Shelly Pate

6 Tips to Plan for a Rainy Wedding Day

Couple crosses street holding umbrellas at rainy wedding day

When making plans for a rainy day, most hope that that day is any day but your wedding day. But, when planning outdoor weddings and adventurous elopements, facing the elements is unavoidable. So this begs the question: what do you do if it rains on your wedding day? For this aspect of wedding planning that is most out of your control, the best advice I can give is to BE PREPARED for the possibility of rain. Below are my top tips for how to best plan for the chance of a rainy wedding day!

Tip #1: Have a Rain Plan

Couple holds hands at Jefferson Memorial rainy wedding day

The worst thing that can happen when it comes to weather on your wedding day is not the rain itself, but being caught off guard by it. There are venues that offer a tenting option for outdoors or an indoor space if you don’t prefer a tent. Even if only one portion of the day is outdoors, such as your ceremony, having a rainy wedding day plan in place makes it so that a change in weather does not affect your day!

Tip #2: Take as Many Photos as You Can BEFORE the Ceremony

If the weather forecast predicts rain for only a certain portion of the day, then it’s best to take as many photos as you can before the ceremony begins. This allows for much more flexibility whether that is finding a slightly different space or for passing out umbrellas! Creating a time buffer and getting the most important photos done prior to the ceremony will help relieve any stress!

Couple walks on Washington, DC street at rainy wedding day

Tip #3: Select Alternate Photo Locations

Couple kisses under clear umbrella at rainy wedding day

For Kevin and Emily’s wedding, we had originally planned to take photos around H Street near their venue in Washington, DC. But, when the forecast called for heavy rain, we created a back-up plan. Our best bet was to take their portraits at St. Francis Gardens because of its beautiful archways that gave us outdoor photos without getting wet. Choosing these alternate spots is something that we can plan together or I can scout some options!

An awning or a building with any kind of overhang can be pretty easy to find if you are getting married in Washington, DC. For Ketrin and Dennis, it was raining off and on all morning. So, I found a beautiful building with an awning in Dupont Circle which they could stand under if it started pouring. We also decided to not bring the wedding party to this location. Instead, they met us at the venue so if it was pouring we could easily dash inside or grab umbrellas.

Bonus Tip: When It Rains, the Space Is All Yours

Couple kisses at Jefferson Memorial rainy wedding day

Again, there are SO many options if you are getting married in a city like Washington, DC. For George and Germeen, we were actually able to utilize the overhangs at the Jefferson Memorial as well as clear umbrellas. You can take advantage of the fact that there is hardly anyone around when it’s raining–the city is all yours!

Tip #4: Umbrellas!

Couple has first kiss at rainy wedding day

Just in case I haven’t made this obvious enough already, clear or black umbrellas are SO CRUCIAL to your rainy wedding day plan. Fortunately, these ALWAYS look great in photos! I generally keep two on me, but I recommend that you order some for your wedding party just in case. You can make them a gift or return them if you don’t end up needing them. Has anyone started a trend of putting their name and date on an umbrella yet?!

If you definitely aren’t going for a tent or indoor option, be sure to have enough umbrellas for guests as well. Set aside a space to place the wet ones once used, and ask if the venue has mats for drying off feet plus a spot for hanging wet outerwear. If you’re asking your guests to be outside in unpredictable weather, make sure that they aren’t miserable!

Tip #5: Hire a Wedding Planner/Coordinator

Couple walks under clear umbrellas at rainy wedding day

There are wedding planners like Wildly in Love who specialize in elopements and micro weddings and others who cater to larger guest counts. Why do you need a wedding planner? Having a planner helps create a flexible day by preparing back-up rain locations and even carrying around extra umbrellas. No matter the size of your wedding there is a wedding planner for you!


Couple exchanges vows under umbrellas at rainy wedding day

No one can control the weather, so the best rainy wedding day plan you can make is to embrace it! Bring all The Notebook vibes like this couple did on their rainy wedding day where it didn’t just rain–it poured! There might not be anything more romantic and adventurous than kissing in the rain. One of this bride’s friends who was getting married a few weeks later, crossed her fingers hoping that it WOULD rain on her wedding day because she loved these rainy photos so much!

Couple holds hands on beach at rainy elopement

During Ash and Adam’s elopement on the Oregon Coast, we had crazy strong winds spraying us with sea water. Ash had originally planned wearing white boots but in light of the storm, we opted for more durable shoes. These two just took all of the wet and wind in as part of their journey and just embraced it!! 

The main point here is to not let a rainy wedding day knock you down! There are so many ways to work around it and with it if you plan for it!

Couple stands together on beach at rainy elopement

Do you have a rainy wedding day plan? Let’s brainstorm together!

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