing a friend or relative to take on this responsibility for you. Ideally it’s someone who’s not in the immediate family or in the bridal party, but someone you trust. Provide their details (phone number most importantly), to your vendors. In the event of poor weather, this will be the person they call on the day to confirm where the ceremony is to take place, and what the new plans are. We do have a Rainy Day Back Up Plan available to download here as well.
Draw up a separate “wet weather” runsheet.
This should be a different document to your “sunny day” run sheet. It should contain the movements for your vendors and contain the name of the vendor, as well as their phone number. A few days prior to your wedding, circulate this, along with your sunny day run sheet to all your vendors, so that everyone understands their movements.
Advise your vendors of your wet weather cut off.
Discuss with your fiancé how strongly you feel/don’t feel about going ahead with an outdoor ceremony in the rain, months in advance. Some couples feel like only an electrical thunderstorm would make them want to call it off, and others are happy to call in a wet weather plan at the slightest bit of drizzle. Whatever your feelings are, decide as to what time you will make the final call on the day and let your vendors know. This way you have set the expectation for your vendors, and they won’t need to call you any earlier to find out whether the plans have changed.
Make that call.
If you do decide to move the ceremony, then you’ll need to let people know. There are a couple of ways you can do this. A quick email blast may suffice to your vendors, as long as you let them know that that is how you’ll be confirming the plans in advance. It saves time, and the stress of having to repeat yourself multiple times. Your guests will also need to know too. An effective way to do this, without even picking up the phone, is to leave a recorded message on your mobile saying that the venue has changed, and guests are to now meet at XYZ. Social media is helpful too…a post on a wedding website, Facebook page or blog is a quick way to spread the word. This contact detail should all be included as an insert when you post your invitations.
Planning an outdoor ceremony is taking a gamble with Mother Nature. Most of the time, it pays off. But if you are armed with a sound wet weather contingency plan and remain realistic about the possibility of bad weather then you really have your bases covered.