As a wedding planner, I can think of a very few things worse then rain at an outside ceremony or reception. As much as everyone says it's "good luck", you won't feel that way if your plan B doesn't work as well as your Plan A. I'm not talking the occasional shower , (although that can be tricky to deal with as well) but the torrential down pour. In the glamourous world of weddings, this is the not-so-glamourous truth and I've experience it first hand dozens of times and here is my top 10 weather related tips!
1. The savvy couple will plan for the worst and get the best results
I am a chronic optimist, so for me to even write these words are difficult, but when it comes to events, this is so true. What is your Plan B? Make it great! Put on hold a tent that is larger than needed to accommodate all activities to be moved under the tent. Most tent rental companies will allow you to put "on hold" a rain day plan, which may include everything from tented walk ways to even larger tents. Keep in mind they normally charge a small percentage to do this, but this may be the best money you end up spending if the day ends up being not so great and you all end up cozy in an amazing tented space!
2. Set the tent up early in the week if possible
I swear by getting the tent up as early as possible (yes after they mow and spray the grounds). If you can get the tent installed on a Wednesday for a Saturday wedding, do it! If a tent company only has that Friday or is inflexible, consider hiring a different company. If the tent is installed Wednesday and it rains on Thursday the grounds are more likely to stay dry!
3. Always order the tent sides
This does not mean that you are going to use them, this just mean you have them.
4. Get off the grass if possible
An instant fix to soggy/buggy grounds after a long week of raining is to install a floor under the tent. It is an expensive option, but worth it. Imagine guests in heals not sinking into the ground, avoiding pooling water spots and muddy messes. This is the answer to all of those problems!
5. Order umbrellas and pull out the cute rain boots
- A back-up pair of stylish boots are a must for your outside wedding if it rains. They can make for fun photos as well.
- In addition, you can rent umbrellas from companies such as Bella Umbrella http://www.vintagebellaumbrella.com/ or get all the guests ponchos from your local dollar store!
6. Prepare for wind
So, it's windy! What's the big deal? What we usually find is that it is a perfectly gorgeous day and the client wants all the sides off the tent for photos and to keep air flowing and no one thinks about the wind. Wind can be as bad as rain. Try setting up glassware, centerpieces and decor in general on an extra windy day and watch the wind gusts knock it all over as catering staff scramble to save the pieces. What to do?
- Keep an eye on what the wind gusts are going to be on your "big day".
- Be prepared to request the tent wall be in place in the direction the wind is blowing.
- If necessary have all the sides of the tent up and get air-condition or use fans inside the tent for extra "controllable" air flow.
7. What to do if there is a heat wave headed your way?!
If you can not afford anything else, make sure you have tent fans!
- Also, consider air-conditioning, although it can be a very expensive addition
- Thinking about the clear top tents? Think again, they can get sweltering and create a "green house" effect when the sun beats down on the guests directly
- Keep the sides off the tent in extreme heat
- Make sure the guests are well hydrated. Consider small water stations near your ceremony, or cocktail hour or away from the regular bar area
= If you are planning a wedding during the summer months, keep in mind the time. You don't want guests sitting in a field at high noon if the sun is beating down on them! Always plan to have the event later and your guests will thank you.
8. Make sure your vendors are experienced
It doesn't matter what the weather is, if you have inexperienced vendors running your wedding, you'll regret it. An outside wedding is a 6 out of 10 in the difficulty level. Add rain, extreme temperatures or high winds, and now its a 10 out of 10. The people who are hired to run your event should have the experience of the elements BEFORE your event.
- Find out how many outside weddings they have worked on prior
- Ask them what is the plan A, B and C is and make sure you know what each plan looks like
- Make sure they are insured
- Get referrals from other local couples that used them on thier outside event
9. Get insurance to cover your day
Okay, we don't want to be a downer, but we kind of have to mention this. Extreme weather. Thunderstorm, hurricanes, flooding conditions, and the list goes on. With this in mind, consider the following:
- For thunderstorms, find a venue with an indoor back up plan. Even if it's extending the cocktail hour that is in the barn nearby a few extra minutes until the storm passes or staying that the church a little longer, please be flexible and safe.
- Prepare for the worst case scenario and it usually won't happen! Buy wedding day insurance to cover your big day in case of a state-of-emergence situation and you need to postpone. Consider insurance like wedsafe.com where Wedding Cancellation Insurance Reimbursement is available for your financial loss or expenses if you’re forced to postpone or cancel your wedding.