What if it rains on your wedding day?

Alternative London & Bedfordshire wedding photographer – Rainy wedding day advice & top tips

bride and groom wearing floral crowns, under umbrellas on their rainy wedding day

Sitting her on this glorious(!) Spring afternoon, I’m thinking about all the times I have been asked by a couple ‘What if it rains on our wedding day?’. The answer? – ‘I keep photographing, to capture the story of your wedding day!’.

Many couples dread the thought of a rain on their wedding day, with visions of damp dresses, muddy venues & chilly guests becoming a focus on the run-up to the big day. We do live in the UK & even if you’re having a Summer wedding then the chances of rain are always likely. My brother got married on the island of St Lucia in the Caribbean & it even rained on their wedding day, right up to the ceremony! In some cultures rain on a wedding day is seen as good luck, as a sign of cleansing & fertility, though despite all our best efforts it’s impossible to control the weather! So, the next best step is to be prepared & embrace whatever the heavens decide to do. With lots of lovely outdoor weddings ahead of me this summer, my lovely friend Rosie from Brolly Bucket umbrella hire company & I have got our heads together to offer up some top tips for a rainy wedding, in case of rain on your wedding day & to enjoy your special day to the fullest!

1 – Be prepared & have a plan B

No matter what you have planned for your order of the day, always be prepared for the chance of rain & have a plan B, particularly if you are having an outdoor woodland or garden ceremony. If your venue has suggested an outdoor drinks reception, check that they have another area for your guests to mingle should the heavens open & make sure your bridal party & all your on-the-day suppliers know your backup plans so everyone can be best prepared come a change of plan (& weather!). Decide early on what you want to do if it’s raining and stick to it – all professional wedding suppliers & photographers will have great ideas about what you can do, so speak to them about it if you’re worried. If you’re having an outdoor ceremony then I have 3 suggestions: either check that your venue has an indoor/covered area for you to hold your ceremony, have a marquee on hand to rig-up if need be (you can get some great clear marquees now, as Victoria & Rhys did as a precaution for their Secret River Garden wedding), or you can hire some umbrellas (see my next tip). Case in point is this lovely couple who were planning a beautiful Millbridge Court wedding in Surrey. They hoped to have an outdoor ceremony, yet the day rolled around with the most torrential, relentless rain I have ever seen. Remember that August Friday when there were flash floods?! Millbridge Court is a brilliant wedding venue & they have a gorgeous, light-filled room as a backup which was used for the ceremony & we used the outdoor awning for the couple’s photographs together – just look at these photographs & would you believe that this wasn’t what was always planned?

bride and groom with pink flowers standing together for their mill bridge court wedding

ceremony room set up with pink flowers for a Millbridge Court wedding

More often than not, even if it rains on your wedding day, it won’t rain the whole day & you can still get those lovely outdoor photographs that you were planning on. As a photographer on a rainy wedding day I always keep an eye on the weather so we can nip outside for your couple shots between showers, if I know that’s what is important to you. Even if it is a bit drizzly, find an outdoor location with some cover – an awning, a bandstand, some tree cover – to have your photographs taken under, ensuring you stay dry.

2 – Have some umbrellas on standby 

Have a selection of umbrellas on standby for yourselves, your wedding party & your guests to grab & cover up at short notice, just in case! Brolly Bucket are a brilliant umbrella hire company who send brollies to weddings all over the UK & they have many, many colours to choose from for those couples who want to coordinate, or choose a selection for a colourful array. Store them in some beautiful baskets by the venue door & your guests will appreciate your thoughtfulness if the clouds do roll in.

It was raining on Charis & Tom’s Pagan wedding in Wales, but they still had the most wonderful day. On reflection (no pun intended!) here are Charis’s thoughts: ‘In the end it doesnt matter that it rained on our wedding day. I spent soo much time stressing about the weather – & the whole night before I could barely sleep for worrying about it – but it didn’t make a difference on the day. It was still a wonderful day & we were both so happy! I would have been better not stressing about the rain & getting more sleep! I would recommend to make a plan that involves a back up if it rains so that you’re not caught out for the photos or the venue, & try not to worry because the weather is completely out of your control. Just focus on your other half & the adventure you’re about to have!’

bride and her bridesmaids carrying pink umbrellas during rain on a wedding day

same-sex gay couple walking along with umbrellas on their rainy wedding day

3 – Get yourself some wellies!

If your venue is in the countryside or has lots of lovely grounds that you’d like to get photographs in, or if you’re planning a marquee or festival style wedding, then a change of footwear will be a must! Get some wellies for you (& your other half if it’s looking to be really wet) & keep them somewhere handy for a quick change if you need them. Some brides even colour-coordinate their wellies to match their wedding colours – take Karis for example. Her & new husband Ed really wanted photographs that captured the rural-ness of their wedding venue, so she changed out of her stilettos & into some powder-blue wellies for their couple photographs…

4 – Cuddle up

Sure it’s raining, but guys it’s YOUR WEDDING DAY! Take the change in temperature as a great excuse to cuddle up to each other, particularly during your photographs together. In case it is a bit nippy, then set out some woollen blankets or pashminas in a basket for you & your guests – they will love that they can wrap up & still enjoy the day as the night draws in, without having to bring a spare jacket!

