Particularly if any part of your wedding is outdoors, the fear of rain has likely crossed your mind a couple times. Many couples (myself included!) worry about rain on their wedding day. And while there is no way to control Mother Nature, there are some very practical steps you can take to prepare for the best day ever, regardless of the weather!
If you can’t control the weather, the next best thing is to have a killer backup plan! Most couples don’t put a lot of thought or effort into a backup plan, and that’s if they’ve thought of one at all. Because you’re hoping for clear skies and sun, the thought of planning for less-than-ideal weather stresses couples out, so they avoid it entirely. But, the truth is, this ends up causing couples WAY more stress in the month before the wedding! Even perfectly beautiful wedding days sometimes have weather forecasts of rain & storms up to the day before the wedding (that is, in fact, what happened for mine own wedding!). Case in point: make a Plan B if any part of your day is outdoor, including portraits (which, if you’re working with me, will be!).
I recommend that every couple, in every season, plans at least a short amount of time outdoors for portraits in natural light. My recommendation is the more natural light, the better. If possible, we will do all formal portraits (family, wedding party, bride & groom) outside to take advantage of beautiful natural light.
Sometime in the wedding planning process, almost every couple asks me: What happens if it rains? Will we still take photos outside? To which I always answer: What a GREAT question! If it rains on your wedding day, this does NOT mean we have to ditch the outdoors and natural light. But it does mean that there needs to be a plan in place before the day-of!
The truth is that rainy day light often produces incredibly beautiful portraits. The soft, diffused light highlights skin beautifully, if used correctly. However, you don’t want to get rained on on your wedding day, especially if portraits are before the ceremony. You also want a beautiful location that you love, not a last-ditch effort at the outdoors.
Even if you already have started making your Plan B, the next logical question is what type of places are ideal for portraits on a rainy day? There are a few key elements to look for in the perfect rainy portrait spot (which are going to sound familiar if you read this blog post about how to choose the best location for wedding day photos!).
The first recommendation I make for couples’ Plan B portrait location is an outdoor space that is covered. However, not all verandas are created equal. If you choose a covered outdoor location, make sure it has high ceilings (2+ stories) and lots of white or cream-colored space (floors, walls, ceiling!). Red brick, dark wood or colorfully painted walls will reflect ugly light on your skin and should be entirely avoided!
Also, be sure that the space is larger enough to fit all the people who will be in the photos. If you have a wedding party with 18 people, it needs to be a really large space. Sometimes, really large covered spaces (like gazebos) end up being very dark, even when painted white. The taller the ceiling the better! And remember that the celling and ground reflect just as much light as walls, so again, stick to bright, neutral-colored spaces!
The next option I recommend to couples making a rain plan is a large, indoor space with really big windows. Again, this space will ideally have high ceilings, white or light-colored walls and floors, and lots of natural light. It also needs to have a lot of space to fit your wedding party.
Let’s be honest: many wedding venues do not have a space like option 1 or 2, so a lot of couples will end up just saying “oh well” and continuing to make their venue space their Plan B. But you are smart and are making your Plan B really far in advance. This means that you can research nearby areas and find the very best option for Plan B. I highly encourage you to look at any and all nearby options that fit Options 1 and/or 2 in description. No matter where you’re getting married, you will want a beautiful space for portraits. Even if you ditch the wedding party and just have portraits of the two of you taken at a third location, you will not regret it. Couples love the photos they see on my website and social media because of the way I use natural light, which is why I work with my couples to find the most ideal spots, rain or shine! Consider these factors as you search, and let me know if you need any help or feedback!
This final option has a lot of caveats, but it is well worth your consideration! If it does rain on your wedding day, we can always continue Plan A with the assistance of clear umbrellas. Some venues even have these on site! This works best when there is shelter from the rain nearby, the rain isn’t too heavy and there are pathways (instead of having to walk through the grass). I love shooting in the rain with umbrellas, so if you’re up for it, so am I!
About half of all ceremonies that we photograph at HBP are outdoors, which means half of our weddings each year have the potential to have a last-minute change of plans. Let’s be honest: outdoor wedding ceremonies are generally really beautiful. The combination of natural light, nature, stunning views and how the venue has landscaped and decorated can create a truly beautiful scene. As a photographer, I absolutely love outdoor ceremonies (and if you haven’t already, you should read this post about how to plan a wow-worthy ceremony!).
But, there is always risk involved. If you’re absolutely in love with your outdoor ceremony location, you might have already started worrying about the weather. The very best thing you can do is find a second, weather-friendly location that you also love. It may seem obvious, but a lot of couples skip the research on their backup location. There are so many possibilities – a beautiful chapel, an outdoor, covered space, or even a tent are all great options. Your venue may also have some options – spots that may not look that pretty at first glance, but can be transformed with a little planning! It may feel like overkill to make two separate ceremony plans. And it some ways, it is. You’re only going to need one of those two plans. But even if you have a perfectly sunny day, you will be so glad you made a Plan B leading up to the wedding day every time you check the weather!
It’s a little more unusual, but if you’re having an outdoor reception, you absolutely need a really strong Plan B!
Typically, outdoor receptions have some type of covering, whether it be a large tent, covered structure or partially-indoor party. So, unless you’re planning a wedding in the deserts of Las Vegas (and if even if you are, in which case I hope we’re working together because I love the desert!), then you should come up with a specific, detailed and solid plan of exactly what to do in the case of inclement weather.
Even with a LOT of planning months in advance, this can be an overwhelming and stressful level of work! Any time there is an outdoor wedding ceremony or reception, I highly recommend working with a wedding planner. It is worth every penny to have someone else running the show and helping you make the very best plan for all different types of weather situations.
Prioritize your Plan B, make it important early in the planning process. Think through what your perfect day would look like if there was rain, and make arrangements far in advance so that, if needed, you can make it happen! And work with a wedding planner so that those details can be implemented by a professional who has made rain plans many, many times!
Romantic with moody fall vibes and jewel tones, this wedding was cozy and so beautifully designed.
La Vie En Rose photographs their 100th wedding at an all-time favorite wedding venue, Rockhouse Hotel.
Mixing sophisticated style with family traditions and meaningful moments - our kind of DC wedding!
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