Planning for Rain on Your Wedding Day: How to Ensure a Perfect Celebration Come Rain or Shine

Bride fixes her gown on the terrace at William Aiken House in Charleston South Carolina
Covered terraces at The William Aiken House on a rainy day

Planning a wedding is SO exciting, but one factor that can cause anxiety for many couples is the unpredictable weather, especially the possibility of rain on your big day. While you can’t control the weather, you can certainly plan ahead and make necessary arrangements to ensure your wedding day is still a memorable and beautiful event, come rain or shine. Rain can be a factor to anybody’s wedding day, regardless of where you are in the world, so today I wanted to share some practical steps to help you prepare for the possibility of rain on your wedding day. (Yes, the line from Alanis Morrissette has been playing in my head this whole time)

Hire a Professional Planner

If you want to ensure a stress-free wedding day, my #1 piece of advice is to hire a professional wedding planner. They have experience dealing with various situations, including inclement weather. A wedding planner can take care of all the necessary arrangements and handle any last-minute changes due to rain, allowing you to relax and enjoy your special day.

Your planner will help (and likely bring up before you do) with all of the below items, so that’s why hiring a planner is my #1 suggestion.

Choose a Venue with Indoor Options and a Rain Plan

When selecting your wedding venue, prioritize options that offer indoor or covered spaces in case of rain. The likelihood of rain varies greatly depending on where in the world you’re getting married, so in areas (like here in South Carolina where rain is a frequent wedding-guest) where rain is more likely this is more important.

Bride and groom share an intimate moment on the grand staircase at Montaluce Winery in Georgia
Stairwell at Montaluce Winery
Bride and Groom laugh together on the covered pavilion at Montaluce Winery on a rainy day
Covered pavilion on a rainy day at Montaluce

You’ll want to consider your whole day when you’re making your rain plan since you may only need to shift one event (ie. just the ceremony), or the whole day depending on the severity of the rain.

Covered outdoor pavilion for a destination wedding in Mexico
Covered Reception Pavilion
Bright sunny reception dinner under a covered pavilion in Mexico
Outdoor Pavilion: It rained later this evening!

Ask the venue person directly what the rain options are, and how other couples have handled rain in the past.

Rent a Tent

If you have your heart set on an outdoor wedding, consider including a tent in your design to provide cover from the rain.

Sailcloth tent at the Thomas Bennett House in Charleston for a luxury wedding
Sailcloth Tent at The Thomas Bennett House

There are SO many different tent options, from sailcloth (my personal favorite), to clear top, so your tent can be super customized to your wedding day aesthetic. You can host the entire day under the tent, or plan to have the reception tented and only move the ceremony in case of rain. Tents create a beautiful and intimate atmosphere while keeping you and your guests dry.

Clear tent with sides for a rainy april wedding reception
Draped clear tent with sides for a windy and rainy wedding reception

Communicate with Vendors

Keep open lines of communication with your vendors, including photographers, caterers, and florists. Discuss backup plans and contingencies with them in case of rain. Ensure they are prepared to adjust their setups and schedules accordingly.

If you’ve chosen to hire professional vendors then there’s a 99.99% chance they’ve dealt with rain on a wedding day before. Ask them how they handle things like ceremony site changes, rain delays, etc.

Have a Backup Plan for Outdoor Ceremonies

Even if you’re dreaming of saying your vows under the open sky, it’s crucial to have a backup plan for outdoor ceremonies. Choose a designated indoor location or arrange for a tent as an alternative option. This way, you can still have the outdoor wedding you desire while being prepared for inclement weather.

Embrace the Rain

Bride and groom share a kiss during their rainy wedding ceremony at Old Wide Awake
Rainy wedding ceremony at Old Wide Awake

Instead of letting rain ruin your special day, embrace it as a unique and romantic element. Rain can create a dreamy atmosphere and add an extra touch of magic to your wedding. Capture beautiful photographs with umbrellas or let the raindrops be a part of your story.

Invest in Waterproof Accessories

To protect yourself and your guests from getting wet, invest in waterproof accessories. Provide matching umbrellas for you and your bridal party to stay dry and stylish. Offer umbrellas or rain ponchos for your guests as well, so they can enjoy the celebration without worrying about the rain.

Son holds umbrella over his mother during wedding ceremony
Son holds umbrella over his mother during wedding ceremony

If you’re having an outdoor ceremony and plan to go forward even if it rains, having umbrellas and ponchos already for guests will help keep your day’s design aesthetic cohesive as well. (If you don’t then prepare to have some wild colored umbrellas in your photos!) 🙂

Ask your planner and / or venue contact what they have for towels and blowers to dry seating in case it rains before the ceremony.

Inform Your Guests

Make sure to keep your guests informed about the possibility of rain on your wedding day. Include a note on your wedding invitations or create a wedding website where you can provide updates and information regarding the weather forecast and any necessary arrangements.

Make a Rain Plan with Your Photographer

Bride walking down a staircase at The William Aiken House

Rainy weather doesn’t mean your photos are ruined, I promise. Rain creates its own magic, and honestly makes everything a little extra romantic and cozy. I’d recommend chatting with your photographer about the location plans and possibilities if it rains, and plan to incorporate umbrellas, or just embrace getting wet!

Bride beside a window in black and white at The William Aiken House
Indoor space for portraits at The William Aiken House

It’s a good idea to choose a couple of indoor or under-cover locations as backup spots for your photos just in case of rain. Make sure to think about how large your wedding party and family are, so that the rain-spots are large enough to accommodate your whole group. (ask your photographer for their input too, as they’ll have a better technical knowledge of how the space and light will work on a rainy day.

Stay Positive and Flexible

Remember that the most important aspect of your wedding day is the celebration of your love and commitment. Stay positive and maintain a flexible mindset throughout the planning process. Embrace the unpredictability of the weather and focus on enjoying the company of your loved ones.

To Wrap it All Up

Planning ahead for rain on your wedding day is essential to ensure a smooth and memorable celebration. By choosing the right venue, communicating with vendors, having backup plans, and embracing the rain, you can turn a potentially challenging situation into a unique and beautiful experience. Remember that rain on your wedding day is said to bring good luck, so embrace it and create beautiful memories that will last a lifetime.