What if it Rains on my Wedding?

What if it Rains on my Wedding?

There are no guarantees about the weather anywhere. Living on an island like Britain, we are not particularly surprised by heat in winter, or rains and snow in summer. So who would dare arrange an outdoor ceremony?

A wonderful setting for a handfasting!

Almost exactly four years ago, I was privileged to conduct a handfasting on an Iron Age fort that – as the picture above shows –  was totally exposed. It was a period of exceptional floods across Britain. I drove down through torrential rain, and had to drive back through a thunderstorm. Amazingly, for the couple of hours I was up on Old Sarum (I had to be there early to set up), it didn’t rain and wasn’t even (very) cold.

I’ve officiated at a small number of outdoor ceremonies in the summer when the conditions were,  shall we say, difficult. In one case, there was a sudden cloudburst during the wedding. Somebody had the presence of mind to bring a parasol from the hotel terrace to protect the bride (though not the celebrant!). On another occasion, a vow renewal, there was a yurt available, but the rains held off sufficiently, and we could stick to Plan A. On a third occasion, the day was cloudless and extremely hot for the naming ceremony. Fortunately, this was a garden event, and there were plenty of trees offering shade.

Sun

So what can you do, if the forecast is hot and sunny?

You can usually rely on some common sense on the part of your guests. They may bring a hat and maybe sunscreen etc.

You can make sure that plenty of cold drinks (preferably, not alcoholic at this stage) are available. Depending on the sort and size of ceremony and the venue, you may be able to offer parasols or small umbrellas for the guests. If shade is available, then make use of it. Finally, bring the guests out as late as possible, and keep the ceremony short, if that is feasible.

Wind

There’s not much you can do about wind, especially if your ceremony will be held at an exposed spot. One thing to be aware of is that wind will take sound away, so the celebrant’s voice, at least, will probably need to be amplified. Hats and veils will need attention, if they are not to be blown away.

Rain

When the rains are expected, you may be able to issue umbrellas to the guests. If there are seats, try and keep them covered with plastic, say, until the last moment.

If it’s muddy, perhaps the venue can put down some sort of (red?) carpet, so that heels don’t get submerged and trousers splashed.

Cold

Hopefully, guests will have the sense to arrive well-protected. It may be possible to issue blankets. If the length of the ceremony can be kept to a minimum, it might be appreciated by your guests.

Reality

Despite all this pessimism, of course, the chances are that the weather will be wonderful for your big day! And there’s nothing like having your ceremony outdoors – it really makes it special (just occasionally, for the wrong reasons, though!).

If your ceremony is in the grounds of the hotel, it’s worth chatting to them in advance, especially if adverse weather is anticipated. They may have a Plan B for you.

An outdoor ceremony? A gamble, yes – but one well worth taking.

Wedding Weather

Wedding Weather

With the snow coming down unseasonably hard in Harrow as I write, my thoughts turn to wedding weather. Not unreasonably, I suppose.

The weather can make such a difference …

So what arrangements can you make, if inclement weather looks like ruining your big day?

Clearly, it will make a difference whether your ceremony will be held outdoors, or not. The amount of warning you may have about dodgy weather may also play a part. If it’s a freak storm, you may be taken completely by surprise.

One wedding I took was meant to have begun at 5.30 (when it was very sunny and warm). Unfortunately, it couldn’t actually begin till 7.00 p.m., and the rain bucketed down. Nobody could have foreseen that.

All we could do was to borrow a parasol, so that at least the couple were protected!

 

Eventualities

If you’re using the garden of a private venue, say, there may be the possibility of going inside. The owners will appreciate maximum warning, of course, and there may be problems of space etc. Your guests will accept a little discomfort in the circumstances!

Should you (or, rather, the venue) be providing chairs, it may be possible to get the venue staff to dry them off just before everyone arrives (although that doesn’t solve the problem of continuous rain!).

If there isn’t that option, you simply have to grin and bear it. It will help a little bit, if your celebrant can add a bit of humour to the proceedings, but it may not be as fun as you would hope. However, with sufficient warning, you may be able to prepare umbrellas for your guests (and for the couple!). And once you’re wet, you’re wet …!

Maybe you know that it’s likely to be really muddy.  Then you might want to warn people by e-mail (or even do so in the original invitation, especially if it’s a winter wedding). High heels may not be a great idea. A venue might be able to lay down some matting, or whatever, for the ceremony area.

If it’s freezing, unless you can lay on some hot water bottles, you will have to rely on people being sensible enough to come prepared.

For an outdoor winter wedding, it makes sense that, when you prepare the service with your celebrant, you aim at a reasonably brief ceremony. Another factor is that wind may make it very hard to hear what is going on. I did a Vow Renewal at Stonehenge last year. It was wonderful, but I was glad that it was a only a small ceremony, as the incessant wind presented real challenges to my vocal cords!

Good weather!

I ought to mention fine weather weddings (even in this country!). Especially if it’s a hot spell, organise shade, if you can – and water – for guests at outdoor weddings. Parasols may be a possibility.

Attitudes

Every wedding has its professional moaners, however beautiful and faultless it may be. Accept it! But realise that the vast majority of people will NOT blame you for the rain, snow, wind or sun, and will actually take Acts of God in their stride. Do what you can to mitigate stormy weather, and enjoy what you can.

At the very least, it may be a day that you and your guests never forget!