What to do if it rains on your wedding day?

Updated: Jul 2

Your wedding day is one of the most important – and, often, the most stressful – days of your life.

After months or even years of planning, it all comes down to one day – so naturally you want it to be perfect.

However, did you know that in a recent survey by Hitched of 2000 brides, over 57% admitted that the weather was a source of anxiety for them, so if worries about what do to do if it rains on your wedding day are keeping you awake at night, you are not alone!

Whilst a professional wedding planner like me dedicates all my time, energy and expertise to the creative design and immaculate management of your big day, controlling the weather is unfortunately beyond the control of any of us – so instead dreading it, my advice is to change how you feel about it.

In 2019 I had quite a few ‘wet weddings’ and whilst rain was not part of the plan for any of them, my couples totally styled it out - they all had the most fabulous, unforgettable weddings days, resulting in some incredible rainy wedding day photographs to boot, like these!

How to prepare for rain on your wedding day

It’s entirely natural to feel that rain is not ideal but the only way to avoid it becoming a serious source of anxiety is to change how you feel about it. We all know that we shouldn’t stress over things we cannot control, so whilst we cannot influence the weather on any given day, we can control our reactions to it. Whilst it’s rare that a couple actually desires rain on their wedding day, there are ways you can turn your fears of a rainy wedding day into positives, so that you can embrace it if it does happen on your day, and they are:

· Perspective

· Positive attitude

· Preparation

1) Rainy wedding day advice and top tip: keep things in perspective.

Keep at the forefront of your minds the real reason that you’re getting married – it’s not about your incredible dress, the epic venue, or how beautifully you’ve styled it all, it’s because you love each other & want to mark and celebrate your commitment to each other in front of those closest to you. Whatever the weather is doing is completely incidental to this and is of no importance. So what if you get a little mud on your shoes or your guests have to remember to bring their umbrellas when they arrive? That pales into insignificance when you think about the scale of the commitment you are making and how much you mean to all those guests who have gathered to witness it.

2) How to make the most of rain on your wedding day: keep a positive attitude

There are a number of reasons that having a wet wedding day can actually be advantageous, so in the spirit of positive thinking, these are the advantages of a rainy wedding day:

Brilliant photos

Photographers will say that the mist and soft light that occurs in rain casts a super romantic glow to wedding photos which cannot be achieved in bright sunshine - shots can be truly stunning and dramatic. Rain gives you and your photographer an opportunity to have some fun with props and locations to create some really artistic and winning shots, for example sheltering from the rain in a bandstand or under some trees or cuddling up tight under a stylish umbrella. Remind yourselves of this by recapping on some of the most romantic moments in film history, where kissing in the rain is often part of the process - such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Notebook, 4 Weddings and a Funeral, Australia, Little Women, Pirates of the Caribbean, Northanger Abbey … to name but a few!

In reality, it probably won’t rain all day – your photographer (or wedding planner!) will be keeping an eye out for that opportunity after a rainstorm when the sun comes out in all its glory, like for my couple L&J below – and if you are super lucky, you’ll get a rainbow too! Either way, wet wedding photos are certainly dramatic and romantic – and who wouldn’t want that!

(As an aside, I’d go for rain over wind any day – posing in the romantic rain for photos is far preferable to trying to take shots when gusts of wind are lifting your veil and causing havoc with your hair!)

Comforting Sound

How many times have you been indoors snuggled up on the sofa or in bed listening to the sound of the rain – how does the sound make you feel? It’s a sound that is usually associated with feeling warm and safe, how lovely is that!

So whether you are listening to the rain on the ceiling while saying your vows or listening to speeches, in the future the sound of rain will forever take you back to that moment.

Guest experience

A rainy wedding day is certainly going to be memorable – guests love to see a bride being heroically carried to church to save her shoes from getting wet or to see the newlyweds surrounded by brollies laughing in the rain, it makes it different to all the other weddings they’ve been to which are predictable by comparison! Guests always remember a rainy wedding and as long as there is a sense of there being an organised plan in place to minimise their discomforts, guests will look back with positive memories of a super romantic and well managed day. Another little bonus is you won’t have to worry about your guests (or your flowers!) wilting in the heat or beads of perspiration on you!

Good luck

For those who worry about whether rain on their wedding day is bad luck, in fact, in many cultures it is said to be quite the opposite. Rain on your wedding day is said to bring good luck - it signifies that your marriage will last - a knot that becomes wet is extremely hard to untie – so when you “tie the knot” on a rainy day, your marriage will be just as hard to unravel. Rain also symbolizes fertility and cleansing which are also positive energies to bring to your big day. The Italians have a succinct expression for this eventuality - 'Sposa bagnata, sposa fortunate' -which translates as 'wet bride, lucky bride'.

How to plan for a wet wedding day

Lastly, as a professional wedding planner, my motto is “Hope for the best but plan for the worst” – so, always plan for rain then you can be pleasantly surprised if it doesn’t; planning and expecting rain takes away any last minute stresses when it appears unavoidable and it makes rain part of the expected plan rather than a problem that you suddenly need to work around. So, think about all the times during your day when you have to be and / or would like to be be outdoors, and make a back up plan.

If you have your heart set on an outdoor ceremony, have a back up ‘Plan B’ that you are equally as happy with – an alternative indoor or undercover location and think through how you can set out your chairs and style your floral designs and other props there in a way you are equally happy with, and do the same if you are planning an outdoor drinks reception. Where will you position your bar and chill out furniture in the alternative location? How should your florist and stylist set up the flowers and props in the Plan B space?

Think about how rain might affect your look – ensure you have waterproof make up check with your dress designer about including a small hidden hook and button so if you need to lift your hem up to avoid wet ground you can do so; and practice this with your chief bridesmaid!! The number of times I’ve helped brides to hook up their dresses in an emergency and as they’ve never asked for a demonstration from the designer it takes much longer to work out how to hook it up than it should, which can add to their stress!

In terms of the practicalities of getting from your preparation location to your bridal car and from there to the ceremony, think through the distances and the ground surfaces. If the distance is fairly short and flat, a second pair of shoes or even trainers might be just what you need (and a chief bridesmaid to carry your actual shoes and help you change into them). If the ground is uneven and therefore likely to present fairly large puddles to navigate, it may be that you need to have some cool wedding wellies on standby.

And having a number of stylish wedding umbrellas to hand is an absolute must! Not only for you and your immediate bridal party but also the groom and his ushers. These days, wedding umbrellas are big business, whether they be clear, multicoloured, heart shaped or customised with your names – whichever is your preferred option, even if you don’t need them on the day, they make a great keepsake of the day and are a testament to your planning and organising skills! And if budget stretches to it, you could also have umbrellas on standby for your guests to borrow – there’s no need to buy in bulk though, plenty of companies hire wedding umbrellas now for reasonable costs.

If it is still raining at the very end of the night when you are about to leave, how about making it into one of the hero images of the day and simply 'going for it' - letting yourselves get completely drenched, by then it really doesn't matter and it makes for one hell of a photo, like these ...

To summarise then, rain on your wedding day should not be seen as a disaster but rather a likelihood to be incorporated into the planning and accepted as a possibility, along with all the other logistics for your day for which there is a contingency plan. And my parting words – don’t blame it on the nightmare weather here in poor old Blighty, even couples who get married in the Caribbean risk a rain shower.

"Romance in the Rain" – my advice is, if you can't fight it, own it!

Susannah x

Photo credits: Jamie Dodd Photograpy

David Pullum Photography

Lucy Martin Bridal


Couture Weddings & Events Ltd

Luxury wedding planner and event organiser covering London, the Home Counties and beyond.

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