Talk to your venue. Before you book a venue, find out what their Plan B offerings are. Do they have an indoor space available? Do they provide tents or some other type of temporary structure? While you were probably drawn to the venue for its primary spaces, you want to understand what you’ll get if the weather doesn't cooperate. If the backup options are not up to par (or there isn’t one), you may want to consider another venue or figure out if you can bring your own backup.Every couple imagines the weather on their wedding day will be perfect: 25 degrees, sunny, not a cloud in the sky. But what if it isn’t? It’s best to be prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws your way, be it rain, sleet, snow or shine. After all, you can’t control the weather. Here are some tips and tricks to help make sure your backup plan is just as good as the original!
Secure a tent. If you’ve fallen in love with an outdoor venue that doesn’t have an adequate contingency plan, find a solution for yourself. Some venues won’t provide you with tents, cooling units, or heaters themselves but will allow you to bring those items in through properly vetted outside vendors. Ask your venue what the rules are and if they have any recommendations of places to contact if they don’t supply anything. Research local tent companies and put a hold on a tent just in case; it will be worth EVERY penny if you wake up on your wedding day to bad weather. Even if you don’t end up using the tent, if it relieved any of your weather-related worries, it’s money well spent.
Give yourself time. Don’t wait until the week of the wedding to figure out what you’re going to do if bad weather strikes. Even contingency plans take time to pull together. You’ll want several weeks (if not months) to be able to think things through and make sure you’re covering all your bases, whether you end up putting the plan into action or not. Make sure to get your backup plan in place well before your wedding date shows up on that ten-day forecast on the weather app on your phone to avoid any unnecessary last-minute stress. Hopefully you won’t have to implement the contingency plan, but it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Be prepared for all kinds of weather. While rain is typically what couples are worried about, it isn’t the only weather condition that should be on your radar. Think through every scenario, from an extreme heat wave to an unexpected snow storm, and ask your venue what options are available to you. Will they supply fans or cooling units if there’s a heat wave? Do they have a generator to counteract any power outages? Will they clear the snow around the venue so your guests can make their way inside? All of these questions are important to have an answer to before you sign a contract. Don’t leave anything to chance!
Prepare your guests. If you have your heart set on an outdoor wedding, make sure you let your guests know what they’re up against. Consider including a note on your wedding website (or include a “rain card” in your invitation suite) that tells your guests that you’re hoping to be able to have your ceremony, cocktail hour or reception (or maybe all three!) outside. Remind them to dress appropriately for the weather so they can pack their bags accordingly. The more your guests know ahead of time, the happier they’ll be. And if your guests are happy, you’ll probably feel better about taking the alternative course of action on the big day.
Design the space. There’s nothing worse than being surprised (in a bad way) on your wedding day, so don’t forget to plan out how you want your backup space to look. Avoid any decor disasters or locale letdowns by designing your backup space as you’re pulling together your vision for your dream space. Figure out where your flowers will go, where your wedding party will stand during the ceremony, and what the backdrop for your first dance will be. The more effort you put into designing the space from the get-go, the better you’ll feel if you have to throw out your original plan at the last minute. Just because it’s your backup plan doesn’t make it any less important—you want to be happy with it if you have to implement it.
Embrace it! As we said, you just can’t control the weather. So, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em! Remind yourself how romantic rainy day pictures can be and how sweet a wedding in the snow can look. Make the most of a bad situation with extra-special touches, like bright umbrellas to keep you dry during your bridal portraits, cozy cover-ups to warm up your girls, or pretty fans to cool down your guests. Also, ask your makeup artist/hair stylist to stay a little late just in case you need a few touch-ups!
Cathy & Jenn of CatsMac Photography, Peterborough, Ontario.