TIPS FOR RAINY WEDDING DAYS
With all of the planning in the world, there is one thing that you have no control over. So I am here to tell you why rainy days weddings rock still.
You may have planned a winter wedding, or one in Autumn or Spring and figure you are likely to have some rain to deal with on the day. You may have planned your wedding for June and picture your guests playing lawn games in the sunshine, but recognise that you could still be very unlucky with the weather.
I have attended cold, windy and wet weddings in June and July and 20+ degrees in November and February, without a cloud in the sky. Point being, you never do quite know what the weather is going to be like. Most of my couples confess to checking the weather, rather compulsively, each and every day from around 3 weeks before their wedding. This is a terrible idea for a few reasons (I will also confess that I did this despite knowing better!) mainly your heart will break and your hopes will rise in rollercoaster fashion as the report changes. Another big issue with it is that there is nothing that you can do about it unless you know something I don’t know (please tell me), us mere mortals cannot change the weather. Even if you do discover that your wedding will be a complete washout, with just a week or so to go, what can you hope to change now? Apart from buying an emergency set of umbrellas… not a lot you can do but have a great time anyway!
What can you do then?
There are options, even for outdoor type weddings, but you need to prepare, both in mind and in practice way before you start checking the weather report.
Do I want a wedding when there is a good chance it will rain?
If you would rather take on the attitude that you can prepare for rain, and hope for a better day, then a wedding during the “off-season” might be right up your street. There are some very tangible benefits; less competition over venues and suppliers, discounts from many venues (we offer a winter wedding discount) and more chance of your guests being able to make it and excited to come. Another benefit is that your guests will also dress expecting the weather to shift and turn and therefor hopefully be prepared – in summer guests often dress for hot and sunny, even on chilly and wet days, this can lead to them shivering in their coats at the tables.
If the above does not appeal and you picture your guests sipping champagne, long evenings and warm sunsets, then book it In the summer months! As above, that doesn’t mean that it *wont* rain, but it is far less likely to!
My favourite things about rainy weddings!
Not an issue for the guests if you have a ‘proper’ venue with car parks, paths and areas of hard standing. It may be beneficial for you both to have a pair though. Great for allowing you to step onto the grass and go for a walk with your photographer when the rain takes a break without worrying about ruining your wedding shoes etc. If you have a DIY, Farm, or a festival kinda wedding, then I would recommend suggesting that guests bring a pair if they have them (in the car), just in case. Brands like Hunter even do a wedding welly boot range now.
Might also be worth you treating you (and possibly bridesmaids/ushers if budget allows) to some special wellies. You can get all kind of designer and glam ones these days! Keep your feet dry, look stylish and take some special pictures all with one piece of footwear.
Flowers don’t wilt/cakes don’t melt
Titles says it all really! A hot sunny day is amazing, but can also be exhausting! Sunlight beating down on you and your guests, frantically using your beautifully produced Orders of Service to try and combat the beads of sweat forming on their… well, everywhere. Your cake may melt and your flowers will start wilting before the service has begun.
Contrast in the outdoor colours
The colours never look so bright, colourful and interesting as they do straight after a rain shower! If you can run outside during a gap in the weather, you may be rewarded with extra contrast and ‘colour pop’ from your wedding photos! This also lends itself to great detail shots!
Well yes, even a small break in the clouds can lead to a rainbow! A definite advantage of a rainy wedding day and what could be more romantic than a shot of you and your beloved, looking your best and feeling in love underneath a huge rainbow. You might call this a little clichéd perhaps, but, I have decided to stick with the notion of beauty and romance, so there. If you have a rainbow on your wedding day follow these two golden rules – move quickly with your photographer, when it’s gone it’s gone! And that you may get wet whilst capturing the magic, it is a RAINbow after all.
Back-lit rain shots
My own favourite thing about shooting a rainy wedding, is that I need to keep my eyes open for every single opportunity to create something magical for my couples. It is harder in the rain, it is. Backlighting the rain drops with lighting or a flash can create some truly unique and stunning images from the best day of your life. Not all photographers have the equipment or the know-how to produce these kind of shots, so if it is something that is important to you, ask before even booking.
“Royal” style family shots
Well, you cant do shots outside in the pouring rain with your family can you. This is a lovely alternative and timeless and with charms all to itself. Your family arranged in a nice internal space, usually utilising chairs and the surroundings to build stylish family group shots akin to a royal wedding. This kind of thing generally works better in ‘Manor House’ type weddings, as their structure, interiors and décor suit the style well. Again, not an easy photography feat this one, make sure you ask to see this kind of shot from your photographer before you book and check that they are confident and happy to do interior groups in this style.
Dramatic Skies and sunsets
You cant have a good sunset without some clouds and the stormiest of days produce the best of them. Angry purple anvil shaped clouds against a sky so orange that it looks ablaze creates nothing but drama for your wedding pictures, especially paired with some skilful off camera flash. Sorry to keep in harping on about this, but again… not something that every photographer can offer. Off-camera flash in a sunset situation is a very fine balancing act indeed, too much and you lose the atmosphere, too little and the couple come out as a silhouette against the sky. Wont lie, silhouettes are kind cool too!
A challenge for us
I may not be actually saying this on the day. But when the clouds are pouring down, my brain goes into overdrive. I WANT to still be able to blow your socks off with something gorgeous. This means stretching my creativity to find something special and it often results in some of my ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE images.
Poor weather certainly helps to keep your guests inside and on that dance-floor! I have always noticed an uptake in dance-floor shenanigans when it is pouring outside, yet another bonus of a rainy wedding!
Umbrellas, Puddles and Reflections
If you are worried about photographs in a rainy wedding, please don’t. It is especially important that you choose competent photographers and videographer if it is a priority to you as inclement weather certainly can throw up some challenges. More experience, knowledge and equipment in generally required to be able make the most of the inside of your venue as well as knowing how to use the rain itself to capture great images.
Umbrellas can look fabulous. Depending on what feel you are going for, you can buy umbrellas to go along with your wedding style and colours and they really add to the atmosphere as well as to your guests comfort. If you were thinking of bright colours for your theme, for example, you could buy some affordable umbrellas in an array of colours and add a pop of colour to every outdoor shot. Don’t buy umbrellas with a black material on the inside though, it really takes the light from the holders face and we definitely want to see those smiles as they run to the car!
Reflections can be found anywhere on a rainy day. The smallest puddle can be used to capture something really special and larger puddles/surface water can really create something epic! If you are a very chilled out wedding couple, you may even consider donning a pair of wellies and having a splash before the meal; 5 minutes of madness and fun, images to last a lifetime and a chance to warm back up afterwards.
It should always be noted that a rainy day can happen at ANY time of the year. The most important thing to manage when it comes to wedding weather is your own expectations. If you can approach the wedding day with a plan in place for it to be torrential; if it is sunny you get the day you wished for and if it pours, you get a wedding that you have planned for. A wedding that you can still enjoy! Picture wise, no worries. I know that after years of doing my job in all kind of weather that myself and my team still capture wonderful images in the rain, usually less than on a sunny day, but it is quality that counts, not quantity… so if it rains, I highly suggest singing in it.
If you want to see more, I have a blog featuring a wonderful rainy wedding day held in a gorgeous woodland venue here