Babishe & Matt had a country wedding in Bedfordshire & had this to say: ‘Don’t worry about the rain, you won’t even notice it. When it first started raining on our wedding I was disappointed, but within minutes I had forgotten about it when my braidsmaids rocked up with a bottle of bubbly & lots of excitement & laughter. Our ceremony was in a conservatory & the rain sounded lovely bouncing off the roof, & by this point I was only concentrating on my Husband to be anyway. By the time our wedding breakfast was over, there were a few breaks from the rain when we dashed outside to take photographs. Because of the rain, the clouds cleared & the sunlight became really gorgeous – the photographs look great & the whole weather thing became part of the experience. So, if it rains on your wedding, embrace it, grab a colourful umbrella & have the best day of your life!’

5 – Embrace the weather!

Embrace the weather! Remember the real reason that you’re getting married – it isn’t because of the weather, it’s because you love each other & want to celebrate that in front of your family & friends. Whatever the weather is doing is by the by & you can still have the most perfect wedding day. If your dress gets a little muddy then it’s the sign you’ve embraced the day whole-heartedly; if there’s a storm then it’ll make for a great story to tell the children & grandchildren! Take Lindsey & Richard’s outdoor Scotland wedding at Ardoch on the banks of Loch Lomond in the middle of August, for example. Here are her words & top tips, which I received after putting this post together & most of which echo our tips above…

‘When planning our wedding my husband & I had one clear theme in mind – a Scottish wedding, incorporating the beautiful & dramatic scenery, which is so ingrained in our story together. The problem with planning an outdoor Scottish wedding? The varied & often ferocious weather. We always joked our wedding day would be a washout to balance out how lucky we have been during our camping & hiking trips in northern Scotland when dating, where the weather could rival Hawaii. Given that, our day ended up experiencing all four seasons in 24 hours. I’m glad that we had Plan A, B & C ready to go!!

Top tips:

  • Have a wet weather plan – another part of the venue, a covered tent, a flexible start time. Get as many options as possible.
  • Hire some beautiful umbrellas, just in case!
  • Don’t panic! We had the most thunderous downpour during our ceremony resulting in the whole thing being pulled from the grass & into our Plan B area – an outdoor but covered terrace, with a monsoon as our backdrop over the mountains. In the past 9 months since we have been married so many people have commented how incredible & dramatic our ceremony was – literally taking place in a storm! It is certainly not one that will soon be forgotten & it added a great element to our story.
  • Enjoy it! I didn’t realise until I saw the pictures that I actually laughed coming down the aisle as it was all so insane – I’ve never seen rain like it & there in the midst of it all was all of our loved ones, & my husband waiting at the end of the aisle. Talk about an entrance!
  • The pictures will be epic! The bigger the clouds, the more dramatic the photo!! Best make sure you hire Natalie who managed to shoot pictures of our ceremony, while standing out in the rain with a brolly balanced & covering her camera, & somehow managed to get clear, touching pictures with not a hint of raindrop. Not to mention all the photographs out in scenery, just as we had imagined.’

I didn’t tell her to write that, I promise! (& wow, thank you Lindsey!). Ok, I will let Lindsey & Richard’s photographs speak for themselves…

scotland wedding venue Ardoch set up for an outdoor wedding ceremony with floral arch, overlooking Loch Lomond

Yes, that is me & lovely videographer Jo (from Bowery Productions) braving it out in the downpour! I say it was a downpour but ‘monsoon’ possibly describes it better – you can’t see any of the view at all, it was a total white-out from rain! (Thanks to my lovely 2nd shooter Fiona for this photo)

& this is what I captured of the ceremony…

Not long after the ceremony, the rain clouds passed & the incredible view of Loch Lomond became visible again, so we were able to capture all the photographs that Lindsey had imagined!

bridal party group portrait at Ardoch wedding venue in Scotland, overlooking Loch Lomond

bride and groom smiling together at their wedding at Ardoch in Scotland

bride and groom walking together, at their Ardoch wedding in Scotland

6 – Trust your photographer & watch for the magic!

Lastly what I would say is – do any of these people here look miserable that it’s raining on their wedding day? No, they are all embracing the elements & are focused on loving each other, which is what a wedding day should be about. Enjoy your day, whatever the weather. And finally… rainbows & stars, guys, rainbows & stars. I’ll just leave these right here…

Bride and groom kissing at night with stars, at their South Farm wedding in Hertfordshire

bride and groom cuddling at night with stars, at their Keeper and the Dell wedding in Norfolk

Bride and groom standing together, under a double rainbow on their wedding day

If you are planning your wedding then I would love to be your photographer & capture the story of your wedding day for you… Please get in touch here. Nx

Sue Ann Simon - 27th May 2017 - 7:20 pm

Beautiful images, Natalie! Every couple shpuld read this!! Especially the quotes from your couples. Rain on a wedding day can be such a beautiful thing and worrying is almost always worse than the rain itself. x

Andrew Redpath - 22nd May 2017 - 1:10 pm

Superb images – what an amazing venue also!

Paul Keppel - 21st May 2017 - 5:09 pm

I really great post, I get asked all the time what happens when it rains. I embrace it and try and use the weather in the photos to give them something different.

Aaron - 18th May 2017 - 4:19 pm

The best kind of light is after the rain 🙂
Stunning wedding photography of an action packed day! Always love looking your portfolio – inspiring!

Albert Palmer - 18th May 2017 - 3:41 pm

Great advice Natalie – I love number 5 – embracing the weather is key!

Thomas Blake - 18th May 2017 - 11:59 am

Lovely work Natalie.

Luke Hayden - 18th May 2017 - 11:26 am

Great post. Something all UK couples should read.

Louise - 17th May 2017 - 10:38 pm

Perfect post for such a rainy week! That rainbow shot is stunning!

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