The Rain Plan: When Plan B Becomes Plan A

This post was contributed by Tonya Pellegrini of Pellegrini Events, which plans and manages quality events from weddings and gala dinners to corporate and social functions.

When you picture your outdoor wedding, you most likely see a beautiful day with the sun shining and not a cloud in the sky. Unfortunately, the reality of the situation is that the weather may not always cooperate with what you have in mind. Of course, you don’t want to think about it raining on your special day, no one does, but the fact of the matter is that you need to plan for everything, including rain.

bride and groom walking under umbrella

I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a rain plan for your wedding day. If your wedding ceremony, cocktail reception, or dinner is outside you NEED a rain plan. Many planners, including myself, have witnessed or heard of couples that didn’t have a rain plan, which not only affects the couple, but also all of the guests and vendors.

Having a solid rain plan will not only keep your wedding running smoothly, but it will also cut down on the stress you’d experience if you didn’t have a plan. After all, you can’t control the weather, so don’t let it control you!

A Rain Plan For Your Venue

Most venues that offer an outdoor open-air site will have their own standard rain plan, but working with your wedding planner and vendors to customize the plan for your wedding will keep a dreary day from putting a damper on your special one.

If the venue you chose has an indoor option for any or all components of your wedding, this greatly simplifies your rain plan. When you’re first exploring venues, envision yourself in the indoor space and consider how it would work for the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception in case of rain. Will the space fit your guest count? Is there a place for your caterer to work from? What are you allowed to do in the space as far as décor?

If your chosen outdoor venue doesn’t have an indoor alternative, there are still steps you can take to prepare for inclement weather. One great option is to work with your planner to secure a tent through a rental company. Because it takes some time to get a tent set up, most planners will recommend instituting the rain plan a couple of days in advance if the percentage of rain is high (50% or more). These days, there are many tent options, so there’s bound to be one to suit your vision and your budget. Options include:

  • Sailcloth (one of my favorites)
  • Pole Tent
  • Frame
  • Clear Tent
  • Carnival Tent
  • Marquee Tent

Most rental companies can also provide umbrellas for you and your guests, and a good planner will have a white sheet in her emergency bag of tricks for you to stand on so your dress doesn’t get soiled during photos if you are able to get outside.

A Rain Plan For Your Photos

Photos are perhaps the most important and treasured momentos you’ll have to remember your big day. If you’re planning an outdoor wedding, it’s likely that you’ve envisioned an outdoor photo shoot as well.

Contrary to popular belief, photographers actually love cloudy days since the light makes for the best pictures. A heavy downpour may make it absolutely impossible for you to get outside for photos, though, so you’ll want to make sure that you and your photographer also have a rain plan.

Alternate locations can include beautiful covered porches, stairways, a library, a museum, a cool loft space, or even your favorite eatery. There really are no limits here, but flexibility and open-mindedness are key.

Knowing that you have a rain plan, one that you were directly involved in the creation of, makes for a joyful day no matter what mother nature brings.

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