The Journal

Top 5 rainy day wedding tips

You’ve been planning and preparing for your wedding day for months (or maybe a year or more). You have worked with your wedding planner and vendor team on tons of details, many of which hadn’t even occurred to you before you started the planning process (do you need to bring in extra restrooms for guests? What about transportation? Are you going to do a first look? An unplugged ceremony?).

rainy day wedding at El Encanto

But one of the elements of your wedding day over which you have literally ZERO control is the weather. Mother Nature doesn’t pay attention to our perfect sunny-day wedding plans. And because you can’t do anything about it, rain (or other undesirable weather surprises, like strong winds or extreme heat) on your wedding day is something for which you should mentally prepare, even if you’re getting married in a month that is generally expected to produce beautiful, magical, 75-degrees-and-sunny conditions (in Southern California, it’s actually rained a couple weekends in July the past two years!).

Here are some of our favorite tips for preparing for rain (and still getting beautiful images) on your wedding day:


1. Have a rainy wedding day backup plan.

Some venues have standard policies and fall-back locations for your ceremony and reception in case of inclement weather, and some do not. When deciding on a venue, consider their “rain plan” and if you’d be happy with that alternative option if you can’t have your ceremony and/or reception outdoors. Sometimes, there is no location backup, which might force you to add a tent rental to your wedding budget. Renting a tent is also a good way to keep your ceremony or reception in the outdoor space you love (instead of moving indoors), but the tent won’t do anything about regulating temperatures — consider heat lamps (and their rental costs) when contemplating your rainy day options. Cold, grumpy guests are kind of a bummer.

Greengate Ranch wedding ceremony photos

Rachel + Andrew moved their ceremony indoors to the Greengate Ranch stables when their April wedding got rained out.

2. Incorporate fun rainy-day accessories.

I think we’ve all seen the cute ideas for bride + bridesmaid rain boots, but don’t forget about photogenic umbrellas. Picking up a few clear umbrellas for yourselves and your bridal party actually makes for a great photo op! Remember items for keeping warm, like coats, faux-fur wraps, or shawls, that also complement your bridal fashion. You also have to be kind of okay with your dress getting a little wet/dirty…

rainy day wedding

Dana + Conner snagged clear umbrellas to ensure they still got some outdoor photos during their rainy day wedding in Ojai.

3. Embrace the elements if it rains on your wedding day.

It isn’t the best-case scenario that you get your dress wet and dirty, but it comes down to your own priorities (and this is a personal decision). If you want to take some epic outdoor portraits despite the rain, you won’t stay dry. Fretting over the condition of your dress during our portrait session is going to show through in your photos. Andria and Kevin (below) were able to get some pretty amazing wedding day photos around their woodland, campground-inspired wedding venue because Andria cared more about the portraits than about preserving her dress. We even thought it was kinda cool how the bottom of her dress had an ombre effect after she walked around the forest for a bit!

Santa Cruz mountains wedding

Andria cared less about the cleanliness of her dress hem than she did about getting forest portraits with Kevin, rain or not.

4. Make a “rain plan” for your hair and makeup, too!

Consider an updo that can withstand some moisture, and ask your hair stylist and makeup artist to use whatever tricks they have up their sleeves for keeping your look fresh throughout the day (extra hairspray? Waterproof mascara?). If you’ve got unruly hair that responds poorly to humidity, find some hairstyle options that will minimize the frizz. It’s not a bad idea to pay a little extra to have your hair stylist and/or makeup artist stick around until at least cocktail hour after the ceremony to do touch-ups between photos (i.e., between first look/bridal party portraits and the ceremony start time).


5. Remember that even if it’s raining, you’re still getting married!

No matter what, the MOST. IMPORTANT. THING. about this day is that you are celebrating your decision to commit yourself to the person you love most. Rain may throw a wrench into your plans, but it doesn’t diminish the occasion you’ve invited your nearest and dearest to enjoy with you and your betrothed. Focus on the reasons you’re throwing this party in the first place, make peace the things you cannot change (like the weather), and know that your acceptance of elements beyond your control will give you the freedom to soak up every last drop (see what I did there?!) of wedding day bliss.

Ready for more inspiration?